The Seascape 27
The 27 inevitably has the feel of a bigger, more serious boat than the 24 and is designed with offshore sailing in mind. Steve, the owner, also chose a lightweight Saildrive 330 inboard (developed specifically for boats like this and about half the weight of a conventional alternative) instead of the normal 9.8hp Tohatsu outboard.
Another principal difference is that the keel swings up beneath the hull, operated by a hydraulic ram instead of a worm drive (with the optional electric upgrade on this boat).
Performance-wise, the 27 did what a bigger boat should do. She went faster, clocking into the low 6s upwind and up to 13.8 downwind. After dropping the kite slightly early on the way back home to avoid a German frigate, we two-sail reached the last few hundred yards at 8-9 knots without trying. Anything less than 10 knots downwind felt positively pedestrian.
Below decks the 27 is light, neat and frill-free in the style of the short-handed offshore race boat but perfectly practical for basic cruising if you can cope with a jetboil for cooking rather than a fully-fitted galley.
The important thing about the Seascapes is to understand the concept of the lightweight, minimalist planing performance cruiser. These boats aren’t wild at all; in fact they’re well on the way to being domesticated.
Strange though it may sound, the most likely alternative to a boat like this might be a sporty trimaran. The Seascapes probably have more in common with the Dragonflies and Corsairs than with most monohulls as cruising sailors know them.
Testing a new boat sometimes leaves me wondering whether it really has much more to offer than the 40-year-old second-hand one I sailed the week before. Boats like the Seascapes won’t suit everyone, but they help restore my faith in the evolution of yacht design.
Good speed and pointing upwind
The optional petrol inboard on the Seascape 27 is an 18hp Saildrive 330. Based on a Parsun outboard head, the whole assembly including the leg weighs a mere 50kg (110lb)
No frills below decks on the 27, but fine for the simple life at sea