Here's what the experts are saying about the Saga 43

Chesapeake Bay Magazine Feb. 2003

“Fast, efficient and proven, the Saga 43 is a good choice if your plans include any kind of long-distance cruising.”

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Practical Sailor Feb. 2002

“Bob Perry designed this Saga for a specific purpose—fast, efficient cruising. Its beauty is in the sum of its parts: there's plenty of function, and form follows fairly enough.”

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Sailing Magazine

“Designed for the experienced sailor, the Saga 43 is a cruiser that puts performance first ... I was among those who sometimes consider the ‘performance’ part of a performance cruiser to be more hyperbole than fact—until I went for a daysail in the Saga 43.

We unfurled the working headsail, set off on a beat and were pleased to find that, with the self-tacking jib, tacking takes only a turn of the wheel... everything else takes care of itself.”

SAIL Magazine

“Think of a canoe-sterned, cutter rigged voyager, then imagine a single-handed racer with double headsail, rig, plumb bow, and a modern underbody. Robert Perry's new design, the Saga 43 blends these two concepts. [It] combines some important aspects of offshore racing design with traditional cruising comforts.  That's a combination worth investigating.”

Chesapeake Bay Magazine

“His [Bob Perry's] new Saga 43 looks like a state-of-the-art round-the-world-at-speed racer ... but it is a cruiser nonetheless.

The Saga 43 is faster than most trawlers the same size and sailors thinking about a switch to power might reconsider that notion when they examine the new generation of cruising sailboats.”

Pacific Yachting

“[in 15 knots of wind] ... she beat to windward at slightly over 7kts under full main and self-tacking jib ... tacking through a little under 901&Mac218;4. The tacks of course wear merely a matter of turning the wheel. The smooth progress of this slim hull is disturbed only minimally by waves, and the flared bow sections deflect water downward for a nice, dry ride. When we unfurled the reacher and furled away the jib, the Saga promptly accelerated to over 10 knots on a beam reach. The top speed I saw, with the wind at 951&Mac218;4 apparent, was 11.4kts. No question this boat is a mover ... it also cruises under power in the 9 kt. range.”

Latitudes & Attitudes

“The two truly unique features that set the Saga apart from the rest is the variable geometry rig and the maximized sailing length... In fact underway the WL is 41.25 feet.

...a subtle but important nuance is that the reacher is tacked down 3.74 feet forward of t he jib, which shifts the geometry of the sailplan forward, providing a precisely balanced helm under a wider range of conditions than can be achieved by conventional cruising rigs.”

48 North

“All and all the Saga is a very well thought out and executed boat which is delivered ready  for serious cruising. Sailors interested in a reasonably priced, purposeful boat with all of the quality, strength, and equipment necessary to make it a dependable cruising platform will be strongly attracted to this boat.”

Robert H. Perry, Designer, Author

“Saga and I wanted this boat to be a step ahead... the hull form of the Saga 43 incorporates lessons learned by watching the substantive improvements in hull shape as pioneered by the short-handed offshore racing fleets... We looked at every possible rig configuration before deciding on this rig. The key to the Saga rig is versatility and convenience... the cruising couple can far better take advantage of a tall basic rig with non-overlapping headsails. The long and narrow hull of the Saga 43 means that we have a boat that balances easily under a wide range of wind pressure.  The aim is a very fast and easy-to-sail cruising boat as measured by the standards of today and not ten years ago.

I have been impressed with Saga's teamwork in quickly bringing to life this unique, complex, and demanding design.  It is always a pleasure to work with craftsmen and management that become an integral component of the creative process.”

Bluewater Saga

Text excerpts from SAILING Magazine, 1997, January.
By Erin L. Schanen with photography by Steve Eliaxen

Bob Perry will tell you that he designed the Saga 43 for the experienced cruiser, but that doesn't mean the boat is difficult to handle. On the contrary, one of the charms of this nimble passagemaker is that it makes fast sailing easy...

The plumb bow and narrow beam are reminiscent of a racing boat, but a quick glance at some of the other features—the deep, roomy cockpit, the open transom with a hinged door and the dual roller-furling headsail configuration—reassured me that, indeed, this was a performance cruiser...

Perry will also warn you that, yes, you're going to sacrifice some of the luxuries of a beamy cruising boat, but what you get in return may be the most satisfying aspect of cruising—you'll get there fast and you'll have fun doing it...

...the 50-horsepower Yanmar was pleasantly quiet, but plenty powerful to get the boat going nicely.  Even at top rpm there was minimal vibration—a day of powering to the next port would be almost as comfortable as sailing, with nary a headache from engine noise.

...I raised the main myself, with just one finger on the electric Harken halyard winch. It took all of about a minute for the full-battened main to reach  the top of the 63-foot mast. Cruising mainsails can sacrifice performance for ease in handling with conservatively cut leeches. The Saga's main, however, has a big, powerful roach that adds power without interfering with the backstay.

• ...The helm handled nicely—very responsive and not at all overburdened.
• The deck layout of the Saga 43 is extremely cruiser friendly. There is almost no exterior teak or wood, which significantly reduces maintenance time...
• The cockpit is cleverly designed to provide abundance of stowage space. 
• ...a cockpit that works as well at anchor as it does under sail.
• It's obvious that Perry paid a lot of attention to it [the galley], judging by its spaciousness and superior layout.
• It's easy to tell from the attention paid to details when a designer has spent time on the water.
• The Saga 43's strongest point is the versatility in sailing performance features it offers owners.

There are lots of spacious, well appointed cruising boats on the market that stress the comforts of being at a destination, but the Saga 43 stands out as a different sort—an innovative, able bluewater sailer that makes getting there a good part of the fun.



A lean, canoe-bodied speedster purpose built for shorthanded voyaging and comfortable cruising, the Bob Perry-designed Saga 43 at first glance looks like some BOC boat’s little sister. In fact, very few production boats on today’s market so effectively emphasize what’s needed in a fast passagemaker. Our Boat Of The Year judges liked the boat enough to giver her a runner-up prize (behind the Dehler 41 DS) in our 1998 contest.

...we loved the electrical panel and wiring-run arrangement...

The stock boat gets "Harkenized" at the factory; those choosing deck hardware never lost sight of the boat’s intended purpose.


Here’s where the Saga shines. Her straight sheer, skinny beam, plumb stem, long waterline, and big double-spreader rig spell performance under sail. Think America’s Cup Class. Think Deerfoot. A great feature is the self-tacking jib sheeted to a coach roof-mounted traveler, an attribute that makes beating up a narrow channel or tacking to stay on a great circle route a no-hassle turn of the wheel. When the breeze goes light or when you’re cracking off, the release of a reefing line and a tug on another sheet unleashes a substantial 135-percent roller-furling reacher. An asymmetric chute could be useful in really light air, but those who opt for the tandem headsail option will be pleasantly surprised at the wind range and points of sail that can be covered with two independent headsails. Under way, the lean, efficient hull accelerates quickly, and when the crew so desires, she can be sailed more like a sport boat than a traditional cruiser. The full stern sections suggest that a crew headed downwind in the trades would be in for days of surfing under sail. During sail trials on a bumpy 20-knot day in the Chesapeake, she behaved like a true "cruiser/racer." A boatload of performance-oriented sailors pushed the boat hard and saw that the dividing line between "powered-up" and "overpowered" had a lot to do with the skill and mind-set of the crew. If a Ma and Pa crew were sailing in the same conditions, there would have been a reef or two in the main and a bit of jib rolled in; these tasks are easily accomplished from the cockpit with the smart deck layout. It’s a lot easier to slow down a fast boat than it is to speed up a slow one.


Whether coastal cruising or offshore passagemaking - and this boat is eminently capable of both - the Saga 43’s raison d’etre is fast, fun sailing. What does that mean to you? Take this simple quiz: When you scan new-or used-boat advertising, do you immediately look for boats from Group A? (Tayanas, Hans Christians, Masons, Island Packets.) Or Group B? (Tartans, C&C’s s-2s, J-Boats.) If you chose A, you’ll probably want to stick this rocket in someone else’s pocket. If you chose B, strap in and get ready to ride.

- Ralph Naranjo & Herb McCormick

Built by Bruckmann