2011 Best Boats Flagship Monohull: Southerly 57RS
One day you might be power-reaching across an ocean, logging double-digit speeds under a massive A-sail set on a retracting bowsprit. On another day you may be tacking effortlessly up a narrow channel, putting the helm over and watching the self-tacking jib slam across its track, enjoying the windward bite and responsive steering of a deep-drafted performance cruiser. Or you may have nosed up to a beach, the boat sitting upright on the hard sand as the tide recedes, your children playing in the shadow of the sleek hull.
If you own a Southerly 57RS all this and more is possible, which is why we had no hesitation in singling this boat out from a strong group of contenders. Designed by Ed Dubois and built in Britain by Northshore Yachts, the 57RS is the flagship of a line of strong, seaworthy and well-crafted variable-draft sailboats. It is a bluewater-capable cruiser with a difference.
On deck, the 57RS’s opulent teak decks and aggressive styling combine with a superbly designed cockpit and a powerful, versatile double-headsail sailplan in a sophisticated package that any sailor would be proud to own. Down below, the craftsman finish sets off an accommodation plan that’s obviously been designed by sailors who’ve put in some hard sea miles. The massive, beautifully engineered swing keel and its accompanying hardware dictates the layout, but you’d scarcely know it was there. Whichever of the two stock layouts you choose, you’ll have seaberths and private spaces to spare.
Here is a luxury cruiser whose 10ft maximum draft will stand you in good stead offshore, and whose ability to sneak up shallow rivers or take the ground on its own bottom means it can take its crew to places monohull sailors have scarcely dreamed of. For more information, visit northshore.co.uk
LOA: 58ft 2in LWL: 51ft 8in Beam: 17ft 1in Draft: 10ft 6in (std) 3ft 6in (shoal) Displacement: 31,195lb Sail Area: 1,625 sq ft (jib & main)