The Seas­cape 27

Practical Boat Owner - - Contents -

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

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