The six models in the Escape line have been a breath of fresh air to the sailing community. While Escape's founders Tom Whidden, Gary Jobson and Peter Johnstone are usually associated with Olympic and America's Cup racing, they conceived the new Escape line for pure fun.
Designed for beginners, the Escape boats have benefits that even advanced sailors can appreciate. Molded in one piece from polyethylene, the hulls have no seams to open and are nearly indestructible. And since they tip the scale from a miserly 55 to 150 pounds, most models can be car-topped to the water. Wide body designs make the boats extremely stable. With models ranging from 7.5' to 12.75', Escape easily handles a passel of kids or a family of four. Best of all, with list prices from $699 to $2,399 the boats fit nearly any budget.
With minimal controls, the Escape boats make learning to sail a breeze. An inventive "AutoSail" self-teaching system is included with each boat. A wind indicator on the bow rides over a pie chart that is color coded to the sails and control lines. Match the colors to sail the boat.
Escape didn't stop with the unique "Stableform" hull designs. They adopted two sailplans that are the epitome of effortlessness. The "SimpleRig" on the Cha Cha (7.5'), Solsa (9') and Mambo (11.5') employs a sprit captured in the transparent monofilament sail and requires only a mainsheet to maintain control. The "SmartRig" on the more expensive Mango (9'), Captiva (11.5') and Rumba (12.75') features a fixed-height independent boom and a rotating mast which allows the transparent composite sail to be instantly rolled for reducing sail area.
All six models have other features that make them more user friendly. Two-piece masts are easy to store, but lock into the boat during use. Hulls are a distinctive bright yellow color for easy spotting from shore. Self-draining cockpits are standard, as are drinkholders.
Escape Sailboat Company,
LLC Portsmouth, RI,
USA Tel. (401) 638-5900
OR Great Yarmouth, England
If teaching the kids, or yourself, to sail is a priority, the Escape lineup should be near the top of your "must see" list. But even if you are already an expert sailor, the lightweight, fast set-up, low maintenance, and modest price of these boats make them worthy of consideration.