“Never before did our company invest as much time, energy, and expense into the development of a new boat,” says Denis Hennevanger, one of the managing directors at Saffier Yachts, adding, “Isn’t she pretty?” And the answer has to be a heartfelt, “Yes!” Even when docked, the new Saffier Se 33 easily qualifies as eye candy, maybe even as an exciting flirt.
Within a short time frame, brothers Dean and Dennis Hennevanger accomplished something many managers only dream of: rapid and consequent development of a unique product line with strong distinction, coupled with the quick ascent to becoming a leading brand in their particular niche. Yet the Dutch always remained true to themselves and their program. They never lost sight of their core mission: daysailing. The buck in their neatly spaced portfolio stops at 33 feet.
Those who like fast and simple sailing fun will most certainly have to take a look at Saffier’s lineup. And with its new Se 33, the company is making an even stronger case for its products.
The concept of this beauty precisely fits in the yard’s proven formula, but also packs innovations that show that Saffier’s traditionalists keep up with contemporary trends. The newest boat has a fold-down stern platform, a cockpit with twin wheels, and a bowsprit for a gennaker or code zero—all features that are in high demand with customers.
Two Keels, Three Draft Options
The Se 33 is available in two models: a standard “Classic” with a traditional stern, or the “Racing” model, which has a reverse stern sans swim platform. The latter version comes with a carbon mast, better sails, and a T-keel. These additional goodies add nearly $20,000 to the price tag.
In addition, customers can order their boat in several combinations, e.g. with standard hull and the (optional) carbon rig. Upgrading to Selden’s carbon mast and rod rigging might be classy and beneficial to the boat’s looks, but probably won’t make a huge difference in function and performance while cruising, as the sail plan is small. The standard rig from the same manufacturer will do the job nicely and reliably.
In addition to the self-tending jib, which comes standard, sailors in wind-challenged areas can order a slightly overlapping genoa with jib tracks on deck. There are also several keel options to choose from. The yard is bolting a standard L-shaped keel under the hull as well as keels with a T shape. The three draft options are 5.6 feet (standard), 6.9 feet (racing), and 4.6 feet (shoal). Variable drafts with a swing or a lifting keel are not being offered at this time.
Relax in the Sun
Sometimes the weather can be sunny for a test on the North Sea, but if it is, the wind is generally in short supply. Around eight knots on average is just about the minimum for a daysailer like the Se 33. Close-hauled, the Saffier achieves tacking angles of 85 degrees and manages a top speed of 5.8 knots. However, because of the strong current present during our tests, measuring precise performance was difficult.
As on most of the Saffier yachts, hardly any weather helm can be felt while steering, which is not every skipper’s cup of tea. A well-balanced rudder demands a lot of attention from the helm, especially on a lively boat such as the Saffier Se 33.
The helmsman sits, or actually leans, on the high cockpit coaming, which is an extension of the side deck and runs all the way aft. The aft deck, on the other hand, is set deeper at the level of the cockpit seats and is completely enclosed as a result. And because of the flush-mount traveler track, you can even plop down for sunbathing. This makes the Se 33 one of the smallest sailboats around with a completely protected sunbathing lounge on the aft deck.
All the sheets, halyards, and control lines are led aft under the deck to batteries of rope clutches at the sheet winches. All functions can be handled without having to leave the wheel. This makes Saffier Se 33 fully suited for singlehanding, especially with the self-tending jib.
|Sail Area||484 sq. ft.|
Wheel steering is part of the concept and matches the cockpit layout, but it is not a must. Alternatively, the boat could be fitted with a tiller, which would necessitate rigging the mainsheet in a bridle on the aft deck. The flexible windshield forward of the companionway can be supplemented with a dodger. Both items are available as options and offer good protection in thick weather, wind and high seas.
The Saffier Se 33 is fitted with a small 15-horsepower auxiliary diesel. The boat can be ordered with electric propulsion as well, but only coupled to a Saildrive.
Saffier offers two layout options below decks. The simpler standard version, as tested, features two full-sized berths in the open forward cabin, plus two more berths amidships. With the cushions of the backrests removed, the width suffices for sleeping. Two add-on modules with stove and sink at the main bulkhead provide enough comfort for limited touring on weekends. A toilet is installed under the V-berth forward.
Alternatively there’s a layout with a completely separate head aft on the port side. In this case, the galley is larger and situated right by the companionway, which makes it more accessible from deck. However, the settees are too short to be used for overnighting.
The daysailer experts at Saffier Yachts in the Netherlands have crowned their attractive lineup with the Se 33, a well thought-out, harmonious and nearly flawless concept. It is matched by build quality, finish, solid construction, and impeccable interior, which hardly leave anything to desire.
The base boat is available for around $146,000; the sailaway price is around $156,000. That’s not exactly a bargain for a 33-foot vessel, but it matches the pricing structure of competing products and is properly calculated for so much boat and so much individuality.
For more information, visit Saffier Yachts.