Mi­norchino 34 and 42

De­signed and built by sailors, the Menorquin 34 and 42 are aimed at sailors too – or any­one who wants a ca­pa­ble, com­fort­able and stylish semidis­place­ment mo­tor cruiser, says David Harding

Practical Boat Owner - - Contents -

Stylish semi-dis­place­ment mo­tor­cruis­ers made in Menorca

For some of us, hear­ing the words ‘Mediter­ranean’ and ‘mo­tor­boat’ in the same sen­tence con­jures up im­ages of boats that are fast and flashy; fair-weather play­things for peo­ple we might choose to have lit­tle to do with in the nor­mal course of events.

There are, how­ever, all sorts of mo­tor­boats in the Med – and, lest we be ac­cused of stereo­typ­ing, of mo­tor­boat own­ers too. Of course we’re all aware of the lit­tle open fish­ing ves­sels that still ply their trade away from the glitz of ex­pen­sive mari­nas fringed by over-priced bou­tiques. What we might not know is that one of these breeds of lit­tle open fish­ing boat has evolved into a range of prac­ti­cal, semi-dis­place­ment mo­tor-cruis­ers likely to be of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to sailors hang­ing up their winch han­dles.

Not sur­pris­ingly, when we fea­ture mo­tor­boats in PBO these are the sort we tend to test – rugged, go-any­where mo­tor­boats that won’t force you to stay in harbour when peo­ple are leav­ing without hes­i­ta­tion in sailing yachts half your size. These are mo­tor­boats you’re happy to ad­mit to your sailing friends that you own and that won’t lead to your be­ing os­tracised at the yacht club. Think Nel­son, Sea­ward and Hardy and you’re on the right lines.

The names we know

These three well-es­tab­lished ranges have their ori­gins in north­ern Europe – in Bri­tain, to be pre­cise – where you might expect such boats to come from. So you might be sur­prised that the new name hop­ing to get in among them comes from the Mediter­ranean. It’s less sur­pris­ing when you con­sider that, as their name sug­gests, the Menorquins come from

Menorca. There’s a rea­son why it’s known as ‘the windy is­land’. And although the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of mod­els is new to the UK, boats from the Menorquin sta­ble have been around for nearly 40 years.

Tra­di­tion with a twist

it all be­gan in 1978 when Juan Sas­tre Ber­nat started build­ing pro­duc­tion ver­sions of the tra­di­tional dou­ble-ended Menor­can llaüt. Over the years he in­tro­duced pro­gres­sively longer, roomier and more pow­er­ful de­signs, adding buoy­ant sec­tions aft be­neath the wa­ter­line to re­duce squat­ting and in­crease speed without com­pro­mis­ing the vis­ual ap­peal of the round sterns.

Juan’s son José is now in charge, and the Saga Group – which in­cludes Sasga Yachts and the Menorquins – has ex­panded its in­ter­ests to in­clude mari­nas, a char­ter com­pany, com­mer­cial prop­erty and a yacht­main­te­nance di­vi­sion.

The boats have also seen sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ments since 2010, when Inigo Toledo was com­mis­sioned to up­date the range. I first came across Toledo, of Bar­racuda Yacht De­sign, in 2002 when test­ing the Ro 330 – a fast. at­trac­tive and well-man­nered cruiser/ racer built by Ro­nau­tica Yachts. As well as be­ing im­pressed by the boat, I learned that the de­signer had stud­ied naval ar­chi­tec­ture at the Southamp­ton In­sti­tute and worked with both Ger­man Fr­ers and Re­ichel/Pugh be­fore set­ting up on his own in the well-known coastal city of Madrid. His de­signs range from the Ro 330’s lit­tle sis­ter, the 260, to one-off com­mis­sions, both sail and power, up to 190ft (58m) or so. Toledo has also been in­volved in the Span­ish Amer­ica’s Cup chal­lenge and project man­age­ment for the Span­ish Royal Yacht.

Up­dat­ing sym­pa­thet­i­cally

The new de­signs are very dif­fer­ent from the Menorquins of old. His brief was to cre­ate boats that were faster, roomier, more ef­fi­cient and more mod­ern in ap­pear­ance while still be­ing sea-kindly and re­tain­ing el­e­ments of the dis­tinc­tive llaüt styling; hence the ver­ti­cal stems, the bow and stern posts (hark­ing back to the days of tim­ber con­struc­tion) and the ca­noe sterns.

It’s not easy to turn a boat that has al­ways had a rel­a­tively slim hull, pointed at both ends, into one that’s ca­pa­ble of com­pet­ing with the best of to­day’s semi-dis­place­ment mo­tor-cruis­ers. To see how they had turned out, I went to Menorca with Nick Edg­ing­ton of Edge-Wa­ter Marine, who had had just taken on the dis­trib­u­tor­ship for the UK. At this point I should men­tion that the boats have also been pro­moted as Mi­norchi­nos, but the brand­ing has now re­verted to the orig­i­nal Menorquin.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.