Tuesday, February 2, 2016

GARCIA EXPLORATION 52 VERSUS ALLURES 52, AN ALUMINIUM CHOICE.


Two boats that belong to the same group, both in aluminum, provably sharing the same basic hull, so what's the point? and what are the diferences? Besides the obvious diference regarding one being a true deck salon and the other a raised saloon with a raised chart table, they are considerable and point to slightly different market sectors.
Both are voyage boats, meaning both are designed for a large autonomy and specifically designed to travel far, but while the Allures 52 is what we could call a voyage boat the Garcia 52 goes a bit further in what regards being designed to be sailed on remote places. 
That has advantages but also disadvantages, unless you put those features to good use. Both use an identical cutter configuration.

The Garcia 52, regarding the Allures has a reinforced hull structure and while on the Allures the decks are in composite sandwich (to lower the weight) on the Garcia they are in Aluminum to make it an even stronger boat and only the top of the cabin is in composite. All that is responsible for a superior weight of the Garcia, about two tons more (16.9T to 18.8T) and that will certainly make it a slower sailboat and a more expensive one. In fact that diference in price is considerable costing the Allures 52 about as much as the Garcia 45 (incl 20% VAT: 640 000 to 840 000).

Allures 52
Both boats are what the French call deriveurs, with similar configuration, with a big hydrodinamically profiled centerboard, a big draft when down and a small one when up ( a bit more than 1m when up, about 3m when down). Most of the ballast is on a skeg that protects the propeller and some of it is on the bottom of the boat. Even with most of the ballast on the skeg, the ballast weight needed is a lot more than on a deep keel boat. Both boats have an excellent running ringing, that allows for easy sailing from the cockpit, even solo sailed.

Garcia 52
I only saw photos of Allures 52 interior and they are quite deceiving, I would say, but I believe that is mostly due just to a bad choice of interior colors/wood. I know well the interior of the 45 that is a very nice one, with good quality all around and also a very functional. The one of the 52 has just the same set up but a bit bigger, giving a good all around outside view from the chart table seat and allowing to sail the boat from the interior.

I had the opportunity to visit the Garcia 52 at Dusseldorf and could confirm what I had previously posted about the 52: While the 45 looks  too small and cramped for having that interior configuration, the 52 looks perfect. A nice boat with a wow!!! interior, one that would make a perfect boat to live aboard, with dedicated spaces for everything you can think off, from generator to watermaker, AC, wash machine, big freezer and a diesel tankage to have all the equipments running for a long time (1100L).

Allures 52
The Garcia offers an interior quality and finish that I would call luxurious, with a very nice saloon on two levels, with a raised  sitting living space, allowing for an all around view (that will allow the boat to be sailed from the interior), with relatively small "glass surface" in height, but almost continuous in length. Those glasses are double to warrant a good isolation regarding cold or heat.

 I had the luck to have the boat showed to me by the project manager Antonio Costa, a very nice guy but most of all a very knowledgeable one. I have the added pleasure to discuss the boat with him in Portuguese since he is a Luso descendant. I have learned a thing or two with him regarding why some options were chosen regarding others and talked about future developments. Even had the pleasure to see that we shared the same idea in what regards a further improvement of the boat, namely regarding the opcional use of a modern swing keel, the type that is used on the Comet Explorer 46, a deep keel with all the ballast on it. That would allow a big diminution of the boat weight, something like 2T, giving it the same displacement and sail ability of the Allures 52, possibly with a better final stability.

 I was really impressed with the level of thought, practicability and functionality that is condensed in that boat and that is only possible because Garcia (and Costa) is the repository of decades building high quality top voyage boats. Most of all it impresses how that practicability does not translate itself on a lesser polished product. In fact it is hard to remember that we are on an Aluminium boat designed to explore remote places and not on a luxurious cruiser, kind of an Oyster or an Halberg Rassy.

I would chose the Allures 52 if I would only want a very good aluminium voyage boat, able to take shelter on very swallow waters and had no desire to sail on remote places or high latitudes. The Allures 52 is a faster and better looking boat and costs 200 000 euros less. If I really dreamed to explore Arctic and Antarctic regions or other really remote places I would chose  the Garcia 52 or the Boreal 52. For living aboard full time I would definitively chose the Garcia.

I never had been on  a Boreal but the biggest difference regarding the Garcia seems to be the level of finish. Not that the Boreal has not great quality everywhere, but the interior (and exterior) is not as polished as on the Garcia, meaning that it does not look like a luxurious cruiser. Some would dispense the refinement others would prefer to have the better of two worlds. Both cost about the same: about 1 million Euros for a completely equipped sailboat with full options.


The Garcia 52 is already a good looking boat, even if not as nice as the Allures 52 but I can't wait to see the Garcia 62 and I really hope they would go forward with the project. The 62 would really bring the boat design of this type of boats to a new level, making it not only a true explorer boat but a beautiful yacht, whatever the measure. That and a swing keel to increase power, speed and stability would make it truly an universal boat that would look as well on the Med or at the Antarctic.


I had posted already about the Garcia 52 here:
http://interestingsailboats.blogspot.pt/2014/10/garcia-exploration-45-versus-52-and-65.html

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