Easier to sail than a 30-footer, more palatial than a suite at the Savoy, and built for blue water life. Chris Beeson reports
What’s she like to sail?
This luxurious, supremely comfortable and beautifully crafted yacht comes with a million ocean miles of experience designed and built-in for drama-free world-girdling, but what’s most remarkable is that this gale-taming passage-eater is unbelievably easy to sail singlehanded. At the push of several buttons you can switch on the engine, push yourself out with the bow thrusters, motor into a fairway, unfurl main and genoa and trim them in.
If you’ve got a fair bit of tacking to do, use the self-tacking Solent and all you need to do is turn the wheel.
If you need to nip below, flip on the autopilot and keep an eye out through the huge windows at the chart table. She’s not a ‘feely’ boat like the wonderful performance cruisers we’ve tested lately, which respond to slight tweaks, but you simply don’t want that in a blue water boat. Just set her up and watch her go. Obviously you try to avoid bad weather but if you can’t, she’ll plough through almost anything. This is a boat that looks after you like a parent looks after an only child. I’m genuinely proud that she’s British.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
You’ve seen the pictures – discreet opulence and tasteful practicality wrapped elegantly around a bulletproof boat. The owner’s suite is palatial, bright, well ventilated, ringed by stowage, and has a dazzling, spacious en suite heads just a few steps away. The guest suite forward isn’t en suite but it’s still immensely comfortable and can guzzle huge amounts of gear in abundant wardrobes and drawers. The chart table is a wonderful place to sit and watch the sun set on another night of ocean passage-making and the deck saloon itself brings the anchorage in, to make the journey worthwhile. The rather unlovely but immensely practical bimini does nothing for her lines but in a sun-drenched anchorage it will be deeply appreciated. Launch the RIB to explore upriver or just step down to the bathing platform for a swim.
The best aspect, however, is that the problems that usually beset bluewater cruisers have all been designed out, backed-up or made very easy to fix. It’s highly unlikely that the satphone will ever be used to chase up a critical part, the want of which has brought your circumnavigation to a grinding halt.
Would she suit you and your crew?
Needless to say, you’ll be fired up about going round the world, in some style, or popping across the pond for a winter in the Caribbean, as our test boat is shortly due to do, or looking forward to setting her up as a luxurious holiday pad in the Med.
If you’ve done some blue water sailing, you’ll know the biggest problem you’ll face is stuff going wrong, leaving you stuck in port. You’re unlikely to be able to find the part you need wherever you happen to be and you’ll spend days screaming down the phone at someone halfway round the world trying to get your widget shipped out at hideous expense while your carefully planned passages drift off into the future. This boat is built on such experiences. The Discovery 57 aims to eliminate the rare problems experienced by owners of the Discovery 55, itself commissioned by John Charnley, the man who founded Discovery – and Sunsail – so he clearly knows a thing or two about maintenance.
In terms of reliability and ease of maintenance, there can’t be another boat – nor another service team – to match her.