Draft Dodger

Britain’s boatbuilding industry is a shadow of what it was back in the 1970s and 80s, but a handful of boutique yards still thrives around its shores. One such is Northshore Yachts, whose Southerly range has survived four decades of the boom-and-bust cycles that saw once-mighty production brands tumble.

These fast, well-built lifting-keel boats enjoy a loyal following and sales that are strong enough to see new models appear by the year. A new 47-footer was launched in September, and the center-cockpit 42-footer pictured here will make its debut at the London boat show in January.

Designed by Rob Humphreys, the Southerly 420 is set up to be handled by a cruising couple, who will enjoy the spacious aft stateroom. The guest cabin forward has twin berths that convert to a double. Wrap-round portlights and hull ports ensure excellent views for the occupants of the spacious saloon.

Ease of handling was a key part of the design brief, as evidenced by the single line reefing mainsail/self-tacking jib, and the boat can be ordered with bow and stern thrusters to take all the stress out of close-quarters maneuvering. A key feature, of course, is the hydraulically operated swing keel.

Island Packet Yachts has also launched a new boat. The Island Packet 360 incorporates all the features that have earned these rugged yachts such a loyal following over the years: tough-as-boots construction, practical and attractive accommodations, a hull form tailored for good seakeeping and a versatile cutter rig. The interior layout features excellent headroom, a brace of comfortable staterooms and a spacious saloon. The generously proportioned head/shower is also noteworthy. A plethora of opening ports and hatches ensure crew comfort aboard this capable-looking cruiser.

Bavaria's new model development proceeds apace, with the surprise announcement of a new Vision series. The Farr-designed boats will offer different styling and more luxurious accommodations than Bavaria’s Cruiser series. The first in the line is the Vision 46, which will make its appearance at Germany’s Boot Dusseldorf show in January.

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