Weekend Warriors: Corsair Dash 750, J/95, M29, and the Sensei 9M
Are you looking for an uncomplicated cruising boat that's designed specifically for fun? A boat review from our April 2010 issue.
As to performance, the old saying reminds us that "if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it's a duck." It looks like a J. It sails like a J. It's a J! Ample working sail area-492 square feet-drives the boat in a spirited fashion upwind, and be ready to hold on when you unleash nearly 1,200 square feet of downwind sail area.
As easily driven as it is, you won't need to crank up the 14-horsepower Yanmar and saildrive often, but when you do, the boat provides a good turn of speed and exceptional maneuverability, especially when backing down with those twin rudders. Rod Johnstone was quite excited about his new approach to an old idea. So am I, and so were Boat of the Year judges, who deemed the J/95 Best Weekender and Domestic Boat of the Year.
|The Sensei 9M has the sexy good looks of a performance boat while also being easy to handle.|
The Sensei 9M is designed by Italian Umberto Felci and built by Evraka Marine, near Istanbul, Turkey, to be fast, fun, and family friendly. The simplicity of its running rigging, self-tacking headsail, and tiller steering preclude me from describing it as a racer, but nevertheless, its fine lines, light displacement, and enormous downwind sail area should attract the performance crowd.
The hull is exceptionally light and strong due to carbon-fiber reinforcements and vacuum-infused Corecell and E-glass. This results in a sail area-to-displacement ratio of 22.3 and a "high-performance" feel. A carbon-fiber bowsprit helps the boat carry a big asymmetric spinnaker. This little dart will fly.
All the sheets run under deck cowlings to emerge at the helm station. A notable feature is the unique placement of the winches on the inside of the cockpit seats: They're cleverly at hand while at the same time eliminating the need to clutter the coamings. This results in a stark yet attractive look that manifests the minimalist spirit of its Japanese name.
The interior is simple, efficient, but perhaps a bit dark due to the fact that there are no ports and only a single opening hatch forward. There's a full-length berth on both the port and starboard sides. A small V-berth lies behind a short bulkhead in the forepeak.
The hull is European Union CE Category A (ocean) certified and should handle rough water. Still, I feel that the Sensei will find its niche close to shore as a sporty and sexy daysailer.
Each of these boats refocuses our attention on the pure thrill of sailing, whether it's by means of sublime elegance, breathless performance, or value and versatility. What they share in common is their manageable size; easy-to-handle rigs; generous, social cockpits; and simple systems.
Unlike their larger cruising cousins, they encourage us to just "jump in and go for a spin." That means more days on the water, and that's always a good thing.
Alvah Simon is a frequent CW contributor and a veteran Boat of the Year judge.