10 Best Sailboats: You Have Not Heard Of (But Should Know)

Name This Lesser Known Design For a Prize. Is She One of the Ten Best?

Every once in awhile I come across a design that really is under appreciated. Espousing on these designs is one of the main goals of this blog. I seek to shed light on lesser know but very attractive designs. Usually the below designs have secret followings of dark admirers who whisper their praises in the twilight. By those few who have been enlightened, these sailboats are sought after in every corner and rarely last on the market even in these tough times. If anybody has a lesser know sailboat, I would appreciate a note in the comment section below highlighting her value. Listed in alphabetical order below are ten under appreciated design.

  1. Beneteau 42: This 1980’s Beneteau designed by German Frers is neglected because of the poor reputation of current Beneteaus. She has fast, timeless lines and an offshore quality build. The interior is classic teak, and while built with molded liners the glass work is superb. I would not hesitate to go anywhere in a well kept Frers 42.
  2. Celestial 48: A Bryce Fuhriman modified Brewer design built by an anonymous Chinese yard in the 1980’s. Because of the little known designer and yard, these do not get the notice they deserve. These sloops and ketches have roomy two stateroom interiors, quality construction, and fast lines.
  3. Espirit 39: This Valiant built, Rob Perry design is an improved version of the 40 Valiant. Perry touts her canoe stern as loviest he ever penned. I agree. She is an extended version of the Espirit 37.
  4. Farr 1220: Unknown outside of New Zealand and a few pockets along the West Coast USA, this racer/cruiser Farr 1220 inspired this list. Even the most knowledgeable confuse her with the racy, drafty Farr 40 IOR design. This beamy, shoal draft has a beautiful interior and is faster than fast.
  5. Hylas 45.5: The 45.5 is the little known bridge between the Frers 44 and 46 Hyli. Really, she is a 44 with a glassed on sugar scoop stern. Queen Long built only 10 but other owners retrofitted their 44’s with a nomatic mold.
  6. Kadey-Krogen 38: “Krogen made a sailboat?” is the most common response to the mention of the Kadey-Krogen built 38 gunkholer. Actually Kadey-Krogen made a 42 pilothouse as well. This 38-footer is well built, nice looking for the classical genre and has 4′ draft for the Bahamas.
  7. Mikelson 51: Hudson made the well-known Force 50 pirate ships, but they also made another pirate style design by William Garden. With her raked mast, bald clipper bow, and exaggerated sheer, she strikes that roaming, romantic design that is at the core of the cruising lifestyle. We had one in our marina, and every time I went out to show boats, clients would ask if she was for sale. They all took a fancy to her.
  8. Pearson 422: The 422 is one of my favorite designs with her island queen berth aft, center cockpit, and quintessential Bill Shaw lines. It is a look that will never go out of fashion. The design fits many elusive attributes of price, size, layout, performance, and style. Truly a classic.
  9. Stevens 50: Designed by Sparkman & Stephens, she is the larger sister to the well known 47 Stevens. There is also a 40-foot sistership. You can tell her unknown vintage by way advertisers misspell her design name. You often see these listed as designed by Sparkman & Stevens, a corruption of her lineage that really bothers me. She is one of the first, true raised saloon types – not really a pilothouse.
  10. Sundeer 56: Most know of the 60-foot Sundeer, but her little sister is a mystery. The 56 is a shortened version of the same design – easier to handle and more reasonably priced with the same performance and quality.

14 Replies to “10 Best Sailboats: You Have Not Heard Of (But Should Know)”

  1. Richard, The Celestial 48…I thought this was a Ted Brewer design which Bruce Furlman modified. It is a nice boat.

  2. That sounds right, good to know. It is funny how many different people are listed in brokerage records. I see Sparkman & Stephens, Ted Brewer, and William Coensvelt. And I see multiple spellings of Bruce Furlman (Bryce Fuhriman seems the most common?). I updated the article to reflect this designer.

    For being a rare sailboat, I was surprised to see a sloop rigged Celestial getting repowered at our yard office in Dania, FL. She was on the hard for a couple months this summer – a nice guy owned her. Funny, he thought she was German Frers designed (Sparkman & Stephens). Now a different ketch rigged one is berthed in the basin at Royale Palm named Take Two. They are nice looking yachts with real attractive accommodations. Zuzana, http://www.talkofthedock.com, owns a Celestial 48 in California.

  3. Can you give me your opinion on the Celestial pilothouse? I think it’s the same design with a enclosure slapped on top. I’m interested in any info I can get. Thanks!

  4. Another one that I should of included is the Hans Christian Offshore Explorer 475. She is totally not what you might think if you are familiar with Hans Christian traditional yachts. The design is in many ways similar to the Hylas 47/49. In fact, Tony Seifert, the principle of Explorer Yachts, owned a Hylas 47 and was instrumental in the modifications in making the 49. Tony was a great guy to us.

  5. I owned a Celestial 48 for ten years and she was a sweet boat to sail.
    Dusted off a Sparkman Stevens 49 foot sloop one afternoon. Had to luff my sails so he could catch up to us 🙂

  6. Featured vessel is the Miklesston 50. I own a 1987 Her name is Serenity and she is a dream to sail, entertain a nd live aboard.

  7. Richard, This is an old discussion but I still found it looking for reviews of the Celestial boat line. I’m looking at a Celestial 50 pilothouse and a Wellington pilothouse and was wondering about your opinions on Wellington sailboats? Thanks

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