The idea behind the new 28-foot Esse 850 is what many sportboat builders strive for: Build a fast, easy-to-handle, trailerable, one-design racer/daysailer that can be sailed shorthanded. And make sure it’s drop-dead gorgeous.
After a successful launch in Europe, where the Umberto Felci design was named one of the European Yachts of the Year, it appears the 850 turns the idea into reality. From its plumb bow to its wide-open cockpit and back to its open stern, the 850 looks fast even when tied up at the dock. The bulb keel retracts up to 4 feet, 6 inches to make trailering easier and drops to 6 feet, 6 inches to provide upwind stiffness. Leading sail controls under the deck makes for easy singlehanding, while over 800 square feet of available sail area (with the masthead A-sail flying from a retractable carbon-fiber pole), combined with an ultralight displacement of only 2,590 pounds, provides serious horsepower. The polars show this boat is capable of reaching well over 10 knots of boatspeed in 20 knots of wind. And the pictures speak for themselves—this boat has a stylish Euro-look that’s easy on the eyes. Look for the 850 to be available here in the States later this year. For more information, visit esse boats.