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Corsair 880: Best Sport Boat

Simple accommodations and sparkling sailing performance earned this trimaran an Honorable Mention for Best Sportboat.

December 8, 2020
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Corsair 880 out of Wareham Massachusetts
Best SportBoat 2021Corsair 880 Billy Black

On a cold November afternoon, we rolled up to the dock at the ancient Cape Cod Shipyard, hard along the waters of the Wareham River Basin, for the concluding sail of our 2021 Boat of the Year campaign aboard the Corsair 880, a 28-foot folding trimaran built in, of all places, Vietnam. It wasn’t on purpose, but you could easily say we saved the best for last. The best sail in our 2021 BOTY sea trials, that is.

We were joined by Bob Gleason, who’s been peddling fast tris for as long as we can remember, and Dave Reed, the editor of our sister publication, Sailing World: two boys who always can be counted on to press on a bit more sail. In other words, for the task ahead, darn-near perfect companions.

The classic Buzzard’s Bay sea breeze had kicked in, ­appropriately—like, what else is new?—as we powered out of the basin and into the fresh southwesterly. Up went the big, roachy, powerful square-topped mainsail, and out went the self-tending jib. We were sailing.

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2021 Boat of the Year Winners at a Glance


The Corsair 880 is cool, cool, cool. Comfortable canvas bench seats. A nice little interior with all the basics for pleasant camping-­style cruises. A rotating carbon-fiber spar. A tiller with an extension, and the traveler and mainsheet right at hand. Sails up, daggerboard down. As good as it gets.

We tacked upwind for a while to say we did, got some ­numbers, and then the real fun commenced. First, bye-bye jib; hello Code Zero. Welcome to the realm of double-digit boat speeds, which always feel faster when you’re reaching on a screamer under 30 feet. Greetings, sailing world, indeed.

We swapped the helm back and forth, and took snapshots of one another. Who had the biggest smile? It was a tie. Then the kite went up for the run back to the dock. Heaven on Buzzard’s Bay.

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There wasn’t another boat around, and for that matter, there wasn’t another boat in the competition that matched up with the Corsair. But you can be sure as heck we were still going to name it the year’s Best Sportboat. Which we could. So we did.

As the sun set over Buzzard’s Bay, it also set on Boat of the Year 2021. Thanks, one and all, for the memories.

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