The Re­liant X40 Is A 21st Cen­tury Clas­sic

Soundings - - Design -

The stun­ning sim­plic­ity of Re­liant Yachts’ X40 ex­press just might re­de­fine the term “clas­sic” as it ap­plies to boats. “For a yacht to be truly clas­sic, it needs the con­text of time to es­tab­lish his­tor­i­cal merit,” writes com­pany prin­ci­pal Jim Ewing. “But for any yacht that has achieved clas­sic sta­tus, the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples most cer­tainly were im­pec­ca­ble use of scale and pro­por­tion, at­ten­tion to de­tail in both styling and per­for­mance, and the ex­e­cu­tion of the build.”

Of course — and the X40 holds true to those prin­ci­ples. It is the first of three new builds on Re­liant’s sched­ule for the X se­ries and is slated for de­liv­ery early in 2018. Ewing calls the X40 a mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of an ex­press boat that re­flects the owner’s sense of and de­sire for a sporty yacht that will be at home on the Riviera.

Her pro­file is won­der­fully de­void of gee­gaws and other ex­cres­cences, leav­ing the shape to speak for it­self. The sheer line is straight and gets its vis­ual ap­peal by gen­tly slop­ing from stem head to tran­som. Ex­press boats of­ten need a lot of free­board in the for­ward sec­tions to al­low com­fort­able stand­ing head­room be­low deck, and the X40 is among those.

This amount of free­board nor­mally would give me pause, but the de­sign team has made it work. Three rect­an­gu­lar port lights on each side break up the mass, and they get help from the chine/spray rail. Also, the nearly plumb stem and crowned deck help dis­tract us from fo­cus­ing on the mass. What’s more, the X40 will show a dif­fer­ent look when she’s on the wa­ter, draw­ing on the aes­thetic ben­e­fits of light, shadow and re­flec­tions.

Con­ven­tional wis­dom tells us that a de­sign’s har­mony re­lies on avoid­ing sur­prises. For ex­am­ple, the an­gle of a re­verse tran­som ought to mimic that of the stem, and echo­ing that same an­gle at the after ter­mi­nus of the deck­house en­hances the har­mony. None of that is true for the X40, but the mix-and­match treat­ments don’t fight with one an­other. Go fig­ure.

Two lines that do quote one an­other are the sheer and the lower edge of the hard­top — a small but im­por­tant de­tail that adds to the boat’s char­ac­ter. That top lifts off, open­ing the X40’s main deck from tran­som to wind­shield. Half the boat is cock­pit, and the sin­gle-level ar­range­ment seems ideal for so­cial­iz­ing.

Cozy ac­com­mo­da­tions for two fill the for­ward half of the X40. Three steps down from the main deck are a gal­ley and head on the port side, an L-shaped set­tee and shower com­part­ment op­po­site, and a dou­ble berth for­ward.

Re­liant is build­ing the X40 in car­bon fiber. This light­weight con­struc­tion and her deep­vee bot­tom ought to let her reach the de­signer’s es­ti­mate of a 40-knot top end. Among the stan­dard fea­tures are a genset, air con­di­tion­ing, joy­stick con­trol, state-of-the-art elec­tron­ics, leather seat­ing, a re­frig­er­a­tor/freezer and, best of all, a Sea­keeper gy­ro­scopic sta­bi­lizer.

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