I always have takeaways when I do a review, a word picture if you like that can, in my mind, summarize a boat and a builder; in this case, it would be rugged, strong and light. Multipurpose might also be a word as the 45CS we sailed on that windy and cold day performed so well that one could easily imagine this boat racing or cruising. Contest sought out Georg Nissen, the experienced German yacht designer, to design the 45CS. Together they have created a wonderful boat – huge down below and performance on the water. The hull shape is true to its designer’s concept; it is easy to steer and easy to manoeuvre.
Right from the dock, bucking the current, I felt at home in this boat. Great visibility and solid, wonderfully light steering beat the expectations I had. Setting sail with the 135 overlapping genoa, the boats solid upwind tracking (it was easy to find the grove) was evidenced by speeds approaching 7 knots on relative flat sea conditions. In the puffs, the boat was stiff and responded well to the odd sail tweak ajustment. The Elvstrom sails that come standard on this boat are perfect; they fit the spar well and are some of the best sails I have seen in production boats anywhere.
I had a feeling that the Marc Lombard-designed Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 379 would be fun to sail even before I took one out in 20-25 knots of breeze. That’s because I’d sailed the first of the similarly re-designed Sun Odysseys—the 409—last year, and it wasn’t hard to imagine the folks at Jeannueau serving up all the performance and comfort of the 409 in a slightly smaller, 37-foot package. But nothing I’d experienced on the 409 could have prepared me for the sheer joy of sailing the 379 in a stiff wind. And my positive sailing experience was even more remarkable because the model we tested was equipped with the shoal draft wing keel that only draws 4' 11".
Hanse Yachts sure have come a long way since they first appeared in North America in the late '90s. Back then, I thought the boats were small and unremarkable except for the fact that they were built in the former East Germany. But I soon learned that Hanse’s founder and chief visionary Michael Schmidt had big plans. Since then, Hanse Yachts has indeed evolved into one of the highest volume builders in the world. And as I found out during a test sail of the Judel/Vrolijk-designed Hanse 495 on a spectacular late fall day in New England, there are plenty of reasons why Hanse Yachts continue to propagate.
Hanse's move to the main dock in Annapolis really demonstrated its scope of product. It's funny but boats show better when you see their full length and profile. Hanse continues to impress and the 445 is a boat I like a lot. The You expect the twin wheels from a Hanse design, but the self-tacker and huge folding platform deliver extra value. The fact one can has interior options just make this boat a perfect choice for a solid performance cruising boat.
With a solid tradition combined with a new outlook, this builder is producing some wonderful new hulls and product. Careful attention to detail below decks with storage options that will surprise man, this boat won my vote quickly. There is no question that this performance cruiser has a renewed commitment to the Canadian market. I am quite sure it will find its way to many marinas and yacht clubs next year. Its workmanship and solid pedigree will ensure it's a contender in the 44' cruising yacht niche.
The market niche Philippe Briand wanted to reach with this performance yacht will be excited. This boat allows for lots of customization with its rig and keel options. The wonderful lines and deck plan turned my head. I loved the self-tacking jib and the option for a 140% performance genoa. The interior, surprisingly spacious, is bright and wonderfully comfortable.
The sense line from Beneteau quickly became a benchmark for the industry, so it wasn't a surprise when we saw the 43 for the first time. Capitalizing on the successful 50, the wonderful style and sense (pardon the pun), its wide beam at 14 feet that's carried all the way aft is complemented well with the hard chine concept. We loved the interaction with the cockpit and salon; the cockpit size and scope is amazing.
Tartan's robust designs and wonderful attention to detail make their traditional yachts a 'must see' option in our minds. One thing Tartan has always done is to ensure their boats can perform and perform well. Below decks, the ambiance and style is only outdone by the practical convenience and wonderful balance of satin- varnished cherry joiner work.
I loved this boat from the first take – a breath of fresh air from J Boats. It's trailerable, easily sailed and its large cockpit, small sail inventory and sailing just for sailing's sake. From trailer to water in 30 minutes, this boat was made to fill a niche long forgotten. It has a vertically lifting bulb keel and carbon fiber single spreader rig. Perfectly sailed by 3-4 and it's got that great J Boat moniker too!