On board video from my test sail of the JP54 lightweight canting keeler

Here’s a short video of my test sail last week on the JP54, a 9-tonne canting keel fast cruiser.

It’s a shame we had such light winds off Nice for the sail, but then again the lower wind speeds are perhaps most indicative of a light, hugely canvassed boat’s potential. We’ve all become familiar with the idea of sailing faster than the wind but wafting effortlessly along at 6 knots in 5 knots of true wind is like magic.

Photographer Rick Tomlinson kindly helped take some video and when three of the crew went ashore in the evening in the dinghy we were left to work on some photos below.

We had great sport with the rotating carousel that spins the floor of most of the saloon. Zzzzt. Zzzzt Zzzzzzzzzzt.

We made that puppy go round and round, back and forth. We tested that thing for you!

It’s a weird sensation, because the boat heels noticeably when the 700kg module is full out to one side and bobs disconcertingly as it turns.

When Philippe, the skipper, came back on board I could see him looking at the nav area thinking: “Hmmm, ze batteries seem vairy low.”

Anyway, the boat is packed full of clever design ideas and features to make day-to-day cruising life easier, like the dinghy garage and water jet on the anchor chain. But it’s definitely what you’d call ‘a Marmite yacht’: you’ll either love it or hate it.