power_boat_reviews-doral-largeErwin Zecha, owner of Canada's Doral International, plainly recognizes the importance of design and style, so he has both Christophe Lavigne and Luc St-Onge as his in-house design team at the original Doral facility in Grand Mère, Quebec.

As a builder of higher-end fiberglass express cruisers, Doral is almost alone in the domestic Canadian market. For a volume builder, the Canadian market is not enough to ensure business success. You have to win in the US market against all the domestic US builders and better yet, you need to penetrate other export markets, since the increase in the value of the Canadian dollar over the past couple of years has made Canadian boats 35% more while the US product has become 35% less here in Canada.

You cannot fight the battle on price alone. You need a superior and original product–one that will command a premium price and that will be at least a somewhat unique choice for owners.

That is where superior design can play a key role.

To help our readers know more about Doral and to hear in detail how the latest new Doral cruiser was developed, we first traveled to Grand Mère, toured the plant and interviewed Luc St-Onge. Armed with many photos of the new Doral Mediterra express cruiser, we then re-connected with Luc and joined head designer Christophe Lavigne in a photo-by-photo explanation of both the thinking and the creative execution behind the Mediterra. This is what they told us.

"Some of these photos were part of the 2-3 weeks of employee testing that Doral uses to determine the "livability" of its new models. Before they are released to the public, Doral employees take the boats cruising. They live, cook, eat and sleep onboard–young and old alike. The point is to learn how the boat functions and correct any deficiencies that may not have been anticipated in the design process."–Christophe

"A female passenger during the family testing enjoys the special bow seat. This is intended for calm day use only for safety reasons, but it is a very comfortable and enjoyable place to sit even for extended periods of time and it's perfect for exploring the shallows as you make your way into an Anchorage."–Christophe

 

power_boat_reviews-doral-2"Even the youngest among us enjoy driving the boat. During the family testing process, we discovered that the large space between the dashboard and the base of the windshield was a popular [and safe] place for children when cruising."–Christophe

 

 

 

 

 

power_boat_reviews-doral-3"Volvo Penta's IPS drive system has been has proven to be a marvelous performer and Doral's Mediterra was the first Canadian boat (and one of the very first in all of North America) to be designed for and fitted with the IPS drives. Doral is so committed to IPS that the Mediterra is only offered in an IPS power configuration. The center of gravity is balanced for the IPS and we worked very closely with Volvo Penta because it was the first installation ever outside of Volvo's own facilities in the US. The engines went in, in only two hours, demonstrating the effectiveness of our planning process and the accuracy of our mold production. We are very proud that Volvo Penta feels it is one of the best IPS applications so far."–Christophe

 

power_boat_reviews-doral-4"Christophe's son Leo is curled up on a forward deck sun lounge chair. The sun pads can be stowed but Doral includes two lounge chairs made from solid teak and stainless steel, each with an adjustable backrest. They can even be taken ashore as a beach chair; a good example of clever thinking."–Luc

 

 

 

 

power_boat_reviews-doral-5"Here is the weight test for the hardtop. That is me on the left while Bruno Desgagne is on the right. We were actually standing on the hardtop in the course of discussing the rigidity and stability of the roof and its support system."–Christophe

 

 

 

 

 

 

power_boat_reviews-doral-6"The aft cockpit gets a lot of attention in all express cruisers but we feel we did a great job with the Mediterra by including an electric barbecue grill, sink, refrigerator and an icemaker all handy for entertaining in the cockpit. This is basically a full second galley. Again there are entertainment systems, Caradon (Canadian-made) counter tops, and a high-gloss Italian varnished tabletop just like the finish inside the cabin and of course there's the whole Cockpit Cooler system with reverse cycle heating and air-conditioning. You can get five people around the table."–Christophe

 

 

power_boat_reviews-doral-7"The swim platform can be ordered with luxurious European type teak trim. We have trained our own local woodworkers to get such excellent results."–Luc

"Doral is shooting for a mix between the expensive European luxury look and the efficiency of the American type products."–Christophe

"This boat has an unusually large swim platform for its size and part of the reason is because the hull extends to the end to accommodate the IPS drives. We designed lift up hatches under which are large removable storage bins. Pull the bins out it and you get access to the IPS drive systems."–Luc

"Another important feature is the molded inside steps to make it easier for older people to come aboard from dockside."–Christophe

"The decking is all Burmese teak bedded in Sikaflex caulking."–Luc

 

power_boat_reviews-doral-8"The forward stateroom is a difficult place for creativity because the shape of the boat's bow dictates so much of which you can do with it. In this case the designers have given it an island bed with an innerspring mattress and one creative touch was to provide an electric backrest. This is a great innovation. It tilts the bed up for reading or watching the flat screen television that's on the bulkhead. The fiberglass inner liner becomes an important structural element."–Christophe

It's an expensive way to make a boat but we feel the quality justifies it. Also notice the quality of the fabrics. They have been selected and brought in from Europe.–Luc

 

power_boat_reviews-doral-9"The dinette has a classic Doral approach with a rounded shape for the seating, lots of storage and that highly polished Italian varnish on all of the woodwork. The overhead lockers featured curved doors that are produced as custom panels molded to shape by Doral. The lighting is also especially nice." –Luc

 

 

 

 

 

power_boat_reviews-doral-10"Doral is especially proud of the finish in the heads on board. These feature Italian faucets and bowl-type sinks mounted on a Cardoon counter top. Caradon is a Canadian product that is more expensive than Corian and it can be polished for the look Doral wanted, to complement the woodwork."–Christophe

"The round wooden vanity is finished in African mahogany called Makore with 10 coats of hand polished Italian varnish; a finish that is unique in North America."–Luc

 

 

 

 

power_boat_reviews-doral-11"The galley is particularly well equipped for this size of boat with a convection microwave, built-in coffee maker and brushed stainless steel appliances for a professional kitchen look. The NovaKool refrigerator and freezer are side-by-side units under the counters. The ceramic stovetop features two burners and the stainless steel pole serves as both a convenient handhold and a structural support for the hardtop above."–Christophe

Doral is recognized best for their express cruiser line and in that competitive environment, its boats would be regarded as high-end products. This philosophy and design approach has been extended to their new line of sport boats and both Luc and Christophe work together designing all the new product to be built in either the Grand Mere or the Midland plants. They're very open to visiting other markets and other boat builders always on the lookout for smart new designs.

Our congratulations on some very fine original new ideas.

Destinations

  • Prev
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...
The New Glasgow marina is located about six miles up the East River of Pictou in the heart of the ...
The British Virgins took a huge hit last fall from Irma. Boats were stranded on the shore by the ...

Mediterranean Shakedown: A Summer Cruise in Spain

Mediterranean ShakedownBy Sheryl and Paul Shard

This summer my husband, Paul, and I bought our fourth offshore cruising boat, a new Southerly 480 built by Discovery Yachts in the UK. It’s a unique boat with a retractable variable-draft swing keel giving you the option of sailing with a deep draft of 3.1 metres when the keel is down or just less than a metre with the keel fully retracted. Southerly Yachts are great for bluewater sailing and also for gunkholing in shallow creeks and inland waterways. You can even dry them out at low tide so they are is the perfect boat for the type of exploring we like to do. Our new boat, Distant Shores III, is the third Southerly Yacht that we’ve owned over 29 years of international cruising to destinations in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Middle East, UK, Scandinavia and South America. This boat we plan to sail to the South Pacific.

Read more about the Shards' cruise in Spain...

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
This issue, to kick off 2019, we have an unofficial Photo of the week and this, the unofficial ...
Readers give us a bit of feedback on the 60th anniversary of the Shark 24
We are home for Christmas this year. Soon we will be heading back to Adamant 1 for another winter ...
This past October we drove to Telegraph Cove with friends and spent a day of wonder cruising the ...
We have kept our subscription to Canadian Yacht Onboard as we have traveled the South Pacific over ...
Stuart Walker a legend in competitive sailing passed away on November 12, 2018 in Annapolis. Stuart ...
“In Grenada, we had about 80 cruiser kids visit our boat...by dinghy of course! Sometimes you ...
Austin Edwards told students and parents at the Saanich School’s “Parents as Informed Partners” ...
As the sole arbiter of the Photo of the Week I, your editor, get to make the choice. This week, ...
Michele Stevens pointed us to this interesting project which recently came to fruition in Cape ...

Beneteau Antares 27

Beneteau Antares 27By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

You have to love it when something exceeds your expectations on so many levels; the new Antares 27 from Beneteau looks to me like that sort of all-around overachiever.

This is a brand new express cruiser design. With twin Mercury 200 V6 outboards, it delivers impressive performance, a reassuring and comfortable ride, and a level of versatility that will enable this boat to be your vacation partner for all sorts of adventures.

Read more about the Antares 27...

 

 

 

 

Hanse 388

Hanse 388By Katherine Stone

The Hanse group produced their second most popular boat of all time with the Hanse 385. The trick was to build on that winning formula when they upgraded to the Hanse 388, which they have done in spades. The German build quality is first rate and true to the Hanse tradition. Leaving the hull the same with a steep stern and straight stem for an optimal long water line, they went with a slightly stiffer, heavier displacement, new deck, interior layout and window line. Hanse’s highly experienced yacht construction team, judel/vrolijk & co., have combined ease of sailing, comfort and performance into the newly designed Hanse 388.

Read More about the Hanse 388...

 

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Winter is a great time to look at some of the hidden spaces on your boat – to take stock of what is ...
When a boat is in the water, the bilge will often collect water that enters the boat from weather, ...
Recently I suggested doing an off-season (winter) project with a potential client, and my ...
A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
Nothing stops a vacation faster than a problem with the fresh water system – be it leaks, smells, ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...
In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 

Ask Andrew: Electrical Installations – Part 1: Electrical Connections - basics and how-to’s

Electrical InstallationsBy Andrew McDonald

Winter is a great time to look at some of the hidden spaces on your boat – to take stock of what is aboard, areas of improvement and ways to upgrade.

One of the most common jobs that I’m asked to look at are electrical installations and upgrades. Surprisingly, the majority of these types of jobs are to ‘clean up’ the wiring of years past – when electrical standards were more fluid, and jury-rigged upgrades have been added and adapted over multiple owners and contractors.

Read More about Electrical Installations Basics...

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
While the basics of boat hull design hasn’t changed that much over the years, the same cannot be ...
Yamaha targets the Canadian big-water market with its high-torque 425 horsepower V8 XTO outboard, ...
Looking for a great Christmas gift for the Offshore sailor on your list? This being a Marblehead to ...
Sail shape is long gone. They have stained, feels thin and you see broken threads everywhere. Your ...
Stripping the antifouling paint from the bottom of a boat is physically demanding and is one of the ...
The 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar highlights the drama and excitement of blue-water sailing, as ...
Weather nerds and boaters of all stripes will be absorbed by Bruce Kemp’s account of the monstrous ...
Canada Rope promises that its new Night Saver Rope will illuminate at night and act as a reference ...
Take a look as a 68-foot yacht docks itself in between two Volvo Ocean 65 sailing yachts at the ...
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System