The first 28RS into Singapore, Manao Express
Our first sampling of a Corsair 28 came when the Thai Corsair Dealer, Sail in Siam, took delivery of their new C28. Tide up to the dock, first impressions are good. The boat looks sleek, the cabin has enough space for island trips and it has all the amenities including the "kitchen sink". It's got a lot of room for a family to stretch out on. At the time we went for a sail, the breeze on the Gulf Of Thailand was very light - that will make a good test of its sailing abilities!
Singapore's first Corsair 28 came in the form of 'Manao Express'. Manao arrived just before all the Dashes started arriving maybe in a way it spawned the Dash Fleet! 'Manao Express' is owned by a very keen ex-F18 sailor and featured a few custom features that made this 28 particularly suited to family duties.
In our local sailing conditions (light winds) the Dash with its better power to weight ratio, has proven to be the more spritely performer but February's Neptune Regatta was a great face off as 'Manao Express' lined up for the race to the equator... After 5 days of racing only a point separated the 2 boats with the Dash coming out ahead. It was clear that the longer waterline of the 28 was giving the boat a smoother ride through the chop on the way to the equator.
The 28 comes in three models RS, EC and CR versions.
The features are,
- RS a long cockpit .
- the EC and CR have aft cabins.
The EC differs from the CR in the head arrangement as the CR has an enclosed head while the EC does not.
Most numerous in Southeast Asia is the RS version whereas other markets prefer the CR version. This is probably due to the fact that the original C27 had an aft cabin and the 28 was a much more modern interpretation of the theme. But in Southeast Asia, our hot weather means any cabin without air-conditioning is hard to live in. As a result, most Asian buyers have opted for the RS version. Since we're going to sit outside we may as well have all the cockpit we can!
The 28 is a rather accomplished platform.
It was sailed solo around the world by an adventurer who stuck to the equator. When he hit land it was land transported to the next launching! Quite the adventure! Recently it sailed out of the factory in Vietnam and over to the Philippines encountering a tropical depression and 6m seas along the way.
There's a bit of a step up in going from the Dash to the 28 and then another step up in going from the 28 to the 31. If you had budget constraints we'd tell you to get the Dash 750 and enjoy the most bang for your buck. If you didn't have budget constraints, we'd tell you to get the 31 and enjoy the headroom.
But if you want something to take the family out sailing on and need it to be handled by a single person operator, the 28 is the answer. Whereas the 31 is a fully loaded boat with lots of power the 28 is manageable on all counts by one person.
Other differences occur when you order your boat and must make the choice between Racing and Cruising sails. We have narrowed this divide by using membrane technology. With the membrane technology we have closed what used to be a big divide. The fused laminate sails with continuous Carbon thread. Fused means no glue and no de-lamination problems. This is a proprietary technology with a lot of advantages. The cruising sails feature the same laminate base and performance cross-section but employ different thread in the sail to beef them up. This is clever technology.
The 28 has a retractable rudder that goes up and down at the tug of a rope. A shear pin locks the rudder in the down position. The daggerboard is easily handled by a control rope.
The interior has good space and volume however going for the enclosed head really takes away the open feeling of the original cabin. Sure it's nice to have an enclosed head but if that is a priority then we suggest moving up to a bigger platform that can accomodate a nice full-sized head.
This is one useful boat with a lot of scope to cover many boundaries.
Most of the Southeast Asian Corsair 28's are located in Thailand and all are RS versions. This suits not only the local weather better but also the racing scene. Thailand has great water and in the season, great wind. Add to that good boating facilities and a myriad of beaches and bays. It's no wonder that the Corsairs were well received there especially when the Kingdom has so many good sailing events to take part in. The Thai Corsair fleet consists of one of every model but the 28's form the bulk of the fleet.
The other centre for Corsairs in Asia is Singapore but here the picture is a little different. We have tried to consolidate the Corsair scene by creating a fleet around a One-Design Class. As such the Dash fleet here is biggest and the little boat really performs better in our conditions i.e. light airs and flat water. We fully expect the 28 to power up in the medium range of conditions and more lumpy seas.
Even though we have a budding Dash Fleet there will always be owners that need a bit bigger boat. As we have seen from our fleet, our 28's are primarily family boats where the larger interior volume helps keep everyone happy!
So far, the Dash has managed to out gun the 28 on every occasion and have equal or better speed downwind. While this is ultra important on a race course is it not always paramount in a family environment.
Our maiden sail on the 28 was on the Gulf of Thailand in very light airs. This to us is almost a better test to see if a particular design is sticky or not. Out on the Gulf, the 28 moved very well in the light breeze and had a good turn of speed with the asymmetric kite on. That was enough of a test for us as we generally suffer a lot of light breezes on the Equator.
Our next 'test' of the 28 came during the last Top of Gulf Regatta when we were invited to crew on David Race's 28. During the event we were able to benchmark ourselves against the Sail in Siam boat. By adopting many of the techniques we have learned from a year of Dashing, the old 28 was able to keep the North Sails clad boat astern in every race - there is something to be said for sailing regularly as a One Design class!
Corsair 28 RS
LOA: 28' 5" (8.66m)
LWL: 26' 3" (8.0m)
Beam (overall): 19' 9" (6.1m)
Beam (folded): 8' 2-1/2" (2.5m)
Draft (hull only): 1' 2" (0.36m)
Draft (daggerboard down): 4' 11" (1.5m)
Mast length: 38'4" (11.58m)
Mast height above waterline: approx 44' 3" (13.5m)
Weight (empty): 2,690 lbs (1,220.2kg)
Hulls: Fiberglass with PVC foam core
Auxiliary: 8hp o/b (2-stroke or 4-stroke)
Mainsail: 321 sq ft (29.83 sqm)
Jib: 175 sq ft (16.26 sqm)
Screacher: 358 sq ft (33.26 sqm)
Asymmetrical spinnaker: 780 sq ft (72.46 sqm)