On your marks, get set, go: Saffier SE 37 Lounge, flagship of the Dutch yard, has a deck set-up that makes this boat very easy to sail, even if you are on your own
by Niccolò Volpati photo by Bertel Kolthof
We had just left behind the mooring and edged away from the dock. The breakwater is still a good distance away, because we are in the tourist port at Ijmuiden. But the jib is unfurled and the mainsail raised, and in no time the sails are perfectly trimmed. This isn’t so much easy sailing as super easy!
The two speedy Gonzales who are on board with me are the brothers Dennis and Dean Hennevanger. We are trying out the Saffier SE 37 Lounge, which was designed by Dean and is marketed by Dennis, as that is how the work is divided up at the yard. The 37 is the largest of their boats, and if you need it to be a weekender and not just a daysailer, then it has enough room below decks. Let me say it straight away: I really liked this boat a lot, despite the fact that talking about a “daysailer” and “easy sailing” sometimes brings me out in a kind of rash. But the Saffier SE 37 got rid of all my prejudices.
How did it manage to do that? It is an easier recipe than it might seem. Take two brothers who are a little bit different, like their parents. Their father, Richard, the founder of the yard, is Dutch and their mother was born in the Dutch Caribbean. They met there and just after getting married they moved to Australia where, a few years later, first Dennis was born and then Dean.
The family felt no need to stay on dry land, and so – with two small children – they set out on a 65-footer without GPS equipment and spent eight years sailing around the world. When Dennis was already fifteen, their mother realised that he urgently needed to go to school, and so they went back to Holland. To Ijmuiden, south-west of Amsterdam, facing the North Sea.
It was there that their father founded his yard and made his first boat, which was six and a half metres long. Sales talk wasn’t his strong point, so he sent out Dennis, his older son, to sell it at a boat show. Dennis turned out to be a great salesman and in a few days he had sold fourteen of them. Dean was perhaps more like his father, and is now the designer of all the models that the yard makes. He doesn’t talk very much, but he does draw a lot.
Let’s get back to the Saffier SE 37 Lounge. The deck lay-out is very unusual: it is functional and classy at the same time. The windscreen is reminiscent of a motorboat and the two wheels are located very far forward, so the cockpit is behind them. So whoever is steering, has the sails right there and can control them without anything to block the view.
The jib is self tacking, and the winches are electric. There are even some buttons which mean you can change the rotation and the order of the winches. That’s all done so you don’t have to move from side to side. If you want, you can set all the rigging without every moving away from one of the two wheels. The only thing to do on board is to steer. And I have to admit that it is really nice to do. The Saffier 37 SE Lounge is like an ice-cold drink in August.
It goes fast, and just needs a light breeze to make it take off, and it doesn’t lose speed when turning. With ten or eleven knots true wind speed, we were always going at over six. With the Code 0 set, you can easily get to seven knots, at more or less all points of sailing. It is really nice and easy. In the afternoon we did so many manoeuvres and sail changes, that if we had been on board a normal boat without self-tacking and electric winches, they would have had to send out a boat to rescue us in the evening.
But after four hours sailing we were still very relaxed. The following morning, the two brothers took us down to the harbour again. They wanted to let us try out the boat without much wind. And indeed the wind had fallen, and was between five and six knots. The boat is even more surprising without much wind. The SOG comes up slightly below what we had managed the previous afternoon. But it really wasn’t that which made an impression on me.
I was struck by the Saffier SE 37 Lounge handling because, even though there wasn’t much breeze in the morning, the boat took off without any problem. There was never a moment when it held back, not even when we were manoeuvring. The acceleration and momentum were surprising.
And for those for whom it is not enough to do a few tacks and then go back home, there is room to sleep four below deck. A double berth in the bows, and two parallel sofas further aft which, if needed can be turned into two additional single berths. There is also a bathroom in a separate room, and a small galley with two gas rings. Despite not having a lot of living space, given that the headroom in the dinette is 142 cm, you can spend a weekend on it without being uncomfortable.
SAFFIER SE 37 LOUNGE
PROJECT: Dean Hennevanger
HULL: LOA 12.00m (with bowsprit) • Length 11.00m • Waterline Length 10.00m • Maximum beam 3.45m • Light mass displacement 4800 kg • Draft 2.10m • Ballast 2050 kg • Fuel tank volume 60 l • Water tank volume 110 l
MAIN PROPULSION: Yanmar 3YM20 • Outlet mechanical power 15.3 kW (21 hp) • 3 cylinders in line • Swept volume 0.854 l • Bore & Stroke 70mm X74mm • maximal rotational speed 3600/min • Dry weight 110 kg • Sail Drive
EC CERTIFICATION: CAT B
PRICE: 209,500 € – Exclusive VAT
I 19121 La Spezia
tel. +39 0187 21035
Saffier Maritiem B.V.
(Saffier SE 37 Lounge, super EASY – Agosto 2018)