sail_boat_review-jeanneau_53-largeSailing the first Jeanneau 53 to land in North America was a treat to say the least; to share the day with my colleague David McPhail from Boatcan made for a wonderful time. Invited by Paul Fenn (also on board) and the Jeanneau team, we were treated to perfect test sail conditions on Lake St. Clair, close enough to the Canadian border to guarantee Canadian content. Our test conditions were perfect: slight chop, moderate building and waning breezes nearing 6 knots true that drove the 46-foot waterline through the water at an impressive 5.4 knots. Steering the boat was a joy with the twin steering set up, finger-tip control and light responsive helm.

The Jeanneau 53 is a natural evolution of the 54DS. That's hard to do considering the 54DS sold 400+ boats worldwide. Jeanneau has, in fact, set off a new division to focus on sailboats 50' and over.

The new moves Jeanneau is making and the new processes being implemented are yielding a higher quality product at a much lower price. Levering economies of scale across models, lower design costs with the reliance on CATIA design software and lower material costs, a base Jeanneau 53 comes in just shy of $357,000 US (landed in Baltimore, Maryland).

If we were to spec the boat, all we would add is a 60 amp battery charger, extra 12v house batteries, LED navigation lights, and a bow thruster. After year one, there is no doubt we would opt for an asymmetrical spinnaker as well. What more do you really need?

On the building front the hull is a hand laid up Fibreglass in a two-part opening mold, allowing for the recessed cove striping and hull port recesses. For osmosis protection, Jeanneau relies on two outer layers of a vinylester barrier while the hull's strength is based on a 3rd generation counter-moulded structural grid that is glued and laminated. This structural grid is also designed to minimize weight as evidenced by the numerous cutouts in its framework on throughhulls etc., which does not in any way compromise the strength.

Fred Smith, Jeanneau's local Detroit dealer, and an affable, knowledgeable and capable sailor may have sold me on an inmast furling set up. He challenged me to release my racing mindset in order to better appreciate that these boats are equipped for major bluewater cruising (where bucking the wind for hours might not always be on the dance card and where long reaches best meet the market demand). He demonstrated that by merely mirroring the way you would trim the jib for reaching by matching the same shape on the mainsail's foot (through outhaul trim) provided a very solid setup. He was right; the boat flew on our first test reaches as my colleague from Cruising World Magazine and I sat dumfounded. (Here is the basis for a future article we both thought.)

I steered for a good twenty minutes and the boat responded and tracked beautifully. The access to controls were perfect and the optional electric winches made sailing this boat effortless. Jeanneau has done an amazing job forecasting the trends; the 53 will definitely stand the test of time well. This boat will be as popular if not more so than the 54DS.

The 53 is an elegant boat. The Jeanneau team under Vittorio Garroni and Phillipe Briand has established a new benchmark in the industry. Its sailing characteristics are amazing, its live aboard space decadent and the value quotient to say the least unbelievable. The neat touches include a wonderful sliding hatch with a neat cockpit floor flip-up that contains the control lines and cleans up the cockpit, a huge cockpit (in fact, that is bigger than the Jeanneau 57), windlass controls at the helm, an expansive teak deck to die, and the bright open interior brought forward though a perfect array and integration of deck hatches and portholes. The 3-part cockpit is perfect for dining, entertaining and, of course, sailing. The unique dedicated life raft compartment allows deployment without leaving the cockpit.

Below decks the wood (or furniture as the trade seems to be calling it these days) is well done and crafted and beautifully offset with the use of both leather and stainless throughout. The flexibility of choice in configurations makes it very appealing as well; one can choose for a two stateroom version, or opt for twin forward guest cabins, or even choose a five-cabin layout with its lateral guest cabin.

It is hard not to get excited by this boat's luxury, ease of handling and performance at a price point that's going to become the new norm.

By John Kerr

To see if this boat is available, go to www.boatcan.com to check listings!

Destinations

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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

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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

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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

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