Had a wander around the Southampton boat show
today, which was fun and interesting. But which convinced me even much more that I couldn’t buy a boat to suit me off the shelf.
I had always been curious about the Discovery 55’s, and finally got to see one in person and wander around in it.
It is laid out almost exactly like my boat except that it has a weird multilevel salon
, with a semicircular settee around a big table up on a podium, and a kind of passage
to starboard of that with a pilot berth, and the nav table on still another level, up high where you can see out through the front salon
windows and keep watch from there.
I loved the nav table but hated everything else about that salon – no way for people to hang out spread around the very small salon – it’s either sit around the table or go to your cabin
. Completely impossible for a liveaboard
. And there’s no salon sole as such, and I have no idea how you would load sails
on board or large quantities of provisions.
There’s no windshield but just an ordinary flexible dodger
. Not much good for high latitudes, although I guess you’ll be standing watch more from the raised nav table.
The cabins benefit from large hull ports
which really add light and view, especially the Pullman berth. I have small (conservative, strong) hull ports
in master cabin
and salon, but my Pullman cabin and forepeak cabin are a bit cave-like with nothing but deck
is just like my boat, which is not a complement. Deck hardware
is fru fru poseur yacht type – vertical windlass
, no dockline fairleads (just stainless edging on the rail – looks like same source as mine), no samson
post, no warping drum. Does have padeyes for Barber haulers, however – wish I had those.
is very slick and nice but there are some low quality materials in it. I especially hate the Ikea type square-edged cushions
which you see everywhere now, and which will look shabby in one season.
One thing I absolutely hated was the step from cockpit
to side deck is slanted downward (!) towards the rail and made of smooth teak
(!) – a recipe for flying through the guardrails. These boats are not made for being at sea for long periods and rough weather
. On the plus side, the side decks are wider than mine (and that’s a big plus) – going however with the much smaller salon.
I also got to walk through a Contest 57. This one had no nav table (on a boat this size!). No windshield, light deck hardware. Terrible engine
access. Ikea-type cushions
galore. Considering the great reputation of these boats, I was surprised at the light, cheap-looking joinery – a cut below the Discovery.
Next was an Oyster
575. Reminded my very much of the Contest 57 but with build quality more like the Discovery. Most elegant fitout without the Ikea cushions. Nice boat, but like the rest, not made for serious voyaging.
Next thing I looked at was a French 72-footer, can’t remember the name (some initials). One of those Wally-boat type deck arrangements like a ballroom floor with two helms sticking up at random out of it. Nothing to hold on to, as something for holding on would ruin the sleek lines. I can imagine flying straight across that ballroom floor deck and right through the guardlines in rough weather
Ikea settees set on the flat deck suitable only for use in the marina. Bleh, total poser yacht. Made for running from one marina to another in the Med in calm weather and impressing your friends, and nothing else. I wouldn’t take that out in the North Sea if you paid me to do it.
Then – an Amel 55. Hmm. I’ve always admired
Amels but never liked
them, and would never want one for myself. But I had to say – compared to all these sleek for-show yachts – I liked the thoughtful, purposeful, non-sleek idea of the Amel. Everything about it is made for function, not show.
I definitely would not go the trouble and great expense of changing my boat for one of these. The only way to get what I really want will to have it built, I think.