Wednesday, April 23, 2014


The new Dehler under Hanse management seems to me a big success: The prices went down, the quality seems to be as good as on the previous boats the design has improved and they won with the 38 the European boat of the year contest on the category of performance cruisers. The boat management in what regards target public have been very careful, pointing to cruisers that like good fast cruisers, to performance cruisers and to club racer/cruisers or even top racers.

To satisfy the different boat clienteles they offer two versions of the same boat, with different hull, mast, keel and rudder specifications being the standard cruising version sold at very attractive prices and the "racing" version, that is in fact just a better performance cruiser, sold at a much higher price. In what regards design they tried to maintain the classic style that suits Germans and North Europeans, introducing the needed changes in the hull to make them contemporary sailboats with top sailing performance.

Judel & Vrolijk have been designing the new boats and making an excellent work that was highlighted on the Dehler 38, that more than the 41, shows a very interesting mixture of contemporary design and tradition. The boat is not innovative and its main virtue is being very good in all points, from sailing performance to the design and quality of the interior.

The new Dehler 46 seems to explore the same trend: Nothing new about the boat that looks simultaneously classic and modern except the unusually very clean design. A very beautiful boat, a bit like a super Dehler 38. The layout seems perfect to me, with a sail locker aft, the anchor locker and a huge storage space on the back of the boat. All that, with the two more cockpit lookers, should be enough to dispense with the option of an aft cabin with only one bed and more storage space. The boat will offer in the standard version 3 good cabins being the forward one a very big  and good one with an integrated head. The Galley is a very big one. Kind of a perfect boat for a couple that sails with the family and receive some occasional friends aboard.

The LOA is 13.95m / 45’8”, the LWL 12.90m / 42’3”, the Beam 4.35m / 14’3” and the keel, rudder and displacement vary according to the two basic versions. 
On the cheaper one the standard keel has 2.25m / 7’4” and it is offered also a swallow draft keel with 1.85m / 6’1. The displacement with the Std keel is 11.20t / 24,691lbs and the ballast is 3.50t / 7,716lbs. The boat has a big engine with 75HP / 55kW and not a very big sail area for a performance cruiser (114.1m2 upwind).

On the performance version the rudder and keel are deeper, with a draft of 2.50m / 8’2’’, the displacement is 10.70t , the ballast 3.00t / 6,613lbs and the sail area  raises to 121m2, maintaining the boat the same big engine. They call this version "competition" but obviously it is more of a performance cruiser than a true regatta boat. Just for comparison a X44 weights 8650kg and has 106.8m2 of sail area, a Sly 48 weights 9900kg and has 122m2 of sail area. The Dehler 46 in its "racing" version is really a performance cruiser with similar performances to a good performance cruiser like the Comet 45s that weights 10 800kg and has 127m2 of sail. or the new Azuree 46 that weights 10700kg and has 124.5m2 of sail area.

Due to the big difference in prices the more interesting version will be the standard one that hopefully will  be offered by just not much more money than the boats the main market mass producers are offering. The Dehler will be just a better sailing boat with a very good cruising interior. Kind of the right boat for the cruiser that likes to sail, it is not particularly interested in racing, wants a good safe, fast cruiser with all the sail controls needed to have a perfect control over them (and to have fun with it) and the perfect number of winches to sail fast and comfortably. 

I can see only a disadvantage on the Dehler 46 and that is the big deep rudder. Not that I have any doubt about its efficiency but in what regards sailing on the med those very deep rudders have a problem in what regards mooring in ports. On the med you drop the anchor and go backwards to the quay and going backwards with an unprotected rudder almost as deep as the keel is a dangerous act when you don't know exactly the depth near the quay. Believe me I know what I am talking about ;-). Not a problem if you go with the bow first, but not practical due to the anchor set up. In what that regards, a two rudder setup would be a far better option that probably would have negligible effects on the overall performance and that probably would even offer an easier boat control at the cost or a more difficult maneuvering on the marinas.

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