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New boat: Aureus XV Absolute

2014 May 5
Imagine taking one of those 200-foot superyachts and shrinking it down to a manageable size, say 50 feet, but keeping all the sweet luxury stuff-the clean decks, the carbon hull and rig, the automated everything. Take all that, except a crew dressed in white, and then you'd have the Aureus XV Absolute: a boat with a superyacht personality packed into a 50-foot hull and with a price tag somewhere in between.

The Aureus XV, from French builder AP Yacht Conception, comes in two models: the standard Aureus XV and the Aureus XV Absolute. The versions differ not in interior design (the same two layouts are available for each version), but in some exterior design features and construction materials. The XV is glass and the XV Absolute is carbon, with a carbon rig.

The Absolute doesn't turn its light hull and light, foam-cored interior materials into faster boat speed, it turns it into luxury with optional Watt and Sea hydrogenerator, watermaker or air conditioning, and into helm controls that work nearly every aspect of sailing the boat.

The instruments, electric winches, sail furling and reefing systems, mainsheet, down-hauls and backstay are located at each helm station and are all powered by hydraulics or electronics. Not only can the helmsman sail the boat entirely from the helm station, the helmsman can reef the sails from the helm, while the crew enjoys a drink in the cockpit.

The promotion material refers to the Absolute as "wild luxury" and "pure pleasure." Those descriptions seem fairly accurate: the interior is lighted by transparent skylights and hatches one after another running the length of the cabintop. Even the workshop has natural lighting over the workbench and built-in toolbox. The upholstery is leather, and the galley countertop is stainless steel.

The "wild" in wild luxury must come from the Absolute's performance. According to the performance curves, it sails at wind speed on a reach, and drops a couple of knots below wind speed when close hauled. That's not bad for a boat with a dishwasher and a self-tacking jib.

The Absolute can be customized, but mostly in aesthetic aspects: colors and wood trim. With the exception of an optional office, AP Yacht doesn't offer dramatic redesigns of the hull or interior. But it doesn't really need to since the boat is already at the wild luxury and pure pleasure level of construction. Sailors needing "mega wild luxury" can always upgrade to one of the 200-foot pleasure palaces.