X-Yachts is introducing a third line of boats to complement its Xp (performance) models and Xc (cruising) models. The range will be the X series and the first one will be the X6 followed by this X4 model at 41 feet LOA. I have been a fan of the X-Yachts models for many years. Its in-house design team does a great job with both styling and performance. The new X series will combine comfort and speed with the latest build technologies and exceptionally high-quality materials.Schedule
Sometimes I whine about the absence of design documents in the review packages I get these days. I want to see what the designer drew. Leave it to my buddy Kevin Dibley in New Zealand to knock me out by sending me an almost complete set of plans for his exquisite new 21-foot trailerable sportboat. Schedule
Here is a very interesting design from Marc Lombard for the French company, Feeling. This is the first new boat I have seen from it in a few years. The promotional material says it could be a boat for “A circumnavigation in ultimate comfort.” Schedule
Here is the latest J/Boats entry into the cruising boat field. I’m going to assume the design is a collaborative in-house effort like the other J/Boats. Many thanks to J/Boats for providing me with actual design drawings. I have said this before in the reviews but the cruising boats that J/Boats has produced have always managed to echo my own thoughts on what the perfect cruising boat would be for me. They combine comfort, efficiency and style into a total design package that I find very appealing. It would work for me.
The Melges 24 may not have been the first “sportboat” but it sure kicked the design of sportboats in the pants good and hard. The gloves came off. The new 40, designed by Botin Partners Naval Architecture, appears to be an extension of the same all or nothing approach to a 40-foot one-design sportboat. That’s a lot of sport.
I chose the Valiant for the cruising category because it is generally considered the boat that began the move to “performance cruisers.” There were plenty of fast cruising boats before the Valiant but I think the Valiant is remembered for a couple of reasons. The term “performance cruiser” was attached to the V-40 early on and it became an easy way to identify the type. Also, the V-40 was a distinctive looking design that was very easy to recognize. People like what they know. And yes, I can’t deny it, I am the proud designer of the V-40. So with that in mind I will try to be objective.
Now we come to the boat I chose as the most noteworthy racing boat of the last 50 years. This was a hard choice. I chose Bill Lee’s design Merlin. But Merlin was not designed to the IOR so Merlin was quickly followed by another Bill design, the Santa Cruz 70, essentially an IOR-friendly version of Merlin. Why are these boats so important? Four words: Ultra Light Displacement Boat or ULDB.
I remember my first sail on a multihull. It was 1963 and the boat was a 17-foot Cougar Cat owned by some friends. At that time there were a few one-design cat classes starting up but none really caught on until Hobie started building his cats. But cruising multihulls would remain scarce for many more years. There were various designers promoting catamarans and trimarans but they were mostly aimed at selling plans to home builders. The multihull world was a bit “cultish” and most certainly far from mainstream.
Forty years ago Rod Johnstone built a boat in his garage. He did his own design work. It took Rod 17 months to finish the build and in May 1976 Ragtime was launched. That summer of racing saw Ragtime win 15 out of 17 races. People were paying attention to the fast, plain-looking 24-footer and asking “Can you build one for me?”
The MC31 one-design, built by McConaghy Boats in Australia, looks to be a very fast boat. The design is most interesting but I really had to dig through the company’s material to find the designer’s name, Harry Dunning.
Here’s a handsome, raised saloon-type design from Marlow-Hunter. This general configuration has been gaining in popularity for many years. I can remember the first time my wife went below on one of my early raised-saloon boats. She looked around and said, “I don’t know why all boats aren’t like this.” Wives are so honest.
The Salona 35 is built in Croatia and was designed by the Slovenian design team J&J. This is a very nice looking boat in the genre of the true dual-purpose boat. You can race this boat or you can cruise this boat. It is designed to be well suited to both uses. Kind of the way Islanders, Pearsons and Ericsons were back in the 1970s. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
For some reason, lately I seem to be drawn to designs that can be comfortably operated by an old man. It’s a hard reality to face but my days of hanging on a trapeze or hiking in almost any form are behind me. Today I need a boat that I can sit in and not on.
I need to vent. I don’t think I have ever vented in the years of doing the reviews. Let’s give it a whirl: These are not boat reviews. These are design reviews. It would be impossible for me to actually see and sail every boat I review. Many, like this Didden 34 Daysailer, are not even built yet. Some never get built.
I have some great drawings from Mark along with some very nice three-dimensional images of the interior layout. On a project like this, Mark would be responsible for the design of the hull, rig, appendages and deck layout. Pininfarina, a very famous name in the world of Italian design, is responsible for the design of the interior.