Boating - - FEATURES - — Dean Travis Clarke


A con­vert­ible top and crea­ture com­forts in­side and out.

IIn France, sail­ing and boat­ing qual­ify as na­tional pas­times al­most on a par with soc­cer — and the sports he­roes (and hero­ines) are of­ten­times sailors. The French al­ways do an ex­cep­tional job of de­sign­ing boats to be supremely func­tional as well as stylish but with safety al­ways in mind. Su­perb hand­holds are ev­ery­where they should be, and stuff just works. You’ll also find lit­tle un­used dead space. How­ever, many Amer­i­can boaters have been slow to em­brace Euro styling. Jeanneau has done a re­mark­able job in­cor­po­rat­ing fea­tures that pre­cious few Amer­i­can boats of­fer and has wrapped them in a pack­age much more suited to the colonists’ tastes.

Jeanneau’s NC11 is rife with enough in­no­va­tions to make it dif­fi­cult to de­ter­mine di­rect

com­peti­tors. For ex­am­ple, lots of boats have an is­land berth in the for­ward state­room. But the NC11’s berth pulls aft to give greater length while in use, then pushes for­ward when not in use to pro­vide added mov­ing-around room. Port lights on both sides plus an over­head hatch al­low in a flood of am­bi­ent light.

To star­board, a guest com­part­ment berth ex­tends aft be­neath the sa­lon. Yes, you’ll need to kneel to ac­cess this space, but it’s quite long and eas­ily trans­forms into a large queen berth. This cabin also sports port lights that open for air cir­cu­la­tion. And with your head for­ward, you needn’t worry about claus­tro­pho­bia in the least with more than 6 feet of head­room above you.

Op­po­site is the head. This boasts beau­ti­ful Euro­pean fit­tings, a VacuFlush head, lots of stowage, and a sep­a­rate shower stall that even ac­com­mo­dates peo­ple of stately stature.

A few steps up to the main cabin leads you to the port­side helm. We like that the helm lay­out pro­vides enough space to eas­ily

Op­tional joy­stick con­trol for easy dock­ing was in­stalled at the helm of our test boat.

mount a large mul­ti­func­tion dis­play, in ad­di­tion to a VHF along with other elec­tron­ics. Though the large space un­der the wind­screen won’t func­tion well for pa­per­chart nav­i­ga­tion due to its an­gle, it cer­tainly makes clean­ing the in­side of the wind­screen easy. The wide seat boasts a flip-up bol­ster so you can sit or stand. Our fa­vorite helm/sa­lon fea­ture is the huge open­ing con­vert­ible top; press a but­ton and you might as well be in a 36-foot dual con­sole.

Stan­dard power for the NC11 con­sists of twin 200 hp Volvo Penta D3 diesels cou­pled to stern­drives. Op­tional joy­stick con­trol for easy close-quar­ters ma­neu­ver­ing and dock­ing was in­stalled at the helm of our test boat. There is a mostly un­ob­structed view all the way around, though we dis­cov­ered a mi­nor vis­i­bil­ity is­sue aft when the cock­pit sun­shade was de­ployed. You'll need to duck your head to see aft.

A slid­ing door by the helm al­lows in­stant ac­cess to the side deck. Step through to see a unique and func­tional de­sign el­e­ment: The star­board-side deck is wider than the port­side deck, mak­ing fore-and-aft move­ment much eas­ier and safer. Once for­ward, choose from a large sun pad or a bow seat while en­joy­ing the sun­set and lazily watch­ing the mate haul the an­chor with the re­cessed Lew­mar wind­lass.

Jeanneau in­cor­po­rated nu­mer­ous mul­ti­func­tion de­sign fea­tures. For ex­am­ple, the wide guest seat fac­ing for­ward lets you flip over the seat back, con­vert­ing it to seat­ing for three at the sa­lon ta­ble. The mir­ror-im­age aft seat for the ta­ble also has a seat back that can be flipped, turn­ing it into an aft-fac­ing seat just in­side the wide-open cock­pit doors. These slid­ing doors open par­tially or com­pletely in mul­ti­ple ways for flex­i­ble ac­cess. Not enough flex­i­bil­ity for you? Then fold down both sa­lon ta­ble seats and you have a com­fort­able queen berth — mul­ti­task­ing at its best!

The amount of stowage in the sa­lon im­presses as well, with stowage com­part­ments on both sides in ad­di­tion to the gal­ley and the hid­den jack-in-the-box TV that rises up on rams when you push a but­ton.

In the cock­pit, a sub­stan­tial wa­ter-chest space un­der the for­ward end cov­ered by a hand­some teak grate en­sures that any wa­ter en­ter­ing the cock­pit stands no chance of lin­ger­ing. A large cen­ter­line aft cock­pit seat pro­vides stor­age but also moves on tracks, let­ting you choose to have more cock­pit space or a swim plat­form — bril­liant! Fi­nally, be­tween the cock­pit and the sa­lon, we dis­cov­ered ex­cel­lent en­gine-room ac­cess.

Shop­ping? Sea Ray’s Sun­dancer 350 Coupe is a high-line cruiser of­fered with diesel stern­drive power ($478,233 with twin Mer­cury 370 Diesel TDI SeaCore 4.2L T3 Bravo IIIXR with Ax­ius joy­stick).

We ad­mit to be­ing tra­di­tion­al­ists when it comes to yacht de­sign, but the NC11 just strikes a blow for in­no­va­tive aes­thet­ics and func­tion.

SCAN ME See a photo gallery of the Jeanneau NC11 by scan­ning this tag or vis­it­ing boat­ing­mag .com/3024.

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