Updated:
Original:

Sage 17 Pocket Cruiser

An important part of the Sage 17’s pocket-cruiser DNA became evident the moment I deliberately stepped onto her rail with my full weight—and nothing much happened.

A pocket cruiser with good genes

An important part of the Sage 17’s pocket-cruiser DNA became evident the moment I deliberately stepped onto her rail with my full weight—and nothing much happened. The rail dipped slightly and lived up to the notion of designer Jerry Montgomery, long a member of the pocket-cruiser set, that this tiny boat should heel to 10 degrees and stiffen up. If we’re going cruising, we want to feel secure. 

Through the years, any number of people, young or old, have gone off cruising in boats not much longer than their prone bodies. Stability is not absolutely required, but in the contemporary parlance of “pocket cruising,” stability and a cozy bit of shelter anchor the conversation. 

The lack of breeze, however, was a big topic of conversation when I hoisted sails on Sage 17 hull #1 amidst catspaws on San Francisco Bay. I could see that I wasn’t going to come away with a notebook full of tacking angles and speeds. But I also knew I didn’t need numbers to share what needs to be shared about this boat. And before the day was out, we found just enough breeze to prove that the boat sails fine, with a nice turn of speed, and that the 7/8ths rig, with its working jib and loose-footed main, hauls her to weather quite nicely. 

The working jib on the Sage 17 sheets inside the lifelines to promote pointing ability. Genoa tracks are an option for those who want a bigger headsail, and the standard backstay adjuster and traveler tell you that the boat is intended to reward savvy sailing.

I’ve already described the boat as stiff: credit hull form, plus 400 pounds of lead in the keel and 120 pounds in the centerboard. There is also the lightweight balsa-cored carbon-fiber deck, which is so strong the mast requires no compression post, thereby leaving the cabin open and clear. The carbon transom also helps lighten the stern. 

The balsa-cored vinylester hull includes a molded-in lapstrake for added rigidity. The cabin works. You expect it to be tight, and of course it is, but the V-berth provides 80 inches to stretch out on, and seating just below the companionway makes it possible for six-footers to sit, port and starboard. What more can you ask for in 17 feet? 

The head is tucked under the aft portion of the V-berth, the forward part of which can be packed with one portion of the optional flotation package. I approved of small, smart touches, such as the way the hatch lockers can be dogged down from the interior.

On our test boat, the optional Tiller Clutch made it a cinch to lock off the helm, and with its pivoting centerboard and kick-up rudder, the Sage 17 inspires confidence in shoal water. It’s easy to like this boat. Anyone looking for a pocket cruiser more or less like this little one should ask for a dance. 

Sage17-specs

Related

Hurrican-PHOTO

A Storm by Any Other Name

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hurricanes (the term most U.S. sailors are familiar with) and typhoons are just two different names for the same weather phenomenon: tropical cyclones, i.e., “a rotating, organized system of clouds and ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_1002

Cyclone Season in Polynesia

Thinking of spending cyclone season in the South Pacific? Plenty of sailors take the chance every year, with the recent travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic making this an especially popular option in 2020. Cyclone season in this part of the world runs from November to ...read more

01b-LEAD-INSET-Kirby-IMG_0077

Eight Bells: Bruce Kirby, Creator of the Laser

With 2021 drawing to a close, Laser sailors find themselves reflecting on both their class’s 50th anniversary and the passing of the man who made it all possible: Canadian designer, sailor and sailing journalist, Bruce Kirby. Kirby, who died this past July at the age of 92, ...read more

2021ROLEXIC_DF_0061

Southern Yacht Club Wins Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup

Newport, R.I. -- The 7th Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup wrapped up on Saturday after five days of highly competitive racing in an international fleet that saw the Southern Yacht Club (SYC) of New Orleans best a fleet of 19 teams from Europe, Canada, Bermuda and ...read more

DUFOUR-530_NAVIGATION_009

Boat Review: Dufour 530

Dufour Yachts seems to have shifted its strategy with the introduction of the new 530. Previously, the French builder maintained two lines: Performance and Grand Large, with the latter targeted at the cruising crowd. With the Dufour 530, however, Dufour decided to combine the ...read more

210913-11HRT-SKIPPER-PORTRAITS-VC-122

11th Hour Christens Two IMOCAs, Hits a Snag

This week has been a big one for the American-founded, sustainability-centric ocean racing team 11th Hour Racing. In addition to christening their two new boats, the team also took them out for a quick test ride—against some of the most intense IMOCA 60 skippers in the world. ...read more

01-LEAD-DSCF3091

Clewless in the Pacific

Squalls are well known to sailors who cruise the middle Latitudes. Eventually, you become complacent to their bluster. But squalls vary in magnitude, and while crossing from Tahiti to Oahu, our 47ft Custom Stevens sloop paid the price for carrying too much canvass as we were ...read more

Nigel

SAIL’s Nigel Calder Talks Electrical Systems at Trawlerfest Baltimore

At the upcoming Trawlerfest Baltimore, set for Sept. 29-Oct. 3, SAIL magazine regular contributor Nigel Calder will give the low down on electrical systems as part of the show’s seminar series.  The talk will be Saturday, October 2 at 9am. Electrical systems are now the number ...read more