A Boréal 47 is born in Minihy-Treguier, France

Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
1
Boréal 47

A new Boréal 47 is born in Minihy-Treguier, France

A trail of broken promises leads to yet another dream fulfilled

It is a very slippery slope, this business of owning sailboats. We all like to throw around the old saw about the two happiest days of our lives when buying and selling them, but the first time I ever bought one, and by that I mean one big enough to actually live on, I was scared out of my mind. It was the biggest check I’d ever written in my life, by a factor of about 10, and represented a substantial percentage of my total net worth. This was to buy a 30-year-old fiberglass yawl for a price that today might land you a nice used car.

But it was a fantastic investment. I lived on that boat full-time for a number of years, wandered all over the North Atlantic, and spent hardly any money doing it. I had no rent to pay, no utility bills, no car payments, and only had to buy food and boat parts. Sometimes I went weeks without spending any money at all. I promised myself then I would never own a boat I wasn’t living on, as this obviously was the only way owning a boat could be at all economical.

Of course, I broke that promise. When I moved back ashore—to go to work for a boat magazine, ironically—I soon sold my old yawl and felt virtuous, for a little while at least. I then fell in love with another cruising sailboat, bought it, and then another one after that, after suffering briefly through that economic purgatory reserved for “two-boat owners.” To justify these promiscuous affairs, I swore another oath and promised myself that at least I would never ever buy a new boat.

I never thought that would be too hard. But then, after a decade of very fine times together, I decided I needed to replace my aluminum Tanton 39 cutter Lunacy. She is an outstanding boat, but I realized A) her cockpit, so very handy when sailing singlehanded, was too small to enjoy with my growing teenage daughters aboard; and B) my aging shoulders are too ruined to steer a big boat with a tiller for very long.

These, of course, are easy criteria to fulfill: a bigger cockpit and a wheel, but my years aboard Lunacy have corrupted me. Once you’ve enjoyed the benefits of things like an aluminum hull and a transom skirt, there really is no turning back, so the list of suitable replacement boats necessarily got much shorter.

My research led me to a small builder in northwest France, Boréal Yachts, whose bluewater centerboard cruising boats have earned it a growing reputation among the aluminum Illuminati of Europe. The company’s smallest boat, 44ft, or 47 if you tack on a transom skirt, was a few feet bigger than what I had in mind, but this sort of escalation was not immediately offensive to my principles. After all, those teenage daughters sure aren’t getting any smaller. What was a problem, I realized after more than a year of haunting YachtWorld, was that Boréals never (or almost never) show up on the brokerage market.

I dismissed the notion of buying one, but when a research trip to Europe last spring brought me within driving distance of the Boréal yard, I figured there’d be no harm in getting a tour. As a sailing journalist, I am, of course, highly experienced in the art of touring boatbuilding yards without buying any of the boats built in them.

I had no such luck this time. Within moments of entering the yard, I was introduced to the spare boat frame you see in the photo here—the bones of the beast, as it were. After my tour I was told, if I wanted, those bones could be mine, as the owner who’d ordered that particular boat wanted to be pushed back in the production schedule. Suddenly, those bones looked very beautiful to me.

Now, just over a year later, those bones have become the new Lunacy. By the time this magazine appears, I will be aboard her in France, preparing to sail her home. By October, she’ll be on display in Annapolis, where you can get a tour if you like and perhaps join me here, at the bottom of the slope, where there are no more promises left to break.

SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane, sails on the Maine coast and down in the West Indies whenever he gets the chance. He is the author of The Modern Cruising Sailboat, published by International Marine, and is a contributing blogger at SAILfeed.com

April 2017

Related

01-Hanse_Emotion_6

Hanse’s E-Motion Electric Rudder Drive

When news that Hanse Yachts had launched a new form of electric-powered yacht first broke in the winter of 2016, it was widely reported. After all, Hanse is one of the world’s biggest builders of sailing boats, so this had the feeling of a breakthrough to it.After nearly a year, ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comDefusing the Run It’s been said with justification that gentlemen don’t boast about how windy it was, but the shape of my ensign in the photo will give well-informed readers a fair idea. They will also ...read more

01b-Over-Loch-Scavig

Cruising Across the North Sea

Conventional wisdom says sleeping in the V-berth while offshore is a bad idea. It can be like a diabolical amusement ride that tosses a sailor to and fro, inducing stomach-churning weightlessness. And yet, here I am, nestled in the tilted corner created by my berth and the ...read more

GG17-SAONA47-DX0796

Boat Review: Fountaine Pajot Saona 47

Here’s a riddle: What is less than 50ft long, has two hulls, three big cabins and four decks? Answer: The Fountaine Pajot Saona 47. In fact, it may even be five levels if you count the large engine rooms. This boat is a “space craft” in every sense of the word.DESIGN & ...read more

RichardBennettMIDNIGHT-RAMBLER3249x202

Storm Sails: Do you Need Them?

Many sailors embarking on ocean passages will take along the obligatory storm jib and trysail, with the vague idea that they may come in handy. Few sailors, however, have a real understanding of how and when to set them.It doesn’t help matters when we hear from seasoned sailors ...read more