Sadler 32 Yacht

The Sadler 32 yacht evolved from the hugely successful Contessa 32, also designed by David Sadler. The Contessa 32 was a real classic of its time, with elegant lines, low profile and superb heavy weather performance. However, in 1979 David Sadler designed the Sadler 32 to deal with the shortcomings of the Contessa 32, being limited accommodation through low headroom and narrow beam, sluggish light weather performance and rolling downwind. The result was the Sadler 32, which embodied several innovative features and represented an important “milestone” in cruising yacht design:

  • An unusually straight sheer (untypical of contemporary yachts of the day), but commonplace nowadays.
  • Heavily cambered deck and coachroof moulding, which conveniently sheds water quickly and provides more horizontal surface on weather deck when heeled. More importantly, this provides the required headroom, whilst maintaining a sleek exterior appearance.
  • More beam and firmer bilge, giving more accommodation, improved stiffness and downwind stability.
  • Unusually trim stern with small transom. This was in part to benefit the rating for racing purposes, but also to give a smooth flow of water and thus tow a smaller quarter wave.

The 32 is a little short on headroom forward of the main bulkhead, but boats are a compromise. Excellent performance upwind and a delight to sail makes this small compromise well worth while.

About 300 Sadler 32s were built over a ten year period from 1979 to 1989. At this time Mike Slack bought the moulds from Sadler and built a further 12 to 14 Sadler 32s on the East Coast. Most of these were supplied as sets of mouldings, although the two or three boats finished by Mike Slack were well built. Current builder in small quantities is Andy Middleton of Poole (ex Sadler employee), who is also building the Sadler 25. Andy is in a position to supply spare parts and small mouldings and can build a completely new boat if required. For contact details, view useful Links on the Home Page.

The Sadler 32 was initially supplied with the Watermota 30hp Seapanther engine. This was a reliable, but rather large unit for the yacht, which was fitted with the Bukh 20 in about 1982. In due course, this was changed to the Volvo 2002 about 1986.

The Sadler 32 grew in the shadow of the Contessa 32 and did not achieve the wide acclaim it deserved in the early days. However, once established in the market place, the boat proved enormously popular and is one of the best cruiser/racers still available today. Nowadays, the Sadler 32 is a most reliable, easy to handle yacht which provides family sailing, or competitive racing as required. A well equipped 32 built in the middle to late 80s can be bought for about £35,000 and represents excellent value as a well built no-nonsense cruiser-racer.

Principal Dimensions
L.O.A. (excluding rudder) 31′ 6 “ 9.60m
L.W.L. 24′ 0″ 7.32m
Beam 10′ 6″ 3.20m
Draft (fin keel) 5′ 6″ 1.68m
(shallow fin) 4′ 6″ 1.37m
(bilge keel) 4′ 0″ 1.22m
Displacement 9,500 lb 4,320 kg
Ballast 4,200 lb 1,905 kg
Fuel 40 gals 182 litres
Water 58 gals 263 litres