New boat: Saphire 27
Saphire Boats' goal is to make customizing, buying and sailing its sporty family weekender about as easy as one-click online shopping for a pair of pants. Part of the 27's appeal is the unified and simplified approach to the entire adventure of sailing, not just buying the boat.
That experience begins with buying the boat entirely online. Mouse clicks select options, such as interior colors, sails and engine type. According to the company, it has "Direct delivery to your home address. The boat is so simple, that you can do your first setup easily."
Swedish Saphire Boats manufactures the 27 in Poland, so that "Amazon.com" style delivery may not be so easy for North American sailors just yet, but company founder Michael Tobler said that it's not much more trouble to send the 27 to the U.S.
"The boats would be packed into containers and shipped from Gdansk. I can take the orders and organize transport together with the customer afterward. Real market entry into U.S. is planned for 2015 with boat shows and building up distribution," Tobler said.
But the 27 is not really about logistics, it's about a trailerable racer-cruiser with a lifting keel, designed for no-crane launching, and a light, carbon fiber mast that steps with a gin pole.
The mast has a double swept-spreader rig with no backstay, and it carries a square-topped main, a jib and the boat flies an asymmetrical spinnaker off a short retractable, centerline sprit.
The cockpit is huge, nearly half the boat's length, and the winches are mounted on the cabintop freeing cockpit area for more seating. That big cockpit does limit space in the four-berth cabin. Fear not, an enclosed head is an option. Another space-saving feature is the optional auxiliary Torqeedo motor folded into a flush hatch under the cockpit sole, with cockpit controls turning the motor into, in effect, a saildrive. Traditional outboards can be mounted on the transom next to the retractable rudder.
The transom is an open, natural swim platform with a fold-up two-step ladder, and the hull leading to the transom is accented with a chine starting about amidships. The hull is vinylester with PVC covered E-glass internal structures.
The 27 isn't about logistics, and it isn't about hull materials either. It's about bringing a family to the water for weekend sailing. Or as Tobler said, "Pure sailing."