Why Sail a Santana 20 Keelboat?

Excerpt of Letter from Bruce Golison

Bruce Golison is the organizer of the prestigious Golison and Golison Race Week in Long Beach (also known as Boatscape.Com / North Sails Race Week). He is the new owner of one of the newest Santana 20's - 2000 model and was 2nd place at this year's Santana 20 National Championships.

As a new Santana 20 owner for the second time over a 22 year period, I was asked to share my thoughts on coming back to the class and how it compares to other sailing that I have done over the past 22 years.  Actually for the past 5 years, I have not done much sailing with an active young son at home. 

This year I decided to get back into the class with a long time friend of mine, Steve Washburn for several reasons:

1. I wanted a new challenge after sailing in the Cal 20 class for the past ten years. 
2. I wanted a boat that I could travel with. Experiencing different locations, new competitors and varied sailing conditions makes for a great time. Combine this with making new friends in different locations and you have a wonderful experience.
3. Steve and I have young sons who we want to get into sailing and Steve's eleven year old in particular was ready to try racing with spinnakers.

Once we decided to get a new boat, Steve and I had to decide what kind of boat to get. Prior to my getting a Cal 20, I had campaigned a J/24 for eight years. Our J/24 travels took us from Key West, to Sydney, Australia, to Seattle, to San Francisco and to the Texas Circuit (a series consisting of regattas in Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Ft. Worth, Corpus Christi and Shreveport, LA). One year we actually put over 40,000 miles on our trailer! The J/24 provided us with great competition and life long sailing friends.  Since racing the J/24 successfully takes a crew of five, and they can't be your young children, that boat didn't fit into our current equation. The Melges 24, although a wonderful class, possed the same issues regarding having our young kids race with us. Remembering the fun that I had had with my first Santana, I started to do some research on the class.

I was happy to learn of a "rebirth" in the class and that there were active fleets around the western states.  The fact that there were good sailors competing in the class was also very important to us. Combing these factors with the fact that our kids could race with us, the Santana 20 was our choice!

We decided to get a new boat so that we would have all the developments of the class built right into the boat. We wanted to be competitive "right out of the box". This proved to be a great decision. Tom Schock has done a great job keeping the production boats up to date with class innovations. Combine this with the latest construction techniques and our boat was fast from the first time we stepped on board. At the just completed nationals, we sailed with an absolutely stock Santana 20 right off the Schock production line, and placed second! I would recommend a new boat to anyone.

Bruce Golison
Hull #919

Comments from S20 Sailors


  • "The that performs like a dinghy, but SAILS like a keelboat"
  • "Santana 20's are fairly inexpensive compared to other keelboats. Because it is usually dry-docked, bottom maintenance and slip fees are usually minimal."
  • "For a boat of its size, it performs very well. It is one of the faster 20 foot keelboats and can outperform many 25 foot cruising boats."
  • "An S20 is a complex boat. It has almost the same controls as larger keelboats and is a great learning platform for younger sailors.".
  • "Santana 20's are sailed in the open oceans of Southern California as well as inland lakes. This speaks to the flexibility and adaptability of this boat."