Beneteau’s new Oceanis 41 features a unique hull shape and a new cruising perspective, with a design that focuses on style, comfort, and ease of operation. After sailing the boat, Practical Sailor editors walked away impressed with the wide-body sloop. French naval architects Finot-Conq skillfully distributed the boat’s volume, placed the rig and foils exactly where they belong and revised the deck layout. A chine-like edge— affectionately known as the “kink”—interrupts the smooth curve of the topsides. Other new features on the Oceanis 41 include a transformable transom-swim platform and convertible cabin furniture.
In the recent Velux 5 Oceans Race, four solo sailors piloted their 60-foot boats some 30,000 miles around the globe, putting a number of innovative products to the test. The race required each boat to be equipped with at least three means of power generation, and two had to be alternative forms of energy. Racers Brad Van Liew and Zbigniew Gutkowski each supplemented power from their auxiliary engines, solar panels, wind generators, with two new Watt & Sea hydrogenerators. Because of the reported efficiency of these transom-hung devices, the singlehand sailors enjoyed the rare phenomenon of surplus power. Two other racers, Chris Stanmore-Major and Derek Hatfield, relied on more traditional alternative energy sources: wind gens and solar panels. All four were enthusiastic about the example they might be setting for other sailors, but are emerging technologies like hydro-power generation practical for the typical cruising boat?
There is magic in sailing. What is sometimes harder to grasp is the magic in boats. But it is there. It is undeniably there. It is there when first you step aboard and feel the boat come alive underfoot. It is there when the sails fill and quiet as you come out of the eye of the wind. And it is there when you take the tiller under a dome of stars and realize youre connected to something much, much bigger than a rudder. There IT is, as persistent as a heartbeat: a pulse, a throb, a jolt of I-cannot-explain-this magic.
A proven builder of boats for others, Henry Hinckley envisioned the Hinckley 49 as a comfortable cruiser for his own family. He saw the H49 as more motorsailer than racing sailboat. The big, beamy (for the era), shoal-draft centerboard ketch is a capable cruiser, at home in Maines cooler waters or while meandering the near-tropical conditions of the Bahamas. And for those so inclined, the H49 also lives up to the demands of around-the-world voyaging. Most of the center-cockpit 49s were rigged as ketches, but later retrofits of most included switch-overs to furling sails and power winches, which make sail handling even easier.
Hunter Marine unveiled its latest large cruising monohull, the Hunter 45DS, in late 2007. The boat is essentially an upgrade of the 44DS, with twin wheels, a new transom, new styling, and a roomier, reconfigured interior. Hunter has sold 152 hulls since the boats debut, making it a fairly successful endeavor. To increase the Hunter 45DSs interior volume, designer Glenn Henderson opted for relatively high freeboard and additional length. Henderson also matched a nearly elliptical rudder with a smaller keel. The 54-horsepower Yanmar auxiliary engine moved the Hunter through calm water at 8 knots at 3,000 rpm. Testers sailed the 45-footer in flat water and 13.5 knots of wind, making 5.8 knots and were able to tack through 110 degrees. The current base price of the Hunter is $268,990.
A daysailer was once simple and small, an entry-level passport to the sport. In the new millennium, however, that has changed. Simplicity may still be a watchword, but the boats have grown into what could be called trophy boats. Hinckley Co.s latest daysail boat is 42 feet long. Morris Yachts is marketing a boat that stretches 53 feet as a daysailer. Ted Fontaine at Friendship Yachts already has built one that size. And these are only a few of the daysail boats with minimal accommodations, big cockpits, and over-size price tags that are filling up the fleet. In all, more than a dozen elegant daysailers have made it to market. This article compares an even dozen: the Alerion Express 28, 33, and 38 (Pearson Composites); e33 (e Sailing Yachts, Robbie Doyle and Jeremy Wurmfeld); the B-38 (Luca Brenta); Bruckmann 42 (Bruckmann Yachts); Crosscurrent 33 (Maxi Dolphin); the Friendship 40 (Ted Fontaine); Harbor 25 (W.D. Schock); Hinckley 42 (Hinckley Yachts), J-100 and J-124 (JBoats), Morris 36 (Morris Yachts), Sabre Spirit (Sabre Yachts), and the wallynano (Wally Yachts).
The U.S. Naval Academy’s new Navy 44 MkII is a seaworthy workhorse that skips the design fluff and focuses on being training-boat tough and race-boat efficient. Designed by David Pedrick, the Navy 44 MkII—younger sister to the Navy MkI racer-cruiser-teacher--is meant to be cruised and raced for 20 years, and to endure two or three times the wear and tear of the average production boat. The boat was designed to act as a sail-training platform with heavy-duty usage by midshipman, while at the same time performing like a race boat for experienced crew. The biggest challenge in designing the boat lay in achieving the requisite strength, stability, and longevity while keeping the vessel's weight from overwhelming performance. Equipped with a Yanmar 4JH4E, and a full array of B&G electronics, the sloop also has Furuno radar, GPS, a NavNet digital chart system, Icom VHF, and SSB.
At last winter’s Paris Boat Show, Beneteau Groupe debuted a four-boat line intended to capitalize on its “design advantage.” Light and space were emphasized. “Ease of handling” and “intimacy with the elements” were buzzwords. The Beneteau 46 is a performance cruiser—long, low, and streamlined. Although it may look too racy to be a cruising boat, it is unique, attractive, and easy to handle. Its lowered center of gravity and elevated freeboard give it more initial stability than previous designs, and its mega-beam and firm bilges give it the power to carry sail well up the wind range. The 46 couples the naval architecture of Jean Berret and Olivier Racoupeau with an interior designed by Massimo Gino and Mario Pedol of Milan’s Nauto Yachts. Pros on deck include wide sidedecks, twin wheels that provide good visibility from the helm, adequate ventilation for warm climates, and a divided anchor locker. At sea with 10 knots of breeze, testers found that the Beneteau 46 helm remained light and the boat tacked through 90 degrees with minimal fuss. They noted a balanced helm and easy steering under both sail and power.
The Hanse 400 is a cruising boat for those who love to sail, and a club racer for those who enjoy a summer cruise. Its construction quality and price point qualify it as a cost-effective alternative in the 40-footer marketplace. In comparison to mainstream production cruising boats, the Hanse 400 is an absolute performance standout, not only in its ability under sail, but in its ease of operation. (Photos by Ralph Naranjo)
The Morgan 41 sloop is arguably one of the best looking of many lovely dual-purpose sailboats that the Cruising Club of America handicap rating system engendered. One owner described his boat as a Bermuda 40 for a regular Joe, only prettier. Designer Charley Morgan traces the cruiser-racers heritage, particularly below the waterline, back to Olin Stephens famous Finisterre, and Comanche, a 40-foot centerboarder built by Wirth Munroe, son of famed sharpie designer and South Florida pioneer Commodore Ralph Munroe.