We had a plan … then things happened.

In mid-2016 one of the rare Jerry Montgomery Panthers became available and we jumped on the chance to own a piece of Montgomery Marine Products history. The Panther is a pure racing boat designed by Ron Holder. Jerry Montgomery only built about a dozen. The boat will plane in winds over about 12 knots. She has an unballasted centerboard so the crew is hiking out to keep the boat upright in anything over a light breeze. She is a fractional sloop with a HUGE main and TALL rotating mast. Jerry only built a few as his distributors were marketing the boat as a family daysailor because of the large open deck and cockpit. As she is a race boat she is a bit ‘twitchy’ and is not appropriate for casual family outings.

When we got her to the boat shop she needed a few fixes: repair the transom as the backing for the rudder gudgeons was rotten, retune the rig and fix a broken frame. Otherwise she needed some cosmetic work and the boat would be ready to sail.


Well. A strong storm came through Golden, Colorado, with 100+ miles per hour winds. The boat and trailer were picked up, meaning they flew through the air, and the boat came to a sudden crashing stop. The mast and boom are bent. The centerboard was broken. A chainplate pulled out taking part of the deck with it. One of the trailer tires came off the rim. Yeah it was one hell of a blow!.

after the windstorm

So the Panther is now available to someone willing to take on the project. All the running, standing and miscellaneous parts are present though severely damaged … and some in better condition than others (see above). She is a project. First person that takes her gets the boat! Cost – FREE! 


Busy boat shop and June plans

We have been very busy these past few months causing us to be slow in updating this BLOG and our forum; BUT over the past months there have been MANY posts on our Facebook and Instagram feeds (LOTS of pictures on Instagram).  There are also updates on our Twitter account.  For day-to-day Sage Marine activities these ‘social medial sites’ are a great way for you to see what we are up to.

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So what have we been busy with? Boat building and boat fixing!  New Sage 15s and SageCats are going out the door every couple of weeks in addition to Sage 17s.

In addition to building new boats we are are busy helping folks get their older boats ready for the sailing season …

… including assisting a Race to Alaska team preparing their Jerry Montgomery design for the run north from Port Townsend to Ketchikan.

This week Dave, the one typing this post, will be putting together a prototype Sage 15/SageCat electrical system.  Follow along as the system goes into the boat and the testing happens during the Puget Sound June Cruise.

This upcoming month, June 2017, Dave will be on the road and showing a SageCat on the Sage Marine West Coast Tour.  I you would like to see the boat please let us know (info@sagemarine.com & 800-621-1065).

I will be updating the social media feeds during my travels. Besides general SageCat showing I will also be taking a multi-day cruise around Northern Puget Sound.  My crew during the trip, and copilot while driving, will be the sailing & road tripping cat Momma Kitty.

momma kitty after R2AK crossing 2015

Momma Kitty in the cabin of Sage 17 001 AIR BORN after crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca during the first leg of the 2015 Race to Alaska.


Raising and lowering

Sage 15 and SageCat use a daggerboard ballasted by 220# of lead for windward ability, directional stability and righting moment.  The fiberglass shell and lead makes the overall board weight about 250 or so pounds.  This isn’t something that most of us can lift without mechanical advantage.


ASOLARE’s, Sage 15 #001, daggerboard in the down position.

To raise and lower the SageCat & Sage 15 daggerboards a series of blocks, a winch and a winch handle are used. The force needed at the winch handle is about 19 pounds.

A line runs from the top of the board, to the cabin top, outboard (starboard) and then aft through a seven-to-one block and tackle.  The line then runs through the cabin wall, turns 180 degrees to the cabin top winch.

wide view of the daggerboard control line.

The daggerboard control line is red and goes from the head, top, of the board to starboard and then aft.

daggerboard line on cabin top.

The daggerboard control line running aft.

Daggerboard control line on cabin top.

The daggerboard control line, far starboard (right), comes through the cabin bulkhead then up and forward to the winch.

The control line is connected to the daggerboard with a snap shackle.  When the board is down the control line can be disconnected from the daggerboard making the berth obstruction free.  Over the starboard (right) cabin seat the blocks can also be disconnected freeing up some headroom for those seated in the cabin.


V-berth, 85″ long, is completely open with daggerboard control line disconnected.  (NOTE: this picture taken in prototype SageCat, #000, and the cabin windows are different than on the production boats.)

Going Up and Down – Part 2

Since I first posted details on the Sage 15 daggerboard (yes it was a few months ago) I’ve personally put in over 30 hours of sailing in the Sage 15 sloop and catboat (aka, SageCat).  The daggerboard is providing exceptional righting moment and the boats, like their big sister the Sage 17, hit a ‘wall’ and don’t like to heal more, and when the wind blows the S15 and SageCat don’t ‘tip’ like a small 750# ‘dinghy sized’ craft.

Building a small daggerboard pocket cruiser, meaning a boat with a cabin where two adults can sit and sleep, isn’t something many manufactures have attempted.  There are larger centerboard cruisers such as the Sandpiper 565, Potter 19, Seaward’s boats and the Hobie 33.

The Sage 15 daggerboard is different than most other boats:

  • angled aft
  • has 225# of lead in the bulb
  • when down the daggerboard doesn’t intrude the cabin space as the trunk is under the v-berth.

The above differences do present design challenges and it is these that I’ll detail in the this post.

As the board is angled aft the raising mechanism needs to allow for the daggerboard’s weight not being in-line, meaning straight down, as the board moves up and down.  The balancing point needed to be determined so the board didn’t bind in the trunk when being lowered/raised.  In addition the corresponding pull point on the cabin roof needed to be located.

Inside the daggerboard trunk are guides that hold the board in place and keep it from rocking front-to-back and side-to-side.  We call these guides ‘bearings’ as they also take the weight and forces of the daggerboard as the boat heels.  As the board is angled, front-to-back, the bearing design must account for the board moving in two planes … not just straight up, but front-to-back.


ASOLARE’s daggerboard in the down position.

If it is so challenging to design a boat with a keel angled aft why go to all this trouble?  Two reasons:

  • The boat’s sail center of effort is slightly aft of the v-berth.  If the board went straight up and down there would not be a good sized space inside the companionway to stand, use the potti, or put one’s feet when sitting on the cabin seats.
  • The angled keel will naturally shed kelp, weeds or other items that come across the leading edge.  The angle is just right so as the boat moves forward kelp will move down and off the bottom of the board.


Yes a daggerboard results in there being a ‘hole’ in the middle of the boat that can result in water coming into the cabin.  There are bearings at the top and bottom of the trunk.   These bearings combat water splashing into the boat because they are also baffles that reduce splashing inside the trunk.  To combat water from going between the bearing and board when sailing in very heavy seas there will be a seal the top of the truck incorporated into the v-berth cushion insert.  The top of the cushion will be a couple of inches of foam and a fabric covering so the crew can comfortably  use the entirety of the v-berth.  The bottom of the insert will have a seal so any water that gets past the top trunk bearing will not get into the cabin.

prototype S15 top daggerboard trunk bearing

Prototype S15 top of trunk daggerboard bearing. NOTE: The daggerboard photoed doesn’t have its insert yet. Production boats will have an insert in the top of the board that keeps one from dropping items into the daggerboard … like keys and a cell phone.

With 225# of lead in the bulb of the daggerboard, and the fiberglass structure of the board, the overall weight is about 250#.  This structure provides excellent ballast and the boat really stands up well once she heels over about 10 degrees.  Now how do you raise this weight?  A pennant line (the red line in the above picture) runs from the top of the board to the cabin top, turns starboard to a cheek block and then runs aft though seven blocks set in a cascade.  The line then exits the cabin’s aft bulkhead and turns forward to a #6 winch on the cabin top.  The boats come standard with a 10″ winch handle.  Overall the blocks, winch and handle provide a 13:1 mechanical advantage.  This means that at the winch you are lifting about 19 pounds.

A daggerboard needs to be locked in place to assure it doesn’t slide into the cabin if the boat experiences a knockdown.  Once the board is down it is locked in place with two bolts.

An acknowledged concern is ‘what happens if you hit bottom when the board is down’?  The Sage 15 daggerboard is swept aft.  If the board hits and obstruction the boat will lift up and dissipate the energy of the impact.  As noted above the board is locked in the trunk with bearings.  The bearings will transfer the energy of an impact to the trunk.  The truck is bonded to the hull, a forward bulkhead and the the aft bulkhead of the v-berth.  These two bulkheads are fully bonded to the hull and the berth structure.  Yes, the daggerboard trunk is very strong.

daggerboard trunk and bulkhead in place

The daggerboard trunk and forward bulkhead bonded in place.

The next post on the Sage 15’s daggerboard will detail sailing and cruising differences v. the fixed keel or shoal keel/centerboard setup.

Sage 15 third prototype build update

A busy week on the third Sage 15, a SageCat version, to get her ready for the Annapolis Sailboat Show – (click on these images for larger versions and descriptions)

In preparation for production a ‘splash’ of the cabin top was made to be a drilling template for setting the deck hardware –


Cabin top sprayed with mold release.


Fiberglass being layed over the cabin top to build the hardware fastener drilling template.


Adding stiffeners to the hardware template.


Completed template.



Annapolis Sailboat Show

In less than three weeks the Annapolis Sailboat Show begins! Sage will be attending and in our usual spots, land sites 80&81, 6-10 October 2016. Let us know if you wish to attend –

set up at show

The boats all set up at the  2016 Annapolis show – land sites 80 & 81.

Can’t attend the Annapolis Show? Want to see a SageCat or Sage 17?

  • The route Sage 17 will take to Maryland is still being set … maybe along I-80? Maybe I-70?
  • The route SageCat will take going back to Golden will be via the I-90 & I-80 corridor.

Contact us about setting up a personal showing of the boat: info@sagemarine.com  or 800-621-1065.