Boreal 47

A ro­bust, go-any­where alu­minum cruiser

SAIL - - New Boats - By Adam Cort

The dif­fer­ence be­tween a rac­ing boat and a cruis­ing boat is usu­ally read­ily ap­par­ent. Dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing be­tween dif­fer­ent grades of cruis­ers, how­ever, can be an­other mat­ter: the line be­tween those meant to go off sound­ings and those bet­ter suited to stay­ing within VHF range of land can be blurry at best—un­less you’re talk­ing about a boat like the Boreal 47, a boat clearly ready to not only go from the Arc­tic to the Antarc­tic, but all points in be­tween.

DE­SIGN & CON­STRUC­TION

The lat­est de­sign from Boreal SARL, lo­cated in France’s Brit­tany re­gion, the Boreal 47 is an evo­lu­tion of the Boreal 44, with the ex­tra 3ft com­ing in the form of a re­verse tran­som in­cor­po­rat­ing a mod­est swim step.

Both the hull and deck are fab­ri­cated in alu­minum: same with the pi­lot­house, or “com­mand mod­ule,” which in­cor­po­rates a padded in­side helm seat and mag­nif­i­cently large nav­i­ga­tion sur­face with room for all the elec­tron­ics your heart could ever de­sire.

The ca­noe body is care­fully sculpted through the use of mul­ti­ple chines and in­cludes a cen­ter­board par­tially en­closed in a kind of thick skeg, or shoe, which com­bined with a some­what stubby rud­der al­lows it to read­ily take the ground. At first blush, said rud­der might ap­pear in­ad­e­quate to the job of con­trol­ling the boat un­der sail. How­ever, the Boreal 47 also car­ries a pair of dag­ger­boards well aft to help her track when sail­ing hard on the wind in par­tic­u­lar. More on th­ese later.

The dou­ble-spreader mast­head rig in­cludes a Spar­craft alu­minum mast and boom with stain­less steel wire rig­ging and a pair of head­sails, both on Pro­furl furlers. Un­like many more “ca­sual” cruis­ers, so to speak, in which the in­ner forestay flies a self-tack­ing util­ity sail, the in­ner stay aboard the Boreal flies a true stay­sail for use in the kinds of dirty weather this sort of boat will in­evitably en­counter on its var­i­ous ad­ven­tures.

ON DECK

Top­sides, the Boreal 47 is re­plete with prac­ti­cal de­tails that serve to make life eas­ier and safer at sea: safety rail­ings to ei­ther side of the mast for ex­tra se­cu­rity work­ing for­ward; a mas­sive lazarette be­neath a kind of a mini loung­ing deck im­me­di­ately for­ward of a ro­bust op­tional alu­minum arch; ag­gres­sive an­ti­s­lip deck cov­er­ings; sturdy welded-on moor­ing cleats and dou­ble stan­chions; a teak to­erail run­ning stem to stern; and even a lip run­ning along the trail­ing edge of the pi­lot­house that works as both a hand­hold and a vent for bring­ing fresh air be­low. The list goes on and on.

The boat is equipped with a sin­gle large wheel, which is nice for get­ting out­board so that you can peek around the house when steer­ing hard on the wind. That said, the house re­mains a bit of an ob­struc­tion and I of­ten found my­self stand­ing when at the helm to see where I was go­ing. Of course, on pas­sage an au­topi­lot will typ­i­cally be do­ing most of the steer­ing.

Be­yond that, the cock­pit is fairly com­pact, re­fresh­ingly deep, and equipped with a num­ber of strong points for a tether and nice big drains in the event you are boarded by a big sea. In other words, it’s the per­fect cock­pit for pas­sage­mak­ing and dra­mat­i­cally dif­fer­ent from the cock­pits you typ­i­cally see at boat shows th­ese days. The trail­ing edge of the pi­lot­house also ex­tends a foot or so over the cock­pit benches, cre­at­ing a nice pair of nooks to snug­gle up into dur­ing a night watch or to get out of the rain.

Go­ing for­ward, the welded handrails, jib tracks, head­sail sheets, shrouds, do­rades and safety rails cre­ate a bit of an ob­sta­cle course—again of­fer­ing a striking con­trast to the wide-open decks com­monly seen at boat shows th­ese days. How­ever, there’s also plenty to grab onto when mov­ing about in a se­away. The fore­deck it­self is both large and won­der­fully un­clut­tered—it seems a shame that this is where most cruis­ers will end up stor­ing their dinghies, but there it is.

For­ward of that, there is a suit­ably large sail locker and a sturdy alu­minum sprit that serves as both an an­chor roller and at­tach­ment point

for a Code 0. The over­all ef­fect, like that of the boat as a whole, is sat­is­fy­ingly, even el­e­gantly util­i­tar­ian, the kind of look any real sailor can’t help but love.

AC­COM­MO­DA­TIONS As is the case top­sides, there’s a lot go­ing on be­lowdecks. That said, on pas­sage wide open spa­ces also mean that much more room to tum­ble should you lose your footing. A lot of what is “go­ing on” also trans­lates into stor­age space, a crit­i­cal fea­ture aboard any se­ri­ous cruis­ing boat.

At the heart of the sa­loon is a large ta­ble raised up to port with set­tees on three sides all with a good view of the out­side world, that and an in-line gal­ley to star­board. Be­tween the two is a sub­stan­tial di­vider that houses the cen­ter­board trunk and also serves as both a great place to brace your­self when fix­ing meals and some­where to store var­i­ous food items. I am a huge fan of this kind of gal­ley, since there is some­thing nice and solid to lean up against, but you can also dodge one way or the other in the event any­thing hot spills off the stove.

The owner’s cabin for­ward aboard our test boat was large and very comfy, with the same ash join­ery­work that, in com­bi­na­tion with the many hatches and ports in the cab­in­trunk, kept the sa­loon feeling light and airy de­spite be­ing set far down in the hull. (Ma­hogany is also avail­able as an op­tion.)

My one com­plaint is that the quar­ter­berths in the two aft cab­ins of our test boat were pretty cramped (al­though full-size dou­ble berths are also avail­able) at least for a six-footer like me, ow­ing in part to the com­mand mod­ule over­head. Even just pulling my boots on was a chal­lenge as I kept bump­ing my head against the un­der­side of the cock­pit. If the boat had ever been se­ri­ously bang­ing around? Heav­ens!

That said, it would be hard to overem­pha­size how nice it was having the mod­ule, es­pe­cially on a night watch or in stinky weather. The view is amaz­ing and again you have ev­ery­thing you need—VHF, chart­plot­ter, AIS, pa­per charts— right where you need them. How much time does a sailor spend in a quar­ter­berth any­way—be­sides sleep­ing, that is? Not much. I’ll take the mod­ule any day.

UN­DER SAIL

My test sail con­sisted of a de­liv­ery from Portsmouth, New Hamp­shire, to the An­napo­lis boat show with the boat’s owner: none other than SAIL’s own cruis­ing editor, Charles J. Doane, who has named his boat Lu­nacy, after his daugh­ters Una and Lucy. De­spite the fact we had to burn a fair bit of fuel to stay on sched­ule, we still got in some good sail­ing, es­pe­cially be­tween Buz­zards Bay and Long Is­land Sound. Close-reach­ing with the breeze in the high teens we clicked off 7-plus knots with ease. As the wind built into the low 20s, the helm be­came a bit much to handle. But as soon as Charlie put a reef in the main, we were back on rails.

Equally im­pres­sive was the boat’s mo­tion through the swells. At the time, some enormous rollers from Hur­ri­cane Maria were mak­ing land­fall, crest­ing dra­mat­i­cally in to­ward shore and cre­at­ing some rather im­pres­sive con­di­tions in gen­eral. Lu­nacy, how­ever, took it all in stride. Not only that, but her mo­tion was at all times both easy and for­giv­ing, with no slam­ming or whip­ping about—the def­i­ni­tion of a seakindly boat that takes care of its crew.

Later that same day, things got es­pe­cially hairy as we en­tered The Race at the east­ern end of Long Is­land Sound with nearly 20 knots of breeze go­ing for­ward on us and blow­ing against the in­com­ing tide. But while the helm loaded up a good bit in the puffs, the rud­der never once broke loose, thanks in large part to the afore­men­tioned dag­ger­boards. All in all, a great boat for log­ging some se­ri­ous miles. The boat’s Code 0 will also be an in­valu­able as­set sail­ing off the wind.

UN­DER POWER This is a big boat, the rud­der is on the small side, and those dag­ger­boards won’t do you much good when close-quar­ters ma­neu­ver­ing. That said, we had no prob­lem get­ting in and out of a fairly tight slip at Brook­lyn’s Oneo 15 ma­rina in a fairly stiff cross­wind. Bot­tom line: this is not a boat for ca­sual sailors, and part of be­ing a sailor is be­ing able to ma­neu­ver this kind of boat. A bow thruster is avail­able as an op­tion. Max­ing out the throt­tle yielded 2,800 rpm and 8.3 knots of boat­speed. On our de­liv­ery, we usu­ally had our 55hp aux­il­iary tick­ing away at around 1,800 and the boat mov­ing along at about 7 knots.

CON­CLU­SION

The Boreal is an ex­tremely well-made boat specif­i­cally tai­lored to take you pretty much any­where in the world. To that end, it’s more than up to the task of ev­ery­thing from bat­tling big seas to nav­i­gat­ing a thin-wa­ter es­tu­ary. I hope Charlie takes me sail­ing with him again soon! s

Looking aft, the cen­ter­board trunk is to the right, fac­ing the gal­ley

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