Skip to main content

Boat Review: Moody 45DS

Moody Yachts were built in Swanwick, England, on the banks of the Hamble River from the middle of the 18th century into the early years of the 21st, and Bill Dixon has been designing Moody’s cruising boats since 1981.
5Moody45DS_1

Moody Yachts were built in Swanwick, England, on the banks of the Hamble River from the middle of the 18th century into the early years of the 21st, and Bill Dixon has been designing Moody’s cruising boats since 1981. But there’s nothing traditional about the Moody DS45. It represents a radical step into the future from this well-established builder, which is now owned by Germany’s Hanse Yachts. I jumped aboard in Jamestown, Rhode Island, to see just how comfortable this futuristic cruising boat could be—and how it performs under sail.

The drop-down swim platform is huge, and as on a catamaran, the cockpit has a fully integrated “roof” equipped with a retractable canvas center section to increase mainsail visibility (or simply improve stargazing) while under sail. The wide side decks are protected by sturdy, nearly knee-high bulwarks topped with a stainless steel handrail. There are dual helms with wide helm seats, significant cockpit locker capacity and long, deep, comfortable cockpit seats.

The double-ended mainsheet runs aft through a pair of recessed races along with all the other sail controls to banks of clutches right by the helms.

ACCOMMODATIONS

6Moody45DS

Again, there are no companionway steps—you simply step through the full-sized sliding glass door straight into a saloon equipped with a large settee, forward-facing nav and helm station, a good-sized galley and—best of all—a wraparound view out of the outside world. Pretty cool. Headroom is excellent, and the settee is big enough to comfortably seat six. The smallish galley has decent counter space, and the interior helm station will be the place to be on any offshore passage. Like the cockpit, the saloon will also be a very comfortable place to hang out while on the hook, especially in inclement weather.

Two shallow steps (the only ones on the boat) lead from the saloon down to two guest cabins, two heads and a master cabin that together occupy the space forward of the cockpit. The hull’s wide profile allows the two guest cabins to be oriented either side of a passageway leading to the owner’s stateroom in the bow. Other configurations are available, but no matter which you choose, the guest cabins have decent stowage, comfortable bunks and access to their own head. The owner’s stateroom has excellent headroom, and includes a number of hatches and fixed hull ports for superior light and ventilation.

UNDER SAIL

Due to those wide hindquarters that make the cockpit so lounge-friendly, I was not expecting the DS45 to perform brilliantly under sail. But in perfect test conditions—10-12 knots of breeze, flat water and sunny skies on Narragansett Bay—the hull cut a surprisingly clean wake, and the helm felt smooth and responsive.

Upwind the boat was well-balanced and almost sailed itself in a wide groove, with speeds in the 6-knot range. The self-tacking jib made tacking a simple singlehanded operation. Tacking angles were not stellar, but they were decent enough, given the superior comfort provided by the wide stern.

My only complaint was with the sightlines forward. I found myself constantly trying to look over or around the coachroof when steering, even when the canvas center portion was retracted. There’s no open view forward from anywhere else in the cockpit either. Instead, you have to look through the companionway and the forward-facing windows in the saloon to see where you’re going.

Many catamarans have similar cockpit visibility issues, but they also generally have their helm stations perched high enough that you can see over the coachroof and get a good view forward. That said, during a passage offshore I’d probably spend a lot of my time at the interior helm station, which has excellent visibility forward. Personally, the visibility issue would not be a deal-breaker for me, especially since I found the cockpit and accommodations to be so comfortable at anchor. Nonetheless, it is something to consider.

UNDER POWER

Motoring performance was spectacular. With the standard 106hp Volvo diesel and three-bladed folding propeller, I recorded 8.5 knots of boatspeed while motoring at 2,000 rpm. At full throttle we made 10 knots; maneuvering under power was positive and predictable, thanks to the boat’s twin rudders. Engine room noise was muted, even at full throttle.

7Moody45DS_0

CONCLUSION

Kudos to Bill Dixon and Moody Yachts for redefining what’s possible on a 45-foot cruising monohull. I loved the interior and cockpit spaces—especially at anchor—and was pleasantly surprised by the boat’s performance under sail. This boat’s not for everyone, but if you’re bored with conventional designs and want to own a piece of the future, the Moody DS45 may just be what you’re looking for.

Our Take

PROS

Spacious interior

Comfortable cockpit

Good sailing performance

CONS

Limited visibility from the helms and cockpit

Smallish galley

Radical aesthetics may not be for everybody

SPECIFICATIONS 

HEADROOM 6ft 4in

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

LOA 45ft // LWL 42ft 5in

BEAM 14ft 2in // Draft 6ft 4in

DISPLACEMENT 30,864lb

BALLAST 9,479lb

SAIL AREA 1,126 ft2 (100% FT)

FUEL/WATER/WATER (Gal) 158/211/26

ENGINE 106 HP Volvo with saildrive

ELECTRICAL 90AH (engine); 3 x 150 AH (house)

DESIGNER Dixon Yacht Design

BUILDER Moody Yachts, moodyboats.com

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

BALLAST RATIO 30

SAIL AREA-DISPLACEMENT RATIO 18

DISPLACEMENT-LENGTH RATIO 178

See our review of the Moody 45AC

Related

20220815

VIDEO: Small but Mighty

This summer has been a great one for sailors everywhere, but in particular for the 87 sailors participating in the Tiwal Cup on France's Gulf of Morbihan. In addition to some great sailing, the event saw a new record on the books--fastest ever assembly of the inflatable dinghy. ...read more

00-LEAD-210918_11HR_AZIMUT48HRS_AMO_00411

11th Hour Racing Team's Green Mission

“I’ll admit, it’s still hard to watch the boat leave the dock sometimes,” says former Volvo Ocean Race sailor Mark Towill. Since meeting during a Transpac campaign over 15 years ago, he and his teammate Charlie Enright have sailed thousands of miles together aboard two Volvo ...read more

D61_JKELAGOPIAN-3

Boat Review: Dufour 61

Dufour, long one of France’s most well-respected builders, has been producing sailboats in La Rochelle since the dawn of fiberglass boatbuilding. Having recently merged with another La Rochelle-based builder, Fountaine Pajot, Dufour has now joined other European mass-production ...read more

m138123_14_00_210609_TORE02_SE_2152_2504-2048x

The Ocean Race to be “Climate Positive”

The 2023 Ocean Race intends to be one of the world’s first climate positive sporting events, offsetting more greenhouse gasses than are produced. The two-fold effort means cutting emissions by 75 percent and investing in ocean projects that sequester carbon and restore ocean ...read more

01-LEAD-Ancients-3-2048x

Cruising Lake Superior

Almost anywhere a sailor drops the hook someone else has been there before. We are hardly ever the first. That remote Maine harbor without a soul in sight: there’s a lobster trap. The south coast of Newfoundland: the crumbling remains of a fisherman’s cabin lie hidden among the ...read more

01-LEAD-Tablet-Holder-4

Fabricating a Tablet Holder

During the pandemic, I was stuck aboard Guiding Light, a Lagoon 410, in St. Lucia for over a month. During that time, as I worked on the boat, I started by doing a spring cleaning in my spares locker and finding some parts and material that I forgot I had. As soon as I saw them, ...read more

00-LEAD-AdobeStock_486335954

A Catamaran for a New Era

Anacortes, Washington, is an unassuming sea-salty town near the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound, and the Betts Boats yard is easy for a passerby to miss. But within Betts’ facilities, the dawn of an era in Pacific Northwest production boatbuilding could be breaking with the ...read more

X5_plus_slide-01

Boat Review: Xquisite X5 Plus

The Xquisite X5 Plus is a major update of the boat that SAIL awarded Best Large Multihull and Best Systems titles in 2017. The changes were not just cosmetic, but genuine improvements to an already fine boat, making it lighter, faster and less dependent on fuel. The builder’s ...read more