The Delphia 40.3 is currently the second largest vessel in the Polish-built Delphia range of offshore cruising yachts. With a choice of a two-, three- or four-cabin layout the boat provides truly comfortable accommodations for spending extended periods of time afloat. The rig and fine hull form also provide excellent sailing performance.
Delphias are built to Germanischer Lloyd’s exacting quality standards and are conventionally laid up by hand with a solid polyester laminate below the waterline that is twice as thick around the keel area. The topsides and deck are cored with Airex foam for lightness. The rig is 7/8ths fractional, which keeps the headsail manageable and allows the backstay to be tensioned to flatten the mainsail when beating.
The Delphia’s cockpit is spacious, but not overly so. Teak inlays on the seats and sole lend her a classy air. There is an optional full cockpit tent that might be popular for those wishing to stretch the season.
Deck gear is sturdy and well organized, with most control lines leading via clutches to a pair of Lewmar 30ST winches on the coachroof. The genoa sheets run to a pair of 48ST primaries on the coamings beside the helm. Seating is comfortably angled for security underway, and a foot bar at the bottom of the cockpit table provides excellent support. There is a shallow locker on each side—one containing a vented gas compartment —and two full-depth lockers aft. The helm seat drops down neatly to create a walkway aft to the boarding platform. Twin wheels are also available.
Side decks are slightly angled, helping you to negotiate them more easily when heeled, and the molded non-slip is good—wet or dry. Chainplates and genoa tracks are tucked well inboard, leaving the decks unobstructed. The handholds on the raised saloon are easy to grab, but there are none forward of the mast. The foredeck is spacious, making anchoring and spinnaker-handling hassle-free. The boat’s deep anchor well also houses the windlass, so nothing protrudes above deck to catch the bowman unawares. The pulpit includes a step for boarding when berthed bow-to.
Delphia’s “raised saloon” style coachroof with large windows and hatches follows the modern trend, but there is a lack of openings for ventilation. The layout of the three- and four-cabin models includes the fairly conventional dinette and linear galley arrangement popular on charter yachts. The galley in the two-cabin version is both larger and U-shaped for security at sea.
The saloon is pleasantly woody, without being gloomy, and headroom is 6ft 6in. There are numerous handrails to grab under way and plenty of stowage all round in deep lockers and bins. There is room for six to eat together at the saloon table without a crush.
The boat’s forward-facing chart table is a bit small, but keeps the business of navigation clear of the living quarters. The hinged electrical panel is of good quality with gauges to aid fault-finding. There’s also room for instruments on a hinged console, and a neat tray for things like pens and dividers—but no bookshelf.
Both heads have generous headroom and are fully molded “hose-down” style units that are easy to keep clean—if somewhat plastic looking. Our test boat had the three-cabin layout, with the ensuite owner’s cabin forward, boasting a generous V-berth, large dressing area and an en-suite head. The berths in the aft cabins are spacious as well. In the four-cabin version an extra twin-bunked crew cabin takes the place of the forward head, with the displaced head moving to the opposite side in place of the dressing area. The two-cabin boat has an even larger berth aft with its own ensuite head and shower.
The Delphia 40.3’s shallow underwater sections, moderate beam and generous waterline make her quick for her size, with no detrimental effect on her stability. Her fine bow pierces the waves without slamming, but still provides enough positive buoyancy to keep her from burying her nose. The deep-keel model that we sailed offers a noticeable extra “bite” on the water and keeps her ballast down low for maximum stiffness. This allows her to carry full sail for longer and—coupled with her deep spade rudder—results in fingertip helm control. A shoal keel and swing-keel version (the latter includes dual rudders) are also available.
The 40.3 tacks briskly, even in light air, and accelerates back up to speed in seconds. The boat’s Jefa rod steering is positive, but very light, and the boat tracks well off the wind with little or no rudder adjustment called for.
It was a cold day when we sailed her, with little more than 8 knots of icy wind. We hoisted her full mainsail, motorsailed out of the harbor, and quickly unfurled the 145 percent genoa once clear of the commercial traffic. We were soon slipping along hard to windward at 5.4 knots in 12 knots of apparent wind, making effortless way through the calm sea.
Bearing off to a close reach, the Delphia increased speed to 6.2 knots, her most efficient point of sail being just over 40 degrees off the wind, where she was so nicely balanced that I could let go the helm and leave her to sail herself. On a beam reach our speed dropped a couple of tenths of a knot, but the lack of wind meant she only gave us 4.5 knots or so downwind with white sails alone.
Although the 40.3 is an easy boat to handle, I disliked having the mainsheet on a coachroof winch as I frequently sail singlehanded. Fortunately there is a cut-out around the wheel, so you can quickly hit the autopilot and go forward to adjust the mainsheet. The boat’s standard full-battened main provides excellent sail shape and is easy to manage with the optional lazy jacks and zip bag.
Our test boat had the standard 53hp Volvo D2-55 diesel engine, which provides driving power to spare. Using the optional bow thruster, we were able to throw the boat around as we pleased. We achieved a comfortable, quiet cruising speed of 6 knots at an economic 1,800 rpm and hit a maximum speed of 7.5 knots.
For a modern production yacht the Delphia 40.3 is sensibly designed, built to an exacting standard and fitted out with considerable care and attention to detail. Her standard inventory is fairly average, but even with the popular options she is a good value. At sea she is a quick, agile and positive performer that is easy to control with a small crew.
• Well built and nicely finished
• Spacious and comfortable
• Fast and agile under sail
• Linear galley not ideal at sea
• Heads are compact for a 40-footer
HEADROOM 6ft 6in // BERTHS 6ft 6in x 5ft x 1ft 9in (fwd); 6ft 10in x 5ft 3in (aft)
LOA 39ft 2in // LWL 36ft 3in
BEAM 12ft 10in
DRAFT 7ft 5in (std); 5ft 10in (shoal);
3ft 3in/6ft 4in (swing keel)
DISPLACEMENT 18,959lb (std); 20,194lb (shoal); 20,723lb (swing keel)
BALLAST 6,072lb (std); 7,370lb (shoal);
7,260lb (swing keel)
SAIL AREA 839ft2 (main and genoa)
FUEL/WATER/WASTE (GAL) 55/85/30
ENGINE 53hp Volvo with sail drive
ELECTRICAL 1 x 110AH (engine);
2 x 110AH (house)
DESIGNER Andrzej Skrzat
BUILDER Delphia Yachts, Warsaw, Poland,
Photos courtesy of Delphia Yachts