Boat of the Year 2020: Sun Fast 3300

The Cool Shorthander’s Ride

By Dave Reed

Dave Powlison’s feet are wedged into the stainless-steel foot brace. He has a light grip on the tiller handle in his right hand. His gaze is forward, over the shoulders of his mainsail trimmer beside him, then travels over the backs of three big guys sitting comfortably on the rail and out of his sightline. The boat is perfectly balanced. Fifteen knots of wind on a flat bay is the sweet spot for this 32-footer under the seat of his pants. He’s entranced, and you can tell because his forward hand floats midair, digits outstretched as if their tips are feeling the wind direction and heel angle. In this moment, Powlison likes this boat a lot. It’s his frontrunner for Boat of the Year.

“When I was on the helm, I just wanted to be on it for much longer,” he says. “I would have enjoyed sailing it all day.”

For shorthanded offshore aspirants, Powlison’s sentiment should be all you need to hear, because when there’s only you and the autopilot for the next 48 hours, a balanced helm will be all yours to enjoy.

Greg Stewart—the naval architect of our BOTY panel—specializes in underwater appendages and knows balance when he feels it. “What impressed me most was the upwind sailing,” he says. “The balanced ends were really nice. It’s not excessively wide in the back, but the biggest thing is all the volume forward. It’s comfortable to hike and all that tumblehome gives you a lot of interior volume and buoyancy when you press the boat hard. It’s a fun and lively boat to sail.”

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