When the Sadler 25 first emerged in 1974, the design was hailed as an inspiration by David Sadler, who had evolved this from his initial Contessa 26 design. The Contessa was a classic of its time, being a cruising development of the Swedish Folkboat, with the traditional long keel, slack bilge and easy motion at sea, so highly valued by enthusiasts of this type of boat. Windward ability and rugged performance in a blow were qualities associated with this design.
David Sadler being a competitive designer, set out to improve the design in two important respects, being:
- Enhanced light weather performance, by moving to fin and skeg configuration
- Improved stiffness and reduction of rolling down wind, by tightening up the line of bilge to give greater “form stability”
The result of these endeavours was the Sadler 25, which emerged as a particularly attractive yacht with significant tumblehome (slight curvature inwards to the sheer line), transom hung rudder (for accessibility and more effective steering down wind), a bold sheer (which maintained a dryer boat upwind) and increased beam, to give more power to windward and reduction of rolling.
The result of all this was sheer magic – a new boat in the field of small cruisers which was fast and seaworthy. On the race course, David won in regattas on the South Coast and showed a clean pair of heels to larger boats. Several 25s concluded ambitious voyages, such as round Britain and transatlantic. The boat was a huge success and resulted in Sadler Yachts becoming well established in the field of small cruisers. This boat became a popular choice for those owners who wanted to add individual style to their boats, for which purpose Sadler supplied many part-finished boats to be completed by owners.
In about 1979, an improved version of the Sadler 25 emerged with much enhanced interior trim and with factory supplied mouldings for galley, chart table unit and bunk bases. At this stage, the height of rig was increased by about two feet, which gave enhanced performance and even better results in competition. Some 300 25s were built, until the design was phased out in 1981 to be replaced by the more spacious Sadler 26 with interior mouldings and polyurethane foam construction to provide unsinkability.
The Petter Mini 6 singe cylinder diesel engine was fitted as standard in most of the Sadler 25s upto about 1979 when the BMW single cylinder engine was installed in a number of boats. Other variations found in second- hand boats are the 12hp two stroke Dolphin engine (surprisingly effective if you can accept petrol) and the Yanmar 1GM 10hp single cylinder (probably the best installation).