Poland’s boatbuilders have a certain reputation, but is it fair? Yachting Monthly’s Graham Snook tests the latest Maxi 1200 to find out
Maxi 1200 review
See the Summer 2015 issue of Yachting Monthly for the full test
What’s she like to sail?
In a light breeze the wheel was finger light with little weight. This was hull No.1 and she had a 100% jib, later boats will have 110%, which may make her sultry tones more apparent. She has chain-and-cable Jefa steering attached to lightweight carbon fibre wheels (standard), which minimises the inertia kick from the wheel opposite. The sail-handling setup works well. It’s possible to tack singlehanded by standing between the wheels to control the jib, as the sheet winches are well inboard.
The mainsheet system works well – it’s a real luxury to control the mainsail by pushing buttons while helming from the side deck – but it has a few drawbacks. The reversible electric winch – standard kit, not an optional extra – will only release the sheet when it’s under load. In light airs it isn’t, so the sheet must be released manually. This is actually better for sail trim, because the winch shakes the power out of the sail with its jolty acceleration and deceleration. If the sheet was 2:1, this might be less noticeable. When trimming the sheet, you’re looking at the sails, not the winch, so anyone operating it must be sure that the crew are aware of the hazard: getting fingers or clothing caught doesn’t bear thinking about.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
The layout below decks is good and works well. The flip-back seat at the chart table is a boon in port for increasing lounging space in the saloon. The lighting in the saloon and galley is excellent. The galley is large and the pull-out extractor fan above the cooker is a nice touch, as is having both top- and front-opening fridges. The solid teak fiddles add class and security, as do the deck-height stainless steel handrails. Ventilation is everywhere, on all cupboard doors and panels, and in the mesh backs of the seating cushions.
The 1.6m (5ft 3in) benches in the cockpit aren’t long enough for most people to lie down flat, but with under-deck lines, you could lounge comfortably on the coachroof. With the platform lowered, it’s a good height for getting in and out of a dinghy, and there’s also a nice cutaway at the edge to use as a handhold.
The anchor stows on a single bow roller in the carbon fibre bowsprit. She manoeuvres well, although the narrow rudder blade doesn’t deflect a great deal of propwash from the saildrive.
Would she suit you and your crew?
Her sail controls are simple, she’s easily sailed singlehanded and equally suitable for either a couple or a family – the choice is yours. Her build quality seems good, with well thought-out use of materials and design that sets her apart from many an average white boat. If that weren’t enough, her price and specification are also surprisingly keen: teak deck, retractable bow thruster, race-spec winches, two fridges and a fully-battened mainsail with multi-directional in-mast cars are all included as standard, although strangely a windlass isn’t.
Some Polish boatbuilders of old tended to use the advantage of low-cost labour to produce low-cost, low-quality products. It’s reassuring to see that, given the opportunity to build a high-quality boat, they can and they will.
Facts and figures
Price €245,400 inc VAT (about £177,269) in 2015
LOA 12.16m (39ft 11in)
LWL 10.60m (34ft 9in)
Beam 3.75m (12ft 4in)
Draught 2.32m (7ft 7in)
7,300kg (16,094 lb)
Ballast 2,470kg (5,445 lb)
Ballast ratio 33.8(%)
Sail area 84m2 (904 sq ft)
SA/D ratio 22.7
Diesel 150 lit (33 gal)
Water 260 lit (57 gal)
Engine 28 hp
RCD category A
Designer Pelle Petterson/Tony Castro
Builder Maxi Yachts/Delphia
UK agent Regatta Yachting (International: www.maxiyachts.com)
Tel +44 (0) 7570 612405