The XC47 is marketed as the ‘best bluewater cruiser ever built’ – a very bold claim – but does this powerful yacht actually match the hype?

Product Overview


XC47 review: is this the best bluewater cruiser ever?

Price as reviewed:

£683,139.00 (Base price ex. VAT)

We’re close-hauled in 7-10 knots of true wind, making 6-6.5 knots of boat speed, with the helm beautifully balanced and only a degree or two of weather helm. A gentle ease of the XC47 hydraulic backstay in the lulls gives more depth to the sail shape, while a few pumps depowers the rig in the puffs.

It’s a scenario that’s instantly familiar to many thousands of X-Yacht owners over the years. But this isn’t the first beat of a short round the cans race. Instead, we’re on a comfortable serious bluewater cruiser that weighs almost 15 tonnes and has impressive stowage and payload.

The XC47 is a pivotal model for the Danish yard in a slimmed-down range of long distance cruisers. It’s also the first all-new boat without input from co-founder and lead designer Niels Jeppesen, with markedly different styling.

Reducing the number of models in the Xc line allowed effort to be focussed on a yacht that embodies many small but important improvements that came out of extensive consultation with clients who have completed circumnavigations on older Xc models.

This is the first all-new non Jeppesen design from X-Yachts, with very different styling to earlier models. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

The concept of the XC47 hull shape is very similar in the forward sections and distinct stern overhang to previous Xc designs, with the aim of keeping the same easy motion in a seaway. However, in other respects the stern sections have been updated, with a wide transom and soft chines well above the waterline.

The latter markedly increase form stability when heeled, giving more performance when reaching and enabling full sail to be carried for longer in a rising wind. At the same time, the deep canoe body with plenty of rocker that helps create a voluminous hull, with a large payload, is retained.

This is also the first design from X-Yachts with a semi decksaloon layout. Yet when you’re sailing it doesn’t feel like a decksaloon yacht, partly because of a slightly higher cockpit floor that also helps increase volume in the aft cabins, without making it feel as though you’re perched up high when on deck.

On bearing away and hoisting the top-down furling gennaker the wind increased to 12-13 knots as a shower moved overhead. With a true wind angle of around 140°, and the apparent more or less on the beam, boat speed climbed to 8.6 knots. While there are many ways in which this feels like a performance boat, once downwind in a breeze with a kite up you can feel the 15 tonne displacement – and that pronounced rocker – holding the boat back.

A forgiving displacement hull, but still a slippery one with relatively low freeboard. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

XC47 – surfing performance

Nevertheless, when the true wind speed later increased to 17-18 knots, with occasional gusts of 20 we enjoyed spirited sailing, still under gennaker, under full control at 8-9.5 knots, with clear signs the boats would willingly surf on a larger sea. We had a chance to experience this towards the end of my second day on board, in only 12-16 knots of breeze, but with a large following swell. Sailing with the gennaker at a 125-135° true wind angle we surfed readily, hitting a maximum of 11.5 knots under complete control and, surprisingly, maintaining an average speed very close to that of a high performance 43-footer sailing nearby.

I also had the benefit of sailing the boat in light airs – a situation in which many heavier designs fall down, forcing you to motor when the breeze is much less than 10 knots. Close-hauled in 7-10 knots true, we made 5.5-6.5 knots, despite an awkward swell.

The boat retained its lovely feel on the helm in these conditions, with just one or two degrees of weatherhelm. Later on in an easier sea state, we made 7-7.2 knots in 8-9 knots of true wind, tacking through around 85°. And when the breeze eased to just 5-6.5 knots we still maintained a useful 4.5-5.5 knots close-hauled – remarkable figures for a yacht of this type.

Our test XC47’s Elvström Ekko laminate sails that set nicely undoubtedly helped speed, pointing and handling, though the layout of deck hardware is also important. The hydraulic backstay that gives such easy control of sail shape is centrally positioned between the wheels and can be operated equally easily on either tack.

This feels like a performance boat. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

It’s also possible to reach the mainsheet from both helm stations on the XC47, though the traveller is at the aft end of the coachroof. This can be helpful when alone on a gusty night watch as it can be operated from within the protection of the effective sprayhood. One of the few criticisms of the boat we could find is that the 4:1 purchase for the traveller proved inadequate. However, compared to deficiencies we see at times on other prototype boats this is a minor issue that’s easy to rectify on production models.

Helm stations are well aft in the boat, especially compared to centre cockpit bluewater designs. However, the ability of today’s autopilots is such that on passage it is likely to be steering the bulk of the time. If a backup system is specified – and the boat has multiple charging sources for redundancy (such as regeneration, a genset and adequate solar) – the set up can be relied on for many thousands of miles, assuming diligent routine maintenance.

Unlike many decksaloon yachts all lines are handled at the cockpit, even with the standard slab reefing mainsail. The deck layout is based around a pair of Harken winches on each coaming outboard of the cockpit benches and just ahead of the helm stations. The arrangement broadly works well, particularly as a lot of effort has been made to keep friction at bay.

A horizontal bar in the decksaloon windows takes the halyards and other lines aft from the mast, running in stainless steel conduits and with minimal deflection, markedly reducing friction. Even so, most owners will want the electric option for the winches.

The Xc47 is a pivotal model for the Danish yard.

The test XC47 was set up with a 106% headsail and there’s also provision for a self-tacking jib, with a recessed foredeck track that can be retrofitted if necessary, even on boats with a full teak deck.

To reduce effort associated with sail handling, without compromising sail shape, around 80% of larger X-Yachts leave the yard with the optional composite Furlerboom. This makes hoisting, lowering and reefing all straightforward when close-hauled, especially if the jib is trimmed on and therefore bends the airflow further forward over the mainsail.

X-Yachts tells me the boat is designed to handle full main with the apparent wind well aft of the beam in up to 25 knots of true wind. That seems to be a fair assumption, given the ease with which it handled 20-knot gusts reaching with the gennaker. However, when sailing downwind in a rising breeze the system makes it important to think further ahead than on a boat with slab reefing (that allows sail to be shortened with the apparent wind aft of the beam).

The layout around the pedestals makes it easy to sail short-handed with instruments and winches to hand. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

With the set up on the test XC47 it may be possible to drop the first reef in with the wind aft of the beam, but beyond that the luff of the sail tends to creep forwards along the mandrel in the boom, so it’s not feasible to take deeper reefs in a similar manner. That means luffing up to bring the apparent wind forward of the beam, making it a much livelier experience.

On deck stowage includes a forward sail locker with space for two furling sails, plus an anchor locker that will take 150m of chain.

Instead of a space-consuming tender garage the XC47 has a huge lazarette aft, plus dedicated liferaft stowage. An optional novel davit system is integrated with the hinged bathing platform such that the dinghy is automatically launched when the platform is lowered. For longer passages the tender can also be stowed on the foredeck.

The beam wide lazarette offers plenty of stowage and contains a neat liferaft launching system. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

Power decisions

At 640lt the standard water tankage is not overly generous, though that will not be a concern for those who specify a watermaker. Equally there are plenty of boats in this market that offer more than 500lt of fuel tankage, though the hybrid propulsion system (a €120,000 upgrade) fitted to the test boat, a pre-production prototype, is significantly more efficient than a conventional diesel motor.

An increasing number of X-Yachts’ clients are now asking for hybrid propulsion. The system developed for the XC47 uses Oceanvolt’s 25kW Servoprop, which just won the overall DAME innovation award in November (see page 14), in place of a standard 109hp diesel. This is coupled to a 46.8kWh battery pack that’s only marginally smaller than that of a Tesla Model 3 car, plus there’s an 11kW Fischer Panda range-extending generator. This produces enough power to drive the boat at 6.8 knots in flat water and no wind, without input from the battery bank. The efficiency of this combination is such that Oceanvolt reckons range under power is increased by around 30% compared to diesel propulsion.

At 8.5 knots boat speed the regenerating function produced 500W of power, a figure which ought to increase by 30-50% with the correct propeller fitted.

The semi decksaloon has ample light, headroom and natural ventilation at the expense of different floor levels. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

Stowage solutions

Below decks X-Yachts has obviously spent time and money on creating an arrangement that feels spacious, but where you can move around at sea safely. For a bluewater boat the stowage is also worth particular mention thanks to the numerous lockers of all sizes.

A combination of the changes in the hull shape and the decksaloon configuration mean interior volume is the same as that of the Xc50 and 21% larger than the now-discontinued Xc45. The decksaloon of the new model has a raised sole aft in the main accommodation area, with a space underneath it for tankage, battery banks and other technical items. This leaves most of the space under the bunks and settees free of systems and therefore available for stowage of larger items. The main exception on the test boat was an aircon unit under the port settee.

There is a lot more interior storage than a Pure X model of similar size would have and it’s neatly divided into both large and small compartments, drawers and so on. This is time-consuming and expensive to produce, but makes a huge difference when spending extended periods of time on board.

Superb stowage in the galley (and throughout the interior). Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

There are also reassuringly deep fiddles, including a pair on the galley worktop that can be turned upside down to give a big flat work area when in port.

In the design phase X-Yachts created a full-scale mockup of the interior and heeled it to 20º in both directions. The outcome is worthy of praise – it feels spacious, there’s relatively easy circulation for people, yet it doesn’t feel like there are awkward wide open spaces that are difficult to negotiate at sea.

This process might be considered as overkill and unnecessary expense, but important outcomes include extra handholds below decks, plus recesses in galley and chart table for fiddles so they can also double as effective handholds. That’s the kind of the level of detail needed to create a top notch product.

In any case, while it remains unusual, building full-scale mockups is by no means unprecedented. At the other end of the scale, for example, back when the Laser SB3 sportsboat was being developed the team at The Laser Centre put a mockup of the cockpit in the company’s offices to sit in during coffee breaks. They quickly figured out exactly the optimum position for every element of deck hardware across all manoeuvres. That boat was also a huge success from the outset.

Forward master berth has yet more large and accessible stowage. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

On the XC47 the owner’s cabin will impress thanks to a combination of space, light and ventilation, plus excellent stowage. The aft cabins, which benefit from the additional beam carried aft and extra clearance below the cockpit floor, have a very flexible layout. They can be arranged with twin side-by-side berths, or as a huge double.

There’s a massive amount of easily accessed stowage – the inboard cushion, for instance lifts on gas struts to reveal a large top tray for easily accessed items, with deeper stowage below that. It’s also possible to specify a two cabin option with one of the quarter cabins forming a large utility space, plus a single bunk, and up to 300lt of extra refrigeration capacity.

Throughout the interior of the XC47 there are a lot of opening overhead hatches, including a forward facing one above the head of the bed in the master cabin forward, which helps maximise natural ventilation at anchor. There’s also a very neat covered ventilation system for the heads and galley area that can be left open at sea. It’s one of the best ideas of its type that I have seen and certainly proved effective during our test.

Aft heads and cabin (which can be a utility cabin). Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

One of the most notable aspects of the interior is how impressively quiet the XC47 is when going to windward, with none of the creaking or groaning that’s often encountered. Hull construction is vacuum infused, post-cured foam core sandwich using E-glass and epoxy. Carbon reinforcement is used strategically in structural members, particularly in the bottom of the hull, allowing these to be smaller and therefore intrude less into the accommodation space.

Carbon is also used in the coachroof to distribute the mainsheet traveller loads without resorting to structural pillars in the galley area, while the boat still features X-Yachts’ trademark galvanised frame to distribute keel and rig loads.

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While it has some conservative traits this is an innovative yacht in many respects. X-Yachts has tried hard to retain good sailing performance, with a responsive feel, in a heavier design. Equally a lot of thought, knowledge and development work has clearly gone into this model, without temptation to cut corners. The result is a very nicely presented package and an excellent execution of this type of boat that grew on me during the test. Is it the best bluewater cruiser ever built? The answer to that question is complex and nuanced. There are some whose needs will best served by a multihull, while some of those who choose a monohull will happily sacrifice load carrying ability for planing performance. Equally this part of the market has historically been dominated by centre cockpit designs for the protection they offer together with larger owners’ cabins aft with more privacy. However, few will equal the enticing combination of the very solid and reassuring feel of the Xc47, the pleasure of sailing this yacht, and its very civilised and well organised accommodation.


LOA:5.21m / 49ft 11in
Hull length:14.30m / 46ft 11in
LWL:13.17m / 43ft 3in
Beam:4.65m / 15ft 3in
Draught:2.3m / 7ft 7in
Shoal keel option:2.0m / 6ft 7in
Displacement:14,500kg / 31,967lb
Ballast:5,490kg / 12,103lb
Sail Area (100% foretriangle):124.2m2 / 1,337ft2
Engine:80kW 109hp saildrive (std)
Fuel:500lt / 110gal
Water:640lt / 141gal
Sail area/displacement ratio:21.2
Displacement/LWL ratio:177
Price as tested:€1,100,000