2009 May 4
T he Archambault boats are quickly making a name for themselves as quality-built race winners in Europe. The new A31 should also be a very fast boat and it is interesting to note the similarities between this design and that of the 9.5-meter Nacira. In this case the target is the IRC racer-cruiser class. This means that the A31, designed by Joubert, Nivelt and Mercier, will have accommodations designed to make it fit into that category, ensuring that it will be a dual-purpose boat.

In profile the hull is pretty normal. There is plenty of freeboard and quite a bit of overhang aft when you compare it to the zero-overhang Nacira. I don't have a DWL length but I estimate it to be 27 feet, 10 inches. With a displacement of 6,710 pounds the D/L is 139, and this is in keeping with the heavier displacement favored by the IRC. Beam is 10 feet, 7 inches for an L/B of 2.95. Like the Nacira, the max beam is carried aft, resulting in an extremely broad transom. With this type of D/L planing performance is not a primary goal, so there are no chines on this hull. For low and moderate speed, chines add wetted surface. The A31 shows a relatively soft turn to the bilge aft with plenty of flare to the topsides. Draft is 6 feet, 3 inches with a cast iron fin with a lead bulb.

The layout for the A31 has the head aft and to starboard. To port there is a double quarterberth. The galley to port is small with the icebox on the starboard side next to the chart table. There is only one hanging locker on this boat. It's not a bad layout for a 32-footer. If you look at the outboard edge of the quarterberth you can get an idea of just how much flare there is to the hull aft.

The deck design shows a large cockpit for racing with the helmsman sitting well forward and the carbon tiller ahead, being forward of the mainsheet traveler. There are molded-in foot Bensons to help you maintain your footing when the boat is heeled. Seat backs appear to be a comfortable height. There is a well aft for the life raft. The cabintrunk is very narrow as it goes forward but that is to allow for an 11-degree sheeting angle to the jib tracks. This results in nice, wide side decks. I can't tell from the drawings but I presume the chainplates are well outboard. Looking at this deck layout, i.e. winch placement, I am struck with how we have come to this one basic layout for both racing and cruising boats. In 1974 I raced on a 40-footer with all lines led aft, but we had a total of 10 winches. It was quite efficient in terms of line handling but heavy and expensive. With line clutches and line organizers the same job today is done with four winches.

The fractional rig with double swept spreaders features an aluminum mast and boom with Dyform rigging. Using the listed numbers for mainsail and genoa areas I get an SA/D of 23.43. If I had and used I, J, E and P, I suspect the number would be closer to 22.3. Compare that to the 43.02 of the Nacira. The drawings show no provision for a bowsprit and a standard spinnaker pole is shown with a masthead chute. I like the look of this boat, although the bend in the bottom of the big window seems to imply a kink in the sheerline. In fact, I thought that was the case until I covered up with window. I suspect this is an artifact of the 2D drawing and it will not show up on the real boat.

Construction uses the resin infusion method. The auxiliary is a Nanni diesel with a saildrive. There is an eight-gallon fuel tank and a 27-gallon water tank. The A31 will make a good all-around family race boat and I think it will do well under any handicapping system.

LOA 31'4"; LWL 27'10"; Beam 10'7"; Draft 7'10"; Displacement 6,710 lbs.; Ballast 2,684 lbs.; Sail area 538 sq. ft.; SA/D 23.43; D/L 139; L/B 2.95; Auxiliary Nanni 14-hp; Fuel 8 gals.; Water 27 gals.

Archambault Boats, 234 Spinnaker Dr., Halifax NS, B3N 3C6, Canada, (902) 476-5200, www.archambault-boats.ca.

OBE: $176,500
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