Real quality and performance gains have been made in the latest production boats, as the team at Australian Yachting found out during the last year, reports Kevin Green.
Bavaria Vision 40 and 44
The Oceanis range has a lineage going back to the mid-1980s and has been aimed at the modest family cruiser market. But the gradual emergence of the entry-level Cyclades range, the discerning Wauquiez's and the sportier First range has squeezed the Oceanis brand to deliver more.
And they have with the fourth generation of this popular boat. Aiming for both substance and style, Beneteau outsourced the interior design to Italian company Nauta and Berret Racoupeau penned new hulls across the range that includes the new 40, 43 and 46.
Fifty foot is a lot of boat to sail, especially in the strong wind experienced during the review, but the Oceanis 50 showed good manners and tracked well on all points of sail. Gybing the big main was easily done by the mainsheet controls and reasonable stiffness in the hull gave the steerer a feeling of really sailing rather than wallowing. Undoubtedly a cruising boat, but still reasonably slippery was my conclusion, yet not jittery enough to prevent me from asking the wife to go forward in a seaway to adjust the genoa cars or whatever. Dropping the gear was quick with the lazy jacks gathering the battened Quantum mainsail easily and the three-bladed Max-prop propeller pushed the big hull efficiently. The 50 certainly is a lot of boat for the $575k basic price tag. The review boat, probably costing around $650k, really is a go-anywhere vessel.
Beneteau Oceanis 50
– Naval architects: Berret Racoupeau
– Interior design: Nauta Design
– Length overall: 15.09m
– Hull length: 14.75m
– Hull beam: 4.49m
– Light displacement: 12.020 kg
– Draught – Standard cast iron deep keel: 2.05m
– Draught – Option cast iron shallow keel: 1.70m
– Air draught: 19.75m
– Gross tonnage: in process
– Fresh water capacity: 568L
– Fuel capacity: 237L
– Maximum engine power: 110hp
– CE Certification: A8/B9/C14 in process
– Sail area: 112.40m²
– Mainsail: 49.20m²
– Genoa: 63.20m²
Distributor: Vicsail, d'Albora Marinas, New Beach Road, Rushcutters Bay NSW 2011.
Ph: 02 9327 2088. Website: www.vicsail.com
Bavaria Vision 44
Bavaria goes upmarket with the new Vision 40 and 44, reports Bob Ross.
Bavaria's new Vision series of deck saloon yachts emphasises outdoor as well as indoor comfort, which should appeal to Australian cruisers and cruiser/racers.
The Vision 40 and 44 have comfortable interiors that maximise the use of their large cockpits. The Visions are intended to complement the established range of sturdy Bavaria cruisers rather than replace any yachts within it. They are aimed at the private owner rather than charter market with a more comprehensive list of standard equipment, greater speed potential with a lead keel and more sail area in a rig that features in-mast furling for the mainsail as an option.
We sailed both boats in a wonderful 12-16 knot nor'easter on Sydney Harbour and it proved to be an enjoyable experience. The two-spreader aft-swept rigs were fitted with the optional Selden in-mast furling system for the mainsail and sails of tri-radial Mylar construction.
The ability to sail the boats short-handed was put to the test with just one sailor – able and very experienced – aboard each boat for the photo shoot! The sheet winches and jib furler are located within reach of the helmsman which makes short-handed sailing comfortable.
They are easy to sail with broad side decks and good non-skid surfaces on both decks and flat-roofed cabin top which also has long stainless-steel grabrails.
The Rutgerson mainsheet system has a traveller running on a short track on the cabin top with control lines and mainsheet running to the banks of rope clutches just in front of the companionway.
Both boats were well balanced, easy to keep in a steering groove, with just a slight touch of weather helm, and easy to tack.
Speeds were respectable upwind: 6.5 up to 7.2 knots on the 40 in 10-12 knots of true wind on the 40 in flat water and then sitting more steadily on 7.4s and 7.5s on the 44 as the wind increased to 14-16 knots.
Length overall: 13.70m
Waterline length: 11.55m
Ballast/disp: 32.3 per cent
AVS . . . NA
Sail area/displ . . . NA
Disp/LWL . . . NA
Engine: Volvo Penta 55hp
Sail area (main and
Genoa) : 112m2
Mast height: 20.00m
Design: J&J Design Team
Builder: Bavaria Yachts, Germany
Australian distributor: North South Yachting (Aust) Pty Ltd, 1856 Pittwater Rd, Church Point, NSW 2105. Ph: 02 9998 9600, email email@example.com
Differentiating a boat in today?s congested market can be difficult. But one way is to move to a niche area and this is what the Beneteau-owned Wauquiez company has achieved with the Pilot Saloon 41. The quality shines through, but at a hefty price. The Lille-based company has been building hand-finished boats since 1965 and the acquisition by the world?s largest yacht builder, around 13 years ago, has not changed the builder's philosophy.
On the water, the 41ps is nimble. The cable steering felt light and in the 5-20 knot nor' easterly she tracked well to windward with the big genoa giving some weather helm in the strong gusts. A small niggle for this 5?10? sailor was the inability to sit far enough out on the high side to see the genoa telltales. A larger diameter steering wheel would fix this. Sheeting the genoa was easy with the winch right beside the steerer. Crewman Lucy had only to push a button on the electric cabin top winch to sheet in the mainsail. The jammers either side had all lines falling into the cockpit. The only blemish occurred when the genoa halyard was inadvertently opened ? causing the headsail to partially come down. An additional lock on the mast would have prevented this
The overall verdict? A well thought-out yacht (clearly helped by the research and development clout of a big holding company) that should appeal to the discerning cruiser. The only downside is being able to afford the price tag of $587, 600, but then again good quality doesn't come cheap.
Draft (Shoal -lead):
Weight of std keel:
Weight of shoal draft keel:
Weight of deep draft keel:
Main (conventional or full batten): 39.50 m² 150%
Genoa (furling): 44.00 m²
Self tacking furling jib (optional): 22.00 m²
Engine: Yanmar 4JH4, 4 cyl, 54HP
Berret/Racoupeau Yacht Design
Contact :John Cowpe/Micah Lane
Ph: 02 9327 2088; firstname.lastname@example.org
Review boat sailaway price: $587, 600
(Includes Offshore Nav pack, deep keel and third battery options)
The Marten 49 takes the idea of a cruising boat with a racing pedigree to new heights and by doing so has quite rightly gained a lot of European interest.
With a price in the region of $1.4m, you pay a lot more than your near-equivalent mass-produced cruiser. But then again that price doesn't amount to a lot of Euros and you get a big bang for your buck – beginning with the American Reichel-Pugh design pedigree that has penned supermaxis Wild Oats and Alfa Romeo, as well as the new Yendys that did so well in this year's Hobart.
First impressions of the 49 are striking and echo the appearance of a fast racing car – uncluttered lines with a low profile, despite the high topsides. Teak-laid decks lead back to a wide and open stern dominated by the twin custom-made carbon steering wheels.
Down below the feel is very much of a cruising boat, albeit one with cleverly hidden design features – behind the English Tawa wood-panelled doors and cream-painted lockers lie honey-combed aluminium interiors for maximum weight saving.
Handling the Marten under sail was easy – tacking the high aspect rig was pretty effortless, with a tendency to oversteer, such was the agility of the snub-nosed hull. Overall, the feel of a thoroughbred came through and definitely a boat for the discerning sailor who wants more.
Builders: Marten Yachts ? Azzura Marine, Nowra, NSW
Designers: Reichel/Pugh Yacht Design
Construction Engineers: Gurit (SP Technologies & SP Systems)
Length overall: 15m
Draft: 2.75m (1.5m)
108% jib: 59m2
95% jib: 52m2
Masthead Gennaker: 280m2
Fractional Gennaker: 248m2
Code Zero: 74m2
For further information, please contact
Azzura Marine: 61 2 9552 1133 or visit www.martenyachts.com
Jeanneau SO 36I
The mid-30ft range is a competitive arena to do business in because this is a big volume market sector, so for the giants of Beneteau and Jeanneau, it's an important area.
That's why Jeanneau has kept the pressure on its competitor by bringing out a series of new models during 2007. It follows the earlier released Sun Odyssey 39DS and a new Sun Odyssey 42i. These are just three new designs from a huge fleet of 25 models that the company released during the past two years. But Jeanneau has chosen to take a different tack from its competitor by offering a performance package for these boats rather than a dedicated range, as Beneteau has done with its First range.
With many of these boats going into large charter fleets, economies of scale mean that prices are competitive – with an entry level ?sailaway? price of $236,525 from local distributor Ron Jacobs at Performance Boating, the 36i is a compelling package. It replaces the earlier SO35 model and uses injection moulding technology – thus the 'i' in the model spec – which is a low-emission deck-construction process, intended to be environmentally friendly as well as giving a high quality, lighter build.
The hulls are designed by solo racer Marc Lombard, who championed the buoyant stern design for riding waves, thus all the new range carry their beam right aft, giving the boats maximum cabin and cockpit space right up to the pulpit.
The Jeanneau philosophy of not paying for what you may not need is intended to keep costs down and this concept works, I think. This applies across all fittings with teak only used in the cockpit seats but the injection-moulded decks have good grip with well-defined tread for crew moving forward.
At sea, the cruiser performed well on all points of sail and as the wind rose she gained from being sailed more upright, to prevent the beamy hull from digging in. Gybing the tall rig was quick without being twitchy, as the 1.94m deep-bulbed keel kept the boat tracking well out of the turn. The deep draft (2.1m) option would also benefit pointing and is worth considering for long distance cruising. But it's always a compromise because getting into snug, tidal anchorages is an important aspect of the cruising lifestyle.
All-in-all, the 36i is a neat package at a price that will positively encourage people to get on the water and have some fun, which, after all, is what life is all about.
Overall length: 10.94m
Hull length: 10.69m
Waterline length: 9.84m
Displacement: Light load with deep draft keel 5700kg
Standard draft: Cast-iron fin keel with elongated bulb and exterior epoxy barrier coat 1.94m
Standard keel weight: 1571kg
Shoal draft: Cast-iron fin keel with elongated bulb and exterior epoxy barrier coat 1.47m
Shoal keel weight: 1808kg
Performance keel draft: Cast-iron fin keel with elongated bulb and exterior epoxy barrier coat, profiled leading and trailing edges ? 2.10m
Performance keel weight: 1546kg
Mainsail area: 30.7m2
Genoa (130%) area: 33m2
Price (sailaway standard boat – commissioned & antifouled): $236,525
Price (review boat): $256,000
Distributor: Performance Boating, Gibson Marina, 1710 Pittwater Road, Bayview, Sydney, NSW 2104, Australia. Ph: (02) 9979 9755.
Seawind 1160 AND 1000XL
Catamarans are a compelling design for the cruising sailor to which the Australian-built Seawind range testifies. The company's 1160 won best sail boat at the Newport Boat show and was voted by Cruising World magazine as the most innovative design and best multihull cruiser for 2007. Two very successful milestones for the 25-year-old company that now employs 80 staff and turns out three boats a month from its yard in Wollongong, NSW. It produced the recently modified 1000 and the 1160 that was first introduced in 2005. With 50 of the 38ft 1160s sold, the company has clearly found a niche market. After a day spent on board both the 1000 and the 1160, I can see why. The quality and attention to detail shine through, and for $499,000 sailaway, the 1160 gives you a lot of boat, compared with a similar-sized monohull.
Accommodation is good as you'd expect on a modern cat. The uncluttered walk-in saloon typifies the clean design approach throughout, that includes a roomy stern cabin which has large windows and a firm mattress. The accommodation layout in the other hull is similar, except that the stern area is a head/shower unit, with walk-in access to one of the twin Yanmar 29hp diesel engines fitted. It powers the three batteries: a 400amp/hr house system and twin 200 amp/hr AGMs. Headroom and space in the shower would easily accommodate a six-foot sailor and the electric head is functional, and of course doesn't tip up at critical times, unlike its monohull equivalent.
Jumping aboard the latest incarnation of the Seawind 1000, lengthened and now called the 1000 XL, I had a chat with the company's very experienced delivery skipper, Royce Black. He'd given the 1160 a major testing during a 10-day delivery to New Zealand that included managing the cat in 60 knot winds. He said the key to handling a speeding cat, and preventing pitch-poling, was to ensure even pressure on both hulls when coming down waves. Keeping the weight astern, of course, helped the already buoyant nature of the 1160 not to dig in its hulls. During his tens of thousands of miles of deliveries, he was yet to encounter a major problem. “I've never pirouetted one yet,” he said with a hearty laugh.
My overall impression of the Seawind boats is that experience shows; and it comes out in their design and overall user-friendliness. Combined with the natural advantages of a multi, the ability to sit on the bottom and get into those unreachable anchorages, it adds up to a winning formula.
200lbs / 6 tonnes kgs
Steering Twin Helms:
Diesel Sail Drives:
2 x 30hp Yanmar
Sales office: The Quayside Birkenhead Point Marina Drummoyne NSW 2047
Sydney, Australia. Ph: (02) 9719 9077.
Dehler has successfully used its racing pedigree to create a refined performance cruiser. However, the name is not synonymous with sailing in Australia. But this could very well change as the revitalised company introduces its newly designed range. The first of the newly Simonis and Voogd-penned three-boat assault on world markets is the Dehler 44 which arrived in May. The performance cruiser comes in three variations, an SQ and Regatta, in addition to the standard boat. This will be followed by a new 34 and the semi-custom 60, slated for the year end. The SQ version combines a performance package with a high standard of finish and the Regatta is a lighter, all-out racer with carbon spars. Both these models also come with epoxy hulls, as opposed to the basic vinylester model.
Very much in the mould of modern IRC racers (it has an IRC rating of 1.157), the review boat was the base model with extras that includes teak decks and mouldings on the low-profile cabin top. Also moulded on is the deck-to-hull fitting to maximise rigidity. Strength has also been prioritised underwater with the keel recessed 300mm up into the hull to support the lead bulb.
In terms of performance, the 44 is no slouch and felt nimble. Where it counts, on the race track at Hamilton Island, it had a good week, including a podium finish and seventh placement overall in the Premier IRC division.
Dehler 44 Specifications (including variations for SQ and R models)
11.95 m, 11.95m(SQ), 11.99m(R)
2.20m, 2.55m(SQ), 2.50m(R)
8400kg, 9700kg (SQ), 8670kg(R)
3700kg, 3500kg(SQ), 3500kg(R)
Distributor: MDBS, PO Box 340, Avalon Beach, NSW 2107.
Contact Stephen Ellis. Phl/Fax: (02) 8356-9157.
Dufour Grand Large 325
French manufacturer Dufour has packed a lot into a small package, reports Caroline Strainig, with the Grand Large 325.
Like most European manufacturers, Dufour markets two ranges, one more cruiser-orientated and the other skewed towards performance. The Grand Large range might be “cruisers”, but they still have a fairly sporty look. The 9.85m 325 is no exception, with a plumb bow leading sharply back into full forward sections and a wide beam drawn well aft. It's only when you consider the relatively modest rig and displacement figure that you realise this is more of a cruiser and her high freeboard and wide beam have enabled the designers to pack in plenty.
Injection moulding has been used in the foam-cored deck to save weight, increase strength and give a smooth finish to the cabin deckhead. The hull is hand-laid using woven mat fibres for strength and an interior moulding incorporating a stiffening grid has been laminated to the outer hull. Dufour offers a five-year warranty on hull and deck and individual manufacturers' warranties on fittings and fixtures. Antill Marine backs this with dealer checks at three and 11 months and a free lift-out and anti-foul at the 11-month check, another big tick for that.
The 325 is a well-built, comfortable bay cruiser and, if sailed sensibly, a roomy escape vehicle for that dreamed of round-Australia cruise. I've no doubt this vessel will find a ready market with empty nesters who want to spread their wings. I'd be happy to have her on my mooring any day.
Dufour 325 Specifications
Draft: 1.85 (1.55 optional)
Displacement/length ratio: 205
Sail area/displacement ratio: 17.5
Angle of vanishing stability: 113¡
Engine: Volvo 19hp saildrive
Designers: Umberto Felci and Patrick Roseo
Builder: Dufour France, www.dufour-yachts.com
Basic price: $198,000
Distributor: Dufour Australia, d'Albora Marina, Cabarita Point, Cabarita NSW. Ph: (02) 4915 8600 or 0410 765 245, www.dufour.com.au
Beneteau First 50
Beneteau's latest cruiser/racer is from the pen of super-yacht specialist Philippe Briand, reports Vanessa Dudley.
The review boat,Playstation 3, is fitted with a black-painted aluminium mast produced by Sparcraft; keel-stepped and tapered with triple aft-swept (20 degree) spreaders. A slightly taller carbon mast, weighing roughly 100kg less, is a more expensive option. The large section aluminium boom is also from Sparcraft.
“A lot has been learned from racing boats to produce a simple boat that works,” says Vicsail's John Cowpe, the distributor. The mainsheet trims on an electric-powered winch on a central island base with no traveller, relying on vang sheeting. There are Navtec hydraulic controls for the vang and the backstay.
Harken winches are used with a 53.2 self-tailer for the main, 60.2 self-tailers for the primaries and four 48.2s on the coach house for the halyards and control lines.
She is a big, powerful performer, with the T-profile torpedo bulb keel providing a reassuring amount of righting moment when pressed.
In bumpy water you would not expect her to equal the performance of boats like the carbon-hulled Marten 49, but her IRC rating should reflect that difference, and in flat water she achieved impressive numbers upwind and reaching without using her new suit of Norths 3DL sails or a spinnaker, which will be flown conventionally from a pole rather than a bowsprit.
Beneteau clearly sees a future in the sports/performance cruiser concept, as the company will release a First 45, also designed by Philippe Briand and similar to the 50 with stylish lines, twin wheels and an open transom, at this year's Paris Boat Show in December.
Beneteau First 50 Specifications
Length overall: 14.98m
Waterline length: 14.65m
Draft (deep draft option): 2.80m
Genoa: 70.10 m2
Distributor: Vicsail, d'Albora Marinas, New Beach Road, Rushcutters Bay NSW 2011.
Ph: (02) 9327 2088. Website: www.vicsail.com
The Elan 340 is the latest boat to reach our shores from the Slovenian company's performance-orientated range, but it has already made an impact overseas. Winning the coveted 2007 European Boat of the Year in its class was a big vote of confidence for the petit 32 footer. The Rob Humphrey-designed Elan scores highly in quality of finish and attention to detail and the 340 combines this with easy handling. Punching well above its weight in a strong Audi Hamilton Island Race Week fleet, the little boat kept up well. An ideal entry level round-the-cans racer that has plenty of creature comforts for cruising afterwards, and at a price substantially better than a similar 37-40 footer.
Elan 340 Specifications
Length overall: 9.99m
Hull length: 9.99m
Length at waterline: 9.39m
Draft: 1.95 / 2.10m
Displacement: approx 5000kg
Water capacity: 200L
Fuel capacity: 95L
Engine: 29 hp
Boat design category CE: A
Design: Rob Humphreys
Interior styling: Boris Lubej
1710 Pittwater Road
Bayview NSW 2104.
Rod Parry or Gael Moldán,
Ph: 1800 35 35 21, website: