For fans of Saffier yachts, the Se 33 could represent the beginning of a new era of wider fame and popularity for the Dutch daysailer range. The company's management, the brothers Dean and Denis Hennevanger claim to have invested more time, energy and expense into the development of this new boat, than into any other so far – and it shows. Even in her slip, the new Saffier Se 33 easily qualifies as eye candy.
Within a short time, the Hennevangers have accomplished a great deal: 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 duo always remained true to themselves and their programme. They never lost sight of their core focus - daysailing - and showed a good eye for size.
Those who like fast and simple sailing fun, will most certainly have to take a look at the Saffier range of boats, and with the new Se 33 the Dutch company is making an even stronger case for its products.
The concept of this 9.5-metre beauty precisely fits the yard’s proven formula, but also packs innovations that show that Saffier’s traditionalists keep up with the 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 draught options
The Saffier Se 33 is available in two basic models: the standard version called “Classic” with a positive yacht stern and the “Racing” model with a negative stern without the swim platform. This version comes with a carbon stick, better sails and a T-keel, which adds 16,000 Euros (£12,500) to the price tag.
In addition, customers can assemble their boat in several combinations, i.e. with standard hull and the (optional) carbon rig. Upgrading to Selden’s carbon stick with 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 too small. The standard rig from the same manufacturer will do the job nicely and reliably.
There is an option for the headsail: in addition to the self-tacking jib, which comes as standard, sailors in wind-challenged areas can order a slightly overlapping genoa with jib tracks on deck.
There are also several keel choices to be made. L-shaped or T-shaped keels come in three draught options: 1.7m, (standard), 2.1m (racing) and 1.4m (shoal). Variable draughts with a swing or a lifting keel are not being offered at this time.
Layout with a sun lounge
Sometimes the weather can be sunny for a test on the North Sea, but then the wind is in short supply. Around eight knots on average is just about the minimum for a daysailer like the Saffier. Close-hauled the Saffier Se 33 achieves tacking angles of 85 degrees and manages a top speed of 5.8 knots. However, because of the strong current, the exact measurement of the performance data 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 very lively boat like 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 thus it is completely enclosed. And because of the flush mount of the traveler track, you can even plop down for sunbathing. This makes the Se 33 one of the smallest boats with a completely protected sunbathing lounge on the aft deck.
All the sheets, halyards and control lines are led aft under deck to the batteries of rope clutches at the sheet winches. All functions can be handled from the helm without having to leave the wheel. This makes Saffier Se 33 fully suited for singlehanding, especially with the self-tacking jib.
The 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 tiller steering, 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 stronger winds and high seas.
The Saffier Se 33 is fitted with a small 15hp auxiliary diesel. The boat can be ordered with electric propulsion as well, however only with Saildrive.
Also fit for the weekend
Saffier offers two layout options below deck. The simpler standard version, as tested, features two full-sized berths in the open fore 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 pantry is larger and right by the companionway, which makes it more accessible from deck. However, the settees are getting relatively short and can’t be used for overnighting.
The daysailer experts at Saffier Yachts in the Netherlands have crowned their attractive lineup with the Se 33 that boasts 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 117,900 Euros (£93,000); the sailaway price is 125,480 euros (£99,000) including VAT. That’s not exactly a bargain for a vessel under 10 metres, but it matches the pricing structure of competing products and is properly calculated for so much boat and so much individuality.
Saffier Se 33: specifications
Length hull: 9.6m
Draught (racing/standard/shoal): 2.1m / 1.7m / 1.4m
Sail area: Main: 27sq m
Jib: 18sq m
Code zero: 40sq m
Gennaker: 70sq m