Friday, February 2, 2018


This year in Dusseldorf one of the strongest points of interest were small fast trailerable cruiser-racers showing the vitality of the market on that segment. In fact it makes all the sense: if you are not close to the retiring days what sense would it make to buy an expensive big cruiser and to pay a lot for the marina, insurance and maintenance, if you have only a month holiday plus some weekends?

I bought a new 36ft boat while still working full time but if I knew what I know now probably I would have opted to buy a new fast small trailerable coastal cruiser for weekend fun, doing charter each year for a month on the Med or Baltic only buying a bigger cruiser when near retiring time. It would have been cheaper and would have allowed me to sail during my holiday month in better and more enjoyable cruising grounds.

The truth is that at that time this type of trailerable boats were not on the market. Trailer boats were not fast boats and had little in common with boats like the Reacher 780 or the Seascape 27, kind of seaworthy very fast small cruiser-racers  that are well suited for weekend cruising or even week cruising on a kind of camping style.  Boats that you can't look at without  feeling the will to go out sailing.
As you can see on this comparative chart  there are lots of fast interesting sailboats on this "new" camping cruising-racing trailerable category and among them the Reacher 780 and the Seascape 27 are the ones with a bigger stability (the B/D on the Life 7.5 is wrong it is 39% and not 47%). The Life 7.5 even if a beautiful great little boat is more of a luxury fast daysailer, more expensive and having less interior space.

The Reacher 780 and the Seascape 27 are category B4 (offshore) and the Reacher 780 has enough stability to be approved category A2 with some small modifications, like making the entry smaller to allow for a bigger downflooding angle. The AVS is around 138º, the inverted stability very small and at 90º heel the boat is generating significantly more RM than at 30º.

Note that all these trailerable boats are not very beamy and probably if they were not limited in beam (due to the limitations imposed by road code) they would have more. Just for comparison the Django 7.70, that is one of the smallest category A2 sailboats, has 2.99 m beam while the Reacher  and the Seascape have 2.54m. That's for compensating the smaller hull form stability that the Reacher and the Seascape have such an unusually  big B/D ( 46% and 44%). The Django 7.70 has only 34%.B/D.

But the smaller beam, even if it makes them less easier boats to control downwind (than the Django), coupled with the big B/D gives them a great performance reaching and upwind, overall probably faster than the Django one, on all points of sail, specially upwind. Off course the Django big disadvantage  is that it is not trailerable (due to excessive beam for the road) even if it has a true cruising interior (and not a camping one). 

Between the Seascape and the Reacher the biggest differences reside on the type of keel, a swing one versus a lifting torpedo, on the length, being the Seascape slightly longer (19cm), on the draft, the Seascape having more (1.95 to 1.8m), on the weight, being the Reacher lighter (1150 to 1380kg), on the freeboard and interior space, more interior space on the Reacher, less windage and more elegance on the Seascape.

The sail performance of the two boats should be  very similar since they have exactly the same SA/D upwind and downwind, a huge one supported by the big stability (35 and 78). We can see on the movie the little Reacher going faster than the huge Jeanneau 64. That is the kind of performance that these boats can deliver, one that will put a big smile on the skipper's face and will annoy sailors on bigger boats, that will be unable to match the performance.
The performance in light winds is good but the boat really shines over 8kt wind reaching and broad reaching over 14kt. With 8kt wind the boat can make 7.4kt, with 12kt wind 9.1kt speed, with 16kt wind 11.4 speed!! and with 20kt wind 14.1kt speed!!!

Regarding cruising this boat offers a really BIG interior for the size, due to the big freeboard and a smart interior division that allows the use of a chemical head with some privacy (using a removable screen). The interior has much more volume than the one of the Seascape and also more useful space, namely a huge back cabin. Like on the Seascape, as an option, they have studied all the equipment that will allow to live on the boat for a few days with camping comfort.

This is a great boat regarding the program it was designed to: "A fast, versatile and trailerable racer-cruiser equally suited for full-on racing one weekend, and taking your family for a cruise on the next one. Fast, fun and simple sailing".... and cruising. The designer, Andrej Justin managed to put together a boat that conciliates opposing design criteria (racing and cruising) with remarkable success. Even if the big freeboard is noticeable the design looks nice viewed from most angles.

The Reacher has a high quality build employing vinylester resins on a sandwich hull using a vacuum infusion process. The boat structure and all the "furniture" is built outside on a single piece and then bonded and laminated to the hull. The keel lifting structure is carbon made and part of the boat structure. The keel is made of steel with a lead antimony torpedo. The lifting of the keel is made manually with a cabin winch and there is an integrated system that reduces by 4 the needed force regarding the ballast weight (525kg).

The first boats were built in Croatia but to keep the prices down the next ones will be made in Hungary. The price is a very reasonable one, about 25% smaller than the one of Seascape 27. The basic boat costs about 47 000 euros, tax not included.


  1. Hello Paulo,

    again a great article on the most exciting area, the small cruisers. In the table, the Bente 24 is missing a few values ​​and since I have one myself (and am excited), here are a few additional values. Unfortunately, I do not know the weight of the keel exactly.

    The Bente 24 is available with Lifing Keel 0.8 to 1.45 m draft or 1.8 m draft with fixed keel. The Gennacker has 42 or 55 square meters. The Bente is very beamy and in my opinion, very stable.

    Best regards from Frankfurt

  2. Hi,

    The Bente 24 is a great boat too. The biggest difference is that the Reacher 780 is trailerable on the road (without a special permit) while the Bente 42 exceed the allowed dimensions for normal trailers.

    That allows the Bente to have a substantially bigger beam (2.75m to 2.54m) and that gives it a lot more hull forma stability. The Bente has also a lot of ballast. I have heard that the Standard version, with 1.45m draft, has about 600kg for 1400kg displacement.

    That gives a 42.8% B/D, but of course even if the keels are similar (torpedo lead keel) the draft is different on the standard versions (1.45 to 1.80m) Of course for having a similar stability the Bente 24 needs less ballast since it has considerably more beam.

    Regarding price the Bente 24 seems a lot less expensive, and it is, for a basic version, costing 27 500 euro (no VAT) but to have a more similar boat to the Reacher you would have to add: 10 000 for the light weight hull, 5200 for a lifting keel, 2000 for a bigger mast, 2800 for the bowsprit and some more to have identical sail hardware. In the end for comparable versions the prices are very similar and the Reacher is 23cm longer.

  3. Hi Paulo,

    It would have been good to see the Luka30 in the comparison table as well. Last season I had the chance watching her racing in several regattas on lake Balaton, and she is a beast. Also a Justin design.

    Thanks for your valuable blog-work!

    1. Yes that is a very interesting sailboat but not on the same league as the Reacher or the Seascape that have a mixed program. Even if the L30 can be used for cruising it is much more of a racer.

      I saw the boat in Dusseldorf. Very interesting. Maybe I will make a post about it. Not much time and lots of boats.

      This is taking me too much time with very little compensation, we will see.



  4. Dos some budy has a ORC measuring certificate for recher780? It could defend the rating?