Substance with style
Yes they are and so she is. You could feel it as we rode down the Med swell at 9 knots, and in the sociable, safe, comfortable cockpit, but it’s down below that this yacht really impresses. The interior makes this boat unique among production boats of this size.
She also has the coolest windows and light switches I’ve ever seen on a production yacht – but more of that later. Just from looking at the new launches at Boot Düsseldorf in January, I had already placed the Wauquiez at the top of my wishlist. The layout, the styling and the quality all stood out as a superior all-round package. There is no other boat quite like her for styling – not as 40-something foot production yachts go.
She has style, but a stunning looking boat is no good if it lacks substance. And the great news is that this is an enjoyable yacht to sail too; but her performance and good behaviour on the water almost seem to pale beside the interior because this is leagues above her rivals.
You don’t find many production yachts with leather-covered wardrobes and that’s just one example of Wauquiez doing something new. This is quite a small French yard that can tailor yachts to its owners’ requirements. So if, like me, you aren’t keen on, say, the leather wardrobe pull-handles, it can replace them.
Using leather and painted wood does seem odd for a company that can build good quality woodwork. Take the forecabin, for example. Apart from the shelf that runs either side up to the long bed, the dark laminate wood sole and the thick laminated wood surround for the mattress, no other wood is visible. The hull sides are white, the headlining is white and it is brightly lit with LED lights.
It could be like sleeping inside a fridge, but the style with which Wauquiez has added recessed areas around the lights and hull window surrounds, and broken it up with a black cove line that makes the space seem longer and wider, is elegant. This cabin has a good-sized en suite with a separate shower compartment – with the mast compression post for company.
The full beam aft cabin has the same neat semi-minimalist feel, but with a swathe of dark grey leading the eye around the cabin until it stops at the chaise longue on the starboard side.
There are practical features too: the forward and aft berth cushions are split and leecloths are standard.
In the aft cabin, cushions not only run centrally, but also down the sides. The occupants of the forward cabin have only one central leecloth. There is plenty of stowage under the berths: the bases lift and are held up by gas struts. In the forward cabin there are drawers beneath the aft end and stowage forward, but there’s the option of filling this with a 200lt tank for fuel or water, which would obviously reduce this cabin stowage.
Aft cabin ventilation is excellent – all three sides of the cockpit mould over the berth have opening hatches, and there are more in the coachroof. Space over the berth is good too and there’s plenty of stowage behind the grey-fronted lockers and in the leather-covered wardrobe. An en suite with a separate shower compartment offers lots of headroom.
White and bright
These are good cabins, but it’s the saloon and galley area that make her rivals look, frankly, bland in comparison.
Many people like varnished wood on boats, and I’ll include myself among them, but with the notable exception of RM Yachts there hasn’t been a good alternative before or, when there has, it’s mainly been down to saving money or weight. I’m not saying I’m a convert, but it’s surprising how large areas of white can give a positive impression; and there’s no shortage of it on the Wauquiez.
‘IT’S DOWN BELOW THIS YACHT REALLY IMPRESSES’
Blue-tinted windows – which can be made clear at the turn of a switch – help keep the pilot saloon cool in sunny climes