PxPixel
Boat Review: Seascape 18 - Sail Magazine

Boat Review: Seascape 18

Author:
Publish date:
A fast and simple sport boat that you can also cruise

A fast and simple sport boat that you can also cruise

How’s this for convenience? I got the word from SAIL HQ that I should test-sail the Seascape 18 from Slovenia, recently introduced to these shores, and it turns out the new U.S. rep is based in Kittery, Maine, mere footsteps from my home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Even better, on arriving at the town dock in Kittery I found out I’d be sailing with Andraz Mihelin, one of the masterminds behind the whole Seascape concept.

Which is as follows: take the current hot monohull-racing hull form—fine plumb bow, wide hindquarters, plus hard-chined topsides—and insert one super-simplified performance rig with easy-to-use controls so that mere mortals can have fun sailing fast without getting the pants scared off them.

Seascape, which was founded by two hot-shot Mini-Transat racers (Andraz and his buddy Kristian Hajnsek), introduced the 18, the company’s first boat, just six years ago in Europe and have already sold several hundred hulls, in the process fostering a burgeoning one-design racing scene. They’ve since followed with a Seascape 27, which was actually introduced here before the 18, and the Seascape 24.

Sailing the 18 with Andraz was like getting the gospel straight from the prophet’s mouth. “The idea behind the boat,” he explained as we shot away from the dock, “is to have 80 percent of the fun of sailing a Mini with 20 percent of the work.”

Convenience-wise the boat is just that. The tubular carbon-fiber mast, which weighs just 30lb, is supported by a fractional headstay and two straight shrouds with no backstay or spreaders. Underwater appendages consist of an easy-to-control ballasted swing keel and two retractable rudders in cassettes. The whole boat weighs just a tad over 1,000lb, and it takes just a little over 20 minutes to get it from a trailer into the water fully rigged.

And yes, it is definitely a thrill to sail. We had a blast skating around off the mouth of the Piscataqua River in what turned out to be ideal test conditions. The breeze built up from 8 to 20 knots, and we had little trouble hitting speeds well over 10 knots. We also had little trouble controlling the boat. No panic. No near broaches. Nothing but the good stuff.

We also set and struck the easily handled A-sail, which flies at the end of a long retractable bowsprit, by pulling it in and out of its deck sock on its continuous halyard. Closehauled with just the roller-furling jib flying forward of the mast we cut apparent wind angles well inside 25 degrees. And when the gusts came through, the top of the big square-headed mainsail fell away, the mast bent a bit in the right direction, and the sail magically depowered itself. When that wasn’t enough and we had to take action ourselves, the counter-intuitive trick Andraz taught me was to ease the jib sheet rather than the mainsheet, as this was the best way to manually depower the backstay-less rig without throwing slack into the headstay.

Andraz truly is an evangelist and is full of neat ideas on how to have fun competing in these boats. He envisions round-the-island time trials where skippers pick their start times and online global “best game” contests where skippers on boats with transponders post and compare their best 500-meter speed runs.

That said, he also sees the boat as a fun camp cruiser and regaled me with the tale of a young Austrian couple who circumnavigated southeastern Europe on their Seascape 18, cruising down the Danube River, through the Black Sea, the Greek archipelago and up the Adriatic. The boat’s cuddy-cave cabin is decidedly Spartan, with not much more than a full-length double V-berth inside, but you can set up a tent over the cockpit to expand the accommodations, and the boat is easily beached so you can spread out onshore too.

All in all the boat is a very exciting package and should check all or most boxes on the lists of buyers looking for a fun, affordable, versatile and easy-to-manage sport boat. 

render_2

Specifications

LOA 18ft

LWL 18ft

BEAM 7ft 9in

DRAFT 4ft 11in (keel down); 1ft (keel up)

DISPLACEMENT 1,100lb

BALLAST 275lb

SAIL AREA 248ft2 (main and jib)

BALLAST RATIO 25

SA/D RATIO 37 (main and jib)

D/L RATIO 84

DESIGNER Samuel Manuard

BUILDER Seascape, Ljubljana, Slovenia

US DISTRIBUTOR Seascape USA, Kittery, ME, 207-703-0307, www.seascapeusa.com

PRICE $31,400 (sailaway) at time of publication

NB&G 2017

Correction: The price in the printed version of NB&G was accidentally transposed. The above price is correct.

Related

Josie-helm-2

Chartering the U.S. and Spanish Virgins

Flying into Tortola in the British Virgin Islands one December morning, three months after Hurricane Irma, I felt like a war correspondent dispatched to the battlefront rather than a sailing magazine writer on an assignment to go cruising.As my LIAT plane descended toward Beef ...read more

Crew-North-27M004

Weather Gear for Inshore Sailing

Just because you’re not planning on braving the Southern Ocean this summer doesn’t mean that you won’t have some dicey days out on the water. If you haven’t got the right gear, a little rain or humidity can make things miserable. As with all safety equipment, “it’s always better ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

3DiNordac_webheader

3Di NORDAC: One Year In

One year ago this month, North Sails launched a cruising revolution with the introduction of 3Di NORDAC. The product promised to deliver a better cruising experience for a market that had not seen true product innovation in over 60 years. Today we’re celebrating the team that ...read more

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