Sadler 29

PRICE £12,000-£29,000 YEAR 1981-1988

Yachting Monthly - - CRUISING LOG -

Pick­ing the wheat from the chaff is a dif­fi­cult task within this price range, as what first seems like a bar­gain might not be; a sur­vey is a must to avoid a heart­breaker, es­pe­cially with older boats where the risk of os­mo­sis is ever present.

The first boat I’ve picked for Sarah and Andy comes from the board of Contessa 32 de­signer David Sadler, the Sadler 29. She is still the excellent starter boat she was when she was first launched and has much to of­fer a young cou­ple look­ing for a good, solid coastal cruiser. Her ac­com­mo­da­tion is sim­i­lar to her big sis­ter the Sadler 32. In­deed, down be­low it would be hard to tell them apart, un­less you were fa­mil­iar with both boats. There’s a good­sized vee berth for­ward, with a heads com­part­ment di­rectly aft. Ide­ally, a par­ti­tion of some sort be­tween the two would be nec­es­sary for when guests are vis­it­ing; a mod­i­fi­ca­tion many own­ers would have made al­ready.

The sa­loon is roomy, and good for the size of yacht, it pro­vides am­ple seat­ing around a cen­tral fixed ta­ble – the seat­ing to port is C-shaped and an in­fill could be crafted with­out too much imag­i­na­tion if there isn’t one al­ready. The star­board seat makes a good sea berth (with the ad­di­tion of a lee cloth) and has a trot­ter box that takes up space un­der the de­cent-sized chart ta­ble. Aft of this half ad­mi­ral­ty­sized ta­ble is a quar­ter berth; good for sin­gle­ton sleep­ing or ex­tra stowage.

Stowage be­low is a lit­tle re­duced due to the un­sink­able buoy­ancy lo­cated all around the boat, but on the plus side, all that foam adds to the hull’s in­su­la­tion. Her gal­ley is small, and the com­pan­ion­way steps

will be needed for work sur­face, but it’s prac­ti­cal and us­able for this size of boat.

Older boats had just two coachroof win­dows in each side and the later models had three; sadly these may well be out of bud­get for Sarah and Andy.

The cou­ple will re­ally en­joy sail­ing her, though. She’s a de­cent step up from the dinghies the pair are used to and she’s eas­ily han­dled by two. She’s a real plea­sure to helm and fun to sail, and although she has a tran­som-hung rud­der, it’s pre­ceded by a full-length skeg for pro­tec­tion and di­rec­tional sta­bil­ity, and not as heavy as one might ex­pect.

Her deck sheer raises the bow, giv­ing her a def­i­nite bow-up look, while solid teak rub­bing strakes help to keep the decks dry. The cock­pit is a good size and is okay for four adults but perfect for two.

Like many cruis­ing boats of this era, she has a mast­head rig and a large over­lap­ping genoa, which give a ver­sa­tile sail plan with­out too much fuss. She was avail­able in deep or shal­low-fin keel con­fig­u­ra­tion, as well as with bilge keels. Should Sarah and Andy de­cide the price of an all-tide swing­ing moor­ing is too much, they can seek out a bilge-keel al­ter­na­tive. While it might not have the wind­ward per­for­mance of a fin keel, it will stay up­right when the tide goes out – al­ways good when one finds them­selves in charge and aground on a fall­ing tide. What they would save in moor­ing they could put into a slightly higher pur­chase price.

As a first cruis­ing boat, you can’t go far wrong with a Sadler 29

A def­i­nite sheer makes the Sadler 29 sea­wor­thy and pretty to look at

The C-shaped seat­ing can be made into a dou­ble berth

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