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2018 January 1

Modern design capitalizes on a bright and airy layout

This very nice looking sloop was designed by Berret-Racoupeau and is built by Wauquiez. Here we see the design pendulum swing hard to the comfort side of the scale. I would call this a raised saloon configuration with an aft cockpit. If you are tired of dark and gloomy interiors, this is the boat for you.
2018 January 1

Moderately sized racer-cruiser is a reinvention of a classic design

This new Grand Soleil model is an attempt to produce a boat with the same impact that the previous Finot-designed GS34 had. More than 300 of the early 34s were built. But to replicate that success takes more than good design and build. It takes good timing and an element of good fortune. The new 34 is designed by a team with Skyron doing the naval architecture and the builder Cantiere del Pardo collaborating with Skyron on the interior and styling. Where the X49 put the emphasis on comfort in the racer-cruiser blend, the GS34 puts the emphasis on performance while not ignoring comfort. This is my first review of a Skyron design.
2018 January 1

A contemporary-styled cruiser with a focus on performance

The X-Yachts have long been one of my favorite European production boatbuilders. Given the trends of today, i.e. modern Euro-type styling, comfort and convenience mixed with some performance, I see X-Yachts as always one step ahead of its competition. The design work is in-house and led by Nils Jepsesen. The new X49 is a 49-foot 6-inch performance cruiser. I like that term and I reflect on how much that category has changed since the Valiant 40 introduced it in 1974. In 1974 it was considered by many to be a radical approach to cruising. The words “cruising” and “performance” were seldom used to describe the same boat. But the world of yachting learned that those were not mutually exclusive at all. Today you can have maximum comfort with maximum performance and it’s considered “normal.”
2017 November 1

An aluminum hull holds useful attributes

Here is a very interesting boat from the French builder Boréal. It’s 44 feet on deck and 47 feet 9 inches overall. What makes this boat unusual is the fact that it’s built in aluminum using a multichine hull form. On top of that it has a centerboard that reduces draft from 8 feet 3 inches to a beachable 3 feet 4 inches.
2017 November 1

Farr’s cruising design with performance features for the foiling-focused

Here is a high-performance cruising boat from the Farr office in Annapolis. As the promotional material says, “We are entering the age of foil-assisted sailing.”  
2017 November 1

Water-ballasted speedster offers performance and comfort with a small crew

The new J/121 is an extension of the formula used for the J/70. The idea was to develop a fast 40-footer that could be cruised or raced with a small crew, meaning five or fewer people. Racing would be organized with strict one-design rules and the J/Boats people have a lot of experience and success with this format. I see the boat as good all around and particularly a fun cruising boat for mom and dad. The designers at J/Boats seem to have a knack of drawing the perfect boat for Bob. This is most definitely a boat I could enjoy. Look at it: It’s beautiful, clean, unaffected and well proportioned. What’s not to like?
2017 October 1

Production catamaran with customizable interior options should appeal to many

I think it’s accurate to say that the Gunboat fleet of very fast cruising cats opened up a new market for catamaran lovers. Now it’s not just about square footage but also comfort and speed.
2017 October 1

Impressive design balances comfort, performance and quality in this offshore cat

The new Balance 620 catamaran is built in South Africa at the Nexus Yachts boatyard. The design is by Anton DuToit. The target for this design is a “stretched, ultra high-speed version of the Balance 526 design.” Performance claims for the new cat are speed from “12 to 14 knots and often exceeding 20 knots.” That sounds good. The yard also offers custom interiors if one of its three standard layouts does not work for you. You can have either a three-, four- or even five-stateroom layout. Three would be plenty, thank you, and that’s the layout I have the drawing for, so that’s what I will focus on.
2017 October 1

New Morrelli and Melvin trimaran promises a speedy offshore adventure

This month we have three very interesting multihulls to review—two cats and a trimaran. First is the Morrelli and Melvin-designed Rapido 50. You’ve heard me talk about my buddy Doug on the next beach with the Farrier tri. He’s thinking about a new tri with more comfort than his 27-footer and when I saw the Rapido I thought it would be a great fit for him. That way I could go for a sail on the new boat. I’m always looking out for my friends.
2017 July 1

A fresh new look from a leading builder of offshore cruising yachts

Over the years the Amel series of boats have achieved cultlike status as offshore cruising boats. I respect the attention to detail and unique approaches to various areas of design but I have never been much of a fan. It came down to styling. I thought they were bland and uninteresting boats to look at. The new Amel 50 changes that. While there is no mention of a designer in the material I have, it’s clear that this Amel was designed by someone with a good eye for aesthetics and a good understanding for what the cruising market is after today.
2017 July 1

Safe and sporty design for shorthanded cruising

I’m familiar with the company C-Yacht and I am familiar with the designer of this clean-looking, Dutch-built design from the Gerard Dykstra design office. Dykstra is responsible for some very beauti
2017 July 1

Lots of features in this smaller cat from the design table of Morelli and Melvin

Here’s a slick looking new cat from HH Catamarans for those of you who like to sail flat.  HH cats are built in Xiamen, China, by Hudson Marine. I’ve been to Xiamen a few times. There are som
2017 June 1

A long-range cruiser that comes with an American esthetic for classic appeal

I like this new Island Packet designed by Bob Johnson. I particularly like the profile of the cabintrunk. It reminds me of the Aldens and Albergs of the early 1960s. While there is a well-established Euro (call it modern) look to many of today’s production boats, I still think there are a lot of sailors in the United States who appreciate the classic American aesthetic to yacht styling and proportions. I like to think that. 
2017 June 1

This hybrid power-sailboat may be just the answer in a midsized cruiser

The headline on the press release for the new custom Tartan 37-foot model states, “Imagine a different cruising experience.” I think you have to. This is a very different kind of boat. It’s a bit of a hermaphrodite—half powerboat and half sailboat. Generally this is the kiss of death, but designer Tim Jackett appears to have come up with a design that can avoid that fate.
2017 June 1

This gem offers elegance and style in the most distinctive of packages

Oyster has made a name for itself as the premier builder of large semicustom cruising yachts. The designs produced in conjunction with Rob Humphreys are always superb and fit and finish is always top notch. The Oyster style has slowly evolved to keep the look of the boats very current. In short, these are ultimate boats in the world of semicustom.
2017 May 1

Artwork afloat in an unlikely medium

Now for some contrast. For me, yacht design has always been an art and a science. You pick a target for the objective elements like boat speed and handling characteristics. Maybe you throw in some obj
2017 May 1

This innovative aluminum design comes from an unlikely source

I am not sure where to start telling you about my friend Steve’s skills. He has so many. I’ll just say Steve is a craftsman who can build anything. He built his own plane, he’s a commercial pilot, then designed his own floats and retractable landing gear to turn the plane into an amphibian. He inherited an aluminum 34-footer that he modified significantly after teaching himself to weld aluminum. So when Steve said he was going to design a new boat for his next project I was not surprised. The surprise was this is a boat I could own with pride.
2017 May 1

Small family fun from Chuck Paine

For some odd reason these days I seem to be attracted to “grandpa boats.”  This new Chuck Paine designed 18-footer looks like just the ticket for me to have some fun with my grandkids, Violet and Drake. In fact it’s perfect in every way.
2017 April 12

This carbon fiber cruiser contains a bevy of performance features

The new Arcona 465 is built in Sweden and designed by Arcona’s head designer Stefan Quiberg. I like pretty much everything about this boat. The target was a high-performance racer/cruiser optimized
2017 April 1

The king of the trimarans serves up 3 versions of a new model

At rare times certain designers can be considered dominant in their genre. Think Doug Peterson in the early IOR days and Bruce Farr in later IOR days. This dominance seldom went outside that genre. You could argue that in Bruce Farr’s case. But when it comes to trailerable, folding trimarans for the past 25 years, maybe longer, Ian Farrier has totally dominated the scene. You think folding tri and you think Ian Farrier. It’s automatic. This has given Ian many years to slowly evolve a near-perfect product. I say “near perfect” because I’m sure Ian has more tricks to come and I don’t want to sound like I’m limiting his creativity. Are these good boats? Numbers don’t lie, not in this case. If that’s not enough for you I have sailed my buddy’s turbo F-27 several times and I can assure you that it is a most enjoyable and at times exciting ride. If you want to sail flat and fast you can’t beat one of Ian’s trimarans.

Perry on Design

  • A contemporary-styled cruiser with a focus on performance

  • Moderately sized racer-cruiser is a reinvention of a classic design

  • Modern design capitalizes on a bright and airy layout

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