14 Must see cruising yachts at the 2014 PSP Southampton Boat Show

imageCannes and Southampton are dividing loyalties and forcing companies to build two new boats at the same time in order to have a presence at both shows again. If that wasn’t enough La Rochelle has also got in on the act too.

There have been winners and losers, Cannes got the looks of Dehler 46, Southampton got the practicality and ingenuity of the Sirius 40DS. Enough of the complaining, here’s my pick of boats to have a nose around at the 2014 PSP Southampton Boat Show.

First off some home-grown talent, in the classic Stephen Jones lines. I’m going to start calling the turning down to yacht alley on the pontoon Jones’ Corner, as in the space of 6 berths down he’s designed 4 boats on one side and one boat on the other, if Southerly hadn’t stumbled over again there would be more.

Anyway I digress. If you can take your eyes of the stunning little Rustler 33 (designed by SJ) you’ll see the Rustler 37. You’ll need deep pockets, but she is gorgeous, the workmanship and woodwork is lovely. Look out for the mid ships boarding ladder, the saloon based engine, and large C-shaped saloon. If you want to see my dreamboat, she’s lying next door in the shape of the Rustler 42…Even deeper pockets needed for me.

Opposite, there’s the Exploration 45 by Garcia Yachts. imageUp until the middle of August this year Jimmy Cornell was trying to take his boat Aventura though the north west passage. Sadly Jimmy had to abandon the voyage as this year as it was 50/50 whether the ice would clear. The Exploration 45 is a unique boat with a unique purpose. There are many details, too many to talk about here, but look at the navigators chart table, view from the saloon and windlass position.

Further up you’ll see something with a striking resemblance to the Rustler 37, the Mystery 35.image Great looks on the outside, compact down below, but a good looking boat none the less. Oh, she’s designed by Stephen Jones too.

If you can tear your eyes away from the SJ beauties you’ll see the two German built Sirius yachts the Sirius 35DS (blue hull) and the new Sirius 40DS. imageIf you’re the type of person who fills every locker onboard with “stuff” walk away from the Sirius. Sirius’ owner Torsten appears to enjoy solving problems and has abhorrence to wasted space. So much so that instead of fold down locker fronts you’ll find drawers, lots and lots of self closing beautifully smooth drawers, everywhere: under steps bed and microwaves…in fact if the grain is horizontal the chances are it opens, if it’s vertical it doesn’t – unless it’s a door. Also under every floorboard is stowage too, it has 900 odd kilogrammes of food tucked away, and there is still stowage space in abundance. It’s the biggest 40 footer I’ve been on. Have a look at the saloon table – it can be operated single-handed, his search for a hard wearing varnish for it led him to use the same varnished used on the bumpers of Mercedes Benz.

Next to Sirius 35 is the last of our SJ boats the GT Yachts GT35. imageSome people fail to see why she costs around £300,000, so take a look down below (ignore the black and copper Corian galley) and just look at the woodwork, sit at the chart table and look closely at the details. She’s beautifully built by the yard that used to build Oyster and now build Gunfleet Yachts. She has a wonderfully deep and secure cockpit and a lovely light feel to the helm. She also has over two tonnes of lead in her keel!

Have a look next at the Nordship 430 DSIt has a wonderful snug area beneath the cockpit, delicious wood work too, and like the Sirius 35 and Sirius 40 a proper deck saloon where you can sit and look out of the windows.image

On your right you’ll see the Allures 39.9 (the sail cover has the name of the boat spelt wrong on) A good solid aluminium centreboard boat.image The galley benefits from the windows, sadly little else does. It does win the award for the most cunning place for wine storage and massive heads award.

Have a look around here of the Winner 9.00, a small boat built well with the option to spend as much or as little as you would like to customise her. image

One new “white” boat worth casting an eye over is the new Arcona 380 imageWhite and pointy, she errs on the performance side of the “Performance Cruiser” type. She’s quick, looks handsome and has a quality interior.

Skip past all the white boats competing like the 4 door saloon market, some are about as interesting as a 90s Mondeo.

But before you do look right, for the Bestewind 50imageShe has a traditional exterior, but down below there is a lot of well thought out space, and a lovely cruiser feel, everything seem right. There is also a nice sheltered area in the doghouse at the companion way.

Next up look for the orangey creamy hull of the RM1260imageThe hull is plywood sheathed in epoxy. She’s light weight, a bit basic below but has quick performance and lots of cruiser type features, such as primary winches inboard by the companionway and the excellent technical area.

Turn back on yourself and head north past Nauticat towards the docks down here on the right you should find the Solaris One 48.imageIn metallic blue she’s hard to miss, but full of Italian style. Have a look at the mainsheet. Instead of running the main sheet from a winch to the gooseneck back to the aft end of the boom, down to the track then back up to repeat its journey on the other side, the Solaris turns the system upside down and runs the mainsheet from a winch to the mainsheet car to the boom and back on the other side, it sound simpler, and it is. The only simpler set up I’ve seen was on a Essence 33 (a £256,000 composite day boat) which had a single line from the boom going to a block, then the winch.

Carry on walking up towards the docks and have a look for the J Boats J-122EimageIf you thought J Boats were all race boats, think again, here’s a practical cruiser in wolves’ clothing. Imagine one of the aft cabin as a heads, with stowage behind and you have a fast able cruiser with lines and deck gear all well thought out. Look out for the rollers at the far end of the boom and the internally lead German mainsheet system. While here have a look for the J-97E, the J-97 given the same racer to cruiser make over.

Turning right you’ll be at X-Yachts, now the one you want to see here is the XC35imageDon’t let the number confuse you she’s actually 34 feet, she does have a chunky bowsprit though. She’s medium displacement, quick and well behaved. She’s well thought out, with lots of stowage and a decent quality fit out down below. Work space in the galley is a bit small, but I’d happily drop everything and cruise around the UK in her given the time and the opportunity.

If you were here looking for the low down on which non-descript white plastic boat to buy, I’m sorry to disappoint. Hopefully this has been a bit more entertaining and insightful.

Any questions? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer. Fair winds.

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