Yachting Monthly reviews the Sadler 29
What’s she like to sail?
Andrew recalls getting caught out in wind over tide conditions on the edge of the Raz de Barfleur on passage to St Vaast. ‘We were making 12 knots over the ground! The boat was absolutely fine but we felt a bit green.’ It bears testimony to the Sadler’s sea-keeping qualities. She’s a cruiser/racer of yesteryear and, I would argue, is all the better for that. Easy to sail, responsive and maneuverable, she’s a great little family boat as well as a good yacht on which to learn how to sail. She does tends to heel quickly, but not so that the toerail is ever in the water – a feature which acts as a useful guide for a novice sailor because even in the lightest airs they will quickly get a good sense of being in ‘the groove’.
Her deck area aft is a little tight for ease of movement and your seaboot is likely to jam between the cockpit coaming and toerail. That said, if you leave the cockpit by the sprayhood frame, there’s reasonable footfall going forward.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
Aidos has been lovingly restored by Andrew and the light-coloured teak bulkhead and shelving gives the boat a warm and attractive feel. The boat’s fine run aft is evident under the chart table where your right foot will be at an angle to the left one! Under power she is awkward in reverse – although better since Andrew replaced the two-blade prop with a feathering three-bladed version. Her 20hp diesel has suffered from the congenital illness of all such Bukhs – a fractured manifold elbow – so Andrew made up his own for £20 in stainless steel. He has added shore power, too, a welcome necessity in a boat with no heater.
She carries a 35 lb CQR in the anchor locker abaft the stainless steel single bow roller, yet there is still room for the chain and warp, and a spare gas bottle.
Her saloon seating has been fitted out hard against the inside of the hull, which has successfully increased the cabin sole area giving a pleasant, roomy and comfortable feel to the cabin. The downside of this is that such open-plan thinking comes at the expense of stowage, which is minimal on the Sadler 29.
Would she suit you and your crew?
She has six berths but Andrew primarily sails her just with his wife, Becky. ‘I’m probably not going to do any more than a week or two aboard,’ he says. Nevertheless, Aidos is fitted with a transom-hung bathing ladder, which is a great feature for kids.
Although both Andrew and I concur over the arrangement of the galley, Becky clearly does not. ‘She doesn’t like bending down to get at the sink while washing up, so she does it in a bowl on the bridgedeck,’ explains Andrew. ‘But boats aren’t shaped to be kitchens,’ he adds. However, Becky’s point is valid. If the cook were to wash up in the galley, their face will end up pressed against the lining because the sink is so far under the bridgedeck.
The navigation area, however, although also a bit of a tight squeeze, is actually very adequate, with a comfortable seat on the front end of the quarter berth.
Following the Fastnet storm of 1979 in which 15 yachtsmen were drowned, the Sadler 29 was fitted with a harness strongpoint in the cockpit, which was a welcome additional feature. The hatchboards, however, do not have any means of being locked into place should the boat ever invert.