Just Launched

Kraken, Du­four, and a lit­tle tri-foiler for “non-foil­ing” sailors

SAIL - - Contents - By Peter Nielsen

Kraken Yachts is not well known in the United States—yet. The Bri­tish-based com­pany has three yachts in its port­fo­lio, the lat­est of which, the Kraken 50, is a cen­ter-cock­pit blue­wa­ter cruiser aimed squarely at the niche dom­i­nated by the likes of Hall­berg-Rassy.

Built in China and de­signed by New Zealan­der Kevin Di­b­ley, who has drawn a host of suc­cess­ful rac­ers and cruis­ing boats, the Kraken 50 is a pur­pose­ful-look­ing boat whose form fol­lows its in­tended func­tion—to carry a cruis­ing crew and a size­able pay­load across oceans in all weathers. There are no con­ces­sions to fash­ion here, just well-proven de­sign features and con­struc­tion, all pack­aged in a good-look­ing hull.

A short­handed crew can han­dle the double head­sails and in-boom reef­ing with­out the need to leave the se­cu­rity of the deep cen­tral cock­pit. In foul weather, they can re­treat be­lowdecks to keep watch from a raised nav sta­tion. Raised bul­warks and wide side decks are use­ful safety features, as is what the com­pany calls the “Zero Keel”—a long fin with its lead bal­last en­cap­su­lated within lay­ers of fiber­glass and Kevlar (and zero keel bolts). The bow sec­tions are re­in­forced with Kevlar for im­pact re­sis­tance. Un­usu­ally in this day and age, the rud­der is skeg-hung, a fea­ture that will de­light tra­di­tion­al­ists.

A boat with sim­i­lar as­pi­ra­tions but vastly dif­fer­ent ex­e­cu­tion, Du­four’s Grand Large 520 is a re­fine­ment of the 512 in­tro­duced last year as the new stan­dard-bearer for the GL range. The sweet-sail­ing hull by Um­berto Felci and the pow­er­ful sailplan re­main un­touched, but the cock­pit lay­out and in­te­rior ac­com­mo­da­tions have both been re­vamped.

It’s been fun watch­ing the big pro­duc­tion builders try to one-up each other over cock­pit de­sign ever since Du­four in­tro­duced a built-in grill, fridge and wet bar with its GL 500 in 2013; th­ese ideas have been widely im­i­tated, but with the 520 Du­four has again upped the ante with an ex­tended splitlevel swim plat­form that greatly in­creases the play­ing/sun­bathing/ swim­ming area. “Mine’s big­ger than yours…” A 39-liter fridge is housed within the cock­pit ta­ble, and the bar­be­cue and wet bar un­der the helm seats are even more gen­er­ously pro­por­tioned than be­fore. An­other new touch is the gen­er­ously up­hol­stered, curved helm seat-backs, along with a cen­tral helm bench that ro­tates to pro­vide an ex­tra seat at the cock­pit din­ing ta­ble. How will Beneteau, Bavaria and Hanse re­spond? Watch this space.

Mean­while, the cav­ernous in­te­rior has been restyled to make even bet­ter use of the im­pres­sive vol­ume; there is a choice of four lay­outs, with up to four cab­ins/four heads. The new Du­four made its Euro­pean de­but in the fall and will ap­pear at the New­port and An­napo­lis shows in 2018.

If you’re up for a touch of foil­ing fun, the new F101 could be just the boat for you. The lit­tle tri was de­vel­oped by Ron Price, who de­signed the foil­ing Whis­per cat that won a SAIL Best Boats award for 2016. Like the Whis­per, the F101 is a foiler for non-foil­ing sailors—as long as you’ve got some de­cent sail­ing skills, you should be able to get air­borne on this boat in next to no time.

It’s be­ing built in the UK by White Formula, and the price tag is ex­pected to be in the re­gion of $20,000. At time of writ­ing, the search was on for a U.S. dis­trib­u­tor. s

Kraken 50

Grand Large 520


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