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Saffier SC 6.50 Cruise

2016 April 1

Dutch class and comfort come together in a small but fun package


For some reason, lately I seem to be drawn to designs that can be comfortably operated by an old man. It’s a hard reality to face but my days of hanging on a trapeze or hiking in almost any form are behind me. Today I need a boat that I can sit in and not on. I need a boat that is stable enough so I can concentrate on having fun with my grandkids and not worry about keeping the boat upright. I think this Dutch-built 21-footer, designed by brothers Dennis and Dean Saffier could be in the running.

I say “could be in the running” because to really attract me, the styling of this design would need to have a bit more pizzazz. I’m not too keen on the long overhangs. I know a lot of you like the look of overhangs but to me they just look like lost waterline length. I find the hull profile a bit unusual in that it is really deep forward then almost kinks up towards the bow where it appears to kink again about halfway up the stem. To my eye the look is awkward. That said, the photos of the boat sailing show a nicely proportioned boat with an attractive spring to the sheer. 


The D/L is 128 and the L/B is 3.17. The vertical leading edge on the keel would catch kelp where I live.  Given that this design is not performance-driven I would add some rake to the keel’s leading edge so it would have the chance to shed some kelp. The keel is lead with a bulb and a ballast-to-displacement ratio of 44%.  I’m sure that would provide the stability I would need. The rudder is quite big and tucked under the counter where it will work efficiently. The plan view shows a very moderate distribution of beam. By today’s standards the transom is narrow, but it is in keeping with the character of the boat. I have quite a few photos of the Saffier sailing. I looked over the photos to see if I could detect an excessive angle to the tiller, indicating weather helm. I see what appears to be a nicely balanced boat.

The rig is fractional with an on centerline bowsprit that can retract or be removed. The SA/D is a healthy 22.93. The single spreaders are slightly swept. There is a masthead “flicker” to pull the backstay away from the extended roach of the semi fathead main. The mainsheet leads to a “barney post” on the cockpit sole. The cockpit looks very comfortable with long seats and deep seatbacks. 

The jib is self-tacking and sheeted to a short track on the raised portion of the foredeck. I have designed a few self-tacking jibs that lead to a track and I have found that track needs to be as wide as possible. If not, as you bear off you cannot change the lead position of the jib car and you end up with a leach that is curled inboard. I can see this perfectly in one of the photos the Saffier shop provided me. You can get around this if you use a clew fitting with multiple holes in it. But this requires changing the jib sheet from one hole to another and that’s cumbersome. My preference would have been to get rid of or at least shorten the raised portion of the deck and then have the jib track run all the way out to the toerail.

This is a yachty-looking small keelboat that should have great appeal as a daysailer.

LOA 21’4”; LWL 19’; Beam 6’9”; Draft 3’1”; Ballast 882 lbs.; Displ. 1,984 lbs.; S/A 69 sq. ft.; SA/D 7; L/B 3.17; D/L 128

Our best estimate of the sailaway price: $41,600

Saffier Maritiem b.v.

Rondweg 20

1976 BW IJmuiden, The Netherlands

+31 (2)5-551 28 60