The Cavalier 28 Cruiser Racer
Race or cruise? Handicap or scratch? There is one boat design frequently seen on Sydney Harbour that is superbly suited to all of these!
The Cavalier 28 was, from its inception in the early 80s, as the New Zealand Davidson 28, designed for both racing and cruising. As you would expect of a boat designed by Laurie Davidson, of America’s Cup fame, her racing credentials are outstanding. A Cav 28 has all the controls you need to coax her to perform well above what her length might lead you to believe. At the same time, she has generous facilities for overnight stays, sporting plenty of headroom, stove, toilet, table and multiple bunks (how many depends on how young you feel). A crew of two is all that is needed for a lazy afternoon cruise around the harbour under only a heady which moves her along just nicely.
Add to that the fact that you can race fortnightly from September to Easter in a one design fleet second only in size to the Etchells on Sydney Harbour. In two races last season, from a scratch start, after a two hour race, all seven boats had finished within 2-3 minutes of each other – how good is that! For those who are new to the class and still prising the best from their crew and their craft we also run a PHS handicap result. Being a one design fleet, however, means that duking it out for 4th or 5th place can be just as close and exciting as taking the gun. It is most gratifying to find yourself gradually working your way up through the scratch results sheet as you and your crew (total of around five) work out what each control does. Then you really know how well you are racing!
You will find other skippers generous with their racing advice over a beer after the finish.
There is nothing better than racing in a close fleet. The SASC program includes about 14 races and, in addition, we run the State Championships in March as part of the Sydney Harbour Regatta.
Class rules are quite relaxed and exist both to even the playing field and keep costs down. No exotic sail materials are allowed and sail replacements are economical and at most annual. Our yearly dinner and prize-giving attracts 50 to 60 people and we have a very active website with plenty of information both about the design and racing tips aplenty.
Skippers regularly use the excellent and free RaceQs app which records your race and then allows a full 3D replay of events so you can see just where you won (or lost) the race. Check our website for plenty of past races and examples of its use.
If you currently sail a boat of similar size and vintage and are interested in racing in a one design fleet, you could do a lot worse than get yourself into a Cav 28. They are often available and definitely at the budget end of the price range for their size and performance. You’ll gain a lady that loves both to cruise and race and you know how hard they are to come by. We have two advertised for sale on our website now and you’ll also find others at the regular boat sales sites. We would love you to join us!
President, Cavalier 28 Association