Toby Hodges looks at the best daysailer yachts on the market, from ultra-modern cruisers to classically-styled masterpieces

Modern daysailers

1. Saffier Se 33 UD

Saffier Yachts now has eight designs between 21ft and 37ft. The investment and knowhow the Hennevanger brothers have put into the production facility really shows too – the vacuum-infused builds and finish quality are top class.

Saffier builds seaworthy designs, tests all new models thoroughly in the North Sea and ensures its yachts can be sailed easily single-handedly.


Launched in 2014, the Saffier Se 33 is a sporty design but with a practical self-draining cockpit and optional solid sprayhood, which help it handle most weather conditions. It has a fast underwater shape, a generous sailplan and a fixed carbon bowsprit. The extra-large cockpit features 2m benches and a folding transom and there is space enough for four to sleep below.

Saffier’s brand new Se 27 also looks like a seriously fun design and has been averaging speeds in the mid-teens with the kite up, clocking over 20 knots in its early trials this spring.

Prices for the Se 33 start at €114,500 (ex. VAT).

2. Domani S30

The S30, launched in 2018, is Belgian company Domani’s first model – a trailable sportsboat designed to be comfortable, fast and beautiful, says founder Michael Goddaert.

Inspired by Riva’s Aquarama motor boat, it has a large minimalist cockpit, spacious aft sunbed and a classy-looking compact interior. The narrow-beamed S30 weighs only 1,700kg, is offered with a long, two-part carbon rig, and has an electric drive as standard. A Lounge version is being developed which is similar to the Tofinou 9.7 in terms of deck layout.

Price ex. VAT: €88,000.

Article continues below…


3. Black Pepper Code 0.1

Those lucky enough to have sailed at Les Voiles de St Tropez may have seen these neo-classic daysailers from chic brand Black Pepper.

As well as this range of Code-branded daysailers/weekenders, the yard has just launched a new Sam Manuard-designed, scow-bowed IMOCA 60 for Armel Tripon’s Vendée Globe campaign.

The original Code 0, by Marc Lombard, is a high-performance dayboat with a distinctive squared coachroof, which is built light in carbon and epoxy with half its displacement in the keel bulb.

A new Code 0.1 version (pictured) launched last year, and is available in Open and Spirit (performance/regatta) versions.

Price ex. VAT: £148,000.


4. A-Yachts A27 / A33

A-Yachts founder. Michael Gilhofer helped to develop the original B30 (pictured below) and was distributor for B-Yachts in Germany for 17 years. He commissioned the in-demand Lorenzo Argento, who formerly worked with Luca Brenta, to design a new range of luxury daysailers built in Slovenia and finished in Austria.

The first two A-Yachts models (the A27 is pictured above) are focused on performance daysailing, whereas B-Yachts has gone for more cruising comfort below. An exciting new model, the A39, is due for launch in 2021.

Prices ex. VAT: A27 €98,500, A33 €215,000.


5. B-Yachts B30 / B34

The Brenta B30 is the iconic Italian daysailer. A real looker to keep berthed at your Portofino residence, it has a lightweight carbon/epoxy build and a high ballast ratio, for tantalising light airs sailing. B-Yachts is the brand that took the daysailing concept to the limit with the fiendishly indulgent (and very white) B60, which we tested, open-mouthed, back in 2008.

Although stagnant for some years, the company was acquired by Luca Brenta’s cousin Alberto Castiglioni in late 2018. Brenta, along with designer Alessia Lee, has worked up the design for a new B34 model due to launch this year, and they are now working on a B40.

The B30 (above) is now a modern classic, with more than 40 built, but the refreshed company has made some upgrades including a new rudder profile, fixed bowsprit, revised deck gear, a more functional interior and the option for an electric engine. But it’s still got those killer lines.

Prices ex. VAT: B30 €118,000, B34 €190,000.


6. Esse 330

This is the sixth model from Josef Schuchter’s yard on Lake Zurich, which builds fast, stiff and sporty designs. The new 330 is the first Esse that offers the ability for weekend/overnight sailing. Schuchter told us it is designed more for pleasure sailing than racing but has the same performance as the yard’s 990, using a 1m shorter mast and with greater stability and comfort.

Umberto Felci designed the 330 with a self-tacking jib, a carbon deck-stepped mast with no backstay and a high ballast ratio to help ensure it can easily be sailed short-handed. A lifting keel reduces draught to 1.55m and an electric drive is offered.

Price ex. VAT: €134,000.


7. Flax 27

A plumb stem and square coachroof give an alluring pilot classic style to this Judel/Vrolijk design, but it is the materials from which it is crafted that are most intriguing. Built by Bremen-based Greenboats, the flax (plant) or linen (fibre) is vacuum-infused with bio epoxy and can be given a clearcoat finish to help show off the fibres.

The focus is on weight-saving for this performance daysailer, using recycled PET as the core material. The deck is made from cork, the ropes are made entirely from recycled plastic bottles and the sails are recyclable.

Price ex. VAT, ready to sail: €126,000.

Modern-classic daysailers

best-daysailer-yachts-Eagle-388. Eagle 38

The Boersma brothers founded Leonardo Yachts in the northern part of the Netherlands to build top quality gentleman’s daysailers and weekenders.

Its range of gorgeous designs are inspired by the timeless lines and overhangs of the J Class, but with modern appendages.

The new Hoek-designed Eagle 38 is the smallest of a range that now extends to 70ft. It is devised for easy handling, with jib winches in reach of the helmsman/tiller, in a deep self-draining cockpit that can seat six in comfort.

The varnished mahogany interior can sleep three and includes cooking facilities and a neatly hidden toilet.

Price ex. VAT: €177,500.


9. Wally Nano MkII

Wally stunned us with the unveiling of its incomparable Nano in 2009. The Andre Hoek-designed masterpiece certainly elevated the standard of extravagance (and price) for a daysailer. This Wally Nano MkII model released eight years later is a refined version of the achingly cool design, which marries Italian styling with Dutch workmanship and ingenuity.

A pilot cutter-influenced plumb bow, bowsprit and low, squared coachroof set off a retro style, finished by an elegantly overhanging counter. These classic lines meet contemporary construction and attention to detail at Joop Doomernik’s traditional Dragon building yard. The top class composite work includes a keel grid built from 33 layers of carbon.
Believe me, the result on the water is a truly intoxicating ride, both upwind and down!

Price ex. VAT: €390,000.

10. Rustler 33

The Stephen Jones design has the elegant lines and overhangs of the Cornish yard’s earlier Rustler 24, but with a comfortable handmade interior that makes it enticing to overnight on too – there is a proper heads compartment including wet hanging area.

With the addition of stanchions, this becomes a Class B offshore yacht. It’s a stiff boat to sail with a deep, dry cockpit, in which it is comfortable to sit, perch on the chunky coaming or stand to handle the tiller.

Rustler says recent clients for the Rustler 33 are ordering them with carbon masts and electric engines.

Price ex. VAT: £165,000.


11. Morris 29

Fusing S&S lines with modern lightweight materials such as carbon and epoxy, the Morris 29 is a quintessential daysailer that’s easy to rig and maintain, a witch to sail and is as handsome as they come.

And there’s a deep, long cockpit and comfortable saloon below to keep any guests content while you hog the tiller. Now built by Hinckley and priced from US$266,500.


12. Alerion 28 / 33

Cleverly marketed as ‘the 90-minute’ getaway, the iconic Alerion daysailer fleet, from 20-33ft, is designed to get people afloat easily and with the most enjoyment possible. Above is the Alerion 33.

Often seen sporting optional Hoyt jib booms, the models are easy and a delight to sail and have inviting and well-finished interiors.

Rarely do beauty, speed and single-handed ease combine this fluidly and successfully. Prices are available on application only.


13. Friendship 36 / 40

The elegantly timeless look of the Friendship 40, its classic lines, including pronounced tumblehome and wineglass counter, are by Rhode Island’s Ted Fontaine. A Friendship’s deep cockpit and wonderfully inviting and well-appointed interior invite you to sail on through the weekend and beyond.

Fontaine says both the 36 and 40 are still available to order, but at top prices: “The Friendship 40 would be built by Yachting Developments in New Zealand where the moulds are presently stored,” (priced in the region of US $1,350,000).

“And the Friendship 36 is being offered as a cold-moulded wood epoxy built boat that would be built by Rockport Marine in Maine – the yard that built the first 36.”

First published in the June 2020 edition of Yachting World.