Boat Review: X-Yachts Xp 55

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The very model of a modern cruiser-racer

The very model of a modern cruiser-racer

The Danish builder X-Yachts, founded in 1979 by brothers Lars and Niels Jeppensen, has focused on creating high-quality cruiser-racers for many years now. Mixing lightweight construction techniques with no-nonsense structural integrity, the company has a well-deserved reputation for putting out boats that are both fast and sturdy, and the Xp 55 model (the “p” is for performance!) is no exception. Recently introduced to the U.S. market, this sexy but practical Euro speedster has also been recognized as the “Best Flagship Monohull” in SAIL’s 2019 Best Boats competition.

Design & Construction

The hull structure is a mix of fiberglass and carbon fiber, with a Corecell foam core and set in vacuum-infused epoxy resin. The entire structure is post-cured in an oven to ensure the integrity of the resin matrix. The T-bulb keel, which is bolted on, is supported by a massive carbon-fiber structural grid inside the hull. The keel’s ballast bulb is lead; the fin is cast iron. A composite chainplate structure employing a carefully engineered mix of unidirectional and multiaxial fibers is also laminated into the hull. Forward there are two collision bulkheads segregating the chain and anchor lockers from each other and the interior accommodations.

On Deck

As with the rest of the boat, the Xp 55’s deck and cockpit layout carefully mixes performance features with cruising comfort. With respect to the latter, you’ll find attractive natural teak decking, a capacious dinghy garage and a handy fold-down transom, not to mention a very clever fold-away cockpit table that disappears into the cockpit sole when not needed. As to the former, you’ll find a battery of nicely oversized Harken Performa winches, full Harken hydraulics for controlling the vang and backstay tension, and a standard belowdeck Harken headsail furler forward.

The wide cockpit has twin wheels turning a single deep, spade rudder. There are a variety of pedestal options, with our test boat boasting sexy black Carbonautica wheels with chartplotters and engine controls at both helm stations. The steering position is very comfortable, with flip-up foot chocks and a raised ledge behind the wheels that affords a clear line of sight over the cockpit dodger. Control lines from the mast are led aft and belowdeck to the helm stations, as is the double-ended German mainsheet, which sheets to a single fixed centerline block on the cockpit sole. On our test boat, much to my amazement, the boxes for storing the line tails were heated so as to keep them dry.

Overall the aesthetic of the deck is spare and clean, in the modern style. The cockpit dodger folds neatly and quickly into a recessed channel in the coachroof when you want to accentuate the look. All deck hatches are sleek and flush.

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Accommodations

Down below you’ll find the Xp 55’s living space blends modern Danish style with a traditional layout. The U-shaped galley is to port, just forward of the companionway, with its twin sinks on centerline where they belong. Our test boat, which came with the standard layout, had oodles of galley counter space (the optional layout steals some of this for a third head) and a big top-loading fridge and freezer. Just opposite the galley, also near the companionway, is a full-size dedicated nav desk with plenty of room to lay out charts and install electronics. Forward of the galley and nav station is a conventional saloon with a dinette and table to port, and a straight settee to starboard.

The two aft staterooms, ranged either side of the companionway, are among the best I’ve seen on a monohull. You’ll be proud to store guests in them. There is fantastic vertical clearance over the twin or double berths, plenty of headroom, good ambient lighting, generous ventilation, and lots of storage space. In the standard layout there is a single head aft to starboard with a separate shower. In the optional layout another head, without a separate shower, is wedged in to port. Forward, the standard owner’s stateroom boasts an island double berth with an ensuite head and shower in the aft corner. The optional cabin layout has a Pullman double to port with the head forward.

The overall interior finish quality is superb, with a clean, elegant aesthetic. The standard joinery is executed in a Nordic oak. Bleached oak or a darker, more traditional teak is optional. The cabin sole can be finished in teak (with or without holly strips) or walnut.

Under Sail

Our standard-draft test boat thankfully came equipped with an optional Hall Spars carbon rig and a racy new set of jet black North 3Di sails (an aluminum rig and Elvstrøm sails are standard). We also carried one of two optional bowsprits for flying A-sails and Code 0-type genoas. Lord knows we needed all the sailpower we could muster in the aggravatingly light conditions we found on Chesapeake Bay.

We had the lightest wind early on, when we were sailing upwind under the full mainsail and non-overlapping blade jib. Given the conditions, I was impressed with our close-hauled sailing angles. In just 4.5 knots of true wind we could steer up to an apparent wind angle of 28 degrees and still maintain 4 knots of boatspeed. Cracking off a bit to 32 degrees, speed increased to 4.5 knots. A little later the wind increased a couple of knots, and we broke out a Code 0 on the sprit. At close-reaching angles ranging from 55 to 80 degrees apparent, we had no problem sailing at the true wind speed, in the mid to high 6s. Even at our deepest angle, 140 degrees, we kept moving at 5 knots.

What most impressed me was the feel of the helm. The action was very smooth with good feedback, even in the light conditions. I had no trouble finding a groove and staying in it.

Under Power

The Xp 55 spins a three-blade Flexofold folding prop on a conventional strut-supported straight shaft drive hooked up to a turbo-charged 110hp Yanmar diesel engine. It seems an aggressive powerplant for a boat of this weight (about 37,000lb), and the speeds we achieved under power bear this out. At a lazy 1,800 rpm our test boat moved along easily at 7 knots. With the pedal to the metal, at 3,300 rpm, we were going almost 10 knots.

Our test boat also boasted ZF electronic throttle controls, and the action of these was extremely smooth and responsive. Maneuvering under power was also precise and exact, particularly when we deployed the retractable bow and stern thrusters installed on our test boat. With this kit you can literally drive the boat sideways.

The engine bay was sumptuous, exquisitely finished and with good access. Other systems on the boat were likewise neatly installed, including the 960 amp-hour lithium battery bank. The owner of our test boat fought successfully to have this installed, and it is now offered as a regular option.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a boat you can seriously race and also seriously cruise, you can’t do much better than this. The Xp 55 has both the modern go-fast features performance sailors insist upon, and the warm décor and creature comforts cruisers crave. Properly equipped, the boat can be cruised by a small family. Fully crewed, it will make a competitive sailor proud. 

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Specifications

LOA 55ft LWL 48ft 10in BEAM 15ft 7in

DRAFT 8ft 2in (shoal); 9ft 4in (standard); 10ft 6in (deep)

DISPLACEMENT 37,038lb (standard)

BALLAST 14,330lb (standard)

SAIL AREA 1,877ft

FUEL/WATER (GAL) 123/159

ENGINE Yanmar 110hp diesel

BALLAST RATIO 38 SA/D RATIO 27 D/L RATIO 142

What do these ratios mean? Visit sailmagazine.com/ratios

DESIGNER X-Yachts Design Group

BUILDER X-Yachts, Denmark, x-yachts.com

U.S. DISTRIBUTOR Rodgers Yacht Sales, Mystic, CT, 860-536-7776, rodgersyachtsales.com

PRICE $875,000 (sailaway) at time of publication

April 2019

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