The Bluewater Sailboat Cape Dory 28 is a tough little cruiser that has been described as having the feel of a larger boat.
She blends conventional styling, high-quality construction, and well-mannered sailing characteristics in an offshore-capable package. We’ve seen at least one circumnavigation as proof of her seaworthiness – in 2009, Fred Bickum completed a three-year solo cruise in his 1978 Cape Dory, FêNIX.
The Bluewater Sailboat Cape Dory 28’s debut in 1974 marked the beginning of a remarkable twelve-year collaboration between Cape Dory Yachts and well-known designer Carl Alberg. Between 1974 and 1987, Cape Dory built 388 yachts in their yard in East Taunton, New England, helping the company establish a grand reputation for building well-made sailboats with excellent sailing characteristics.
A skilled eye can detect much of the classic Alberg form in her hull design. As a Swede, he was heavily influenced by the sleek Scandinavian folkboats of the early twentieth century, and the 28’s hull is narrow, allowing for less accommodation volume belowdecks, but the long overhangs seen in earlier Alberg designs are only hinted at, instead being toned down in favor of a longer waterline and regaining some space. The sheerline is elegant, with a modest freeboard. A full keel with a forefoot cutaway and a keel-hung rudder completes her classical design under the waterline.
The hulls are made of solid fibreglass in polyester resin, while the decks are made of balsa or plywood cored fibreglass. The build quality is superb throughout, and the fixtures are of exceptional quality. The through hull fittings and the eight opening ports are made of bronze, while earlier boats before 1978 used poorer quality plastic ports.
They are sea-friendly Bluewater Sailboats, stiff and capable in large seas but surprisingly swift in mild winds. A displacement of 9,000 pounds, a modified full keel, and a well-distributed sail plan result in a well-balanced boat that tracks smoothly, is quick through the tacks, and has the momentum to push through choppy seas.
In conclusion, if you want a compact cruiser with a traditional appearance and proven offshore potential but don’t mind losing the interior space seen in more modern 28-footers, the Cape Dory 28 may be a fine alternative.
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