YACHTING & BOATING, DECEMBER
The Jaguar 25 has been on
the sailing scene for a good many years. In fact some 350 have already been
built. We never the less thought there was some justification in reporting
it as a new boat on two counts. The first and foremost point being a series
of changes to the rig, the layout and construction. The second point is
that the marketing company is now Canvey Yacht Builders. They are the same
team that has always built the Jaguar range but they have only recently
taken over the marketing function. The first of the mark II Jaguar 25s was
waiting at the top of the slipway on Canvey Point when I arrived, awaiting
its first wetting. This happened slightly faster than expected when the
rope being used to lower it down the slip found a rough edge on the trailer
and quickly chaffed through. The launching was therefore quite spectacular
and I found myself afloat, the only problem that remained was that I felt
a need for a crew, who was standing gazing at the end of a frayed piece
of rope ashore!!
The particular Jaguar 25 we
were to sail had no inboard or outboard engine although both options are
available. As an inboard the builders recommend either the Bukh DV8, or
the Volvo MD5B both with sail drive propulsion units. Our test sail took
us out into the Thames Estuary where a gusty force 4 to 5 was blowing from
the south west. We were sailing with the full mainsail of 119
sq. ft. and a working jib of 148 sq. ft. That is really quite a lot of canvas
for a 25 ft. boat in those conditions. Certainly if we had been on passage
to somewhere we could (and would) have snugged the boat down by putting
at least one slab reef in the main and possibly hoping for a smaller jib.
However, we were not on passage
and we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves. The boat was exhilerating to
sail and, most important, it was completely under control. Considering the
boat had only been in the water for an hour and the mast put up only just
before the launch she sailed extremely well. She did carry some weather
helm, but nothing excessive considering the amount of sail area. In fact
it is possible that in light conditions you could experience some lee helm.
The boat responded well to
the transom hung rudder, which even in the heavy gusts that laid the boat
over kept a grip of the water. The sea was relatively quiet considering
the wind conditions, we certainly kept dry back in the cockpit. One of the
changes in the rig has been to sweep back the crosstrees and bring both
the lower and cap shrouds inboard, this has helped a great deal with the
set of the jib when sailing to windward and it has made movement around
the sidedecks that much easier. The babystay forward, another new addition,
keeps the rig stiff and gives a useful grab hold on the fore deck. The grab
rails on the cabin top and the guard rails complete the feeling of security.
All in all we had an enjoyable and at times exciting sail culminating in
a tricky beat to windward up a narrow channel, to the jetty, which the boat
took in her stride.
I think perhaps the working
jib could be slightly smaller, or perhaps have a set of reef points to remove
another 20 odd sq. ft. I am sure the boat could take at least a force six
without having to resort to a storm jib which is only 50 sq. ft. The sail
wardrobe does include 3 sizes of genoa apart from the jib so there are plenty
of options to increase the sail area.
Our arrival back on the jetty
gave me the opportunity to look around the boat. The cockpit is of ample
size and self draining with a large sail locker to port and locker to starboard
that reveals a tray that is very useful for stowing that odd piece of line,
winch handles, etc, without having to stand on your head to reach down two
or three feet into a larger locker.
Access to the cabin is easy
with a low bridge deck and a wide hatchway. Down below the space has been
well used with a dinette arrangement to port that converts to a double berth.
It is unfortunate that this berth is only really designed for the children
of the family, it is only 5ft. l0in. in length, to make it usable by adults
there is a fill In cushion (that also doubles as a backrest) which joins
the port double berth to the single on the starboard side that gives an
area of almost 6ft. by 8ft. I am loath to call such a vast area a berth!
To port of the hatchway is
the galley with its sink unit and alcohol stove and plenty of cupboard space.
Forward of the 'Cleopatra' berth, past the main bulkhead is the
heads and a hanging locker. Then forward again are two full size berths.
Coming after there is a quarter berth to starboard which has been extended
under the cockpit sole (unless you have an inboard engine). This makes the
quarter berth into a double although the inboard partner should not have
very wide hips as the height above the centre is a little restrictive. The
amount of berth space available I calculate is enough for eight people although
I suggest this is a little extreme in a 25ft.boat unless an orgy is contemplated.
The interior is moulded although
this is well hidden by the use of teak and the cushion fabric, the headlining
is also moulded although very neat. The boat is available in several stages
and with fin or bilge keels. The budget sail away version has a price of
just under £8,000 including VAT, you would have to add to this such
things as cushions, pulpit, pushpit, galley equipment, toilet, navigation
lights, etc.There are two other alternatives. A standard boat which includes
bunk cushions, cabin steps, fiddle rails, etc.,or the deluxe version that
has everything. The de luxe price is just over £10,000 including VAT.
That seems like a very reasonable valuation for a comfortable boat that