By William Mills
Light and space seems to be the theme of this year’s Southampton Boat Show. Here, we take a closer look 35ft+ sailing yachts to see how they well they have achieved this.
First visited was the Beneteau range. Their yachts on display had large aft cockpits with easy to board steps. The owner’s cabin is forward with guest cabins either side of the companionway steps aft.
What also made a lot of difference to the aft cabins was the addition of a window looking down from the cockpit as you go in. It did have a velcro curtain for privacy.
Of course the catamarans are in a difference class when it comes to deck space. The Fountaine Pagot Lucia 40, or at 38.5 ft, was easily the most comfortable that I sat on. You get a lot of boat for £350,000 approx.
The attraction of catamarans is they don’t roll nearly so much at anchor as a monohull. Conversely windward pointing suffers and marinas can charge more for moorings at busy times.
Down below it was a little tight for space. The door catches were annoyingly difficult to fathom.
Next was the Hanse 345. At least they had proper door handles on the loo which if you were feeling seasick would be a godsend.
The cabin, however did make me feel a little breathless after so much light below in the competitors.
The cabin of the Hanse 345 raised the question about the desired extent of windows.
Richard Matthews, the former MD of Oyster Yachts told me that some people on long sea voyages actually like a ‘confined’ feel down if they are suffering from agoraphobia-fear of open spaces- on deck.
I imagined lying in my bunk looking out of a huge window as the boat heeled over and Snappy the Shark peered in! In rough weather I feel safer in a solid hull.
I wondered if most yachts seen here today would be day sailing with the occasional overnight at sea, in which case light and airy would be the order of the day.
However another consideration is will all the windows remain watertight in years to come? Further, will mooring scrapes and scratches polish out or with the windows discolour over time?
The Moody 54, in the £750,000-800,000 range, was the largest we visited. It had a lovely ‘big yacht’ feel on boarding.
Yet to me the deck cabin, extremely functional, was lacking in creature comforts, and perhaps too light and airy if one was trying to escape the bright Mediterranean sunshine for a bit.
A yacht’s guest cabin, to me, needs to be large enough to stand up in to rummage through one’s luggage holdall with the door shut.
Finally we arrived at the Peters and May stand. They transport yachts worldwide in a number of different ships.
Today they were hosting a delegation promoting Antigua Sailing Week which starts on 29 April 2017. Rum flowed and guests were treated to a steel band!