Leonardo da Costa Sayago

Who designed the Sandpiper? Leonardo da Costa Sayago of course. He just discovered our Sandpiper Website and sent us an email. We like to tell of his story, its only 36 years late, but better late than never. We will be added more here as time develops. If you have any questions for him in regards to the construction and sailing abilities of the Sandpiper, do send us an Email: Questions for Leonardo and we will collect them and then forward them to him for his answers and post them at the bottom of this page.

We searched the internet to see what Leonardo has been doing and we found that he is the Managing Director of Aeromarine lda which is an associated company to a group of British companies, started in 1967 by Leonardo da Costa Sayago, Naval Architect, specializing in the design, construction and marketing of pleasure boats and light aircraft.

(Speculation: It could be possible, that some time later after Leonardo left Sandpiper Marine, the company, then decided to sell/license off the Sandpiper design to Canada, as not very many Sandpipers were made in England.) 

March 29, 2009, Dear Sirs,

I read with interest your story of the Sandpiper. I am pleased to offer all the due royalties to the Association! I am happy people have enjoyed sailing her.

My name is Leonardo da Costa Sayago, C. Eng, F:RINA, and I am its designer.

I was born in Portugal, read Naval Architecture in Sunderland University (North of England), worked for Camper and Nicholson in Southampton.

My first design was the Saifish 18. Unable to receive my due royalties, I started Sandpiper Marine of which I was 50% shareholder but my fellow associates, once they had my brains picked soon make life difficult and I resigned and was unaware up to now the design was built in Canada.

I then met a very decent and honest gentleman in Sweden, Bo Lindstrom, owner of Ockelbo Batar, in a small village near Gavle, North of Stockolm. He built the OS19 as designed, it is by far the best with a good fixed keel and sails like a dream. Bo not only paid my fees but offered me one of the first boats that I sailed all over the South Coast of England where I won several regattas including "the Lady´s Helmsman Cup" (girl friend at the helm) Royal Airforce Yacht Club, Hamble, Hampshire.

You might like to consider putting my name on the very nice write up on your site. It is 36 years late, but it is better late than never.

I will be pleased to give you more information if you desire.

Yours faithfully, Leonardo Sayago

April 10, 2009, Many thanks for your kind words  and I have just read your addition to your site for which I thank you.

I would like to say that the name of Sandpiper came to me after seeing Richard Burton and Liz Taylor film of the same name filmed in California. I liked it very much and as I walked out decided "that's the name for the Company".

The fellow that built the plug for the mould was an old (then about 55) carpenter in the Isle of Wight. The people from that island are affectionately known as Cork Heads. Apparently from the shipwrecks of the Middle Ages all the sailors with not much brains would float to the Coast of that South of England island and survive!

I lived in Southampton and had to take the ferry to the Island to check on the progress. At first glance I noticed that 1/3 of the length from the bow, there was a marked unfairness on the gunwale line. Pointing it out he of course did not believe me. We got out the Lines Plan and on seeing that he was out by a couple inches said "How old are you?"

Listen, John, my age does not come into this, you got it wrong and we should make it right. I am a perfectionist. As he kept insisting in asking  about my age, I finally said "I am 28". Like a flash he said: "Look Leonardo, you are not old enough to tell my how to do my job!".

I never did go back to check to see if he had fixed it, but knowing Corkheads, I bet he never did . You  may like to look from amidships towards the bow carefully  and let me know if the "old boy " ever rectified it, but remembering him I really doubt it. Now I am 65 and start to think I am an old boy too.

One day I will go to a box where I keep my old designs and will send you some copies.

As a matter of interest some 1,200 Sailfishes were built, I heard of a figure of about 500 for the Ockelbo 19. but no idea of how many Sandpipers were built. Other things I designed were Caravela 22, Caravela 25, Sealord 15 and Sealord 25, Seahound 31, Crusader 16 and 15, one or two projects for Brasil (do not their names).

My first job at Camper & Nicholsons was to redesign the Keel of Endeavour, the best British contender for the America´s Cup in the 1930s. The original keel of some 30 tons of lead had been converted into bullets for the WW2! Endeavour, designed and built originally by Campers, was in the mud and in a very sorry state when in 1967 was purchased by a rich American and was restored to its former glory.

Very best regards, Leo

April 12, 2009, Dear

I would like you and your wonderful association members to know that having discovered you all is like discovering a large Family on the other side of the Ocean, that I had no idea  I had. Thank you very much.

Upon going to my loft I found two large boxes of drawings, still in mint condition, some prints a bit yellow but lots of originals in perfect condition. It took me back nearly 40 years and made me think why not make a new model to commemorate the 40th anniversary? Of course I would like to hear from owners on how they would like the model improved .

I will reply to all questions with pleasure and will send photos and stories that I hope you will enjoy. I need to digitalize the old photos & drawings and will send all to you.

Tell me please how many boats there are, how many members, details of the keel fitted and raising mechanism, if you have a drawing even better. I was made to leave Sandpiper (I was MD, owned 50%, never received 1 cent salary, and Mr. Snow would not allow me to design other boats...) before the project was finished so I am not sure how they finished the keel.

I am planning to go to Sweden and bring a OS19 to sail here on our lake next to the farm where I have a grass strip where I fly. Will send pictures for those of you who share the interest in flying and you can look at also at on the Hamble River, where it all started.

Happy sailing and best regards.

If you could ask Leonardo a Question about the Sandpiper 565 what would you ask? 

Question 1: Drawings and Sail Plans.

I would really like to get a copy of the NA drawings of the Sailfish/Sandpiper and the formal specifications for the sailplan and the various sails. I want to make my own sails (I have already made a genoa from a Sailrite kit) but cannot find a consistent set of measurements for the sails anywhere. Having made the Sailrite sail I know that their measurements are wrong[*], I have a pretty good idea about how to make a better sail but I would really like to make a 'class' sail for our Sandpiper. Regards, Don Taylor.

Leonardo's Answer. MAST & SAILS. Have sail plan and will send soon.

Question 2: Tweaking the Mast.

I would like to know more about the configuration and setup of the mast, side stays, forestay, and backstay (although I don't have one) and the raking of the mast.  In the CL Sandpiper manual it basically states to have the mast straight and all stays tight. But is there a preferred position for speed advantage? What angle is best for preventing lee helm/weather helm etc. Thanks Neil.

Leonardo's Answer. Mast rake should be adjusted aft if you have weather helm. Do it by trial and error until it feels is ok for you. I like the mast like an almost straight banana !!This will increase the camber on the mainsail and get you more drive.

Comment 3: Invite to the Canadian Sandpiper Rendezvous.

Great work Neil and many thanks Leonardo! I don't have a question for Leonardo as I haven't even sailed my Piper yet but I think it would be spectacular if he got a standing invite to a "Canadian" Rendezvous whenever he might make it. :)  Glen.

Leonardo's Answer. I am proud and very happy at the invitation and if I can make it will love to come.

Question 4: Self-Rescuing Design.

Hi Leonardo. I would like to know if you consider the Sandpiper a self-rescuing design. Do you think it would right itself from a capsize or would stay turtled ? My best and thank you for the wonderful little vessel.  Michel Boulet

Leonardo's Answer. STABILITY. The OS 19 is fitted with a 450 lb fixed keel with bulb (cast iron) and is very stable. For best sailing performance do not heel the boat past 15 degrees ,reef early, never allow the boat to be pressed to the point where capsizing is a possibility. Not sure what mechanism has been used but keel may move and great serious danger. Always wear a life jacket.

Question 5: Speed Potential.

Leonardo: The Sandpiper is quite fast for her short waterline length. What did you do to create this speed potential? Is the Sandpiper a mini-tonner design? If so, what is her rated length? What was the Sandpiper's design weight? Dennis Mausser

Leonardo's Answer. RATING. This design is well before Mini tonners and much smaller. It is not a racing boat, just a fun family boat with a reasonable turn of speed because  it has clean, easy driven lines.

Question 5: Sculling oar off the Tansom.

Leonardo, I would like to propel the Piper in quiet rocky bays and inlets on Georgian Bay to observe wildlife etc. Do you have any suggestions for mounting a single sculling oar off the transom? I am aware that this was done in Europe prior to outboard motors by fairly large sailing boats and is still in use on some fishing hulls but I have been unable to locate any current resources that are generic enough to help me create a Piper design. With thanks for your thoughts, Glen :) 

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