We get to grips with the Beste­vaer 45 Pure,

She looks like a go-any­where cruiser, but does she live up to it? Gra­ham Snook and the YM ed­i­to­rial team went cruis­ing in her to find out

Yachting Monthly - - INSIDE THIS MONTH - Photo by Gra­ham Snook

Three days sail­ing the Beste­vaer 45ST Pure on a whirl­wind tour of Dutch wa­ters, what could go wrong? Well, the ed­i­tor broke the toi­let, we got side­ways across a lock, touched the bot­tom a few times and all came back with bumps on our heads.

Luck­ily, apart from that toi­let han­dle, we re­tuned the boat to KM Yacht­builders un­scathed, and we all re­gret­ted not jug­gling our dead­lines to get more time away on her.

Per­for­mance

We sailed in most con­di­tions dur­ing our time on board. Our boat­speed tests were done on the IJs­selmeer, free of tide and with a Force 5 from the west. Leav­ing Makkum in a heaped chop, mo­tor­ing at 2,000 rpm into the head sea and 17 knots of head­wind, she was mak­ing 6.0 knots over the ground. Any slam­ming was re­duced to dull thuds as her rounded for­ward sec­tions and solid con­struc­tion cush­ioned the larger waves.

With one reef tucked into the main­sail and full genoa, I was sur­prised that once pow­ered up, the helm was light; only when bear­ing away was more pres­sure ap­par­ent. In the stronger gusts (the ap­par­ent wind in the mid-20s), the lack of a main­sheet trav­eller meant eas­ing the main­sheet to re­duce helm pres­sure, but she showed no ten­dency to round up; her twin rud­ders gripped well.

On the lighter-wind days we had Force 1-3 and with her huge code zero-style gen­naker she was mak­ing be­tween 4.6-5.3 knots at 40 de­grees off the ap­par­ent wind, with 10-11 knots of breeze blow­ing over the deck.

At the helm

While she is avail­able with a wheel, this 45ST Pure has a tiller, and what a tiller it is too. Stand­ing at 1.88m (6ft 2in) tall when raised, in sail­ing po­si­tion it sweeps over a large arc of the cock­pit. With just a cou­ple on board I doubt you’d no­tice it, but with a full crew mov­ing about on board it can feel a bit re­stric­tive.

The pay­back, though, is a light helm and even when she was over­pow­ered it was still man­age­able. You can sit well for­ward and re­main shel­tered un­der the ex­tended coachroof, while still helm­ing, and look for­ward through the deck­house to main­tain a good look­out. Or you can sit on the coam­ing, be­tween winches, but to gain shel­ter from the coachroof you have to sit on the jam­mers, for­ward of the hal­yard and main­sheet winch.

De­sign & con­struc­tion

KM Yacht­builders spe­cialises in round-hulled alu­minium yachts. The frames are CNC-cut and de­liv­ered to KM to be welded on site. The

frames are built up­side-down, and the hull sheets (6-12mm be­low the wa­ter­line, 5-6mm above) are welded to them. Then the hull is flipped and the deck and tanks are added be­fore the fit-out takes place. The wa­ter and fuel tanks are un­der the sa­loon sole.

The Beste­vaer 45 Pure can be sup­plied with a fixed keel and sin­gle rud­der or, as in the case of out test boat, a swing-keel which is filled with lead bal­last. When raised this sits proud of the hull, but she can be dried out with­out prob­lems rest­ing on the keel and her splayed twin rud­ders.

She has wa­ter­tight bulk­heads both fore and aft (the lat­ter for­ward of the en­gine) and noth­ing is drilled or tapped into the alu­minium. She has a deck-stepped, twin­spreader 9/10 Seldén rig. She can also be rigged with a stay­sail, giv­ing her a slut­ter/ so­lent rig – run­ning back­stays add mast sup­port for this. In lighter winds, a gen­naker or cruis­ing chute can be flown on a Seldén pole run­ning though her large bow roller.

Deck lay­out

The rear end of the deck­house roof sweeps aft, shel­ter­ing the front half-me­tre or so of the cock­pit. Over the com­pan­ion­way is a slid­ing hatch that can be pushed well for­ward, or just back to the com­pan­ion­way hatch, although do­ing that leaves ex­posed cor­ners against which we all clat­tered our heads dur­ing our three days on board. On sub­se­quent boats, KM will be round­ing off these cor­ners. The solid over­hang may be un­for­giv­ing, but it pro­vides very good hand­holds when en­ter­ing and leav­ing the cock­pit.

The seat backs in the cock­pit had a bare alu­minium corner which wasn’t overly com­fort­able on my back, but this wouldn’t have been no­tice­able had we used the cock­pit cush­ions.

In the coam­ing be­hind the seat backs are cave lock­ers for ropes. The aft end of the cock­pit has a fold-down tran­som for bathing and board­ing.

There is plenty of deep cock­pit stowage. All but the for­ward 68cm (1ft 11in) of the 3.07m (10ft 1in) long seat­ing gives ac­cess to the locker space be­neath. The gas locker is fur­thest aft on the port side and can hold big Calor bot­tles with ease. The lids can be se­cured, but they are heavy and lack gas struts. There were re­strain­ing lines, but we were wary when clos­ing the lids. There is also an ex­cel­lent hull-depth locker in the bow, 1.4m deep, with a lad­der to help you climb in. This lid, too, was heavy and se­cured by a line and clip. One of our crew caught the Dyneema life­line as he tripped, which shook the clip free; luck­ily the chap in the locker was ducked down at the time.

The square-sided coachroof gives good brac­ing when go­ing for­ward, and helps keep your cen­tre of grav­ity out­board. There are good handrails on top of the dog­house roof, but none fur­ther for­ward; she is of course alu­minium so fit­ting longer rails would just re­quire a few words to KM. Ex­cel­lent mini-bul­warks sur­round the deck and are at least 15cm (6in) high, with a tube on top that serves as a fair­lead for moor­ing lines.

Liv­ing aboard

Duck­ing be­low the solid spray­hood and in­te­gral slid­ing hatch that form the aft end of the coachroof, and re­mem­ber­ing to lower the one-piece clear wash­board (it hurts a lot if you for­get to do ei­ther), it’s a step into the deck­house then two steps down to the sole, or a step across to the short (1.38m, or 4ft 6in) bench seat ei­ther side. There’s stowage un­der the steps, in the footrests and un­der the sole.

The deck­house gives you a splen­did 360-de­gree view out and is a per­fect place to re­tire when the tem­per­a­ture out­side falls, whether you're on pas­sage or in port, while still en­joy­ing a good view of your sur­round­ings. There's a flat sur­face on the star­board side for charts – or drinks and snacks – while the port side is open to the gal­ley be­low. There are good stain­less steel handrails at the en­trance and fur­ther for­ward to help you get to the gal­ley or sa­loon.

With white hull sides, bulk­heads and head­lin­ing, you may not no­tice that her win­dows are rel­a­tively small. This boat had a smart and stylish bam­boo in­te­rior that was re­ally nicely fin­ished off. The 1.5m (4ft 11in) long table dom­i­nates the sa­loon and houses the swing keel mech­a­nism. It has 3cm di­am­e­ter stain­less steel hand­holds at each end. Get­ting chunky legs around the aft end was a bit of a squeeze, but it's easy at the for­ward end. There are lock­ers flank­ing the re­cessed port­holes on each side. The for­ward lock­ers are a lit­tle shal­low, at 10cm (4in). Rais­ing both leaves of the table makes it 1.15m (3ft10in) wide and com­fort­able to eat around, but you do need to swing your legs up to raise and lower the leaves.

Mov­ing around at sea is safe and easy. The fid­dles on the gal­ley work­tops make good hand­holds. Some over­head or deck-level grabrails would have been nice, some own­ers want them, oth­ers don't; we didn't need them.

Op­po­site the gal­ley, to star­board, is the heads. Hav­ing given space over to the sa­loon and its 2.05m (6ft 8in) par­al­lel seat­ing units, the heads not that big. It doesn’t have a sep­a­rate shower com­part­ment, but does have a roller blind to cover the sink and toi­let while show­er­ing.

Head­room is a bit tight when sit­ting on the toi­let and show­er­ing leaves a wet floor – an­noy­ing if you’re shoe­less and need the loo in the morn­ing.

The fore­cabin berth is 1.4m wide (4ft 8in) with a 90 cm (3ft) step up, which is a bit awk­ward. This has been re­duced to 72cm (2ft 4in) on sub­se­quent boats. There's lots of stowage be­neath the berth, plus a good hang­ing locker for­ward and a shelved locker out­board.

The aft cabin, to star­board, felt a bit dis­jointed. You have to be care­ful get­ting into bed as the seat­ing in the deck­house takes up head­room over the berth and leaves a corner to bump your head on. The large port­hole is nice, as is the ca­pa­cious drawer un­der the bed, although you have to stand out­side the cabin to reach into its far cor­ners. Both this cabin and the large pi­lot berth on the port side had a big shelf above the end of the bed, which is handy for stowage.

One thing we did find an­noy­ing was the wa­ter pump, housed

un­der the port-side seat­ing in the sa­loon, which would res­onate loudly through the boat with a pe­cu­liar, siren-like wail. It was at­tached with rub­ber grom­mets as it should be, but was still noisy. KM are look­ing into the source of the noise.

Chart table

For such a pur­pose­ful cruiser it was a sur­prise not to see a chart table, although one can be added. I'd want one. The sa­loon table can be used for pas­sage plan­ning but not hav­ing a ded­i­cated place to keep an open chart and pi­lot books while you're sail­ing is in­con­ve­nient. You can put them on the space for­ward of the deck­house seat­ing, above the star­board aft cabin, but it wasn't an ideal place to read or work on a chart.

Gal­ley

The J-shaped gal­ley has plenty of hand­holds and brac­ing points to be se­cure in the rough­est con­di­tions. The J-shape al­lows you to tuck in and use the sink or tend the stove with­out need­ing to hold on. There is a stout ver­ti­cal post to hold onto and move around in­board, and good use of space for lock­ers, spice racks and bot­tle stowage. Out­board is a top-open­ing pantry locker, 39cm deep (1ft 3in) that can be made into a cool­box if the front-open­ing fridge in the ‘re­turn’ of the J isn’t big enough for your needs.

Sail­ing close-hauled on star­board tack, a lit­tle wa­ter flowed into the sink when we pulled the plug out. Re-rout­ing the pipes would solve this. There’s no splash­back on the sink, but as with most of my ob­ser­va­tions so far, one could eas­ily be fit­ted. The line of lock­ers out­board were top-hinged but will be bot­tom-hinged in fu­ture.

On cold evenings we found, when cook­ing, that con­den­sa­tion forms on the deck­house win­dows and their alu­minium frame, so the cook gets the odd drop of wa­ter drip­ping down.

Main­te­nance

Most ar­eas are easy to ac­cess, but one of the most im­por­tant wasn’t – the en­gine. Parts of it can be got at, but hav­ing to re­move the con­tents of the port-side cock­pit locker to check the oil will be­come tire­some.

What re­ally irked me was the in­ac­ces­si­bil­ity of what's usu­ally called the front of the en­gine (it’s mounted back­ward with a saildrive). To re­place the belts, you’d need to re­move ac­cess pan­els at the rear of the en­gine (along with the rud­der an­gle sen­sor and pri­mary fuel fil­ters), or find a left­handed child who’s good at en­gine main­te­nance. KM as­sures me that ac­cess to this area has been im­proved on sub­se­quent boats.

There is a pro­vi­sion to re­move the cock­pit sole, but you’d need to cut the caulk­ing. There is an op­tion for a panel in the cock­pit sole to be eas­ily re­mov­able, which I'd ad­vise any­one buy­ing one of these boats to con­sider.

She's a com­fort­able and prac­ti­cal swing-keel cruiser

Sit­ting on the wide coam­ing gives a good view for­ward

The cock­pit is well shel­tered and prac­ti­cally laid out

The deck­house of­fers 360° views – good for watch­keep­ing

Lots of white space, bam­boo fur­ni­ture and a wal­nut floor make her in­te­rior bright and stylish

The J-Shaped gal­ley is good, and safe for cook­ing at sea

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