Chris Beeson tests a French yacht with true pedigree, designed to take shorthanded crew around the world in safety and comfort
What’s she like to sail?
Some context is needed here first. Beam reaching in a 45ft boat in Force 4-5 winds, one could reasonably expect more than eight knots’ boatspeed. However, most of the new boats we review are designed for coast-hopping and tested with empty lockers and water tanks. This is not a boat built for speed. The Allures 45 has been designed, from keel to truck, to take a shorthanded crew safely around the world in enviable levels of comfort. She was also loaded on the day with tons of liveaboard kit and had full tanks. So, in that context, she delivered very respectable boatspeed.
I’d like to go back out again and play with her sail configurations to find out whether the heel and the rounding up were down to our unfamiliarity with the boat – owners Adrian and Jacqui have done very little upwind work with Vagaris. Perhaps with an extra reef in the main she’d have gone just as fast with less heel, but should you really need two reefs in 20 knots of true wind? Certainly the 44 we tested in 2007 tracked like a train in a similar breeze without even a sniff of rounding up, so it was a bit of a surprise to find her broaching out of a white-sail beam reach. My time on board was fleeting but there’s no doubt Adrian and Jacqui will find the right balance once they become more familiar with Vagaris.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
This is where she really excels. With the centreboard raised she draws just 1m (3ft) so you can explore further upriver and anchor in less populated areas, or, of course, even dry out. The vast tankage, solar panels and wind generator give the owners the autonomy that is the trademark of a good blue-water project, and the cavernous stowage means they will want for nothing – and have spares for everything. The experience that has been built into the Allures 45 at the conceptual and design levels is stunning.
The GRP deck means that she’s quieter to move around on and that the deck won’t become toe-toastingly hot. And if they ever need to fit extra kit, it will be no more complicated than doing it on a GRP boat. Down below, she is uncompromisingly luxurious. Her huge windows bring the outside in and, although she doesn’t have air conditioning installed, she does have enough hatches and blinds to keep her crew comfortable in any climate.
Would she suit you and your crew?
Vagaris’ owners, Adrian and Jacqui Ward, bought their first big boat, an Elan Impression 384, in 2006, shortly before reading Yachting Monthly’s review of the Allures 44. After taking part in Rally Portugal 2006 to test their aptitude for blue-water life, they cruised the Med but yearned for wider horizons and never forgot the Allures 44 – ‘It’s your fault!’ Adrian told us. Having rented out their Brighton home to finance the trip, Adrian and Jacqui took delivery of Vagaris in March this year and took her on a shakedown cruise in the Baltic, taking in Stockholm, Helsinki and St Petersburg before returning via the Kiel Canal. Allures doesn’t like the word ‘dream’ because dreams tend not to come true. It believes every boat is a platform used to deliver a project. Undoubtedly Adrian and Jacqui share the energy and vision to realise their project,
to explore the world under sail, and they helped to create the platform to do it. But would this be the right boat for you? If your project is as far-reaching and well-formed, and you’re committed to it absolutely, the Allures 45 would make an excellent platform.