Two Classics Join the Sailboat Hall of Fame

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Two Classics Join the Sailboat Hall of Fame

Postby Bob Hunkins » Wed Feb 26, 2003 11:19 pm

This is the text of an article from the March 2003 edition of Sailing World magazine:

Two very different boats entered the American Sailboat Hall of Fame in January, both designed by non-Americans with International-14 pedigrees. In collaboration with George O'Day in 1957, Englishman Uffa Fox created the Day Sailer, a 17-foot planing design built by O'Day in Fall River, Mass. Fourteen years later, Canadian engineer and boatbuilder Roger Hewson moved to Maine to build the Sabre 28, a compact, yacht-quality cruising boat.

The Hall of Fame was created by the trade organization Sail America in 1995 to recognize American builders who have produced boats that deserve lasting recognition.

The Sabre, built by Sabre Yachts, of South Casco, Me., had a production run of 588 hulls from '71 to '86 - exceptional for a premium priced cruiser/racer. More than 13,000 Day Sailers were launched, and the design has outlasted O'Day's company; a new one can still be bought from Cape Cod Shipbuilding, of Wareham, Mass.
When O'Day first discussed the Day Sailer with Fox, he provided 27 requirements-- not the least of which that it have a planing hull and also be dry and comfortable. In a letter, years later, O'Day wrote "The sail plan looked excellent, but I decided I wanted to put a cuddy on the boat, and Uffa threw up his hands at this one and refused." O'Day went ahead--even though the cuddy boosted the all-up weight to 575 pounds, delaying planing until the wind hits 18 knots-- and his instinct to provide added comfort and convenience made the boat a sensation. Hewson, an International 14 competitor of O'Day's also made a practical decision with his 28 footer. His earlier high-speed SabreScow design "had scared a lot of people," says Hewson. "I decided to research the ideal small boat to start a small boatbuilding business. I went to the 1969 boatshows and measured all the boats from 26 to 30 feet with a tape measure--bunks, seats, and so on--and developed a huge database." He also interviewed boat dealers before settling on his boat: "The smallest, full-sized ocean cruising yacht with full standing headroom that could be built on a quality vs. price basis." Going one step further, Hewson had his design tank tested, which helped him sell the boat once it was finished. In the final analysis, his quality building was probably as as important as his well-proportioned design. Used Sabre 28s still fetch a premium price.
-John Burnham
It's great to see that what we as Day Sailer owners have known has been confirmed by Sail America: The Day Sailer is a classic sailboat! Congratulations to all Day Sailers!

-Bob Hunkins
Day Sailer #11750 "Surprise" & #1759 "Endeavour"

P.S. I don't know about you, but I've planed my boat in far less than 18kts of wind!
Bob Hunkins
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Postby Guest » Fri Feb 28, 2003 10:17 am

fantastic. that's great news. about time they caught on to the daysailer.

chad (

Postby Guest » Fri Feb 28, 2003 8:40 pm

One correction, the Day Sailer is a bit more popular than Sailing World thinks! There have been over 15,000 built. Oh, and despite all the weight inside the cuddy, including a 50# battery just forward of the mast, SUNBIRD will plane on a reach or run in 15 knots of wind or so, 18 knots for sure!

Rod Johnson, "SUNBIRD" (

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