Those of you who have been aboard the GT35 have been left with the distinct impression that this a proper sailing yacht, one in which a lot of thought has been put, and not just a toy for the weekend. Those who have also sailed her have been left in no doubt that she is a yacht of excellent capability and comfort. Indeed, one blustery day a couple of weeks ago saw Pip Hare from Yachting World take GT35-01 out. As with all yacht testers she was pretty tight lipped but did say that she found the yacht to be exactly what she expected. Pip, having cruised and raced across the Atlantic, knows a few things about selecting an offshore yacht!

I reckon these are the benefits she'll be waxing lyrical on:

  • No messing about in the cockpit with fenders and warps - all harbour gear stowed forward in the bosun's locker.
  • No uncomfortable heel angles in all but the biggest of breezes - very low center of gravity due to an all-lead keel, non-encapsulated so no additional buoyancy where it's not wanted.
  • Dry sailing - deep and safe cockpit with all-round coamings.
  • No clambering up the topsides - easily deployed transom platform.
  • Good speed performance due to a high aspect ratio rig with three reefs in the mainsail - maximises power and reduces drag. Performance also aided by the fact that the high stability maintains an upright yacht.
  • Ability to move around easily in the cabins due to robust and well thought out interior, including good structural hand-holds.
  • Good solid traditional features but in a fresh and modern style with plenty of options.
A working galley

Digressing a little, but staying on the subject of good design, I heard a story the other day from a superyacht stylist who was asked by a production yacht manufacturer to make the interiors of their yachts look more expensive than they actually are. What I don't know from the brief account I was given was whether the interior of the yacht in question was of a sufficient standard to be acceptable as an ocean-going offshore cruiser - it was certainly an ocean class yacht in RCD terms. The eyebrow raiser in this story of course is hearing what the manufacturer was focusing on. If one's attention is on issues of vanity, it simply means there isn't enough time or resource to also focus adequately on the important things, therefore they get neglected. Things like ensuring the essence of the product is delivered through good engineering and design. The essence of the product in this case is a vessel that will look after you at sea, reward you with good sailing performance and maximise your comfort while living on board - not just looking like it!

I guess related to this is the application of the Recreational Craft Directive and its many mandatory standards. The ability of manufacturers to adopt these minimum standards in order to preserve a degree of safety on yachts means that many manufacturers now rely on the RCD to dictate the design. This is the wrong approach; the correct approach of course is to design a vessel using the expected environmental conditions and then make sure that all aspects of the RCD have been met. This results in a yacht that is certainly fit for purpose and most likely safer and will last longer thus preserving value.

This is similar to my experience in designing commercial ships - Classification Society Rules for Ships are often used as a design tool rather than a design check. As the RCD has matured the tendency of some is to whittle designs down until the minimum standards are met for that particular category. However, minimum standards do not always provide the basis for an appropriate solution. For example, a coachroof hand rail that extends barely a couple of paces beyond the cockpit leaves you having to leap to the shrouds or mast. Not adequate, but meeting the minimum standard.

Going back to the initial point, I find that good design always looks correct when it conveys the truth; if something looks right, it's usually because it is right. A galley that is designed properly and which is correctly thought out will always look the part and, more importantly, work effectively. If the manufacturer I refer to above wants to present a better yacht, my advice is to simply design a better yacht.

So if you're planning to go somewhere and you're looking for a well performing yacht to take you there comfortably and safely, GT35-01 is available for your private viewing and testing.

Wishing all a very merry Christmas!!



PS If you've not seen them already, there are a few vidoes on the website that will whet the appetite, be sure to take a look:

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