A family friendly and easy to sail modern cruiser – with superyacht pretensions
What’s she like to sail?
She’s no slouch – but there’s no raging beast within her either. The autopilot linkage dulled the helm but there’s no doubting the control you get from the fairly broad chord rudder fitted well aft. If you’re not bothered about ‘feeling’ the trim, or are planning to spend a fair bit of time with the robot driving, it’s not an issue. There are plenty of comfy spots around the cockpit.
Lewmar’s Revo system wasn’t quite ready at the time and proved rather a distraction from the appreciation of cockpit ergonomics. When the system works, it will deliver push-button tacking that also allows you to ease in any wind strength but I’m not sure, barring a square metre or two of jib leech, where the advantage lies over a self-tacker with the sheet led aft to a clutch near manual or electric mainsheet winches. Despite the extra friction involved I’d prefer a single mainsheet too, rather than the cat-style arrangement here, for better control in bear-aways. Keep the primaries, electric if budget permits, for gennaker sheets.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
This is not a boat for agoraphobics. In the saloon, the average headroom is an astonishing 6ft 9in and, if the aim was to create a sense of space, it has certianly worked in spades. However, if the saloon sole was raised another five or six inches, you’d be able to see out of the hull ports while seated and the coachroof windows while standing, reach the deckhead grabrails easily, and gain even more stowage than there already is low-down below the sole.
However, there are some excellent innovations. The galley works brilliantly – secure, with everything to hand and no sense of being shut in, but I’d want a separate fridge and freezer. The chart table is a well thought-out way of releasing its space, though it’s slightly clunky in operation, and the saloon allows a family or friends to eat in comfort. I love the saloon table’s adaptability but question whether it’s worth £6,000. The double cabin aft is a masterstroke and if I were the owner, I’d choose the forward en suite.
The cockpit sun lounger could well be a deal-maker for some potential buyers, even at £6,000, provided it’s robust enough, while details like the built-in bathing ladder and the shower stand underneath the starboard helm seat are really quite inspired.
Would she suit you and your crew?
She’s based on market research that reveals many yacht owners don’t actually go round Cape Horn most weekends. Instead, they use their boats as comfortable seaside apartments, heading out to anchor occasionally and enjoy a summer cruise. It’s easy for mildewed mariners to be sniffy about that, but if the market exists, builders would be both profligate and negligent not to address it.
That said, she sails well and she’s capable of so much more – a transatlantic, for instance – and she has the stowage to make a cracking liveaboard cruiser for tooling around the Mediterranean, or indeed the world, once appropriately fitted out.
The base boat is almost half the price of our test boat, for which pretty much every option box was ticked. She’s luxuriously appointed but the joinery is still a little way short of prestigious – there are a few rough edges – but if you have a young family, or you’re empty-nesters looking for tropical adventure, a very comfortable standard of living and entirely respectable passage speeds, you’d be mad not to give her a spin.