Sunbeam has been building yachts in Austria for the last 60 years, so where better to test its 28.1? Graham Snook sailed her on Lake Attersee
What’s she like to sail?
With little to no wind on the day of our test, conditions were far from perfect. Even so, I got the feeling that in the right weather, sailing the Sunbeam 28.1 could be a real hoot. Her short tiller makes the steering light and responsive, she turns quickly without effort or hesitation. The helmsman has a variety of places to sit or relax and still retain control. The mainsheet is threaded from the aft deck to forward of the helm, within reach for helmsman or crew. It’s neat, works well, and keeps the mainsheet clear of the cockpit.
In the light breeze I missed the extra sail area from a genoa (an optional extra on this boat), but the self-tacking jib means tacking is simple. Sailing in 4-6 knots isn’t thrilling, but the addition of the gennaker made it enjoyable nonetheless. Setting the gennaker is easy and the removable pole is stowed neatly in the anchor locker. She has a big dinghy feel to her; a youthful, cheeky feeling that is lost on larger boats, and she responds to every twitch of the tiller.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
The interior is open plan and, without partitioning between the forward sleeping area and saloon, there’s nowhere to hide on rainy afternoons at anchor. But what there is down below is nicely arranged and well thought out. The saloon table might not be the neatest around, but it can be used in the cockpit too. Our test boat had the ‘touring pack’ – adding curtains, cupboards and stowage bags forward – which improves the interior for those wanting to stay on board. There is enough room for four adults to sleep, but she’d be more comfortable for a couple with a small family, both in number and physical size. Weeks away on board might be pushing it for some owners, but there is more than enough for room for a long weekend if the weather’s right.
There is plenty of natural light thanks to the coachroof windows, acrylic companionway hatch and the flush, curved forehatch. The latter is also excellent for ventilation. The large cockpit makes an ideal space to relax horizontally. To anchor you’ll need the optional bow roller and she’s available with standard, lifting or shoal keel.
Would she suit you and your crew?
If you’re stepping up from dinghies, or stepping down from a bigger boat, she makes an excellent weekender or daysailer – great fun for a couple or family to cruise along the coast. Her narrow beam (2.5m) makes her trailable behind a suitable vehicle, so you needn’t limit yourself to one cruising ground or be encumbered by annual mooring fees. She’s easily handled by one person and the addition of a gennaker means it’s possible to sail her in the lightest of winds. You can add a genoa, tracks, more winches and swanky sails if you want more performance, or happily potter around with the standard Dacron sails she comes with. Either way, she’d be a fun boat for exploring estuaries and port-hopping.
Below decks, the interior is neat, light and well made. It’s without frills or standing headroom, but it’s practical and pleasant. I like the way Sunbeam hasn’t tried to add standing headroom or a sink in the heads – just enough without the feeling of roughing it.
The price of the boat we tested includes teak deck and race sails. For the basic version, the price is a more modest €99,600 (around £78,873) including VAT and commissioning. She’s simple, stylish and sporty. Who could ask for more in a 28ft yacht?
FACTS AND FIGURES
Price €112,800 (about £89,326)
LOA 8.5m (27ft 11in)
LWL 7.88m (25ft 10in)
Beam 2.49m (8ft 2in)
Draught 1.6m (5ft 3in) or 1.25m 4ft 1in) or 0.75m (2ft 6in)
Displacement 2300kg (5060 lb)
Ballast 809kg (1783 lb)
Sail area 41m2 (441sq ft)
I Diesel 60 lit (13gal)
Water 80 lit (17gal)
D/L ratio 133.2
Ballast ratio 35.2%
RCD category C I STIX 39.79
Designer J&J / M Schöchl
Builder Schöchl Yachtbau GmbH
Tel +44 1590 676782
She'd be a fun boat for exploring estuaries and port-hopping. She's simple, stylish and sporty. Who could ask for more in a 28ft yacht?