2015 Cruiser-Racers – BOAT OF YEAR- Represented by Bluenose Yacht Sales in New England.
Born to cruise, ready to race: Meet the Cruiser-Racer nominees in Cruising World’s 2015 Boat of the Year competition. By Herb McCormick
Born to cruise, ready to race: Meet the Cruiser-Racer WINNER in Cruising World’s 2015 Boat of the Year competition.
In the 22 years we’ve conducted our Boat of the Year contest, we’ve tested literally hundreds of boats, sailed thousands of miles and splashed across Chesapeake Bay in just about every condition imaginable. But we’ve never had a test drive as unusual as the one conducted for the 2015 competition on the Salona 44.
When the judges boarded the boat, the water was glassy, the breeze nonexistent. But a front was coming; the western sky was dark and menacing, and closing in fast. A few minutes later, a solid 25 knots of wind, with higher gusts, lashed the bay: Breeze-wise, we’d gone from zero to 30 in record time.
The Salona 44, with its tall triple-spreader rig and feathery twin wheels, handled it with aplomb. Upwind and down, the boat was stiff and fast, ultimately topping off in double-digit boat speeds that etched a smile on the faces of everyone aboard. On a power reach heading back to Annapolis, closing in quickly on the U.S. Naval Academy, one of the company reps asked, “Should I run the sheets?” He was ready to set the spinnaker, and no one doubted the boat could handle it. “Um, no thanks, mate,” we replied. We’d already found what we came looking for.
A few days later, at the conclusion of our sea trials, the judges named the Salona 44 the year’s best Cruiser/Racer. Coincidence? Perhaps not.
It’s not every year that we have the entries to form a proper dual-purpose Cruiser/Racer category, but for 2015 there were three outstanding nominees, the others being the Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600 and the C&C Redline 41. As a cruising magazine, it must be noted that we place a heavy emphasis on the cruising part of that equation. Had we inverted the class title and judged it as the Racer/Cruiser division, the results might have been quite different.
After all, the judges – all of whom list a fair bit of racing on their sailing resumes -fell hard for the Sun Fast 3600. Yes, it has a workable, even comfortable interior, though one better suited for a bash to Bermuda with the boys than a cruise to the islands with Mom and the kids.
Still, the combination of cost, construction, features and sailing performance led the judges to award the category’s top prize to the Salona 44. But it wasn’t an easy decision by any means.
“We should point out that there’s a large size and volume range among these three boats,” Murphy said. “The Sun Fast 3600 displaces 10,000 pounds, the C&C 15,000 pounds and the Salona 20,000 pounds. In that sense we’re not comparing apples and oranges. But the Salona is built with a steel grid, so a lot of that weight is down low. It allows for a stiff structure with a light skin around it; below the waterline it’s vacuum infused. Moving around the boat was very nice; it had a solid motion. And it sailed beautifully.”
The judges were also impressed by the boat’s innovative transom – which swings up and out to reveal an incorporated boarding passerelle – the abundant handholds and the comfortable accommodations. Taken together, the sum of these many parts made the Salona 44 a winning design.
Salona Construction Quality
We are proud of our uncompromising approach towards quality and product safety. From the beginning our yard was dedicated to get every detail right, aiming for perfection. Over the years we switch from hand-laid lamination GRP production hulls and decks towards to vacuum assisted infusion in combination with advance resins and glass structure. This structure is convened with our hallmark stainless steel frame that connects the Mast with the keel and shrouds and shares the lead of the rig evenly trough the hull, giving our boats an extremely strong but light displacement construction – and at Salona we lead the way in this technology.
All Salona Boats are rated “A Ocean” by Germanischer Lloyd. the higher in the industry.