PxPixel
Boat Review: Sage 15 - Sail Magazine

Boat Review: Sage 15

Author:
Publish date:
A small boat that combines smart design with excellent build quality

A small boat that combines smart design with excellent build quality

These days much of the talk at places like the Newport and Annapolis boat shows is about “mini-megayachts.” But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still plenty of small-boat builders out there coming out with all kinds of fresh new designs as well—and one of the best is the new Sage 15.

An evolution of the Sage 17, which won a SAIL magazine Best Boats award a few years back—and which was also drawn by veteran small-boat designer Jerry Montgomery—the Sage 15 boasts a number of those same features found aboard her big sister, including a molded-in lapstrake to provide additional hull stiffness; a small but very workable cuddy cabin; a ballasted centerboard that retracts using a simple line-and-winch arrangement for easy trailering; and a springy sheer that, in addition to being cute as a button, works with the lapstrake to provide a drier ride when sailing through a chop.

One thing, though, that the 15 boasts that big sister can’t is the option of a cat rig in place of the more commonly found jib and main—an arrangement that not only makes the Sage 15 (in this guise called the “Sagecat”) easier to rig and sail, but makes it a “yare” looking little vessel in the truest sense of the word.

Not that the Sage 15 is about looks alone—far from it. Vacuum-infused, with a mix of fiberglass mat, cloth, vinylester resin and an end-grain balsa core, the boat is as carefully constructed as any raceboat. The hull-and-deck joint is also secured with both chemical adhesive and a series of through-bolts on 6in centers, which are then capped with a teak toerail. Based in Golden, Colorado, Sage Marine is owned by the same folks who manufacture the exquisitely engineered Spyderco line of knives, and the same attention to detail is evident in the boats they build.

In this same vein, the boat also comes well equipped with everything you need to go either daysailing or cruiser-camping—including nice big cockpit benches, equally large berths belowdecks with plenty of storage underneath, and a smattering of wood trim.

As for the Sage 15’s performance under sail, it’s as impressive as its build quality. I had an opportunity to try the boat with the cat rig, and while Sage Marine’s head of production, Dave Scobie, and I were concerned with how light the conditions were, the boat did just fine. After dropping her in the water at a public ramp at the head of Back Creek in Annapolis, the two of us immediately took off—ghosting our way through the moored and anchored boats in a breeze that would have left any number of other boats standing still.

Tacking, of course, was a piece of cake, with the main taking care of itself. And whenever we found a puff, the boat immediately dug in its shoulder and surged ahead, quickly translating the additional pressure into forward motion. The boat even did well off the wind, a challenging angle of sail for any kind of boat in those conditions. Scobie said when doing so, he likes to heel the boat to windward to get the sail up nice and high above the water, the same as you would with a racing dinghy—how cool is that?

sage-15-x2-sailplan

An argument could be made that the best boats out there are those that don’t just sail well but look good doing it. If so, then the Sage 15 is a very fine boat indeed.

SA/D RATIO 24 (cat rig); 25 (sloop) D/L RATIO 110

What do these ratios mean? Visit sailmagazine.com/ratios

sagemarine.com

Related

HB96k_EP

Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP

What SUP?Dinghies and kayaks are all very well, but there’s nothing like a stand-up paddleboard for exploring interesting new shorelines while giving you a good workout. Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP makes a fine addition to your boat’s armory of anchorage toys, either on its ...read more

DSC_0031-43

Charting the USVI and Spanish Virgins

When my friends and I booked a one-way bareboat charter with Sail Caribe, starting in the U.S. Virgin Islands and finishing in Puerto Rico, we were a little nervous about what we would find in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria—even seven months later.When our plane ...read more

SailRepairKit

Know How: Sail Repair Kit

Despite your best efforts, there will inevitably be times when your sail gets damaged while at sea and needs to be repaired. First, no matter what the job, you will need to do a quick damage assessment, a task that requires a flat wooden surface, sharp scissors and a helping ...read more

01-061018ROAC-8149

Coming of Age at the Atlantic Cup

Midway through the final race of the inshore portion of the 2018 Atlantic Cup, the three boats in the lead—Mike Dreese’s Toothface 2, Mike Hennessy’s Dragon and Oakcliff Racing, representing the Long Island Sound-based sailing school of the same name—suddenly broke free from the ...read more

01_silken_2018-03-08-0052

North U’s Regatta Experience Program

“Want to check the keel?” North U Coach Geoff Becker calls to me from back by the transom. We’ve just suffered our worst finish in the regatta and are absolutely flying on our way back to shore, spinnaker up and heeling at an angle that feels like maybe we’re tempting fate. ...read more

Navy-Sand-Dune_1080

Tucket Footwear’s Giller Shoes

Just for KicksMove over Crocs, there’s a new plastic shoe in town. Unlike the aforementioned fashion crimes, Tucket Footwear’s Giller shoes are made for boating. Water will get in, yes, but it will also run straight out again via rows of “scuppers” in the uppers and a dozen drain ...read more

01-m3113_git170829-294

France’s Maxi-tri Ultime class

It’s hard to believe how far foiling has come since the Moth class figured out how to reliably take to the air in the early 2000s.Was it really only in 2013 that the America’s Cup was dragged kicking and screaming into the foiling world by Emirates Team New Zealand back in San ...read more

GGTobagoCays

Cruising: Guadeloupe to Grenada

Our Dream Yacht Charter delivery started as a “wouldn’t it be fun if” idea. Those are usually misguided, if not downright stupid. But a Bali 4.3 named Jumelles (French for “twins,” appropriately) needed to leave Guadeloupe to do heavier charter work in Grenada, and as soon as I ...read more