Toby Hodges introduces the Kraken 66, first in a range of three models for bluewater cruising built in China
Kraken is a new brand designed in New Zealand and built in China, founded by two experienced British businessmen and sailors in Hong Kong. They are marketing a particularly competitively priced range of bluewater cruisers.
The first three models, drawn by Dibley Marine, are a 50, 58 and 66, which will be built at Hansheng in Xiamen, a yard that builds for many other brands, including Passport Yachts.
The first Kraken is the flagship, a 66 called White Dragon for chairman Dick Beaumont, and is nearing completion.
Beaumont decided to concentrate his 100,000 sea miles of experience, earned cruising the world aboard his previous 58-footer, Moonshadow, over eight years, into a new range of specialist cruisers.
“When the wind is over 35 knots these yachts will look after you; not the other way round,” says Beaumont. “The Kraken has a rig and deck layout designed to make short-handed sailing easy and enjoyable.”
No corners cut
Kraken has taken a belt and braces approach to the build, not least with the keel, which is fully encapsulated and its lead ballast moulded into the hull. It also has glassfibre and Kevlar laminate reinforcements.
The company has gone to the marketing lengths of branding this a ‘Zero Keel’ system – “because it has zero bolts and zero risk of falling off the hull,” says Beaumont.
“No bluewater yacht should be built without safety being its very first consideration. The Kraken hull and keel are one piece. It is impossible for them to be separated.” Beaumont told me that a long keel and a protective skeg for the rudder were the first criteria he searched for in a bluewater cruiser, and one he believes eliminates most yards today.
The Kraken keel is shallow with a long chord and generous bulb. “Kevin Dibley’s involvement with America’s Cup designer Laurie Davidson enabled him to transfer some of that knowledge and detail into this modern cruising keel design,” says Kraken Yachts’ managing director, Roger Goldsmith.
Kraken Yachts use hydraulics extensively both to power equipment for sail handling and to reduce the potential for electrical failure. The sail control systems are all hydraulic, including winches, furlers (both in-boom and dual headsail), captive winch, vang and backstay adjusters. The windlass and bow thruster are also hydraulic on the 66, as are the dinghy davit winches, the dive compressor and even the watermaker.
“The move to hydraulics has been driven by my belief that what fails most is electric motors on large yachts,” Beaumont explains.
Other robust elements to the design include the traditional raked stem and moderate displacement for a comfortable motion through waves.
White Dragon is being royally fitted out with options including a Southern Spars carbon rig, Reckmann dual headsail furlers and a carbon sprit for a furling code sail.
She has a particularly generous 2,200lt of fuel tanks, which help give her a range under power of around 1,400 miles at cruising speed – or seven days under power alone.
Price is the key
The price of a Kraken yacht is the key sales point. It positions them only slightly higher than serial produced yachts and distinctly lower than the typical high-end semi-custom luxury cruisers built in Europe. This allows extensive extra equipment to be included while keeping the end price down. “We can build a boat at a much higher spec and lower cost than if we built it elsewhere,” Beaumont explains.
All Kraken models have an interior pilot station or control centre. They use a time-honoured centre cockpit layout, with a passageway galley leading to a spacious owner’s cabin aft. Kraken offers a good amount of customisation on the interior layout, “as long as it makes sense from a seaworthy point of view,” adds Beaumont.
He is also keen to stress the quality of the joiner work and the amount of solid wood and hand craftsmanship used on a Kraken.
White Dragon will launch this summer.
Price ex VAT: Kraken 50 US$695,000 (£480,680). Kraken 58 $995,000 (£688,167). Kraken 66 $1,595,000 (£1,103,140). www.krakenyachts.com
LOA 20.12m/66ft 0in
LWL 17.29/56ft 9in
Beam 5.50m/18ft 0in
Draught 2.01m/6ft 7in
Sail area 177m2/1,910ft2