From mosque domes and locomotive fairings to cruising yachts – Chris Beeson explores the latest offering from one of the world’s biggest composite builders
You can read Chris Beeson’s full review of the new Premier 45 in the April 2014 issue of Yachting Monthly…
What’s she like to sail?
The Botin and Carkeek design team has drawn a series of flying raceboats so we knew she’d be fast but according to the stats (I had to use the loaded displacement instead of the usual unloaded figure just to get her numbers into the cruising ballpark) pound-for-pound she’s more powerful than the awesome Arcona 430. She’s not quite in Pogo territory but she’s still a serious performance cruiser.
At the helm, you are aware of the power you have at your fingertips. Aside from the sheer speeds involved, her stiffness in a gust means she accelerates coltishly. We did spin out once under gennaker when I came too high in a 19 knots gust but recovered quickly enough by easing the helm to re-establish hydrodynamic flow, ‘unstalling’ the rudder, then bearing away again.
She’s easily handled by a couple but she could make life a little easier for the shorthanded sailor. For instance the mainsheet winches could be a little closer to the wheels, the mainsheet traveller line could be ducted from the cockpit sole to somewhere nearer to the helmsman’s hand, the primaries could be electric.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
The anchor arrangement is designed to be unobtrusive, not to spoil her lines, but the price is practicality. The palaver of having to attach a halyard to the bow roller, haul it out of the anchor locker and then flip it over the bow means you’re unlikely to be doing much of it. I’d ask the yard to fit a permanent bow roller or, if money is no object, one that deploys from below the hull.
The cockpit is spacious and there’s a table for socialising but she would need some sort of bimini for those long, lounging afternoons. The bathing set-up seems a touch miserly, where would you put your mask and fins once you’re done exploring? I’d have preferred to see the whole transom lowering to create a little more space for the committed bather.
Down below I really like her minimalist design, clean and practical with a deceptively large amount of stowage. I’m also a fan of the convertible aft cabins and maintenance access is excellent throughout. I’m not sure I’d splash out, so to speak, on the carbon loos and that sole would have to go.
Would she suit you and your crew?
I’m wondering how to fit a sprayhood and a bimini, how to make anchoring easier, which probably means she’s not for me. She’s a real floating statement. Seeing her in the average marina is like seeing the Pompidou Centre in the heart of Paris’ 4e Arrondissement, quite incongruous at first. It is to PCT’s credit that it has opted for stand-out styling, but it makes her a bit of a Marmite boat – hence the choice of colour perhaps?
She is a marvellous boat to sail, bursting her bronze-coloured shirt with power and stiffness, but what with the anchoring arrangements, and manual winches away from the wheel, she’ll be quite a handful for your average cruising couple.
So who is she for? She draws the eye and demands attention and I imagine her owners will be similar. They will be wealthy, young at heart and keen to stand out from the crowd. Perhaps they will employ a skipper for thrilling daysails from Nice to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Beaulieu-sur-Mer to Monaco, perhaps they’ll sail it themselves. One thing’s for sure: you’ll know they’ve arrived.