One of the most fascinating things about sailboats is the different ways that sailors, naval architects and builders will approach a single design problem. The result has been a bewildering array of rigs and hull forms over the years, and in the case of the two boats we’ll be looking at here, a couple of very different cruisers.
First, let’s look at the newly unveiled X56 from Denmark’s X-Yachts, the latest installment in the company’s “X” performance-cruising line. When the “X” concept was first announced a few years ago, we at SAIL wondered whether it wouldn’t somehow get all mixed up between X-Yachts’ already existing “P” performance and “C” cruising line. However, it has clearly done just fine, spawning a number of great yachts, including the X40, winner of the best performance-boat-over-30ft category in SAIL’s 2021 Best Boats contest.
As with the rest of the line, the X56 features a slippery hull infused in epoxy and then autoclave cured for nearly 24 hours to ensure the lightest and strongest hull possible. Also like the rest of the X-Yachts line, the boat includes a rock solid galvanized-steel interior framework to accommodate rig and keel loads and blunt ends to maximize sailing.
Where the X56 departs from its predecessors is with respect to the extent of its cruising amenities and many different options allowing owners to fine-tune the boat in accordance with their particular sailing styles. For an X-Yacht, for example, the X56 appears to carry its beam well aft in accordance with current cruising trends. The result is an oh-so-spacious cockpit à la X-Yachts’ main competitors farther south. This extra volume also not only creates sufficient space for a dinghy garage (complete with optional integrated crane), but the possibility of a telescoping gangway, straight from the superyacht world. Belowdecks, no fewer than eight different layouts are available along with multiple veneer and fabric options. The result is a boat that for X-Yachts takes comfort and luxury to a whole new level.
Not to worry though. With a powerful rig, twin rudders to ensure a good grip on the water and a T-keel with lead bulb (ranging in draft from 8ft 6in to 10ft 6in, depending on your preference), the boat will still have plenty of get-up-and-go, just as an X-Yacht should. The X56 also has the angular, almost predatory look we’ve long since come to expect from the Danish boatbuilder and which so many sailors have come to admire. X-Yachts has been on a roll for a while now, and the company just keeps rolling with this outstanding new racer-cruiser.
The second cruising boat we’ll be considering, the Moody DS41, couldn’t be more different from the X-Yacht, but is equally impressive. Following in the wake of the DS45 and DS54, the Moody DS41 offers a unique layout that makes possible what Moody calls “living on one level,” in which the saloon and cockpit can be easily combined into a single barrier-free living space. Forward, the boat’s high-freeboard and high bulwarks ensure maximum safety when moving about, whether it be to check the anchor or relax in the expansive lounging area forward of the nicely sculpted deckhouse.
Twin helms well outboard ensure good sightlines forward and aloft, while the boat’s double-headsail rig will make things that much easier when shorthanded sailing. Belowdecks, there is a spacious owner’s cabin forward and the option of one or two heads, with a wealth of storage space aft below the cockpit sole—a great feature aboard any cruising boat. The large windows in the deckhouse with their 360-degree visibility will make for a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the outside world, no matter what the conditions.
All control lines lead aft to the cockpit, and the combination anchor-roller/sprit in the bow affords plenty of room for not one, but two anchors, as befits a boat equipped to do some serious cruising. Belowdecks, the refreshingly expansive, forward-facing nav station is equipped with both engine and autopilot controls, making it a great watch-standing station in dirty weather or late at night on passage.
Aesthetically, the Moody DS41 also couldn’t be more different from the X-Yacht, but aesthetically it’s also equally impressive—maybe even more so. There’s a lot packed into the Moody DS41 and as history has shown, there’s nothing like packing a lot into a sailboat to make look somewhat “ungainly,” to put it generously. In the case of the Moody, though, designer Dixon Yacht Design has not only managed to achieve a balance that works, but is immanently attractive, with its rigid sheer, truncated ends and carefully sculpted cabintrunk.
In the final analysis, the Moody DS41 looks to be a great boat aboard which to both explore distant waters and enjoy life afloat. Putting the boat to the “Is this the kind of boat I’d like to go sailing on?” test, the answer is an emphatic, yes.