Brand new from the lead keel up, Najad’s new 395 and her centre-cockpit sister are billed as ‘mini-superyachts’. At 40ft, that’s a big promise, but do they live up to it? Graham Snook finds out...
Najad 395. Your new dream boat. Does the ‘mini-superyacht’ live up to her hype? We get an exclusive first test
The 395 is Najad’s first all-new boat for some time, but not the first to offer both aft cockpit and centre cockpit on the same hull. There have been revamps of models with the changes of the company’s ownership, but the eagerly awaited 395 is not only new from her lead keel up, she’s the first Najad designed by Farr Yacht Design with a Ken Freivokh Design interior. Both these design companies have a vast portfolio of work from the superyacht market – one reason that she’s touted as a ‘mini-superyacht’.
The moniker has much to back it up, though, on the interior especially. Few production yachts have as many styling details, carried off as well as they have on the 395. Of course this detailing and workmanship doesn’t come cheap, even if she is voluminous for her length.
Sunshine easing its way though the hull windows and 9-14 knots of breeze rocking the boat woke me on the day of the test sail; better than the 20-30 knots the day before. On the wind she’ll point to around 28-30º, but she was more comfortable, and sailed faster, a little freer. She was soon making speeds of 6-7 knots, and was feeling more alive.
She has a regal air to her, and feels solid and graceful – rather than large and lumbering. She carries her way though tacks the reassuring way that moderate displacement yachts do. I was worried how she would feel, given her 1.32m (4ft 4in) high topsides and raised cockpit, but you still feel like you’re in the boat rather than sailing on her.
Close-hauled out into the less-sheltered waters – where a swell was running from the wind the day before – she handled it with ease and gave a wonderfully comfy ride; her rounded forward sections cushioning the way ahead. Bearing away and easing sheets, she picked up her skirt and jogged along nicely. Speed and comfort don’t make good bedfellows, but she showed respectable figures while retaining her grace and composure throughout. Her 80hp engine made 7.1 knots at 1800rpm – 57hp is standard.
Seating in the cockpit is a generous 2.13m (7ft) long, and the large cockpit table gives solid bracing in the middle. There are also plenty of handholds: on the binnacles and at the forward end of the cockpit. The top of the 28cm-high coamings is also narrow enough to get a grip on. Genoa sheets are led through the long coachroof handrails and substantial windscreen support to the Anderson 52 ST electric self-tailing genoa winches. Just inside the support on each side are a bank of rope clutches; the lines from which can be led to the winches or stowed in the rope bins. There’s no way to lock the genoa sheet off on this boat, but Najad are looking into ways to do this on future boats.
Access to the deck is easiest by stepping out of the aft end of the cockpit; the coamings are quite wide and the studs for the cockpit tent protrude along their outboard length. Moving forward is a doddle; the inner shrouds are set inboard while the outer shrouds are taken to the thick, teak-capped toerail.
The anchor locker is deep with a split lid to create ease of access. There’s also a substantial stainless steel fixed bowsprit, but if you’re on a mooring you’ll have to take lines through it and the electric furling doesn’t leave a great deal of room to access the second bow roller.
Between the twin wheels is a deep, lined locker for fenders, there’s also a deep lazarette locker to starboard and stowage for gas in the lazarette locker to port. This twin aft cabin layout didn’t have a great deal of deck locker space; something I’d miss if I were extended cruising.
AT THE HELM
She has twin wheels, both were achingly stiff, a problem Najad is working with Lewmar to rectify. Sadly the stiffness robbed the helm of much of its feeling and enjoyment of sailing her.
Rather than a seat in the cockpit, the helm is treated to a seat made from the raised coamings. Also atop of these coaming seats are the Andersen 40ST winches, next to the helm, to tend the German mainsheet system. The genoa winches are located within easy reach forward and can be tended without having to leave the helm.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
Following a recent restructure, Najad’s yachts will now be built at Sail Yard AB in Uddevalla. Sail Yard fitted out this boat (hull No.1) and has been building Arcona’s larger models (465 and new 435). Both Arcona and Najad are owned by Orust Quality Yachts AB, and this Najad was as nicely built as any I’ve sailed before.
The hull and deck mouldings are outsourced; they are vacuum-infused with vinylester resin with a Divinycell foam core running from around 50cm outboard from the centreline upwards, except where there are skin fittings. She has a substantial internal grid, bonded and laminated where necessary. Bulkheads are laminated to both the hull and deck.
Unlike the modern trend of wide aft sections and twin rudders, Farr/najad have opted for a single deep spade rudder. This kept her in control – not that the conditions really tested her mettle.
RIG & SAILPLAN
She has a twin-spreader Seldén rig with laminate sails as standard. This boat also had optional electric furling on the mainsail and genoa, which worked a treat. One neat feature was the use of Seldén mechanical backstay tensioners to take the genoa and mainsail halyards – these do away with metres of unwanted rope and are simply adjusted using a winch handle on either side of the mast.
The mainsheet traveller was originally designed to be aft of the helm, however, this has now been moved to the aft end of the cockpit table. There is also the option of a mainsheet arch to keep it clear of the cockpit seating – something it doesn’t do at the moment when sailing off the wind.
On descending the laminated solid teak steps, the build quality is plain to see. The interior uses a variety of textures and colours to make it a very pleasant place to be; helped by at least 1.95m (6ft 5in)
She has a regal air, and feels solid and graceful
of headroom in all areas except the aft cabins where it drops to 1.81m (5ft 11in).
Initially I wasn’t overwhelmed by the use of black, but by the end of my two days on board I’d warmed to it. She is available with a teak or light oak interior, although I suspect most will opt for Najad’s usual warm-coloured mahogany. In the saloon, above the seats, the lower part of the hull sides has a light cream-coloured fabric-covered panel, which breaks up the area above it that is covered in a silver fabric with a lightly ribbed texture. Oceanair blinds are hidden in the window recesses – it’s all very neat. There’s stowage behind the seat backs, accessed by lifting them up – delightfully Velcro-free. Under the seats on both sides is the tankage.
The saloon table is 1.19m (3ft 11in) long inside the 5mm high fiddles that surround each leaf. It butts up against the forward bulkhead, so if the starboard leaf is raised it stops access to the forward cabin. In its centre is storage for 12 bottles while beneath is an access panel to the bilge. The aft end has 90º corners, so not exactly hip-friendly.
The starboard seat is 2.10m long and, because it’s straight, would make an excellent sea berth. The seating to port has an angled aft end but it’s straight for 1.55m (5ft 1in) and can still be used as a sea berth while on a starboard tack – as long as you ensure you lie facing inboard. This boat had the option to have the vee berth forward and en suite heads, but you can also have an offset berth to port, and/or a walk-in storage area where the heads is. The mattresses on board are soft, sprung and very comfortable, and there are curtains that cover the windows and entire hull sides. Initially I wasn’t a fan, but once they are closed they change the feel on board to something familiar and homely.
Aft of the forward berth, to port, is the en suite heads with grey Corian work top and a white Corian bowl blended into it. There’s a full-length mirror on the back of the door, facing the toilet – not ideal.
The aft heads is to starboard at the base of the companionway, and the toilet is forward-facing. It’s not the biggest of heads, and leg space is a little limited, but it’s the price you pay for the extra aft
She really does set herself apart in both styling and quality
cabin. She is available with one cabin to port and a larger heads and vast cockpit locker to starboard; with access from deck and the heads. Both aft cabins mirror each other – outboard is a sizable locker, which has a hanging locker above a shelved locker in the port cabin, and a washing machine in the starboard cabin. While the corridor to the starboard aft cabin is a good width, it’s reduced to just 35cm (1ft 2in) by the door handles, making the single aft-cabin layout more appealing.
The chart table can take space from the heads and be forward-facing, but this boat had the smaller, but perfectly crafted, aft-facing table. The fiddles surrounding the table are too low to use as handholds, but the table itself is 8cm (3in) deep – enough to lose most of the gubbins that find their way into chart tables. I’d have preferred it to be 6/7cm lower, for comfort. The workspace is 42cm x 76cm (1ft 4in x 2ft 6in).
Outboard is a switch panel hidden behind a dark Perspex door, illuminated by internal lights as it opens – it would have been better if the lights had been aft-facing, so they don’t blind the person sitting at the table at night, but at least you can clearly see the switches.
The linear galley is outboard of the corridor leading to the aft cabin, it’s Corian-topped and over 2m (6ft 7in) long. Outboard is divided stowage, but without a fiddle it’s a little pointless. There is, however, a handy shelf above it with 3cm (1in) high fiddles. There are two large lockers above this with pegged stowage on the lower shelf and a fiddled shelf above it. Surrounding the galley work surface is a sleekly curved Corian edge, making it easy to clean.
Access to the front and port side of the engine is good, but sadly there aren’t any access panels on the starboard side. There is, however, room aft of the engine to fit a generator for those requiring more power and independence.
The line of black glass hides the flush hatches that help make the interior feel light and modern
The decks are wide, safe and surrounded by a teak capping rail. Handrails on the coachroof are led well aft too
ABOVE LEFT: The mainsheet was aft of the helm, but has been moved forward.ABOVE RIGHT: Access to the engine is excellentBELOW: The Najad has a commanding feel on the water