Is this all-carbon 46ft performance cruiser too hot to handle? Pip Hare goes for a test sail


Sleek and uncluttered

There are two deep lockers in the bow, one containing the ground tackle, while the other is big enough for ropes, fenders or sails. This is mirrored at the stern with a lazarette that even the best kitted out cruising sailor might struggle to fill.

Sleek and uncluttered is the theme running through the 465. The test boat’s German mainsheet, and jib furling line are recessed below wide teak side decks (not standard). The single genoa track sits alongside the coachroof; inhaulers do the work of a second track inboard.

Cavities inside the coaming provide storage for halyards and lazy sheets to keep them off the deck, while the jib car adjustment controls are neatly hidden in recessed pockets in the same area.

The cockpit is home to a very cleverly stowed table. Simply undo the latch and press lightly on the cockpit sole and a full-size table will rise out of a small slot on a gas strut, transforming the clean, racy cockpit into a convivial place to relax. The two carbon wheels are just far enough apart to allow easy access through to the stern.

For those who find the open transom too exposed, Arcona can raise the lazarette locker lids to the same height as the side decks, giving a full width seat across the stern and even more room for storage – though for me this would spoil the look of the boat.

The rudder, engine bed and keel root are all solid laminate but the rest of the boat is a sandwich construction using carbon cloth and vinylester resin. A galvanised steel cradle bolted to internal beams and bulkheads takes the loads from keel and rig, a feature that is common across the whole Arcona range.

High standard of living

Step down below and you are instantly enveloped in comfort: the mahogany woodwork is softened with plush upholstery and there is a pair of double-width armchairs opposite the large table on the port side that just invite you to curl up with a good book.

There is a great sense of space: the saloon is wide and airy but does not feel sparse. Lighting options include dimming saloon lights and under-seat lighting that sparkles off the varnished cabin sole. A television pops up from a recess beneath one of the side shelves (just don’t forget to remove any drinks from the shelf before launching the TV!)

The 465 has twin aft cabins and a heads opposite the galley in the saloon with the owner’s cabin and en-suite forward. The owner’s cabin is big, light and airy, featuring an island bed, with plenty of hanging and storage space and a little dressing table desk in the corner. The en-suite heads and shower are equally large, offering all the space, storage and features that one could want.

On passage, the forward berth would not be usable with any sort of heel and to cross the wide expanse of the saloon in rough conditions would also be quite a mission. The chart table is a reasonable size and looks a comfortable place to work and you can just about reach a foot across to the galley to brace into the seat.

Attention to detail

High quality detailing is often indicative of build quality throughout and the Arcona is very high class. The foam cushions are luxuriously thick and firm and door retainers are not the usual hooks or magnets but instead specially shaped pieces of wood under which the door handle catches. The seat tops beneath the cushions are not left bare but wrapped over with fabric. You can hardly see this detail but it adds to the soft, warm look.

The large galley at the foot of the companionway steps comes with a double top-loading fridge as standard, plus plenty of room for storage and extras. The test boat has a pull-out freezer under the work surface. I was able to work in the galley with the boat heeling but the L-shape at the end of the counter top could be a little larger to get a really firm ‘wedge’ in.

The saloon heads is quite small when compared to the en-suite forward – this is definitely a boat designed with a sailing couple in mind – but it does the job and is well positioned at the bottom of the companionway to keep wet crew out of the saloon.

The two aft cabins are roomy and fitted out with a bank of lockers down each side as well as generous hanging space. Racing owners could save quite a bit of weight by going without this additional furniture.

Verdict: an authentic hybrid

It is pretty hard to find fault with a boat that is built to order for each owner. There are few areas of the Arcona 465 that cannot be customised and every new build is tailored to the owner’s needs.

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.

In its unladen state, the handling can be calmed down with some sensible sail trim, but I still feel it would be a tiring, frisky boat for a couple to cruise. Yet it is worth bearing in mind that the boat was designed to take on board about a tonne of cruising kit.

Load the 465 with all of your gear and you can expect the performance of an unladen glassfibre yacht of the same size. If this works it is genius. Arcona may have uncovered the secret to building proper hybrid cruiser-racers.


LOA: 14.13m (46ft 4in)
LWL: 13.25m (43ft 6in)
Beam (Max): 4.20m (13ft 9in)
Draught: 2.45m (8ft 0in)
Disp (lightship): 9,500kg (20,944lb)
Ballast: 4,000kg (8,818lb)
Sail area (100% foretriangle): 128.6m2 (1,384ft2)
Engine: Yanmar 50hp saildrive
Water: 450lt (99gal)
Fuel: 250lt (55gal)
Sail Area:Displacement ratio – 29.2
Disp:LWL ratio – 114
Price: (SeK) 4,649,600 / £395,000 (ex VAT)
Test boat: (SeK) 5,619,738 / £506,283 (ex VAT)
Design: Stefan Qviberg

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Sleek and uncluttered
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