Big news: A bit surprisingly, after being bought by the Sly yachts group, Grand Soleil announces a completely new line the LC series that stands for Long Cruise. The first boat will be the 46LC that will be presented at the Cannes boat show, in September, and will be joined by another 4 models on the next 4 years.
They chose not to use the 47 GS hull designed by Marcelino Botin, and even if the hull seems very similar, as well as the weight (around 11T), the new boat is a completely new design, by Marco Lostuzzi, the one that designs Sly yachts. It will have a bit more beam as well as a bigger freeboard.
11 000kg for a long range cruiser points to a very fast boat and indicates another option than the one followed by X yacht on their long range cruising line. The XC 45 weighs about 13000kg, more 20% than the 46 and that is a lot. Probably this new line is part of the joint strategy of the group that owns Sly yachts and GS, where Sly yachts will be presenting the more sportive boats and Grand Soleil will remain with two lines, one of less sportive and less expensive performance cruisers and another of long range cruisers or even with time, they will have their main production diverged towards the last one.
The new boat, the 46 LC, is clearly a boat more pointed to the main market, with a bigger interior volume, more freeboard, bigger hull ports. The main will be sheeted through an arch and probably the traveler will be dropped, huge dodger and the possibility of having a shade for all cockpit while sailing. All this gives the 46LC a bit of a Beneteau Oceanis look, I mean more of a crossover between an Oceanis and a Grand Soleil. I cannot say that I like it very much.
Regarding the niche market of the boat, and given what has been told, it can still go two ways: Either approaching more the main market and that means a less expensive boat that will have to downgrade the sailing hardware regarding the performance Crand soleils (that means, no main traveler, simplification of the sailing hardware, "cruising" mast, less winches, no backstay tensioner) for bringing the price down and or it will go towards the luxury line and then the boat will be probably be more expensive than the performance cruiser series, entering on the small luxury market in competition with the Xc cruising line, Halberg-Rassy, Solaris and Italia Yachts. The first way seems to me the one that makes more sense even if I doubt they can approach for instance Dufour GL prices and that means they will have to offer a better finish.