Moody 45AC - Sail Magazine

Moody 45AC

You’ve got to hand it to the folks at Moody Yachts: it takes some guts to build two 45-foot cruising boats that occupy opposite ends of the design spectrum. Yet it’s easy to see the logic behind such a strategy
Author:
Updated:
Original:
45AC2

You’ve got to hand it to the folks at Moody Yachts: it takes some guts to build two 45-foot cruising boats that occupy opposite ends of the design spectrum. Yet it’s easy to see the logic behind such a strategy. The 45DS is a hyper-modern deck-saloon cruiser that demands attention—and elicits a reaction—wherever it goes, while the traditional-looking 45AC (aft cockpit) is much more understated. Each should appeal to very different buyers, thereby maximizing the company’s appeal.

I took the 45AC out for a test sail off Newport, Rhode Island, last fall to see how long-time Moody designer Bill Dixon and his team accomplished the difficult mission of reimagining the future while still staying true to the past.

CONSTRUCTION

The hull is cored with foam below the waterline and balsa above the waterline and is laminated with polyester resin and a vinylester outer layer to resist blistering. The deck is also cored with balsa. Solid structural components along with bulkheads and furniture modules are tabbed in place. The keel is cast iron, with a lead ballast bulb. The 9/10ths rig has two spreaders and the mast and boom are anodized aluminum.

ON DECK

45AC4

I did a double take when we approached the 45AC immediately after test sailing the 45DS. The lines of the 45DS are pretty radical, while the 45AC pays homage to yachting’s past. The more traditional profile of the 45AC also benefits from numerous small oval ports and carries minimal freeboard, so that it appears almost—dare I say it?—Herreshoff-esque.

Stepping aboard, I loved the enormous cockpit with its long, comfortable benches and sculpted helm seats. I also appreciated the way the drop-down swim platform is tastefully hidden behind the wide classic transom and the easy access afforded by the dual helms and split backstay. The low-slung coachroof offers clean sightlines in all directions, in contrast to the 45DS.

Other on-deck elements are pretty straightforward and very well constructed or installed. There are nice big cockpit lockers to swallow things like docklines and fenders, the built-in teak pulpit seats are both comfortable and classy, and it’s easy to go forward, thanks to the low coachroof and wide side decks.

ACCOMMODATIONS

45AC5

Stepping below, I found a wealth of varnished furniture and cabinets with classic rattan inserts in the doors that both aid in ventilation and lend the interior an ultra-traditional look. The U-shaped galley has a good-sized fridge, a two-burner stove, and plenty of stowage and counter space. The saloon has an abundance of stowage as well and a curved settee that is plenty long for stretching out on.

It’s hard to provide 6ft 5in headroom in the saloon of a 45-footer while keeping the coachroof profile low, but Dixon has done it. I did feel like I was “descending” into the hull as I entered the saloon, but that headroom has to come from somewhere. The small oval ports do not let in as much light as the big ports found on most modern 45-footers, but the large opening hatch helps out.

There are no surprises in the sleeping cabins. The master forward has a large double berth. It also has bench seat and an ensuite head. The berths in the guest cabins are on the small side, but are adequate. Overall workmanship and joinery quality is excellent.

UNDER SAIL

45AC3

I granted myself a moment or two during our 45AC test sail to appreciate the simple joy of sailing on a sunny autumn day in perfect conditions—12 knots of breeze and flat water. In reality, though, Mother Nature only deserves part of the credit. The fact is the 45AC not only sailed well, it made me feel good just being at the helm.

I’ll be the first to admit that “feeling good” is hardly a quantitative measure of sailing performance. But I think I can explain my “analysis” in more concrete terms as well.

First, as I said earlier, visibility from the cockpit is outstanding. And while the feeling of being connected to the environment that comes from an unhindered view forward is a precious commodity on any boat, it can be especially so on a big cruiser. The 45AC’s well-built windshield enhances this effect by providing good spray protection while much being easier to see through than the clear plastic windows on most dodgers.

Second, the boat has a wide upwind groove and tracks effortlessly. Boat speeds hovered in the 6-knot range, and the wake gurgling past as I sat at the leeward helm station was ever so satisfying. The boat was equally easy to handle coming about, thanks to its self-tacking jib and responsive helm. When the time came to trim the sails, the jib sheets and double-ended main were all within easy reach. Speeds stayed in the 6-knot range as we cracked off a bit, and the helm remained easy to manage. Ultimately, the boat did everything I asked it to with aplomb.

UNDER POWER

We hardly needed to start the 55 horsepower engine since sailing conditions were so ideal, but when we did, the boat maneuvered predictably and boat speeds hit 7.5 knots at cruising revolutions. Engine noise was noticeable down below, but not so much as to be a problem.

CONCLUSION

I’m sure Bill Dixon and his team had a blast designing two such diverse boats as the Moody 45DS and the Moody 45AC at roughly the same time. There’s no doubt that with the 45AC he succeeded in putting a new spin on the traditional “cruiser” look. If you’re the kind of person who likes a well-built modern boat that sails well and reflects yachting’s traditional side, the 45AC may be just for the thing for you.

Our Take

PROS

Excellent visibility from cockpit

Easy to sail/easy helm

Good-sized cockpit

CONS

Accommodations set low in hull

Not as much light belowdecks as on a modern cruiser

SPECIFICATIONS 

HEADROOM 6ft 5in

BERTHS 7ft X 5ft 5in (master); 6ft X 5ft (guest)

LOA 45ft//LWL 40ft

BEAM 173863ft 9in

DRAFT 7ft 2in (std); 6ft 1in (shoal)

DISPLACEMENT 26,895lb

BALLAST 7,386lb

SAIL AREA (100% foretriangle) 981ft2

FUEL/WATER/WASTE (Gal) 85/58/TK

ENGINE 55 HP Volvo (sail drive)

ELECTRICAL 2x150AH (house); 90AH (engine)

DESIGNER Dixon Yacht Design

BUILDER Moody Yachts, moodyboats.com

U.S. DISTRIBUTOR Berthon USA, 401-846-8404 berthonusa.com

PRICE $377,900 base

BALLAST RATIO 27

SAIL AREA-DISPLACEMENT RATIO 17.5

DISPLACEMENT-LENGTH RATIO 188

Related

PICTON CASTLE under sail with stunsls WV7 compressed

Picton Castle Seeks Crew

The Picton Castle is set to begin its eighth circumnavigation this spring under the command of Captain Daniel Moreland. A professional crew of 12 will guide up to 40 trainees at a time as they learn about all aspects of sailing the bark, from steering to lookout, ...read more

DSC_0013

Ask Sail: Keel Attachments

Q: I have an early ‘70s Catalina 27. The keel bolts look pretty good. My question is, why not glass over the keel to bond to the hull rather than changing the bolts if, or when the bolts are too far gone? I haven’t seen anything on this, so could you discuss? Full-keels are ...read more

04-GOPR0511

Book Review: Sailing Into Oblivion

Sailing Into Oblivion by Jerome Rand $15.99, available through Amazon As refreshing and inspiring as Jerome Rand’s 2017-18 solo-circumnavigation may have been, his account of the voyage in the book Sailing Into Oblivion: The Solo Non-Stop Voyage of the Mighty Sparrow may be even ...read more

01-1970-Dec

50 Years of SAIL

Back in early 1970, Bernie Goldhirsh and the recently founded “Institute for the Advancement of Sailing,” publisher of an annual sailboat and gear guide, launched something called SAIL. A half-century later, a look back at the magazine’s first few years provides a glimpse into a ...read more

Photo-by-Adobe-Stockpics721-2048x

Webinar: Navigating Post-Dorian Abaco

On Thursday, October 22 at 6 pm ET, Navigare Yachting presents a webinar on what to expect from Abaco post-Dorian. The event will feature the authors of The Cruising Guide to Abaco, Steve Dodge and his sons Jon and Jeff.Hurricane Dorian hit Abaco in early September of 2019 and ...read more

LunaRossaBoat2

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Christens “Boat 2”

Hot on the heels of the UK’s Britannia and the United States’ Patriot, Italy’s new AC75 Luna Rossa, formerly known as Boat 2, was christened in Auckland, New Zealand, this morning. As the moniker suggests, it was Team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s second design. In his christening ...read more

m7803_DSCF6698-1

Challengers Christen Britannia and Patriot

October 16 proved an exciting day for America’s Cup fans with the christening of both the UK’s Britannia and America’s Patriot. Britannia will be helmed by four-time Olympic gold medalist and America’s Cup winner Sir Ben Ainslie. Olympic Gold medalist Giles Scott will serve as ...read more

HookPromo

Defender Product Spotlight: Lowrance Hook Reveal

Defender product expert Alex Lyons explains the benefits of HOOK Reveal’s new FishReveal technology: “DownScan sonar uses high frequencies to provide a picture-like image of the sea floor. The traditional sonar’s lower frequencies are best suited for locating fish in the water ...read more