The Saffier SL 46 is the latest in an impressive line of yachts from Saffier, which has now opened a new yard to keep up with production growth

Saffier Yachts has grown to become the established name in luxury daysailers, particularly over the last decade or so. The family-owned Dutch yard has secured this market sector with its offering of both traditional, elegant lines and modern, sporty yet manageable designs, writes Toby Hodges.

But while it has done the odd larger custom project in the past, its announcement of a new 46ft performance cruiser marks a step change to its business model. The SL 46 is designed for fast cruising in comfort, and from a spacious sheltered cockpit.

It is offered as a Med or North version, the former with an open aft deck and helm seats which convert into lounge beds, and the latter with a closed cockpit and dinghy stowage.

Saffier’s SL 46 in Mediterranean version with open aft deck and helm seats that convert to loungers

It has a high class two or three-cabin interior and, like all Saffiers, can be sailed short-handed.

I have sailed most of its new models since 2008, including its five European Yacht of the Year (EYOTY) winners, and have written about the Hennevanger’s family story behind Saffier. But news of this biggest production model to date, combined with a move into a much larger yard, prompted a revisit to Ijmuiden to find out more.

Dennis Hennevanger, who runs Saffier with his brother Dean, gave me a full tour of the eye-opening new yard.

While this is still just streets away from their original yard in this Dutch fishing port, it has increased Saffier’s floorspace from 1,200m2 to 9,000m2. They have fitted it out into one of the most impressive production yacht facilities I have seen, while this increased capacity has allowed them to scale up in model size too.

SL 46 is not overly voluminous below decks, but aims to be cosy and high quality

Dennis explained how their first European Yacht of the Year award in 2009 acted as a launchpad for the Saffier name, establishing it as an international brand. Saffier has continued to expand aggressively, going from producing 40 hulls per year to 160 per year in the last seven years, with 80% now to export. However, the former yard was consistently too small.

While this alternative factory already existed, complete with 16 overhead cranes now used to move hulls around, Saffier completely rebuilt it, including removing the roof. The resultant serial production line is highly logical and efficient. The shop floor is like a supermarket, for example, where every item for each hull is packaged up into trolleys, with all hoses numbered, all wiring pre-cut etc, so the shipwrights working on each hull don’t have to move from their station. “It’s all about minimising hours, while quality-wise it’s as good as we can get,” Dennis comments.

Why scale up?

We walk into another hall to reveal full-scale timber mockups for the deck and interior of the new Saffier SL 46. But why this size, I ask, especially when Saffier already has a successfully established niche? “We have a lot of customers that like us but want something bigger,” Dennis answers. “We have always had this in mind but never had the space to do it. Now we have space.

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“These customers would typically buy a yacht like a Solaris 44, a Med boat for three weeks at a time. But those boats are not very fast. We wanted a fast, comfortable, quality yacht with Saffier’s DNA – including the large cockpit.”

The Saffier SL 46 is once again an in-house design. The hull shape shows a flattish run in the aft sections for offwind speed (“not a Pogo planer but high performance,” Dennis adds). The vacuum-infused glassfibre hull has a galvanised steel grid for reinforcing keel and rig loads.

The design team aimed for a luxury experience below decks too. The mockup shows this is not overly voluminous, but that the concept is about enjoying the boat from the outside and particularly its large cockpit, while having a cosy feeling within, says Dennis.

Saffier SL 46 specifications

LOA: 14.90m 48ft 11in
Hull length: 13.75m 44ft 11in
Beam: 4.45m 14ft 7in
Draught: 2.2m 7ft 3in or 2.60m 8ft 6in
Displacement: 10,900kg 24,030lb
Price: €580,000 ex VAT

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