By John Kerr
Recognizing this growing niche, I have reviewed a few of these trailerable boats. It’s funny how a traditional sailor like me can get seduced by the practicality and simplicity of these boats. This trailerable compact cruising yacht offers a neat option for those who want the flexibility to be able cruise in many places and explore places where traditional boaters may not be able to. While our friends in cottage country might not want to hear this, a TES Magnam 28 opens up this area to more sailing adventure than ever before. My recent trip to New York from Bellville through the Erie (barge) Canal could easily be done in this boat with the simple mast system that drops the spar effortlessly.
The Polish Yacht builder Tomasz SIWIK is the principal designer and owner of the TES Yachts firm that was established in 1980; the tenure and reputation are there. TES Yachts Canada is being run by Mark Janczarski and the line is represented by North Lakes Yachting in Port Credit.
Above decks, the flat open deck is easy to move around on especially with the double life lines provided. All lines are led to the cockpit for single-handed sailing. Forward, there is a unique functional bow pulpit with a seat to enjoy the forward view while sailing or at anchor. The mast system for lowering and raising the spar is simple ensuring minimal side swing and safe deployment.
The solid ballast system in the lower hull provides adequate stability and functionally making the boat stiff and comfortable. This provides a shallow draft of 12-16 inches for the swing centerboard versions of the TES 28. By the way, full keel versions are available and are no doubt as easily trailerable as an Etchells however this option will limit potential water access points.
The kick-up rudder with easy access and effortless up and down control lines makes beaching the TES a snap.
First impressions when I saw the boat for the first time was quality. The price point is more than reasonable and the offering substantial. This boat comes across to us as a much bigger than its 28-foot moniker might suggest. Below decks, there is ample head room (6 feet) and space for four adults easily. Believe it or not, there is a head with shower, full galley with stove and a roomy and comfortable feeling. Let’s be clear; this is not a 40’ offshore cruiser, but it’s got many of the features one might expect there. The twin berth forward and another aft boast space that will surprise you. The teak and holly floors are also a nice touch. Solid, well hung cabinetry and tons of storage are evident everywhere.
The cockpit is most safe and deep and the steering can either be a wheel or tiller. One of the neatest features is the easy-to-use lifting swim platform that folds up to close the back of the cockpit.
The outboard Honda engine is more than enough to push this boat alone, though I would possibly consider an even smaller engine in horsepower and profile.
All in all, if I wanted to explore easily, travel more than most in coast and in lake cruises, or get out and sail hard, we recommend this boat as a great way to do it. Trailering offers the choice to explore many places not typically accessible on such a functional liveaboard boat.
Originally published in Canadian Yachting’s July 2010 issue.