While it’s modern in every way, the Seascape 24 has a retro attitude and a purpose that hearkens back to the days when sailors weren’t afraid to race their boats on weekends and sleep on them too. There are hundreds of outdated 20- to 30-year-old weekender designs in Europe, says Tit Plevnik, of Seascape, and this is the boat poised to replace them. It’s a high-performance daysailer that’s trailerable and offers better than basic comfort. “It’s not a pure racer,” says Plevnik, “because it can do so much more.” Every Seascape model the judges have tested and selected as a winner over the past three years (namely, the Seascape 27 and 18) has the same traits as the Seascape 24: They’re clever, high-quality builds that sail well. Their unintimidating simplicity inspires adventures under sail. The judges agreed the Slovenian-built Seascape 24 might just be the best of them yet: It’s a boat you can one-design or distance race with two or three crew, weekend with friends and family, or take out for whimsical solo spins after work.
At only 2,000 pounds all up, and with its swing centerboard, the Seascape 24 is easily ramp-launched and towed behind the family wagon. Getting the deck-stepped mast up and down is a one-person operation. The interior is minimalist and clean, with hanging bags for storage and space under settees for a hard cooler and portable toilet. The V-berth is plenty big, and additional seating slides out from beneath the cockpit to create two double-wide settees. A cabin-top solar panel powers LED interior lights, but other than that, there’s not much to the boat in terms of electrical systems, which is always a good thing. In the cockpit floor is a watertight box to stow fenders, lines and a 4-horsepower outboard, keeping odors and water out of the interior.
The hull and deck are cored and vacuumed-infused. The bottom of the hull has a thicker laminate, with Soric coring, in consideration of the boat being sailed into shallow waters when the 6-foot centerboard is hand-cranked into its trunk (reducing draft to only 12 inches). Rudder blades can be pulled up by hand, and friction keeps them upright in their respective cassettes.
With a rounded hull transitioning to chines, the judges felt the boat’s width wasn’t an issue at all, as the boat tracked perfectly in balance without a hint of gurgle off the transom. The high-aspect rudders gave the helm a positive but not sticky feel. The judges also felt the cockpit layout and sail controls were perfect, with plenty of purchase in the mainsheet for the big square-top main, and the jibsheet led straight to cabin-top winches or around deflectors for cross-sheeting.
Asymmetric spinnaker sheets take a few hard turns, which in light air introduced considerable friction, but in stronger breeze, says Chuck Allen, would allow you to trim straight from the block before having to go to a winch via the deflector. Spinnaker douses will happen through the large forward hatch unless you’re singlehanding, in which case you can stuff it down the companionway or into a bag in the cockpit.
Boat-lounging accessories? Seascape has that covered too. With a battened boom tent, beanbag chairs and a stocked cooler, the Seascape 24 becomes a proper postrace crash pad.
The judges liked:
High build quality
Two to three
Price as tested: $69,000