We sail a 2001 Saga 43 named Twig, designed by the famous offshore yacht designer, Robert Perry. In choosing a boat, we had a few very specific qualities which were absolutely required, and a few things we desired, but weren’t necessary. Twig embodied all of the things we were wanting in a sailboat: a modern sailboat designed for offshore use, a long water line, a pullman berth (the forward berth is moved back, out of the bow, and a head is in the “V” because I’m not shaped like a triangle and I refuse to sleep in one any longer), a separate aft cabin for the kid, a sail area to displacement ratio of greater than 15 (technical stuff), a walk through, sugar-scoop transom (for when grandmas visit… who am I kidding, we ALL wanted this), a bathroom that included a separate shower stall, and an all around bright, well ventilated boat. We joke that, when looking for boats, all I have to do is open the companionway door and judge if the boat is worth looking at any further depending on the scent of the air escaping. If it stinks (and many, many boats do), it’s not the boat. Thankfully this boat smelled great. (If you feel you have the right boat and it smells awful, don’t follow my advice necessarily, just investigate what the smell is coming from. Hint: dry bilges make good smelling boats.)
We were also lucky to find Twig (previously Nottus then Free Spirit) had recently gone through a refit and had lots of new bells and whistles, along with important things like newer standing rigging (the wires that hold up the mast), a reinforced main bulkhead, hull, mast step (where the mast sits on the keel), and an extra 850 lbs (386kg) added onto the keel for extra stability.
She is a Solent Rig, which means the overlapping Genoa and self-tacking Jib are on separate roller furlings next to each other on the bow. The forward fore stay roller houses the Genoa which is deployed in light winds or going downwind. The aft solent stay roller houses the Jib which is self-tending (except we often rig a barber hauler) and is used most often when going upwind. Having both sails at the ready is of great benefit during offshore passages where we stay on the same tack for many miles. Additionally, the rig is tall and the boat is on the lighter side for a 43 foot ocean boat, which makes it faster in light winds.
All in all, we had a short list of boat designs that would embody the things we wanted in a boat, with a Saga 43 at the top. She’s a wonderfully strong and skinny boat which makes sailing enjoyable.
We wanted a nature-based name. It needed to be short, distinct and easy to spell phonetically. I’m sure you know Twig as a noun means an offshoot of a tree, but you may not know that twig as a verb means to understand, notice, or observe. We’re constantly trying to understand each other, the earth, other people, and ourselves. We observe nature in its most beautiful and raw forms. We notice things we didn’t notice before our home was on the water. Twig gives us the ability to explore and understand. Also, we like trees, twigs are skinny and so is this boat!