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Allures 40.9

2019 June 1

Built in aluminum, this centerboarder is ready for thin-water cruising

This month we have two very similarly sized and styled European production boats and one very unusual training dinghy to review. The Allures 40.9 is a Berret-Racoupeau design. It’s a handsome boat in the Euro contemporary style and appears to be aimed at family cruising and the charter trade. This is an aluminum hull with a composite deck. You get the durability of a metal hull with the style of a molded GRP boat.

The most distinct feature to this hull design is that it has a shoal keel with a centerboard. With the centerboard up the draft is 3 feet 6 inches and with the board down it is 9 feet. If you are after upwind performance you need a fin with a high aspect ratio and this centerboard shape certainly provides that. The caveat is that the centerboard model will have a higher vertical center of gravity than a deep fin-keel model, but there is no arguing with the convenience of shoal draft on a 41-foot boat. The board is housed in a nacelle below the canoe body. 

The hull shape is what we would expect today with a very broad stern and minimal overhangs. The specs don’t give me a DWL length but I estimate it to be 38 feet 6 inches from the renderings. This gives us a D/L of 170.5. The L/B is 3.05, just on the brink of being “fat.” I have to be careful with that term. It got me into hot water many years ago. I’m inclined to say the freeboard is high but this amount of freeboard is the new normal today.  Freeboard buys you volume.

Two layouts are available with the difference being that you have the option of a single quarter cabin or twin, mirror-image quarter cabins. If you go with the single quarter cabin you also get a larger head to starboard with a separate shower stall. Access to the storage area to starboard is through the head. 

The galley looks near perfect with plenty of counter space on each side of the range and the sinks. There is a nav station to starboard. Forward of that there are settee berths and a drop-leaf table. In the forward cabin you have the option of another head to port or just port and starboard hanging lockers. Fixed windows in the hull will help provide light below. It’s a very straightforward and well-designed layout.

The rig is a deck-stepped, fractional type with spreaders swept 20 degrees and outboard chainplates. The sailplan shows a staysail with hounds just above the upper spreaders. There are running backs to support the inner forestay when the staysail is flown. That’s good. With swept spreaders, runners give you a kind of belt and suspenders approach to mast support for heavy air. For long reaches you could have fun setting the staysail. I see only one inboard jib track and with the staysail up reaching, I’d like the option of being able to lead the jib to an outboard track. A very short bowsprit looks like it’s there to get the tack of the masthead asymmetrical chute forward. The mainsheet is a bridle style and right in the middle of the boom. The SA/D is 18.21.

The deck plan shows a large cockpit with twin wheels and an opening aft to access the broad swim step. An unusual feature is the Linguini strut coming off the corners of the transom. I first used a Linguini strut 33 years ago on the Sopac 42. It provides a good place to mount the radar. I suspect it’s an option on the Allures. I find this a very well-designed deck, clean and sleek.

There are a lot of sailors who sail where the water is thin. The Allures 40.9 will give them style, performance and convenience.

LOA 41’6”; LWL 36’ 10”; Beam 13’8”; Draft centerboard up 3’6”, down 9’; Displ. 24,231 lb.; Ballast 9,259 lb.; Sail area 865 sq. ft.; SA/D 18.21; D/L 170.5; L/B 3.05; Fuel 116 gal.; Water 87 gal.; Auxiliary 50-hp 

Our best estimate of the sailaway price: $343,352

Swiftsure Yachts Inc.

2500 Westlake Ave N., Ste. F

Seattle, WA 98109