Skip to main content

Boat Review: Sadie 27

A sensuous new daysailer based on Herreshoff’s famous Alerion

A sensuous new daysailer based on Herreshoff’s famous Alerion

The original Alerion, a 26ft daysailer designed in 1912 by the legendary Capt. Nat Herreshoff for his own use, is one of the most iconic small sailboats ever created. Boats faithful to the original design are still built from time to time, and of course one modern builder has chosen the hallowed name for its own line of high-end retro-style boats.

This most recent variation was born when a knowledgeable owner, Michael Rindler, came to French & Webb in Belfast, Maine, seeking an Alerion-style daysailer in cold-molded wood, but much stiffer and less hard-mouthed than the original boat, which carried a long shoal keel and centerboard. French & Webb, in turn, called in designer Chuck Paine to update and fine-tune the hull form and rig, but otherwise allowed its build team, led by Jeremy Gage, to craft the boat by eye as it went along. The resulting vessel—complete with a deep full keel and a distinctive oval cockpit-and-cabinhouse footprint that at once sets it apart from Herreshoff’s Alerion—thus has a very organic aesthetic.

The hull is laminated fir and mahogany set in epoxy and sheathed with vacuum-bagged 11-oz. E-glass. The half-inch marine plywood deck is traditionally framed with Douglas fir beams beneath it and is skinned with 9-oz. E-glass. All of the interior and exterior joinery was crafted from a single slab of mahogany, so it is perfectly color matched.

The rig, custom-crafted in carbon fiber by Forte, is elegantly simple, with cap shrouds and a single set of lower shrouds with no diamond stays supporting a very fractional sailplan. The hardware is all Herreshoff-style bronze, either fabricated in-house by French & Webb or supplied by J.M. Reineck & Son. Auxiliary propulsion comes courtesy of a Mastervolt Drivemaster electric motor powered by a Mastervolt Slimline AGM battery bank that in turn is fed by a pair of 40-watt Ganz solar panels that are laid out on the cockpit sole when the boat is idle.

Bella-Luna

I sailed Rindler’s new boat, named Bella Luna, with Todd French and Art Paine, Chuck’s twin brother, out of Southwest Harbor, Maine, on a gorgeous September afternoon. Quite honestly, I have never before sailed such a well-balanced full-keel boat with an entirely unbalanced attached rudder. It really is a bit uncanny. Sailing in everything from ghosty-light to gusty strong conditions, I found no lee helm at all and just the right amount of weather helm. The boat is also easily driven and quite quick for a full-keel vessel, while at the same time being very stiff and weatherly.

The cockpit ergonomics are spectacular. The broad bench seats are perfectly pitched, and the coamings are nice and high. The simple sail controls fall easily to hand. As befits a bespoke traditional daysailer, the boat boasts a very elegant, yet minimalist interior inside the small cuddy cabin forward. Trimmed in fine beaded paneling painted Herreshoff white, the furnishings include a pair of single-seat settees and a large V-berth, under which lurks a proper fully plumbed marine head in an easily accessed hide-away compartment

It seems everyone who meets this boat, myself included, is entirely captivated by it. French & Webb therefore are eager to build more and are billing it as the Sadie 27, after the very first Alerion knock-off, a refined near-sister to the original that Nat Herreshoff himself designed in 1914. If you are on the lookout for a classic daysailer with modern appointments you’d do well to suss it out.

frenchwebb.com

NB&G 2016

Related

maintenance-02

Cruising: Old Sailors Never Die

“Old sailors never die, they just get a little dinghy.” It may be a hoary old joke, but one of my problems at age 79 is I can no longer get easily in and out of a little dinghy, and neither can my (several years younger than me) wife. For this, and various other reasons I will ...read more

01-LEAD-DSC_0953

The Mighty Compass

Here’s to the humble magnetic compass, without a doubt the sailor’s most reliable instrument onboard. It’s always there for you and with the rarest of exceptions, always operational. Yes, I love my chartplotter, autopilot, radar and AIS. They help me be a safer and more ...read more

02-En-route-Jost-Van-D

Chartering: Swan Song in the BVI

Joseph Conrad once wrote, “The sea never changes.” And while this may or not be true, something most definitely not open for debate is the fact we sailors, “wrapped in mystery,” as Conrad put it, are continually changing—whether we like it or not. I found myself thinking these ...read more

220307FP51_1JML0332

Boat Review: Fountaine-Pajot Aura 51

If you can sell more than 150 catamarans off-plan before the resin has even hit the fiberglass, you must be doing something right. Despite costing around $1.1 million once fitted out and on the water, Fountaine-Pajot’s new 51 has done just that. The French yard has been at it ...read more

00LEAD-IMG-9035

Ready to Fly a New Sail

It’s a typical humid, southern Chesapeake Bay summer day when I show up on the doorstep of Latell & Ailsworth Sailmakers in the one-stoplight, one-lane-roadway, rural tidewater town of Deltaville, Virginia. I’m late getting here to work on a new jib for my 29-foot, Bill ...read more

m5702_RACE-AREA-6

Dates for the 2024 America’s Cup Announced

Ever since making the controversial decision to hold the next America’s Cup in Barcelona, Spain, instead of in home waters, Defender Emirates Team New Zealand has been hard at work organizing logistics for the event.  The Racing Area for the Challenger Selection Series and the ...read more

00LEAD

A Force for Change: Captain Liz Gillooly

I first heard about Capt. Liz Gillooly in 2016 from my cousin while working three jobs in our shared hometown on the North Fork of Long Island and living with my parents to save money for a boat. But despite being the same age and growing up only 13 miles apart, Liz and I never ...read more

291726157_3222349914654950_8713674249134934221_n-2-1024x684

Sailing in the Growth Zone

The Goal This year, I’ve had a specific goal to be a better sailor. Some people have laughed and said, “Why do you need to be a better sailor? This was my 22nd year racing on the same boat, with the same crew. I like to win and want to make sure we stay at the top of the fleet. ...read more