Saturday, March 17, 2018


As most of you know Najad went down some years ago and in 2013 was bought by a small company,  Lidköpings Båtsnickeri, the builders of Swedestar. From then on nothing impressive happened, quite the contrary, a lot of confusion: they changed the names of the Swedestar (370 and 415) to Najad and maintained in production some of the old Najad models.

They gave up on the Swedestar models, made a new cockpit design and some interior alterations on the Najad 505. Now, finally they made a new boat, the 395 that is the first one by the "new" Najad company.

Commercially it seems that they got it right. They have already sold several boats and a considerable interest was raised around the 395. They also bought Arcona (recently) and that seems to indicate that things are going very well for Najad.

For designing the new boat, instead of relying on in the house design or local designers (as they used to do with Swedestar), they called major yacht cabinets, Farr for the hull and cockpit design and Ken Freivokh for the interior design.

The work of Ken Freivokh is very good and even if he habitually designs super yacht interiors he showed that he can as well design small yachts with the same quality. About the work of Farr I am not so sure. I have no doubt that the hull design and the underbody are very well designed and efficient but out of that, the design seems as uninspired as in some of his Bavaria designs, featuring a high freeboard. Probably Judel/Vrolijk, the Najad old NA, would have managed a more elegant yacht.

The 395 is offered in two versions, a center cockpit and an aft cockpit one. The version they have already finished and was presented at Dusseldorf was the aft cabin, that seems much more interesting than the CC that has a minuscule cockpit and practically no storage space, the cost to pay for having a king sized aft cabin.

The Center Cockpit is not adapted to offshore cruising or long range cruising (unless it is from marina to marina) because it has no way of carrying the equipment that kind of cruising implies.

The same can be said regarding the aft cockpit version if the three cabin set up is chosen. But that version has an option with one of the cabins transformed in a big storage space.That option allows also for a bigger head and it is a pity that they have not taken the opportunity to make the other aft cabin bigger at a slight cost of storage space.

The galley/saloon design is similar to the other Najad, maximizing the saloon space and allowing for a galley that is comfortable and functional, specially if used while sailing. The problem of using this solution on a boat of this size is the complete lack of storage space aft on the hull, since all space is needed to implement this layout.

The hull is a nice modern one, beamy, with all the beam pulled aft but maintaining relatively fine entries. Not very different from the one of the Halberg-Rassy 412, that will be the closest competition for this boat.

The Halberg-Rassy is bigger (length 12.61m to 11.99 - beam 4.12m to 4.0.) but lighter (11.1t to 12.4) with a similar keel and rudder (a single one). The standard draft is a bit bigger on the Najad (2.10 to 1.99m) having both boats versions with a smaller draft. The Halberg Rassy has a slightly bigger B/D (36.0% to 35.5%) but the Najad compensates that with a slightly bigger draft.

Both boats have a not very different stability curve with AVS close or slightly superior to 125º and curiously the Halberg Rassy due to its superior dimensions is able to have a bigger overall stability than the Najad, that weights 1300kg more. Both have a very good reserve or safety stability and have a good offshore potential.

The building quality will be probably very similar, both using cored hulls, the Halberg Rassy only over the water line. The Najad uses vacuum infusion while Halberg Rassy uses the old method, hand lamination. On Najad they make a big publicity about the boat structure that seems to be made the same way as the one on Halberg Rassy, a GRP grid that is laminated to the hull.

Both boats will sail well, for this type of cruisers, the Halberg Rassy better due not only to the longer waterline (11.50m to 10.98) but also because it is lighter and more powerful, with a superior stability. That is visible on the SA/D that is clearly superior on the HR (18.5 to 16.3).

The Halberg Rassy offers only a version with a AC cockpit and a single wheel, the Najad offers two versions, a AC version with two wheels, a CC version with a single wheel and on both versions an arch for the mainsheet or a traditional traveler near the wheel.

The arch is very high (the boom seems to be higher than usual) and disproportionate. On that version the Najad has an incredibly high sprayhood  that finds support on the arch: it would be hard to make it uglier than that.

The difference in sailing speed, specially in light winds, probably will not matter for most cruisers that are interested in one of these boats so I would say that the main factors for a choice will be built quality, safety/stability, storage, interior and exterior design. These two last points are substantially different between the two boats and  liking more one or another will likely be the decisive factor.

The price of both boats should not be very different. The Najad 395 is announced at 364 000 euros , the Halberg  Rassy probably will cost just  a bit more. But the prices  are without tax or delivery. A decently equipped yacht will cost considerably more than that.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you are saying here. I was really interested to see najad making a new "smaller" cruising boat again. But this one, while I'm sure has it's uses, has so many shortcomings that I don't understand why anyone would pay premium for this. In my books, the old najad 380 was pretty much a perfect cruising boat at the time. Certainly not the most thrilling ride, but it was well built, absolutely stunningly beautiful (still one of the prettiest plastic boats I've ever seen and it's a small CC design, very hard to pull off) that had way more usable living and storage space than the 37 feet size would suggest. In fact, slow as it is, I would still take that boat over this one for long distance cruising any day of the week.

    I agree the twin cabin aft cockpit version is the only one that makes even remote sense. But even that would be sub par as a long distance boat. There is absolutely no stowage in the saloon, just those vinyl clad walls.. Tanks are under the settees (that don't look like great sea berths either). One hanging locker per cabin. A walk in closet is an option, but that would mean that the boat would not have a shower space. Compare that to the Rassy 412, or even 372 that both have more usable stowage space, better sea berths and a showering nook in the heads. I wouldn't hesitate to call the HR's better cruising boats.

    The center cockpit version makes sense for a rich, retiring geriatric who spends three months day hopping around the Baltic. But those might be opposed to the uninspired looks of this boat. My hate for the Mediterranean boat looks aside, it's silly to go for the modern look and then do even that badly. The conservative, Northern European clientele probably much prefers how HR is handling their exteriors. And anyone who is not pushing past 60 years of age and not troubled by the looks would, arguably, have a lot more fun sailing by going with something like a JPK 38 FC for the money. I certainly wouldn't have any difficulty making that choice.

    But I do admit that I like the traveller location on the aft cockpit boat. Also, I believe these are the first najads with keel stepped masts. Not that it really matters, but still.

    I really wish they had just taken a look at why the 380 is their most sold model ever and then given that design the HR 44 type of treatment. And reverted back to the original, much better looking interior styling that included functional sea berths. The HR's tactic seems very good to me - they keep their trademarks and modernize the sailing ability.

    1. Yes the najad 380 is a beautiful boat. Some 5 years ago I was sailing against the wind on Corinth Golf, going out, when I saw at the horizon another boat beating hard against the wind.

      Of course I was interested in seeing who was faster LOL. We crossed tacks very near. Probably I could have passed ahead but wanting to be nice I hold the boat and that's when I noticed three things: the boat was a Najad 380, it sailed beautifully but was not as fast as I anticipated. I had to hold on a lot to let him pass ahead.

      Soon that 380 was a small point on the horizon, on my stern...but the conditions where rough and we were the only two boats sailing against the wind.

      A very nice boat even if I would prefer now the HR 372. Yes I agree with you, the problem with Najad is that, contrary to HR, they did not have followed boat design evolution and that's a shame.