Saint Barbara



"Owner Sam Kovalak reports that on his first race, Around Mackinac Island over the July 4 weekend, he walked away from the fleet! At the start in winds of about 15 mph, Saint Barbara was mired and blanketed on the line. By the first mark, Saint Barbara was about a half mile ahead of the rest of the fleet, which included some pretty serious racers, out-pointing them by about 3-5°. On the close reach leg, Sam picked up about a knot and a half to 9 knots max and gained again. At the finish, Sam, with family on board who were not in the least experienced racing, let alone even knowing how to handle a sailboat, finished a full 8 minutes ahead of the next boat, taking first overall." - Erik Sponberg

Saint Barbara, a cruising and racing sloop, was designed by Erik Sponberg for a client that wanted to be heavily involved in both the design and construction of the boat. The client supplied CNC cut components for the boat as construction progressed.

The hull was built using cedar strips over which was laid a carbon fiber skin on both the inside and the outside. This assured a lightweight, strong structure. An experimental foresail handling system was designed by the client and Sponberg to allow total sail management from the cockpit. Water ballast tanks provide an increased righting moment when conditions merit.

An innovative dagger keel and dagger rudder designed by the client allows shoal draft in shallow waters. Van Dams and the client together built the plug for the custom carbon fiber mast. Many features on the boat are experimental in nature and the client is enjoying playing with the different systems and perfecting performance.

The client chose Van Dam for their CAD capabilities, their long experience in building unique boats and their willingness to work with him on his ideas.

  • LOA 37’6”
  • LWL 34’6”
  • Beam 10’0”
  • Displacement 11,500 lbs
  • Ballast 4500 lbs
  • 100% S.A. 720 sq ft
  • 100% . 720 ft


Saint 4