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Sailboats Under 21feet

EXPO Solar Sailer

The EXPO Solar Sailer was conceived by Hoyt (who has a long list of conceptions to his credit), designed by Hood (who needs no introduction) and built by TPI(at present, or one time or another, the builder of J Boats, Aldens, Jeanneau catamarans and Freedoms). Put Gary Hoyt, Ted Hood and Everett Pearson in a canoe and you have the marine industry's maximum tripartite brain power. The cerebral sparks from these three New England dynamos produced the EXPO Solar Sailer.

Norseboat 17.5

This versatile daysailer combines traditional aesthetics with contemporary construction. The downside? A proper jib would make for better tacking.

Tartan Ten

While we wouldn't consider the Tartan Ten to be one of the better-built racers, she doesn't have to be. Since she is primarily intended to race against her sisters, consistency between boats is perhaps more important than superior (and hence, more expensive) construction. The major construction criterion she must meet is to be sufficiently seaworthy to endure an occasional short offshore race. She meets this criterion, although, like too many production boats, she barely makes it.


The J/105 enjoys an immensely strong class association fueled by a group of owners who wouldn't sail any other way than fast and easily. Problems with the boat are few, and right out front.

Ultimate 20

In the late 80's, the Ultimate 20's landscape was littered with the remains of boatbuilding companies that couldn't cut to fit. The conventional wisdom was that starting a new company was guaranteed to convert a large fortune to a small one. In this period, Jeff Canepa conceived the idea of entering the fracas with a pint-sized company based in Santa Cruz, California, that would introduce yet another performance 21-footer.

S2 11.0

The biggest of the S2 series was offered in two layouts. The center-cockpit version is a bit ungainly looking, but offers a lot below, and like her sister is well-built.

Columbia 9.6

This late '70s coastal cruiser is somewhat plain but structurally sturdy.

Alerion Express Cat 19 and Marshall Sanderling 18

The new Alerion, by Garry Hoyt, is faster and more easily handled, but the elder Sanderling retains the catboat’s traditional appeal as well as a viable interior.

Rethinking Sailboat Structure

When it comes to describing a sailboats most valuable attribute, its surprising how varied opinions can be. Staying afloat should be our first priority, and although you seldom read or hear much about it at boat shows, the structural elements that hold a sailboat together are an all-important consideration.

Practical Sailor Reviews Seven Performance-Sailing Dinghies

With summer upon us, light, quick sailing dinghies that are easy to sail and easy to transport make summertime on the water a blast. Practical Sailor reviews some of the perennial favorites-the Optimist, Sunfish, Hobie, and Laser-and looks at how newcomers like Bic Sports Open Bic match up. Testers also review a do-it-yourself sailing dinghy kit, the Eastport Pram from Chesapeake Light Craft, and Hobies newest catamaran, the Bravo, a quick-to-launch beach cat with plenty of get-up-and-go. We also take a look at Laser Performances newest club trainer/racer for the wee sailors, the Bug.

The Ins and Outs of Aftermarket Bowsprits for Light-air Sails

A salty Kiwi named Ross Norgrove once said that the most important tool for the owner of a wooden yawl adorned with a bowsprit is a sharp ax. To some degree, his witty comment holds true for contemporary sailors contemplating a mini-bowsprit.