2003 February 7


The racer will feel at home aboard this boat.

Niels Jeppesen has added another attractive boat to his potent fleet of X boat models. The intent of this model according to the brochure is to be a "mid-size offshore one-design." To date the boat has been winning races and selling very well in the United States.

Given the fact that this model has a complete and luxurious looking teak interior I suppose you could consider this a dual-purpose boat. You could cruise it, but a 13.2-gallon fuel tank and 31.7 gallons of water might take the X-332 out of your "serious cruising boat" category. I see this boat primarily as a race boat with weekend cruising capabilities, and for many of us that's all we really need.

The hull looks pretty normal. It might be nice to see someone try something different in terms of hull form but I don't think that's in the cards. Even at the America's Cup level hull shapes seem to be fairly uniform in terms of volumetric distribution. Again for fun, I checked the half angle in plan view of the deck edge and the angle for the X-332 is 21.5 degrees. The keel shows large leading and trailing edge fillets and draft is a modest 5 feet, 11 inches. This makes me think there must be a performance keel available but I don't see one listed anywhere. If the boat is showing race winning performance with a 5-foot, 11-inch draft, I am truly impressed. The D/L is 177. Note that the rudder stock is almost vertical and not perpendicular to canoe body as it usually is. Note also the small skeglet preceding the rudder.

This interior is typical of many European boats this size. The double berth aft is big but not particularly easy to access. The galley is adequate but the icebox is small and there is very little counter space for food preparation. "What! Pickled herring for dinner again?" The two sinks are barely big enough for a full-sized plate.

In contrast the nav station is generous in size and in fact takes up as much boat as the entire galley. The head is tight but it includes a small wet locker. The photos I have of this interior show a beautifully detailed boat with rich teak veneers and solid trim. Curves are used to soften the components and the round stool for the nav station that the drawings shows is really a comfy, built-in helm seat.

On deck the cockpit is long and divided by the mainsheet traveler. The tiller looks really short but you can go with the wheel option. There is a shallow swim step notched into the transom. The companionway is slightly recessed into the aft side of the cabintrunk providing an ideal surface for halyard bags directly outboard of the hatch. Decorated with big, multiple bootstripes the freeboard of the X-332 is disguised and this is a really good looking boat. Niels Jeppesen has a good eye for aesthetics.

The rig is fractional, as you would expect for a racing boat. There are double sweptback spreaders. The headstay is pulled about 10 inches off the stem. Using their sail areas with full main including roach, I would assume, and 100 percent jib I get a SA/D of 22.43.

While I can think of better galleys on bigger boats, I'm sure after a brisk beat up the sound I'd be ready to forgive the X-332 its shortcomings. This is a great boat for racing and occasional cruising. It's a size where things will not get overpowering when the wind pipes up. Considering the 33 feet, 10 inches of LOA the accommodations are impressive and I'd much rather have a design tilted toward performance than interior volume.