The CNB78 will be on display at the Cannes Boat Show after it was first revealed earlier this year. The CNB78 is a small superyacht-style bluewater cruiser with plenty of style
We first saw something of the CNB 78 at the Düsseldorf boat show in January where CNB had a mock up of its new boat, a whalebone-like structure which showed the impressive size of the hull, with graphics on the floor showing the interior layout. Having not even seen a rendered image of the new model by that point, we were amazed to learn that CNB had already sold four boats and has an 88 in the pipeline!
Of those four orders, three were to repeat clients. The first boat is launched earlier in 2023 and will be on display at the Cannes boat show in September at a cost of around €4m.
The CNB78 came just 18 months after Groupe Beneteau sold CNB to Solaris, a transition phase, which has involved moving production from Monfalcone to a new facility at Solaris’ Aquileia home.
Of course the heritage French brand is no stranger to this market and size. It sold 32 CNB 76s, including the model we reviewed in 2014. Vincent Arnaud, the brand manager who has remained through the transition, explained that their challenge was finding where to improve on this design – it’s popular for being a small superyacht-style bluewater cruiser that can be managed by minimal crew.
Maintaining its recognised style was paramount – CNB will still focus on bluewater, where Solaris specialises in the more flush deck sporty Med designs, says Arnaud. Hence CNB kept the same design team in Philppe Briand and Jean-Marc Piaton to create its new range.
The 78 has a powerful hull shape with upper and lower chines. It’s wider than the 76, especially aft, with more volume through the boat. The signature coachroof is retained to give good protection to a large cockpit and create the adjoining deck saloon, while a glazed companionway helps give near surround views.
CNB has retained the style of its old 76 by using the same designers. The contemporary 78 has a similar ¾ width bulkhead to give the master suite open privacy
“The goal was to turn the Beneteau page and start a new chapter,” explains Arnaud. The process of construction is totally different now, he says, with bulkheads laminated into the hull in a more traditional manner (rather than using Groupe Beneteau’s innovation of building full interior modules outside of the boat).
The interior also has a more modern style, with less wood and more fabrics and lacquered parts. The main interior layout improvements the team wanted to make were with the guest accommodation. Niggles with the 76 centred on the aft guest bunk cabin. From the saloon forward on the 78 is all guest space, with two near equal sized guest cabins and a huge owner’s suite, the latter of which monopolises the volume forward of the mast base. The chart table is now aft, connecting with the galley and crew cabin, and giving more privacy to the saloon.
“Solaris is the perfect tool for improved quality,” thinks Arnaud. “It’ll be stiffer for sure (thanks to laminated bulkheads) and 5-10% lighter. The finish quality will be incomparable, and now only in natural wood.”
CNB is targeting a four model range, with the 88 likely to be the next model. This flagship will be in the style of the 78 but with the volume for an extra guest cabin and second crew cabin.
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