Hull po­ten­tial

Yachting World - - Front Page -

in­te­rior de­signer Jean Marc Pi­a­ton.

On the port side by the steps is a full size chart ta­ble with a twist: in­stead of one lonely seat in an en­closed space, this ta­ble can be ac­cessed from both sides. The con­ven­tional nav­i­ga­tor’s seat faces for­ward, how­ever fac­ing the op­po­site di­rec­tion there is a slightly longer sofa back­ing onto the gal­ley. I love this idea, and can imag­ine two peo­ple com­fort­ably sit­ting at the ta­ble in port to dis­cuss route­ing to­gether.

The three-cabin lay­out has two dou­ble aft cab­ins, both of which are roomy and have plenty of light, a for­ward en-suite mas­ter cabin and a small heads with shower op­po­site the chart ta­ble. The gal­ley is a sen­si­ble size for the boat and wraps around the user pro­vid­ing plenty of work­top space and ev­ery­thing in reach from a sin­gle cen­tral point. The fridge is huge and can be ac­cessed from both the top and the side. The sa­loon is roomy and com­fort­able, with a ta­ble that could com­fort­ably seat six to eat and a pull-out bench seat, which is se­curely stowed un­der the ta­ble while sail­ing.

In an ef­fort to max­imise the po­ten­tial power of the hull de­sign, in­te­rior weight has been kept to a min­i­mum, placed low down in the hull and within 1.5m The mo­ment a chine ap­pears on a cruis­ing boat, it brings a temp­ta­tion to jump on the ‘pow­er­ful hull shape’ band­wagon, so it’s im­por­tant to keep th­ese state­ments in con­text. Jean­neau has made a con­certed ef­fort to keep the SO490 light, while the sail area to dis­place­ment ra­tio of the per­for­mance rig is cer­tainly on the high side for this type of boat. The in­creased vol­ume cre­ated by the new hull shape should pro­vide a stiffer boat and bet­ter per­for­mance in mid-range breeze, with the trade-off be­ing poorer per­for­mance in light winds due to in­creased drag. Though the

SO490 quickly and ef­fort­lessly pow­ered up in the max­i­mum 12-knot breeze on the test, to un­lock the full po­ten­tial of this hull shape we needed ei­ther more sail area, or a lot more wind.

The ocean rac­ing boats that lay across the dock in Les Sables had more than twice the sail area to dis­place­ment ra­tio of the SO490 and they chal­lenge their skip­pers to go harder with big­ger sails and in stronger winds. But the speed is di­rectly linked to the dar­ing and the ef­fort of the crew. With a cruis­ing yacht such as the SO490, the hull shape will al­low good speeds and con­trol­lable han­dling in mid-range breeze com­pared to pre­vi­ous mod­els and some of the com­pe­ti­tion, how­ever the power out­put will be capped at how much ef­fort a po­ten­tial owner re­ally wants to put into sail­ing with big spin­nakers or stay­ing out in big winds.

Above: the full bow shape helps cre­ate a par­tic­u­larly vo­lu­mi­nous for­ward cabin

Left: a van­ity unit drawer cut around the sink plumb­ing high­lights the ef­fi­cient use of space on the SO490

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