New Boats

A ro­bust go-any­where alu­minum-hulled cen­ter­board cruiser By Tom Dove

SAIL - - Features -

Re­views of the Al­lures 45.9, the La­goon 40 and the Cor­sair 760R

Al­lures is not a name on the tip of many Amer­i­can sailors’ tongues, but it should be. Af­ter the de­but of its 39-footer last year, the French com­pany has made an­other sig­nif­i­cant en­try into the U.S. midrange mar­ket with the Al­lures 45.9, an alu­minum-hulled cruiser-voy­ager with some sur­pris­ing qual­i­ties.

DE­SIGN & CON­STRUC­TION

The boat’s long wa­ter­line, plumb bow and flat sheer­line fol­low the cur­rent de­sign trends for per­for­mance cruis­ers, while the deck­house has a clean, smooth line that melds into a wide, func­tional cock­pit. Our test boat was in its nat­u­ral alu­minum fin­ish, but paint is an op­tion. Over­all, this is a hand­some ves­sel.

That said, the hid­den parts of this boat are as in­ter­est­ing, if not more so, than its looks. For ex­am­ple, the Al­lures 45.9 is a cen­ter­board boat that can slip over thin wa­ter or nudge up against a beach for a pic­nic or bot­tom scrub­bing. At rest, the weight of the boat is taken by the bow and the wide stub keel, not the rud­ders as in some other beach­able cruis­ers.

The air draft is also 63ft, so if you don’t put tall an­ten­nas or in­stru- ments atop the mast, you can fit be­neath the bridges on the In­tra­coastal Wa­ter­way. As a re­sult, this is an ocean voy­ager that will ap­peal as a gunk-hole cruiser for the en­tire East Coast as well as the Ba­hamas. The builder also of­fers a lift­ing-keel ver­sion of the boat, in the in­ter­est of pro­vid­ing even bet­ter per­for­mance.

Among the wide-roam­ing fleet of French welded-alu­minum cruis­ers, Al­lures of­fers an­other hid­den dif­fer­ence: namely, a fiber­glass com­pos­ite deck and tran­som, as op­posed to metal. This not only makes the boat qui­eter, it re­duces tem­per­a­ture fluc­tu­a­tions and con­den­sa­tion when the out­side weather changes. It also al­lows for a wide va­ri­ety of deck and house shapes, and for me, at least, even seems more com­fort­able un­der­foot.

The beau­ti­fully con­structed hull cer­tainly has enough rigid­ity in and of it­self to not need the re­in­forc­ing “shoe­box top” ef­fect of the deck that gives fiber­glass boats so much of their strength. If you hit any­thing weaker than gran­ite with an Al­lures 45.9, that ob­ject will likely fare worse than the boat.

ON DECK

The deck and cock­pit are un­ob­structed, mak­ing move­ment easy. The op­tional teak-like syn­thetic Marine deck deck­ing on our test boat was ex­cel­lent, with good grip for deck shoes, but no abra­sion of swimwear or skin. It is at­trac­tive, too.

A draw­back to the boat’s sleek lines is that there are few grab points once you move for­ward of the mast. This is com­mon to the de­sign genre, and it may not bother some sailors. I am rea­son­ably ag­ile, but would still

ap­pre­ci­ate some­thing to hold onto when the fore­deck is danc­ing through the waves.

The rig is a ver­sa­tile dou­ble-headed sloop with an an­chor bowsprit that al­lows you to set a big asym­met­ric spin­naker in light con­di­tions. Fa­vored by many cruis­ers, this con­fig­u­ra­tion al­lows a crew to fine tune the fore and aft bal­ance of the sails through a wide range of wind and sea con­di­tions.

I liked the well-ex­e­cuted plan for con­trol lines. Af­ter a short time learn­ing the rig, I found that the sheets run eas­ily to the crew po­si­tions, and the big line-tail com­part­ments are in the right places. A sin­gle­han­der can move about and tend all the con­trols, while a crew of two will find sail­ing this boat es­pe­cially easy.

AC­COM­MO­DA­TIONS

Our test boat fea­tured the “Owner” lay­out be­lowdecks. Real cruis­ers must have de­signed this plan, as it in­cludes a nice work­shop (Al­lures calls it the “tech­ni­cal room”) aft to port where many builders would put a third sleep­ing cabin. Long-term cruis­ing cou­ples will hap­pily give up a bunk to have a fine work and stor­age space like this. To widen the boat’s ap­peal, Al­lures also of­fers two “Fam­ily” ver­sions, which may be more suit­able to shorter-term cruis­ing or char­ter.

The sa­loon and side gal­ley are a bit un­usual, but are con­ve­nient, ef­fi­cient and com­fort­able. The draw­back to a con­ven­tional side gal­ley is that it has few places for the cook to brace while un­der­way. How­ever, the 45.9 avoids much of that prob­lem by al­low­ing you to lean against the back of the cen­ter­line seat (which is ac­tu­ally the cen­ter­board trunk as well) for se­cu­rity.

Be­yond that there is one er­gonomic is­sue to be aware of—a small step-down from the sa­loon to gal­ley on the port side. Un­til you train your­self, it is a haz­ard that will surely catch you and your guests off guard the first few times. UN­DER SAIL In a light sun­set breeze off An­napo­lis, the Al­lures 45.9 showed per­fect be­hav­ior with good di­rec­tional sta­bil­ity and a pleas­ant helm feel. It held course steadily enough that leav­ing the wheel for a few mo­ments to tend a line was never a prob­lem.

Un­for­tu­nately, the wind was not only light, but shifty. I found the tack­ing an­gle to be slightly less than 90 de­grees, but could not re­fine the read­ings any fur­ther than that in the fluky con­di­tions. We also had to walk the jib through the slot be­tween the two fore stays while tack­ing in this light air, a step that won’t be nec­es­sary in more rea­son­able sail­ing con­di­tions.

With all that work­ing against us, the boat still re­turned nearly 5 knots through the wa­ter close-reach­ing when we met some 7-knot wind patches. I would love to have this pow­er­ful cruiser out in a real breeze. The owner said that he switches from jib to stay­sail in 18 to 20 knots of wind, then puts in the first reef when it goes above that.

UN­DER POWER

There were no sur­prises while mo­tor­ing, which is as it should be. There is the typ­i­cal slight kick to port when back­ing that a knowl­edge­able skip­per can use to ad­van­tage when dock­ing. Go­ing from for­ward to re­verse was smooth, and the turn­ing cir­cle was just one boatlength, both to port and to star­board.

A cruise set­ting of 2,000 rpm pro­duced 7 knots through the wa­ter, while a wide-open 3,000 rpm yielded 8 knots. The noise level be­low and on deck was pleas­antly low. A larger 75hp diesel is an op­tion, but prob­a­bly will not change th­ese num­bers much.

CON­CLU­SION

Again, Al­lures is well known in Europe, but less so in North Amer­ica, a sit­u­a­tion that will likely be reme­died by the in­tro­duc­tion of this ver­sa­tile, high-qual­ity cruiser. If you are look­ing for a skill­ful com­bi­na­tion of shoal draft, thought­ful ac­com­mo­da­tions, fine per­for­mance and off­shore stur­di­ness, add the Al­lures 45.9 to your list. s

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