Sadler 26 Yacht

The Sadler 26 has one of the most remarkable pedigrees of any yacht of her size. In the 1960s, David Sadler designed the Contessa 26 as the modern version of the Scandinavian Folkboat.

Following the success of the popular Contessa, David Sadler designed the Sadler 25 in the mid 70s and both these boats are now widely regarded as two of the all time classics.

The Sadler 25 proved that the traditional virtues of its predecessors could be retained whilst providing a good deal more performance and accommodation in a boat of a similar overall length.

The Sadler 25 distinguished herself in AZAB and OSTAR events, finishing in the top half of the 1980 OSTAR fleet, despite being the smallest boat in the race!

The Sadler 26 represents the ultimate step in this process of evolution. Since her launch in 1981, she has proven her ability to deliver her crew quickly, safely and comfortably to wherever they may choose to sail her and to withstand full gales offshore. The Sadler 26 is no overgrown dinghy, as are so many yachts of her size. This is a proper yacht, with a high ballast ratio for stiffness and upwind power, an efficient, easily handled rig and a roomy, deep cockpit with high coamings.

She is not designed around an aft cabin, which so many modern designers try to accommodate in a yacht of this size and which so often results in an overly broad-sterned yacht which will not handle properly in rough weather. Instead, there is a comfortable quarter berth, ideal as a sea berth, a cockpit that the crew sits in, rather than on, and a cavernous cockpit locker for all the gear a yacht needs to carry.

Below decks the layout is surprisingly roomy, providing berths for up to six, a separate heads compartment, spacious forecabin and fully fitted galley The main saloon, with the dinette to port converting to a large single cosy double berth, occupies the beamiest part of the boat and is outstanding for a yacht of this size.

The galley, right by the companionway, boasts a cooker, complete with grill and oven, large cool box and plenty of stowage.

The smooth and efficient hull shape, combined with a well proportioned rig, produces a superbly balanced boat. With a finger-light helm, there is none of the unnerving tendency of so many modern designs to round up head-to-wind in every gust. The Sadler 26 is exceptionally easy to sail single handed – an important consideration for both coastal family sailing and long distance passage-making. The transom-mounted rudder gives her superb manoeuvrability under sail and power, while the full length skeg affords additional protection to the rudder and enhances her directional stability. The Sadler 26 is available with fin or twin keels and while the fin keel might be favoured by the more competitive-minded owner, twin keel versions have shown a clean pair of heels to many a racing fleet and have embarrassed many larger and racier craft.

Round Britain or Round the World

Sadlers of all sizes tend to go places and the 26 is no exception. “Sadler Girl”, sailed by Christine Bryan and Sally Harrison, was one of the smallest finishers in the arduous 1985 Round Britain Race, in which 22 yachts failed to complete the course.

A single-handed passage from the UK to Venezuela and back was made in a bilge keel 26 and in 1990 David Folbigg set off on a single-handed circumnavigation.

Far though she can travel, and spirited can she be, when given her head, the Sadler 26 is the perfect choice for yachtsmen who want their sailing to be simple and undemanding. Her perfect manners, total lack of ‘nervousness’ and superb sea-keeping qualities make the Sadler 26 stand out as the ultimate performance cruising yacht in her class.


The Sadler 26’s two-module construction and built-in foam buoyancy make her one of the very few unsinkable cruising yachts every designed . . . a reassuring thought, particularly if you sail with a family crew.

In a test carried out with independent yachting journalists all the seacocks were opened.

With the water lapping the berth-tops, equilibrium was reached but she still floated perfectly with a crew of three in the cockpit.

Her seacocks open, the Sadler 26 begins to fill.

Later, when the water has stopped coming in, she is still floating and her crew are safe and dry in the cockpit and able to sail her back to harbour.

Principal Dimensions
L.O.A. 25′ 9 “ 7.85m
L.W.L. 20′ 6″ 6.24m
Beam 9′ 5″ 2.74m
Draft (fin keel) 4′ 8″ 1.42m
(shallow fin) 3′ 10″ 1.16m
(bilge keels) 3′ 6″ 1.07m
Sail Area 374 sq ft 34.74 sqm
Displacement 4,800 lb 2,177 kg
Ballast 2,000 lb 907 kg
Fuel 10 gals 45 litres
Water 10 gals 45 litres
Sail Areas
Mainsail 132 sq ft 12.30 sq m
No. 1 Genoa 242 sq ft 22.48 sq m
Spinnaker 548 sq ft 50.90 sq m
Cruising Chute 312 sq ft 28.90 sq m
Rig Measurements
I 31.00 ft 9.45 m
J 10.40 ft 3.17 m
P 26.31 ft 8.02 m
E 8.50 ft 2.59 m