It really wasn’t fair:—a warm fall afternoon on Narragansett Bay with 20-plus knots of breeze out of the south. How could a boat not look good in those kinds of conditions? I had to hand it to the Najad 570, though. It didn’t just look good; it looked great and sailed superbly.
Swedish-built Najads have long been known for their build quality, and the company’s new 58-foot flagship is no exception. The hull, consisting of bidirectional glass fabrics on either side of a Divinycell core, is vacuum infused, with blister-resistant vinylester resin. The deck, which is bonded and bolted to the hull, is also a vinylester-Divinycell sandwich, with reinforced fiberglass in high-stress areas, like those supporting winches.
The hull includes a number of longitudinal stringers, a reinforcing floor plate grid and structural bulkheads to provide stiffness. The rudder is fiberglass on a stainless steel rudderpost. The fin keel is cast iron with a lead bulb. The triple-spreader keel-stepped rig is aluminum, supported by wire rigging.
The raised deckhouse effectively divides the boat into two distinct halves—an expansive foredeck and work area up in the bow, and a combination cockpit and bathing platform aft that transitions into a pair of swim steps in the transom. This division is further accentuated by the windscreen and substantial coamings that envelop the cockpit. Coupled with a dodger to help you get out of the weather, the cockpit would make for an excellent place to stand watch on a dirty night.
The L-shaped cockpit seats provide plenty of room for stretching out and a sturdy centerline table gives you something to brace your feet against when heeling. A pair of substantial instrument-laden pedestals anchor the twin helm stations. They also serve to separate the “working” part of the cockpit from the lounging part forward.
The test boat’s electric primary winches were well within reach of the twin helm stations and were more than sufficient to tame the 570’s substantial sail area. Moving forward, the expansive teak sides decks, beefy handrails on the deckhouse and substantial bulwarks provided plenty of security—although with all sail controls running aft, there’s little reason to leave the cockpit underway.
The boat is equally impressive belowdecks. The substantial windows in the deckhouse coupled with a pair of ports in the hull mean the saloon is absolutely flooded with natural light.
The overall look is very Scandinavian, and the varnished African mahogany and Jatoba woodwork is wonderfully executed. A number of layout options are available, including ones with two mirror-image staterooms aft; a single stateroom aft; offset twin single bunks just aft of a stateroom in the bow; or crew cabins to starboard just aft of the companionway. Najad is more than happy to tailor the accommodations to an owner’s individual needs.
The saloon includes a magnificent nav station to starboard, with a solid seat, a hull port immediately alongside, a large working surface and a tremendous amount of space for electronics. The only problem with a saloon this big is that it can be hard to reach the handholds overhead, and you have a long way to tumble if you lose your footing when the boat is on its ear.
I especially liked the in-line galley to port of the companionway. Complete with a three-burner Force 10 stove and oven, a microwave, near-centerline double sinks and a wealth of counter space, there’s absolutely no excuse for eating poorly on the 570. The arrangement works well underway because there’s always a counter close behind you to wedge yourself up against when cooking or cleaning.
Head, showers and accommodations are all spacious and user-friendly—as they should be in a 57-footer. On a more prosaic note, there is a wealth of waist-high handholds on various bulkheads and along the companionway going forward to the V-berth.
A big, powerful boat like this is made with bluewater sailing in mind, and the strong breeze, 4-foot swells and chop were ideal for getting a feel for how the boat would perform offshore. As we unfurled the optional 130 percent genoa and in-mast furling mainsail, the boat dug in its shoulder and powered ahead on a close reach. (The standard rig includes a full-batten main and 106 percent working jib.) As we short-tacked down the channel the wind and waves increased steadily, but the 570 still came about quickly and easily every time. It soon became a kind of game sailing right to the very edge of the shoal waters off Newport and Beaver Neck, a sure sign we were comfortable with the conditions—and we were sailing with the shoal-draft keel.
Steering was effortless, and the boat seemed to have a nice big groove, just as a cruising boat should. There’s nothing like the feeling of a big boat with a well-matched rig crushing big seas with impunity. The motion was predictable and steady: no sudden lurching to throw you off balance when making your way to the foredeck or working in the galley. The 570 is clearly a boat that will take good care of its crew on passage.
Falling off onto a broad reach for the trip back in, the boat responded quickly and decisively, even with the seas coming in on our quarter. The only problem was our boat speed, 8-plus knots on a broad reach without even half trying, which got us back to our mooring far too quickly.
Casting off our mooring at the start of our sail, we were able to motor out into the East Passage under complete control, despite the stiff crosswind. One of the nice things about 26 tons of displacement is that you don’t get blown all over the place when maneuvering at slower speeds. We also had the test boat’s bow thruster as backup, which we used to help grab the same mooring again at the end of the day, but we didn’t really need it.
The 570’s two helm stations each had a throttle. The bow thruster controls were to starboard. The boat’s 180hp Volvo Penta engine and four-blade folding propeller provided plenty of power, even as we ventured into a stiff headwind and sharp chop off Fort Adams. At 2,100 rpm we maintained 7.5 knots with ease.
The problem with testing a boat on an afternoon like the one we had on Narragansett Bay is that you never want to go belowdecks. I fear the accommodations may have gotten short shrift in the review. So be it. Let it serve as a testament to the 570’s sailing ability.
LOA: 57ft 4in
LWL: 54ft 2in
BEAM: 16ft 6in
ENGINE: 180hp Diesel
FUEL/WATER/WASTER (GAL): 312/208/36
DESIGNER: Judel, Vrolijk & Co
BUILDER: Najad Yachts