Despite the fact that less than one in 10 sailors are serious racers, handicap-influenced hull shapes haven't been just for the raceboats. Boats that will never see a starting line in their life spans are often shaped like racers though they are fitted for cruising. As the handicapping rules have lost following, shaping pressure has petered out. Now the non-rule PHRF remains the best and only game in town. This state of racing in the US has been beneficial to yacht design. Hull shapes of all-purpose sailboats are returning to more natural, sea-friendly shapes.
"The IMS and handicap rules have had a huge influence on design shapes," said designer Robert H. Perry. So in response he came up with a boat that reflects simple, pure, good-sailing traits.
The Saga 35 by Saga Yachts, of St. Catharines, Ontario, is a somewhat lean, all-waterline design created out of what makes a boat sail well. This is a boat that's really about sailing, designed to feedback all the best characteristics of handling in a range of sea states and breeze, efficiently, under sail and power.
Saga doesn't drag around a boat-load of beam. "Everyone knows beam is the worst, and an expensive way of getting stability," Perry said. "We got into a trap of chasing accommodations," he added. It was part the result of taking the beamy rule-shaped boats and changing them to cruisers. The Saga 35 doesn't change character when she gets in a batch of breeze. As if a lithe meter-type boat, she heels and remains controllable and even-tempered. In Perry's words, she won't go through a "personality change" something common with beamy boats.
|The Saga 35|
|LOD: 35' 6"|
LWL: 33' 7"
Beam 10' 9"
Draft 4' 11" or 6' 6"
Displacement 12,800 lbs.
Ballast 5,100 lbs., or 4,900 lbs.
Sail Area 696 sq. ft.
Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 20.32
Displacement/Length Ratio 170
Tankage: 60 fuel, 80 water, 15 holding
Saga Yachts, Inc.
423 Lake Shore
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2R 7K6
For information: www.sagayachts.com
Tel: (800) 560-SAGA
On the water, the Saga, which will debut at the fall in-water boat shows, starting with the Newport, RI, show on September, presents a striking and handsome profile. We already are familiar with this clean, plumb-bow form through the Saga 43, which came out a year or so ago. The Saga presents a contortion-free canoe body delicately punctuated by a long bowsprit from which the furling genoa is set, and where the CQR resides.
Here is certainly an expectation of a sweet-behaving boat for those longing for easy-to-handle sailing. Sailhandling equipment has improved so much, that control from the cockpit is smooth and easy. On the Saga 35, sailors will be able to control the self-tending jib from one line. The sheet is actually run off the jib traveler up to the mast and back to the cockpit through the boom. Both the genoa and jib are on furlers. The genoa roller furler is forward 3-1/2 feet, tack to tack, off the jib. All deck gear, including the winches, is by Harken.
This is a cockpit-centered design where nearly all of the sailing operations are designed to take place. With seating for six, the benches are just wide enough for bracing your feet on the opposite side.
The Saga 35 comes with a standard shoal keel, which draws 4'11". The deep-keel version, available at no up-charge, draws 6'6". Ballast on the shallow version is 200 pounds more; it has a slightly larger bulb.
The interior is designed around a straightforward centerline drop-leaf table and opposing settee benches. These can be adequate seaberths with the addition of lee cloths. The master forward cabin has a pullman-type berth with copious lockers and separate access to the head. (There is also access to the head from the saloon.)
The galley is compact but complete, with a standard three-burner stove and oven (Force 10), good working counter space and adequate storage compartments. There is a single sink, which is close to the centerline. Under it is a handy pull-out trash receptacle. The navigation table, just to starboard of the four-step companionway, uses the aft end of the berth for sit-down navigating. Further aft is the second cabin featuring a double quarter-berth and hanging locker. The interior is finished in varnished cherry joinery throughout with off-white molded vinyl fiberglass liner.
Construction is with Baltek AL600 (resin-coated balsa) cores in the hull and deck structure. The toerail, which may look reminiscent of the past C&C's perforated variety--a signature of the former Canadian builder--is extruded aluminum.
The Saga is designed to be not only a good sailing boat. The auxiliary power of the 38 horsepower Yanmar diesel with two-bladed folding prop will send her comfortably along at 7-1/2 knots.
Other features of the Saga 35 are as follows: keel-stepped mast (carbon fiber rig is an available option), two Dorade-type vents, six opening ports, two hatches, walk-out cockpit step with telescoping three-step ladder, cockpit coaming storage boxes for halyard tails, Whitlock Cobra torque-rod steering, Tides Marine rudder bearings and mainsail luff track, lazy jacks, Hood-built main and jib, single-line jiffy reefing led aft, rod vang, bonze dripless shaft seal, two batteries, electric and manual bilge pumps, hot- and-cold-pressure water system, and shower and sump. The price of this standard boat is $164,900.