Steering and Sail Handling:
What struck one most about the Sundeer is that under sail she does not
feel at all like a 60-foot boat. From behind the wheel, the impression
is of an easily managed 45-footer. Only when one starts moving forward
along the deck toward the bow and notices the trip takes longer than
expected is the boat's true size made apparent.
The rig, is extremely efficient. The
fully battened main both propels the boat easily and is easy to handle
and furl in the Furl Boom. The small working jib is likewise easy to
tack and furl. The loads involved in raising, trimming, and reefing
sails are quite moderate, and although we appreciated the convenience of
having 3 electric winches to help with the heavy stuff, it is not a
The steering is exceedingly light and
precise, and the boat, with a fin keel and a spade rudder, tracks very
well. If anything,
the steering can sometimes be
a bit too light. The boat can often be trimmed out so the helm is
nearly neutral, which makes the autopilot's power consumption minimal.
Speed and Motion:
When sailing in favorable conditions, it is easy to make over 200 miles
a day. On one occasion while sailing in the NE trades the boat made
about 210 miles per day for eight days. The current owners’ Panama
voyage took 36 days to arrive home in Hawai'i. But the most remarkable
aspect of the boat's speed is how effortless it can seem. On several
occasions in moderate conditions, when it feels as though the boat was
just lazing along, the boat was making approximately 9knots.
Given her narrow beam, one would expect
this boat to heel a great deal, but thanks to well-placed ballast and
the rig's low center of effort, she is fairly stiff. Given her design, you can reach a maximum speed at 15 degrees of heel.
One may be tempted to dismiss the concept
of a 60-foot boat that can be easily sailed by one or two people as
oxymoronic, but, in fact, it is not. The deck and interior are very
comfortable and easy to move around in a seaway. The systems are well
thought out, easy to access and maintain. The boat is exceedingly safe,
and its watertight compartments, both fore and aft, will give the crew a
sense of security and safety. The boat exceeds the design philosophy:
fast, safe and comfortable at sea, convenient and comfortable at anchor.
And finally, she is a really fun sail.
So if you are dreaming about a owning and sailing in a full-sized blue
water cruising boat, it is hard to imagine how you can go wrong in a
Sundeer 60. The Avalon is superbly conceived, designed and constructed
and will give years of pleasure, challenge, and adventure.