Thursday, December 7, 2017


Well, not a pilot saloon but a deck saloon... but if we look at the Jeanneau 41DS (deck saloon) we will find out that the Jeanneau is not a deck saloon at all. It seems the French have a tendency to name their type of boats in quite an odd way LOL.

Anyway, on the production market the small true deck saloon are so rare that is halfway to make the Wauquiez 42 an interesting sailboat and if we join to that particularity a nice look, one difficult to get on a deck saloon of that size, the typically impeccable finish of Wauquiez and a modern efficient new hull designed by Berret & Racoupeau, we have all the ingredients that are needed for having it posted here.

The hull is described by the designers this way: "The new Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 42 has a high-performance hull shape.The straight bow stretches the waterline to the absolute maximum length resulting in better performances and higher speeds. The powerful bow and soft hull chines provide a high shape stability, very important for offering a sailing yacht behaving well in all conditions.

The Pilot Saloon 42 has a powerful stern suited for a double rudder configuration making the boat easy to helm downwind and at the same time reducing the wet surface which improves the sailing performances in light winds. The Pilot Saloon 42 is fitted with double rudders offering optimal control at all points and conditions of sail.

It has a length of 12.99m, a beamy boat with 4.43m beam and all of it pulled back to a large transom. The standard version has only 1.65m draft but a version with a 2.15 is available. That one  has a 3000kg ballast and that for a 10700kg  displacement gives a reasonable 28% B/D. A 18.7 SA/D does not make it a fast cruiser but will give it an honorable performance and the possibility of having a 80hp engine gives it a motorsailor ability.

As in all Wauquiez there is a huge aft cabin with a private head at the cost of a reduced outside stowage space. The boat is announced as a blue water cruiser but for long range cruising the Wauquiez 42 PS lacks storage space. I would say that it makes more sense as coastal cruiser where its very agreeable interior would make a great live aboard boat.

This boat is going to be presented at Dusseldorf in January. Last year I had a look at the 48 and the interior work and finish as well as the design and functionality were truly first rate. Unfortunately the 48, contrary to the 42, has an old designed hull, probably the one from the 47, an 11 year old one and it shows, on the looks and certainly on the water too.

The Wauquiez is built a bit better than mass production boats. It has a sandwish hull with a balsa core. It uses an infusion process. The boat structure is a grid that is glued and glassed to the hull. Some steps better than Jeanneau and Beneteau but not very different from what Bavaria and Hanse are doing even if I hope that the considerable difference in price goes not only for the better quality interior but also to the care on the building process.

I don't like balsa core that offers good physical properties but is vulnerable if for some reason water comes on the sandwich. Most brands are changing, or have already changed, for different types of closed cell PVC, but besides that the impression you get from visiting the boat (48) is one of very good quality overall.

The price is considerable and a basic boat without tax costs 385 000 euros. With vat and some extras would cost over half a million euros. Not so expensive as a Halberg Rassy 412 (and a bit bigger) but not very far.

I am very curious to see if the boat interior is as nicely finished and as good as the one on the 48. The interior drawings are very nice and if they have the quality of the ones from the bigger boat, it would not be worse than the one of the HR, offering on top of it a great sense of space and a very nice exterior view. Of course you pay for those big "windows" on hot climates, like the med, with the need to have everything covered, not to let the sun and the heat come in.


  1. While the boat is certainly ugly (then again, most boats these days are) I wouldn't fault the company for trying something new.

    And about the balsa core: I wouldn't be that quick to judge. While balsa can certainly be slightly suspect if not done well, it has plenty of merits. Granted, this is not necessarily a company that I would trust to do things well, but balsa still has plenty of advantages over different pvc alternatives. While it's more labor intensive to do a proper infusion, the intrusion risk is almost non existent or at least of similar concern compared to pvc. But advantages would still include stiffer hull and stronger construction due to mechanical and physical properties of the materials. Downside would be weight - it's certainly possible to make a lighter albeit less stiff hull out of pvc. And balsa doesn't suffer from the same possible fate as pvc where mechanical stress grinds the core into powder. I'm not saying it's better than divinycell and others alike, but it's probably not worse either.

    I believe at least Contest and Saare are both still keeping with balsa cores as well. Both however are companies that carry a notion of possibly better build quality. And less ugly boats too..

    1. You find this boat ugly? I suspect for what you say that in what regards design you live on the past and only find beautiful old designs.

      Regarding balsa you are vastly exaggerating the importance that the core material has regarding the rigidity of the hull. The rigidity comes not from the core but from the distance between the two fiberglass layers of GRP that surround the core. For the ones that are not familiar with this imagine an iron massive rounded stick. Now imagine the same weight of iron but worked as tube. Try to bend the two. The iron stick will bend over its own weight while a very considerable force has to be done for bend the iron tube pole. That's on the same principle a sandwich hull works and it is about 11 times more resistant to flexion than a massive hull (depending on thickness on the core).

      Regarding a PVC core being grinder to a powder never saw or hear about that. Fast motor yachts use that material and are subjected a much bigger stress than sailing boats and even on those that is not a problem.

      But balsa rotting on a sandwich hull due to the intrusion of water I know dozens of cases. Water entering a sandwich hull can happen due to many causes.

      The diference is that a PVC foam cored hull is easily reparable without destructive methods, a sandwich rotten balsa hull has to be replaced on the place where rot had happen, a costly and difficult process.