Does this lightweight hull truly deliver on its promised lively mix of sailing performance and cruising comfort? Pip Hare is left in no doubt.
Performance cruisers are designed and sold to chew up the miles on longer journeys without sacrificing too much comfort. Yet many new owners find that their boat that sailed so well in ‘show room trim’ becomes quite a different beast once all of the cruising necessities – fridges, freezers, tenders, water makers, two sets of ground tackle and the myriad of other essentials for comfortable cruising – are loaded on board.
Swedish yard Arcona, together with designer Stefan Qviberg, is offering a way out of the inevitable compromise between equipment and speed by building the new 465 with a carbon hull and deck as standard. By taking the weight out of the hull of this 46-footer, Arcona believes that the boat can still be fitted out with the luxury interior customers would expect and that owners will be able to load on nearly a tonne of extra gear and still enjoy great performance. In theory it makes sense: the 465 is only three per cent heavier than the 430 but with ten per cent more sail area. But does it still feel like a cruising yacht in practice?
Pip Hare went for a test sail in the Solent.
Helming the Arcona 465 was a delight; the twin wheels are placed well outboard giving a great view of the jib whether sitting or standing, to windward or leeward. Two collapsible platforms come out of the deck to provide a level platform for the helmsman while the boat is heeled. I could easily reach around the steering binnacle to the mainsheet. It is lovely to see features like inhaulers as standard – it not only makes a great difference to sail trim, but also gives the impression the boat is serious about sailing. As standard there is a removable inner forestay from which a storm jib or even small staysail could be flown.
In every direction the 465 felt nimble and quick and we were turning heads as we strolled past everything on the Solent, sailing close under the lee of boats of a similar size. After a few hours on the water it was interesting to observe the boat’s two distinct personalities: depending on who was on the helm and whether they were ramping up or backing off the power, the boat could switch from being a twitchy sprinter to a calm ultra-runner and back again.
I can immediately see this boat jostling for position on the start line of any race track and holding its own; it responds favourably to active trimming and on our relatively light wind day I did feel there was a lot more power to unlock. However the cruising face of the 465 is equally authentic. It is luxurious, comfortable and well thought out; living aboard this boat would be a pleasure.
For the full report see the January issue of Yachting World magazine.