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We are reporting a successful past 12 months or so, but would like to see more Sadlers and Starlights on our website.

We have sold most of our listed boats and there are a few new boats pending, but we are now keen to reconnect with our previous history of primarily selling Sadlers and Starlights.

To date we have sold just over 100 Starlights and nearly 500 Sadlers, so we certainly know our boats!

If you are currently thinking of selling, why not call Mike to discuss our attractive terms and specialist knowledge,  Mike has all the experience needed after some 30 years of maintaining and selling these boats and he is in a unique position to amplify your own detail for the benefit of finding the best buyers.

Interestingly, we do have another non-Sadler just come onto our books being a Halberg Rassy26 – a quite beautiful small yacht built in 1979 with a modern7/8 rig and an interior which has  ample storage space and many endearing features –  all at an attractive asking price – £12,900

For first impressions refer to our brief Sales Spec, shortly to be online, but you will need to be  quick before she goes!

call Mike on 07717 885435

Tandem Keels

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Posted 2 December 2021

We have recently been involved in selling an Etap 21i with an interesting tandem keel – attached pic shows the idea and provides for a remarkably low draft at only 0.7 m.

This concept was developed by designer Warwick Collins during the early 80’s and proved to be of interest to several British yacht builders at the time with the Sigma 362, the Sadler 34 and others doing trials and building a number of yachts with this keel fitted – during my own time as it happens!

Original tests were carried out on the 25’ “Flying Boat“ and then the 30’ “Fighter “, when we completed successfully in the Isle of White race, with Richard Bagnall on board (an ace Solent skipper), who was impressed with her outstanding performance against larger yachts.

We understand that Etap fitted a tandem design of keel to many of their smaller yachts with considerable success.




Sadler and Starlight Yachts – Design philosophy

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Posted 2 December 2021

The Sadler name has long been associated with fast, safe and seaworthy cruising yachts, which can also show a clean pair of heels to much racier craft. All Sadlers were designed with passage making very much in mind, so the boats are easy to manage short-handed. It is true to say that many Sadlers, from the original Sadler 25 up to the Barracuda, have competed successfully in events such as the AZAB, Round Britain race, trans-Atlantic single, two-handed races, Yachting Monthly Triangle race and other long distance short-handed events.

Performance is a factor, which must not be under estimated. A cruising yacht should be fast – why spend twelve days out at sea if you can spend nine? The ability to beat off a lee shore in a gale, reach a critical point before the tide turns or avoid the path of a depression are important considerations for cruising yachtsmen. After all, one can easily slow down a fast yacht, but to speed up a slow one is a good deal more difficult. Being fast need not mean being uncomfortable or sacrificing ultimate safety.

Sadlers and Starlights, unlike many modern yachts, are moderately proportioned, modest in the beam and of medium displacement. Apart from safety and performance considerations this helps to ensure that styling and appearance does not become outdated overnight, and earlier examples of Sadler designs are still much in demand on the second-hand market.

With virtually all sail handling controllable from the cockpit, wide uncluttered decks and carefully positioned deck fittings, even the largest Sadler/Starlight can be easily managed in the toughest of conditions by a small crew.

Cockpits are deep and well protected with high coamings – we do not believe in sacrificing comfort or safety of the cockpit, or stowage space in the all important cockpit lockers, for the last little bit of volume in the aft cabin.

Sadlers and Starlights have been designed and built by people who understand sailing. The fittings both above and below deck and the systems – electrical and plumbing – were all carefully designed and chosen to ensure optimum performance over many years of hard use. Sadler also believed an owner should feel proud of the quality of finish of his yacht, hence the moulding and interior woodwork have been given the attention they deserve. The greatest strength of a Sadler and Starlight yacht however, is in an area that cannot be readily seen. The unique interior moulding, foam filled construction makes for an incredibly strong hull and the high quality mouldings ensure attractive external appearance.

These boats have to be sailed to be appreciated; they epitomise the very best in quality performance cruising yachts. The combination of speed and comfort combined with a quality of build and attention to detail are second-to-none, which places Sadlers and Starlights in a class of their own.


Smarten up your topsides!

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Posted 2 December 2021

  1. Introduction
    The majority of cruising yachts receive inadequate attention to topsides and as the years pass by, there are several phases of breakdown in condition and appearance.
    The first phase is loss of shine and gloss with progressive fading. This takes place through natural wear and tear and a degree of UV degradation. Inevitably, there are minor scuffs from fenders, the occasional scratch and a number of chips from hard edges, such as at the stem and transom.
    As the surface becomes progressively worse, so impurities in the water penetrate the gelcoat. This happens particularly where the water is used by commercial traffic or has effluent of various types. This results in a staining around the water line, which progressively leads up the topsides and is often worse at the bow.  The original styling stripe or cavita line has almost certainly suffered damage from fenders or other abrasion and may even have had a replacement line fitted, which is neither level nor straight!
    This article covers the various steps that you can take to improve topsides appearance without recourse to boatyard fees. All the work can be done by the average boat owner, having a degree of enthusiasm and energy for grappling with this winter task.
  2. Preparation of topsides
    The first step is to thoroughly wash the topsides with fresh water and a mild detergent. This is ideally done by the yard when the boat comes out of the water, since they generally have pressure wash facilities.
    The next step is to clean the topsides with a proprietary brand of GRP cleaner.  Either do this by hand, or better still with a mechanical circular-motion buffer. There are a number of boat cleaning compounds on the market and I recommend one with a mild abrasive. Having cleaned off the topsides, the remaining stains will be more evident and these should be tackled, initially using a mild process and getting increasingly severe with the surface, until the problems have been resolved. It is advisable to work at two or three feet at a time, so that you can judge the effect of your efforts.
    The first step in dealing with stains is to use acetone, which is very effective and will take out stains which have not penetrated into the gelcoat. Please note that acetone is harmful to the skin and rubber gloves should be worn when using it. In the absence of acetone being available, then try Jif or some other domestic cleaning compound.
    The remaining stains that are difficult to remove, will be because they have penetrated the gelcoat. The thickness of gelcoat is between 20 and 28 thousandths of an inch (0.5 to 0.7 mm), which does provide considerable scope for taking the top surface off the gelcoat. This will certainly be necessary when staining has occurred around the water line and at the bow. For this purpose, use a heavier grade cutting paste, or alternatively use a fine grade wet or dry paper (say 2000 grit or finer) and use this with plenty of water. We use Farécla products for cutting pastes and polishing.
    All but the worst stains will be removed using the above process and if necessary, you should take a coarser grit glass paper and penetrate the gelcoat further. In this case however, I would suggest consulting a surveyor or GRP repair specialist, who will take measurements of gelcoat thickness and advise you how far to go.
  3. Dealing with the boottop
    Presuming you are happy with the position of the boottop in relation to the water line and the width of the boottop stripe, then give it a good rubbing down to prepare for new paint. Because the boottop merges into the gelcoat, you need to be careful not to scratch the gelcoat surface with the wet or dry paper. A precaution in this respect would be to apply masking tape over the gelcoat and then you can rub down the boottop paint with rather more effectiveness at the edges.
    Should the boottop require adjustment, now is the time to measure this up on the boat and apply masking tape to provide the limits of the new lines.
    Boottop paint is supplied by International or Hempels and is in effect, a hard scrubbable antifouling.
  4. Gelcoat repairs
    These repairs fall into the category of either star cracks or stress cracks, or alternatively, chips out of the gelcoat. The solution here is to subcontract this work to the local yard. In fact, instructions for doing gelcoat repairs would occupy a whole article and therefore details are not included here. Should you wish to do this work yourself, then acquire directions from a local tradesman or a GRP material supplier.
  5. Attending to cavita line
    This is likely to have suffered some damage around maximum beam position as a result of fenders rubbing, coming alongside and so on. Providing the damaged area does not exceed say 2m on each side, then it is a reasonable decision to do a repair. However, if the damage extends further than this and a degree of fading has taken place, then it is worth considering removing the whole cavita line on both sides and replace with new. In practice, a certain amount of fading may well have taken place and it will be difficult to match old with new and maintain a reasonable colour match.
    In this report, I will tackle the job of replacing a section of cavita tape and secondly replacing the tape along the whole length of the boat and the end logos.                                                                                                                  Repair cavita line. Having cleaned off the hull and recovered the colour and gloss of the gelcoat, the next job is to remove the damaged cavita line. This is quite simple to do and the only equipment required is a hot air blower (or hair dryer) and a ‘soft’ straight edge, preferably made in plastic. This is so as not to damage the gelcoat surface.
    Begin at one end of the damaged cavita line and carefully warm it up over a length of about 20 cms and you will find you can peel off the old cavita line. Should you apply too much heat, the film will soften and be difficult to peel, too little heat and you will not be able to get it off. With a bit of practice, you will find how much heat to apply and be able to peel off the cavita tape in long strips. As you get going, you will find that by keeping pressure on the piece you have lifted and maintaining the heat just ahead of where it is stuck on, you can progressively move along the length of the cavita line.
    Having removed all the damaged vinyl tape, clean up the ends with a sharp blade such as a ‘Stanley’ knife. Be careful not to penetrate the gelcoat. The next step is to clean the surface underneath the old tape with methylated spirits, so as to provide a clinically clean surface for the new tape to adhere to.
    Now lay on masking tape to bridge the gap that has to be covered with the new tape. The upper edge of the masking tape provides a guide for the lower edge of the new cavita tape.
    Next prepare a length of cavita tape, slightly longer than you require. Then put a mixture of water with a small amount of Fairy Liquid, in a small container like a rose spray.  Thoroughly wet the surface onto which the cavita tape is to be laid.  Now as you remove the backing tape, gently position the new cavita tape in the space it has to fill, ‘floating’ it down on to the masking tape. Next press it into position using an applicator (like a plastic spatula) and cut off both ends slightly over length. Settle the tape into position, and begin to ‘stroke’ out all the air bubbles using the applicator. The joint at each end should be an overlap joint of about 10mm. Do not attempt a butt joint!
    Once the tape is properly in position, remove the top plastic coating which has hitherto maintained the upper and lower band at the correct distance apart. Now finally stroke out any further bubbles. Really obstinate ones can be removed by pricking the bubble with a needle and allowing the air to escape.
    The above procedure sounds more complicated than it is. With a little patient practice, you will become quite expert.  It is helpful if weather conditions are moderately warm with preferably no wind!                      Replacing complete cavita line. Adopt the same procedure as for a repair, in that all the old tape must be removed including logos and be fully cleaned with methylated spirits. Then set up the required line with masking tape. Next prepare the new tape, determine where it is going to start at the bow (or stern), fully wet with spray and steadily work along the whole length of the boat, unrolling the tape as you go. Follow the same procedure as for repair work. Fitting the logo end pieces is relatively straight forward and these should likewise be settled down onto carefully positioned masking tape. You may wish to trim the aft end of the stern logo to match up with the angle of the transom.
  6. Final wax polish
    Having dealt with the cavita line and logos if required, the final step is to give the hull a complete wax polish and buff with a polishing mop. There are several proprietary brands of wax polish available and I would use the same make as you used for the initial cleaning compound.
  7. Conclusions
    Attending to the various jobs as described in this article, will produce a dramatic change to the boat out of all proportion to the time, effort and expenditure involved.
    Should you require any of the Sadler cavita tape (red/blue up to 1988 and grey/blue thereafter) or Starlight tape (grey/blue to 1994 and dark blue/gold thereafter), I have now been able to secure a supply at attractive prices. It is also possible to obtain replacement fore and aft logos incorporating the SY emblem.

Whether your intention is to smarten up the boat to sell her, or to keep her for the next few years, the job is well worth doing.

Best of luck and good sailing next season!
Mike Lucas

CAUTIONARY TALE No. 2 – By Mike Lucas

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Reposted by request  11 November 2021

Article from Sadler Owner’s Magazine, January 2001


There is a tendency for most owners to assume that self-draining cockpits will look after

themselves, because operation is automatic. The reality is that any malfunction of the drains does

severely endanger the safety of the craft. This will arise either through a drain blockage or the hose

detaching from the spigot or seacock.

Take care during the winter (when the boat is ashore) that leaves do not fill the cockpit and block

the drain hose. We have learned only this month of a Sadler 29 which experienced this problem.

The water flowed into the cockpit stowage trough, through into the engine bilge and then

overflowed into the cabin, where it proceeded to fill up the boat to the level of the sole boards.

Each of the Sadler and Starlight models has a different cockpit layout and I now make a few

comments for each boat.


Both the 39 and 35 drain in a similar manner, from spigots glassed in to the drains at aft end of

cockpit, proceeding downwards to skin fittings fitted to the underside of the quarter of the boat.

Clearly these fittings are above the water line at rest, but underway they will be underwater. The

outlet spigots are joined with good quality reinforced hose which after ten years is still likely to be

in reasonable condition. However, do check the jubilee clips (which should be two at the top and

two at the bottom) for security. After ten years there is probably a case for replacing the hose since

it will by now have aged and hardened. When replacing, do take the opportunity to route the hose

so that it is clear of gear and equipment stowed in the lazarette lockers.

Sadler 34

These are done in a similar manner to the Starlight, but upto 1989 the hose fitted by Sadler Yachts

was not reinforced. The hose certainly needs replacing with reinforced or ribbed hose and at the

same time, check jubilee clip fastenings. Also check that lazarette contents do not apply pressure

on the vulnerable hose and hence the fastenings.

Sadler 32

Access to the self-drainers can be obtained by lifting the cockpit floor and the stowage trough out of

position. In the case of the 32 the cockpit drains go outwards to seacocks fitted in the sail locker

(port side) and under the quarter berth (starboard side). These seacocks must be serviced annually

with the other seacocks and hull openings in the boat, but in practice I find they are rarely

examined. As previously, replace the old hose and double clip all joints.

Sadler 29

Like the 32 the self-drain hose can be accessed through the cockpit sole lid and by lifting the

stowage trough. However the drain hose with the 29 goes aft and out through transom skin fittings.

Because these are difficult to get at (particularly the transom fittings) it is vital to service these

components when ashore for the winter.

Sadler 26

This is an almost impossible situation in that you need to be extremely small and agile to get

access to where the hose is attached to the cockpit spigots and then to the skin fittings through the

transom. The problem with the 26 is that there is no removable cockpit sole panel.

Access to the starboard side is just about possible by climbing into the sail locker and working

headfirst through to the transom. There is no doubt that the hose will then need replacing and

securely fixing with double jubilee clips. The port side is impossible to access and I suggest that

you crawl down into the far end of the quarter berth and cut out a suitable rectangular aperture to

enable access to the spigot and skin fitting to be obtained. Having cut the panel out, tidy up the

saw cuts and make up a teak frame to go around the removable panel which can then be screwed

into position with self tappers.

Sadler 25

The self-drainers are situated similar to the 26. However access is much easier through the lifting

aft locker lid, where the necessary work can be done.

Regular maintenance

I recommend that a check be carried out on the self-drain hoses every winter, because any

malfunction when afloat would be difficult to rectify. Should any owners have a further contribution

to make on this matter then why not post it on the Discussion Forum?


Cautionary Tale No.3 to follow soon….




Hunter Sonata 7 – A bargain buy!

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Posted 4 November 2021

Hunter Sonata 7

Andante has been equipped and maintained regardless of cost by the present owner, who has fastidiously cared for this Sonata 7 and brought her up to a remarkably impressive condition.
During the past five years of enhancement and upgrading, total expenditure has been very considerable:-
• Rig – complete rig renewal, new self-tail winches, high efficiency luff-track by Tides Marine and much more.
• Sails – new mainsail and genoa by Dart Sails, plus new covers.
• Electronics/electrics – complete system replacement and rewire; also Raymarine Seatalk NG integrated system, i70 wind and multi-function displays, iCom VHF with transceiver and GPS tri-data transducer.
• Epoxy/GRP – copper-coat, renew deck paint.
General presentation and quality of new installations contribute to impressive condition.
Vendor is now proceeding with his next yacht, hence the first serious buyer at this attractive low price £5,900 will secure this superb Sonata 7 – call Mike on 07717 885435.

Hunter Sonata 7 – Click here

Improving your Reefing System

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Posted 4 November 2021

Mike asks our readers…..
Is your reefing system efficient and easily handled for when the going gets tough? Do you wait for too long before taking in a reef and then struggle later?

My notes of early 2000s introduced a number of ideas for Sadler yachts to upgrade the deck layout and also to advise how owners could make a number of worthwhile changes themselves.

Read on….

Improving your Reefing System

 1. Historical development – in the middle 70’s when the 25 was first developed, production boat builders were still reefing the mainsail by rotating the boom. This was the same principle as the Wickham Martin gears, although those developed in the middle 70’s had a direct system of rotation of the boom, using a long stowable handle (about 12″ length). The system was fitted on a number of 25s, having been standard practice on the Contessa 32, and many of the early Sadler 32s.
Convenient though the above system was in terms of ease of handling, it produced a mainsail shape which became more full as it was reefed, being precisely the converse of what is trying to be achieved.
In the late 70’s, the move towards “slab reefing” became fairly universal, with the reefing winch mounted at the mast (just below the boom) at an appropriate angle. Stoppers were arranged at the forward end of the boom, thus enabling each clew pendant to be secured once the reefing had been completed. The tack cringle was pulled down onto horns, one situated either side of the boom.
This arrangement was entirely seamanlike, in that the halyards were also at the mast.
During the 80’s, the boat builders decided in their wisdom to mount the halyard winches on the coach roof so that various other tasks could be performed using clutches which were then becoming available. This produced a system which was more convenient for halyards in that they could be controlled from the safety and comfort of the cockpit, but the clew pendants and the hooks for the tack pendants had still to be attended to at the mast. This was of course unsatisfactory because it either needed two people to put a reef in, or alternatively, one had got several trips forward and aft to get the reef finally secured. This arrangement was generally supplied on Sadler yachts right up to 1988.
By this time, the case for bringing the clew pendants aft was recognised and as an optional extra, control lines for the tack pendants were also supplied and brought aft. This then became the ideal system providing that the kicking strap and topping lift came aft as well.
The Starlight 39 was developed with the ideal solution, having all control lines leading aft (7 per side) into a battery of clutches (7 per side). Generally, a pair of self-tailing winches were supplied for the coachroof, which meant the total sail control operation could be handled from the safety of the cockpit.
The purpose of this article is to consider the necessary arrangements to update the reefing arrangements and bring them into line with the Starlight solution.

2. Deck work – dependent upon the extent to which an efficient system is to be developed, the controls will require an arrangement of lead blocks at the mast foot, which needs to take into account the various configurations of sheave boxes mounted into the heel of the mast. It also requires deck organisers to be mounted in the appropriate position on the coachroof (requiring minor headlining mods on the older Sadler boats).
The fitting of clutches and appropriate winch arrangement is relatively straight forward on all Sadlers since large aluminium plates are fitted during construction of the boat, which can be tapped into for securing the deck hardware. You will be able to detect the precise location of the aluminium plates by using a hand-held metal detector (available B&Q, Do It All for under £10).

3. Reefing lines – most of the older Sadlers seem to have the halyards running aft to coachroof winches with appropriate clutches. The next step is to figure out how many additional clutches are needed which will probably be two for tack pendants, two for clew pendants, one for topping lift, one for kicking strap, maybe second genoa halyard and also spinnaker boom lift and fore-guy.
Having decided how many lines will come aft, select a suitable clutch from the wide array that is available and these can be attached to the coachroof by drilling through and tapping into the aluminium plates.
Existing deck organisers are probably each of three sheaves. You will need to “double bank” another pair of identical organisers on the top of the existing ones. Now available through ourselves is an exact duplicate of this deck organiser which we have arranged to import from Denmark. This part of the job is quite simple in that you should undo and withdraw the securing bolts, get longer bolts or machine screws if necessary and set the new deck organisers on top. This will now provide you with a total of six each side and sufficient to deal with all the lines that will now come aft.
Arrange the appropriate number of single blocks around the heel of the mast to provide lead for various lines aft to the deck organisers. Available for holding these blocks are stainless steel deck eyes which again need to be bolted through the deck.

4. Reefing lines – providing you have a boom with internal reefing lines, these can be lead out from the forward end and down to the lead blocks on the deck. You can of course then dispense with the stainless steel horns at the forward end of the boom (hitherto used for tack cringles) and you won’t need to use the stoppers at the forward end of the boom either.

5. Single line reefing – this is now being fitted as standard by some of the boat builders, but is in my view of questionable merit. Should anything come adrift inside the boom, it is very difficult to resolve this and there is without a doubt more friction in the system.
My preference is for two-line reefing which is simple and certainly faster than single line reefing. My experience is that it takes nearly twice the time to take a reef in with single line reefing than it does with two-line reefing.

6. Summary – attention to the reefing system is certainly worthwhile. A fundamental requirement is to reduce friction and make the whole system efficient and fast to use. Providing the detail is thought through, it is quite reasonable to take in a reef within about two minutes from start to finish. With confidence and little effort involved, one’s inclination is then to put a reef in in good time and shake it out again when ready. The smaller the crew, the more important it is to get all this right.
In practice, the whole installation can be done quite easily by an owner with average practical ability. However, advice should be sought from a local rigger to get the system right, if in doubt.
Time and thought given to this most essential business of reefing, will make your sailing more enjoyable and certainly safer.

New local boats

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Posted 4 November 2021

We have been fortunate to be asked to deal with two superb small yachts in Torquay, being an Etap 21i and a Sonata 7 – both in exemplary condition and plenty of equipment.

There is already considerable interest in both these boats, being well-equipped yachts both with desirable qualities of responsiveness, balance, sail handling and providing the close proximity we all remember to waves – reminds me of the delight of sailing small boats, which many of us miss as we move up to larger cruising yachts!

Good sailing, Mike

Etap 21i – Click here

Sonata 7 – Click here

A New Development!

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Posted 29 September 2021

During the past 12 months or so we have become aware of Sadler and Starlight Yachts being offered for sale on multi-media sites, Apollo Duck and others, rather than through the usual Brokerage outlets.
This has presented a new opportunity for Buyers and many times we are approached by the Buyer to advise on yacht detail, available documentation, Survey findings and so on – for which we charge a small fee, depending on time involved.
A further development is that we are now increasingly involved in helping and advising for private sale between Seller and Buyer, then providing formal sale documents including Bill of Sale and other necessary formalities.
We are thus able to advise on Survey findings and Title documentation queries, as an effective intermediary.
Typically our fee for this is £400 to £500, cost split equally between Buyer and Vendor.
Our most recent involvement in this invaluable contribution has been with Moody yachts and Sigma of which we have a profound knowledge – resulting from my time with Marine Projects running Moody and Sigma yacht build.
We are certainly happy to discuss any variations on the above service – why not call Mike for a chat 07717 885435.

Heard Tosher 20 for sale

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Posted 16 September 2021


Supplied by Martin Heard of Gaffers and Luggers in 1996, Saunterer was built to a high specification by this specialist yard in Mylor, near Falmouth to the proven design specification based on the traditional Mevagissey Tosher, with the popular Volvo 2010 installed when new, providing up to 6.5 knots speed under power.
Saunterer was built as a 20′ dayboat and supplied new for the present owner, who has maintained her to a very high standard – always wintered ashore in a small barn on her custom-built trailer, which has never been in salt water.
Conventionally rigged as a gaff topsail cutter – all highly varnished Columbian pine spars and sails/rigging in exceptional condition.
All up weight at 3,500 kgm inc. trailer can be efficiently (and legally) towed by the popular Land Rover Discovery and Defender, also some Mitsubishi and Isuzu similar vehicles.
Owner is now retired and only selling for reasons of less time available, we consider Saunterer is probably the very best Tosher on the market and available at £11,900 or near offer.
Call Mike for more detail and his considered opinion, after nearly 40 years of enthusiastic gaffer ownership!
07717 885435.

Owner comments
A quarter-deck gaff cutter, with large cockpit area, built September 1994, by Martin Heard, Gaffers and Luggers, Tregatreath Boatyard, Mylor, Falmouth for myself, the present owner. The perfect family boat and yet, easily sailed single handed.
All in all, Saunterer is in exceptionally good condition. She was launched late in June of this year and is moored in the Milford Haven estuary in Pembrokeshire. She is now for sale because of a recent health problem and I am hopeful that she will be bought by someone who will value her, enjoy her and continue to give her plenty of tlc.

Click here for full Sales Specification plus all photos