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"Hytta Var", Pegasus 700 Bilge keel sloop Lying Essex
I first noticed the Pegasus 700 at a boat show in the late 80s. At the time I had a bilge keel Pandora International also made by Ridgeway Marine. This was a lovely little sailing boat but was rather small and with only 4ft plus headroom was rather cramped inside. In comparison the Pegasus seemed much bigger and airier and with 5ft 9in under the hatch had standing headroom in the main cabin. The designer assured me that the sailing performance was better than the Pandora (I know they all do that, but in this case he was right). As you do, I decided there and then that this would be my next boat. As it turned out I didn’t have to wait long. In 1991 I was pleased to be offered early retirement and I took the opportunity to sell the Pandora and buy Hytta Var.
“Hytta Var” (I pronounce it “Heeta Var”) may seem an unusual name for a boat. When I bought her I was told that the previous owner’s wife was Swedish and that the name meant, “Cabin by the water”. I thought at the time that it was a rather strange name and that I would change it to something more conventional when I needed new dodgers. However, I soon found that there are advantages to having an unusual name – for example, the water taxi and the Brightlingsea harbour launch have no trouble remembering where I am moored. Also it is an easy name to spell out using the phonetic alphabet over the radio. The name grew on me and when I changed the dodgers the name did not change!
Hytta Var is an easy boat to sail and she does sail better than the Pandora. She is well balanced and is light on the helm even when heeled. All lines are led back to the cockpit which is quite large, deep and secure. She has wide side decks for going forward to anchor or moor up. I use her mainly for single-handed day-sailing and have got so used to this that when I do have a crew I enjoy their company but find it difficult to give them jobs that I would normally do as part of my own routine.
She is well equipped, but some of the items such as the trailing log have not been used recently – the Magellan 320 GPS is very useful for speed, distance, direction to steer to marked buoys, etc. The Seafarer Seacourse auto helm also gives you freedom to make a drink or whatever while on the move. There is a Rutland wind generator to keep the battery charged. The inboard engine is a small 7˝hp Volvo petrol engine/saildrive unit. The engine is actually a Honda outboard engine which Volvo married to their own saildrive unit and marketed as the Volvo MB2A. The engine was becoming rather difficult to start and run (I think more due to the peripherals – carb, ignition, etc – than actual engine wear) so in 2004 a new Honda engine unit was fitted to the saildrive by an engineer who has specialised in these units for several years and who can also supply Honda and Volvo spares.
When I bought her I intended to spend most of my new leisure time sailing but in recent times this has not worked out as planned. My regular crew had to give up sailing because of old age (I didn’t think that would ever happen to me but it has now). She has therefore not been used as much as I would have wished over recent years but you could say that the up side is that she isn’t worn out!
The Pegasus 700 makes an ideal starter boat, great for two but also able to accommodate family.