Updated:
Original:

Boat Review: Seascape 18

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

05-Squall-in-the-ITCZ

Close-Hauled to Hawaii

The saying “Nothing goes to windward like a 747,” is one of my favorites. I actually once took a 747 upwind, retracing my earlier downwind sailing route across the Pacific. I’ve also done a fair bit of ocean sailing to windward. The 747 was a lot more comfortable. But then ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG-2106

Refurbishing Shirley Rose: Part 3

If you missed the first installment, click here. The hull and deck of Shirley Rose had been repaired, but what kind of sailboat would she be without a sturdy rig? I was told she was ready to sail, and that the owner replaced the standing rigging a few years before. Shirley Rose ...read more

211007MINI_1208-2400x1600

Mini Transat: Bouroullec and Fink Win Leg One

The Mini Transat is a roughly 4000-mile course that comprises two legs— Les Sables D’Olonne, France to Santa Cruz de La Palma in the Canaries, and Santa Cruz de La Palma to the French Caribbean island Guadeloupe. Two fleets of Mini 6.50s compete—the Production class in ...read more

01-LEAD-7-1-Rhiannon-loaded-on-the-truck-with-Clark,-Andre,-and-Louis

Book Excerpt: Taken By The Wind

In 1975, as a senior at Harvard, the question for Chicago-area sailor Mike Jacker became what to do next. The answer, as related in his new book Taken by the Wind, was to make a small-boat voyage to Tahiti with his grade-school friend Louis Gordon and Harvard classmate Clark ...read more

Maserati _Arthur Daniel

The RORC Caribbean 600 is Back

With a start planned for February 21 in Antigua, the famed 600-mile Caribbean race is back. The course circumnavigates 11 Caribbean islands starting from English Harbour, Antigua, and heading north to St Maarten and south to Guadeloupe, passing Barbuda, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba and ...read more

01-LEAD-14_00_210613_TORE03_JRE_4266_16961-3000x3000

The Ocean Race Europe

The fully crewed, round-the-world Ocean Race has experienced tremendous change over the years. From the 1993 transition to a one-design fleet to an ever-shifting route, what began as the amateur Whitbread Round the World Yacht Regatta in 1972 is a very different race today. The ...read more

01-LEAD-m'19.07.17_Sail-Stowing_3

Sail Inventories for Ocean Racing

We’re currently outfitting and refitting our Swan 59, Icebear, for the upcoming, round-the-world Ocean Globe Race (OGR, oceangloberace.com) in 2023, a reenactment of the early Whitbread races. In 1985, Nautor’s Swan placed a “factory” entry into the Whitbread, Fazer Finland, a ...read more

Screen-Shot-2021-10-01-at-10.28.25-AM

VIDEO: Sailing Drones to Gather Hurricane Data

NOAA and Saildrone Inc. have teamed up to pilot five new saildrones in the Atlantic to gather data that will improve the understanding of hurricanes. Yesterday SD1045, one of the sail-powered data collection bots, got a look at Hurricane Sam, a category 4 hurricane currently off ...read more