If the Sirius 28 was a racehorse, it would be described as having good breeding. Its designer, Hubert Van de stadt, has in his stable the smaller Sirius 22, a restyling of his Sirius 21, which has proven to be a tough, able, small cruiser. This talent for design runs in the family. Hubert is the nephew of the well-known European designer E. G. Van de Stadt, who has a long and impressive list of outstanding designs, including the lines of the famous 72-foot South African ketch Stormvogel.
The Sirius 28’s builders also inspire confidence. Vandestadt and McGruer Ltd. of Owen Sound ahs been building boats since the mid-’60s and in spite of such setbacks as major fire and a long industry recession, it has managed to survive and grow.
With this kind of bloodline, the Sirius 28 is creating more than a passing interest. The first boat was launched in August, 1982, and as of March 1986, the company had orders booked through to hull 90.
The design is “modern conservative.” The “modern” comes from the systems that make sail handling more efficient. Inboard shrouds, inboard sheeting, slab reefing with internal lines, sheet stoppers and internal pre-stretched rope halyards led back to the cockpit are examples of the designer’s solution to the problem of simple, efficient sailing.
The long waterline, fin keel, spade rudder and sharp entry are becoming standards in yacht design. The four-foot, four-inch fin on the Sirius 28 is a lead keel of 2,600 pounds. This gives her a ballast: displacement ratio of almost 40 per cent. Combine this with a beam of nine feet, eight inches, which is carried well aft into the quarter, and you have a hull that is able to stand up to her sail area of 410 square feet.
In their desire to expand the boat’s market into some areas on Long Island Sound where the water is particularly shallow, Vandestadt and McGruer is attempting to decrease the draft without hurting sailing capabilities. To this end they had John Hemingway design a winged keel for it. Hemingway has been involved in keel research and design for the True North America’s Cup effort. The winged keel has the same displacement and center of effort as the fin. The idea is not to improve sailing ability, which is fine, but to decrease draft to 3 1/2 feet while maintaining performance.
The masthead single-spreader rig supports a Cinkel deck-stepped mast. Single lowers are helped out by a baby stay or jack stay to prevent mast pumping. The chainplates are inboard, which allows inboard sheeting of the headsail. This will help the 28 get weather efficiently. An outboard chainplates also make movement fore and aft much easier. It’s not necessary to duck under the lowers on your way up to the sharp end.
The boom is controlled by a traveler running the width of the cockpit just forward of the wheel. This provides an excellent sheeting angle, making mainsail trim easy and efficient.
The self-bailing cockpit has no bridge deck but a high sill will prevent any water getting below in the event that a sea sneaks aboard. High coamings, two large lockers and excellent visibility forward make the cockpit an enjoyable spot.
It is long enough to let yo sleep out in nice weather and the boom comes far enough aft to rig a simple boom tent or sun awning without the topping list splitting it in half.
Well, now that we know the deck layout, let’s go for a sail. Close-hauled, the wind puffed up to about eight or nine knots apparent. In this light stuff and a smooth sea, the boat slips along with very little fuss and its efficient high-aspect rudder provides good control even when drifting. Under these conditions, the Sirius 28 is very close-winded, tracks well and accelerates nicely in and out of the puffs. Even downwind it ghosts along under a main and number-one Genoa, leaving hardly a ripple in its wake.
While we are not too busy, let’s look at the rail stanchions. The base and stanchion are one-piece assemblies. This produces a strong fitting as do the bow and stern pulpits of one-inch welded tube. They are through-bolted to solid glass areas in the foam-cored deck. Standard double lifelines enclose the deck. A stainless steel boarding ladder built into the stern pulpit completes the deck details. Teak treads on the ladder would be kinder on bare feet than the stainless tubes.
The molded toe rail on the deck edge is fairly small in section. When the rail is buried and the spray is flying, I wonder if the toe rail would provide a sufficient toe hold. It seems to me it would be pretty slippery. A bow roller and self-bailing anchor locker make easy work of retrieving and stowing the anchor and rode.
Well, we’ve sailed into a hole, so let’s go below and snoop around. Opening ports-eight standard opening opening ports! Once you have cruised on a boat in the tropics, you will never sail without them. The cross-ventilation they produce can make the difference between roasting and rapture.
Wide beam and high freeboard, along with a fairly high trunk cabin, result in a lot of hull volume. This has allowed the designer to locate an enclosed head compartment aft on the port side. A one-piece molding comprises the sink vanity, with stowage under the sink. A foot pump supplies the sink from a 20-gallon water tank complete with an outboard vent and deck fill.
The galley is aft on the starboard side and includes an alcohol stove, an icebox and a single sink with a foot pump. Propane cooking is an option. Put your money down: you won’t be sorry. Propane is cleaner, faster more convenient and cheaper. Just stay afraid of it and follow all the safety procedures. If you do go for a gimbaled propane stove with oven, a safety bar across the front of the stove would provide a safer work area for the cook.
A full interior liner makes a neat job of the overhead surfaces and good head-room extends right up into the V-berth area. This is accomplished by extending the trunk forward and not fading it into the deck. It doesn’t look as streamlined but it is a compromise the designer felt was justified. The hull is lined with a closed-cell foam called Ethafoam and covered with a rich-looking fabric. It has good insulation qualities, looks attractive and, when it wear, it can be peeled off and replaced.
The standard cabin sole is carpet, but a teak and holly sole is available as an option. A dinette on the starboard side, which converts to a double, and a settee on the port side complete the seating. The table slides up and down the mast compression post and it is a simple matter to move the table down to make up the double berth. A folding chart table above a hanging locker completes the interior. The teak joinery work below and on deck is well executed. Stowage is ample.
I don’t hear the bow wave chuckling, so we must be out of wind. We fire up the two-cyclinder 18-hp Yanmar and it raps away at idle. I have noticed that these engines have a fair bit of combustion knock at idle, but once they are sped up a bit they quietened right down and are smooth little power plants. The Sirius powers at 5 1/2 knots at about 2,800 rpm. It is quiet and easy at this rpm and the controls are conveniently mounted on the steering pedestal.
Engine access is via the companionway steps and the port side cockpit locker. It is as good as can be expected on a 28 footer. A Racor fuel-water separator and a water lift muffler are standard. The standard engine is a nine-hp single-cylinder Yanmar. I doubt that it would be as smooth as the two-cylinder model.
The Sirius 28 has an impressive list of standard equipment. It certainly pays for the buyer to consider this when comparison shopping. The list includes double batteries, lower lifelines, two sails, stern ladder, wheel, brake and guard, opening ports, bilge pump, painted spar and more. Price these items separately and you get an idea of the real value of the boat. The boat’s base price is $52,500. For this you will enjoy a performance cruiser that is simple to sail and as with most boats, will probably take a great deal more punishment than will the crew.
LOA 28 ft.
Waterline 24 ft.
Beam 9 ft. 8 in.
Draft – Fin Keel 4 ft. 4 in.
Draft – Winged Keel 3 ft. 6 in.
Displacement 6,700 lbs.
Ballast 2,600 lbs.
Sail Area (Main & 110%) 410 sq. ft.
To see if this boat is available, go to http://www.boatcan.com for listings!