The Sigma Yachts story starts back in the mid 1970’s when yacht designer David Thomas submitted a 33 foot (10m) design to the Offshore One Design Council. They were selecting three cruiser racer models to adopt as official One Designs and subsequently went with three other boats.
David Thomas believed he was on to a winning design, so partnered with an experienced sailor and marine surveyor called David Hopkins and submitted the designs to Marine Projects in Plymouth, who were manufacturers of Moody Yachts.
Marin Projects said yes, and together they started planning a rollout of sufficient numbers of identical One Design yachts – under a new Marine Projects subsidiary called Sigma Yachts.
A prototype Sigma 33 was launched and soon started attracting interest as it racked up successes on the racing circuit. David Thomas had cleverly kept the Sigma 33 designs with the IOR rules so as the numbers grew the model became viable under One Design fleet rules.
After a successful Cowes Week, the Sigma 33 was put to the ultimate boat test as it was entered into the infamous Fastnet Race of 1979. Many will know that an incredible storm came in the ’79 Fastnet Race with devastating effect. There was nothing in the forecast to indicate a storm when the race started, but on day three wind gusts of over 80mph and claims of 50ft waves battered the 300 boats taking part. By the end of the race, 24 boats had been abandoned, five boats had sunk, 136 sailors had been rescued, and 15 sailors killed.
Both David Thomas and David Hopkins were on a Sigma 33 that was entered in the fateful race and experienced the storm first-hand. Despite several knockdowns, some cracking around the coachroof and a stove-in window the boat held its own. Whilst the crew were hunkered down in the cabin a Dutch naval vessel came alongside and asked if they wanted to get off. David consulted his crew, but they refused, and the plucky Sigma continued to Newlyn.
Having survived the ultimate test, the boat was returned to the Marine projects factory where the yacht design was reviewed and several areas of the boat “beefed up”. The experience prompted some design changes to later models of the boat.
The Sigma 33 was the first in a series of offshore capable cruiser racers that were produced by Marine Projects. Over 400 yachts were built over the next fifteen years and the 33 was by far the runaway success of the Sigma family.
Sigma Sailboat Range & Popular Models
Following the success of the first model, a “big 33” was launched – the Sigma 36. Another David Thomas design, the 36 was offered with tiller or wheel steering. It had spacious accommodation, including a large aft double berth under the cockpit – and was positioned as a long-distance cruiser.
The 36 was later reworked into the Sigma 362 fast cruiser. The original hull lines were kept, but the deck moulding, rig and accommodation plan were completely different. The result, a nippy, versatile cruiser that offers precise steering and good performance even against its bigger competition.
The Sigma 38 was launched in 1987 and many thought the 38-foot boat was quite a gamble for the Marine Project boatyard. Up until now, the majority of one design yachts had been much smaller, so the Sigma 38 represented a significant shift.
The Sigma 38 can sleep up to 10 people so can accommodate a large racing team. Two double cabins aft, two pilot berths above the saloon settees and a twin berth fore-cabin. The Sigma 38 doubles up as a very capable cruising boat – which gives owners the opportunity to cover both roles.
The Sigma 41 was the biggest Sigma to be built. These fast sturdy sea cruisers (again, designed by David Thomas) are built to a very high standard and much sought after for bluewater adventures. The Sigma 41 has all the creature comforts that make cruising enjoyable and can accommodate 9 people in two cabins and the saloon.
Like the other yachts in the range, it still has its racing pedigree ready to go at any time and performs well in offshore racing events.
Drag Reducing Propellers for Sigma Yachts
Darglow have supplied drag reducing props for many of the models in the Sigma yacht range. We keep an expanding database of technical information on many of our installations along with feedback from our customers.
Check our full list of Sigma Yachts we have supplied propellers to here.
Rope Cutters for Sigma Yachts
We have supplied rope cutters for various boats in the Sigma Yacht range. We keep a database of technical information on many of our installations along with feedback from our customers.
Check our full list of Sigma Yachts we have supplied rope cutters for here.
Image copyright 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) – John Harwood – Flikr