11th May 2021

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CAUTIONARY TALE No. 2 – By Mike Lucas
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….




4 May 2021

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CAUTIONARY TALE No. 1 – By Mike Lucas
Article from Sadler Owner’s Magazine, January 2001

Stern Glands – Pre-launch Preparation
There are a number of different types of shaft glands fitted to Sadlers and Starlights and some of
the later types do give cause for concern, if the right preparatory action is not taken prior to
First of all, let me say that the traditional style shaft gland with packing and provision for injection
of grease does not pose a problem and this is the way all the early Sadlers were done until about
1982. From about that time, Sadlers were fitted with a “no maintenance” type of shaft gland using
an oil reservoir and neither do these pose a threat at launching.
The problem arises with the Deep Sea Seal which holds back the water as a result of finely
machined and adjusted contact faces and also with the Volvo seal which uses a rubber boot with
integral neoprene rings. A fundamental requirement with both the last two types of seal described,
is to allow the water to dribble through the gland when first launching. If you look at the instruction
leaflet, you will find that with a Deep Sea Seal, you should ease the two surfaces apart until the
water dribbles through and then allow them to go back again through natural pressure of the
rubber boot. Once lubricated, the seal is satisfactory for the rest of the time the boat is afloat and
requires no maintenance at all. The same procedure should be applied to the Volvo seal, except this
is achieved by squeezing firmly the rubber boot, thus distorting slightly the neoprene ring seals and
allowing the water to dribble through. Once this job has been done, the seal is entirely maintenance
These maintenance-free seals were fitted to all Sadlers from about 1989 and most of the Starlight
35s. The Starlight 39 was fitted with a traditional stuffing box type of shaft gland, which requires
normal maintenance, but no necessity to allow the water to flow before launch.
We are bringing this to your notice because we have become aware of two local Sadlers with Deep
Sea Seals, which were launched by owners who were unaware of the correct procedure. The result
in both cases was for the rubber boot to disintegrate, thus allowing water to flow in, which if
undetected would have swamped the boat. Most owners are aware of the launch procedure, but do
check which seal you have and refer to the maintenance instructions.
Cutlass bearing useful tip
It is worth mentioning that the prop shaft should be drawn out periodically and cleaned up in the
area of the cutlass bearing. This section of the prop shaft contained within the cutlass bearing will
invariably have built up a “crust”, which accelerates wear in the cutlass bearing and also on the
shaft itself. Once the shaft is drawn out from the cutlass bearing, this can be thoroughly cleaned
and then re-assembled. This also gives the opportunity to check the coupling with its fastening
bolts, to clean off surplus rust and ideally paint over with a rust preventative paint, such as
Hammerite. We plan to write a technical article about cutlass bearings and ‘P’ brackets in due

CAUTIONARY TALE No.2 to follow soon…..
Self-Draining Cockpits – Check out the hose and fastenings



1 May 2021

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We will shortly be listing for sale a Starlight 39 that is being delivered, in June, to Dartmouth from Brittany. It is the popular wing key version and has been prepared for sale and is fitted with the reliable Volvo D255 engine and a recent rig and sails.
We are delighted to have this yacht in our portfolio as we continue to experience enthusiastic demand for this specification featuring the wing keel which gives ocean cruising capability at a competitive cost. Contact us for further information and to arrange an appointment to view.

30 April 2021

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The new owner of a Starlight 39 we have recently sold, being Rhumb from the East Coast, has asked us to strip the old teak decking plus cockpit seating and fit Flexiteek, which we are carrying out in Dartmouth.
Preparation work was more onerous than we expected, being a fully-glued deck by Bowman. Stripping the old teak was fairly easy, however removing the glue and grinding flat took a long time!
Deck and cockpit are now finished in ‘faded teak’ – see pics – we are certainly pleased with the finish and overall impressions are excellent.

7th April 2021

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This article is intended to summarise the perceived wisdom of riggers over many years and to

interpret the comments and findings of surveyors in looking at Sadler yachts in particular. The

views expressed are about the standing rig in general, followed by specific comments relating to

each type of Sadler/Starlight yacht.

Continue reading 7th April 2021

19 December 2018

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Our familiar range of Starlight and Sadler yachts do vary in terms of value and sale price and interesting choices arise which can provide for  “boating on a budget”, at competitive sale prices.

Starlight sale prices vary from as low as £40,000 and up to £100,000, depending on the usual variables of age, condition, level of  equipment and so on.
It is possible to purchase a Starlight at a low price, albeit with a work programme required by the new owner having relevant practical skills.

Continue reading 19 December 2018

6 December 2018

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Starlight and Sadler Sales

We have been encouraged by the quality and general condition of some of our more recent Starlight and Sadler yachts, in particular several excellent Starlight 35s and some well maintained Sadler 29s.
Recent sales have included the 35 Estrela, a fin keel 1998, slightly earlier Stardust of Hamble and Magic Touch, all of which built by Bowman and selling in the price bracket £70k to £75k – two of our more recent 39s have sold between £70k and £75k ,with one exceptional Bowman built 39 selling at £100,000.
Having now sold more than 100 Starlights, we are certainly in a position to advise on what can be achieved within your price bracket – if selling a Starlight then call us for a timely discussion on sale price prospects and we could already have a buyer for you!
Sadlers have been selling well, with four recent 29s moving through at around £18k to £21k, fin and bilge keels.
Interestingly, we maintain a list of buyers who express interest in a Starlight (with wing keel or fin) at various price levels and do the same with Sadlers, where interest will focus on specific choices of keel and various price options.
Trading up? – we are selling a Sadler 29 at present (based in Hayling Island) for the owner who has already purchased a Sadler 34 through our brokerage.

3 December 2018

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New arrival – J24 Julliette

Refurbished, rerigged and comprehensively equipped, Juliette is now for sale with Harken Unit 0 MKIV furler,  standing rig replaced 2012 and running rig professionally upgraded to Dyneema, with Spinlock deck gear, Tylaska spinnaker sheets and rig controls.
Sails are mainly North, all as new with No.1, No.3, mainsail and spinnaker.
Electronics include Tak-tik wind, ICOM vhf, speed and depth, plus unused Raymarine autopilot.
A customised four-wheel road trailer and 4hp  Mariner outboard complement an attractive J24 package at a competitive price.
Owner is selling so as to move on to next boat – now available at £7,900 in Torquay – call Mike for more information.


There are currently 5,480 J/24s sailing in 165 fleets in 110 countries, with large J/24 fleets existing in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, India and South Africa.

The J/24 Class and its builders have provided J/24s for women’s and men’s regattas for over 35 years.  On the merits of its sailing characteristics, worldwide distribution and capability to handle all kinds of sailing conditions, the J/24 continues to be a favorite among the sailors in many community sailing programs around the world.

J/24 Class Association Highlights:

  • Established in 1979 and granted ISAF International Status in 1990
  • World Championships held since 1979 on five continents.
  • This 24′ keelboat is normally sailed with 5 but can be sailed with 4 or 6 as long as the total crew weight is under the class 400kg limit

30 November 2018

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Equipment List Update

After a busy sailing season with unusually good weather, our owners are now planning maintenance and winter work for next season.

Our popular Equipment List, with guide prices, is being updated and will shortly be available to include a range of bespoke equipment for Starlights and Sadlers. Equipment includes teak work, sails, sprayhoods, sail covers, rig replacements and running rigging.

We can also supply much of the above equipment for many of the well-known British built yachts, such as Moody, Sigma and Westerly.

Best regards, Mike.

Sadler 29 – Beta 20hp (below left), Starlight 39 – Teak seating (below middle), Cockpit table with universal mount (below right).