Sunday, March 11, 2018


A great boat with a horrible denomination. What's wrong with the X-yacht guys that can design and make great boats but cannot give them a decent or even comprehensible name? X4-6 means that the boat is from the cruising line and a 44.3ft boat. The smaller boat on the cruising line is called X4-4, they have a bigger X4-9 and the biggest one is the X6-5. Confused? At least I am, I cannot remember the size of the boats without checking out on their site.

But excluding the boat name there are very few things I don't like on this boat, that they call the perfect family cruiser. I didn't like much the interior of the smaller boat, the X4-3 (41ft) that, compared to other 41ft interiors, looked small and cramped but by the drawings and interior layout it seems that this one, with the extra beam and length, has a very agreeable living space and has plenty of storage space.

You may find odd that I start to talk about the interior, but on this boat I know that all the rest will be alright. But the sailing performance (on this type of design) has as consequence a smaller interior space so, getting a comfortable, nice and acceptably spacious interior is one of the main challenges on this boat.

Just to put things in perspective, let me tell you that the much smaller Oceanis 41.1 has about the same beam as this boat. Compared to the smaller X4-3 the (41ft) the Oceanis 41.1 (39.3ft) beam has a huge difference (3.95m to 4.20) and that is one of the reasons the bigger X4-3 has an interior that looks small, even if compared to other fast cruisers.

This will be one of the boats I will check carefully on the next Dusseldorf boat show because I do agree that it is probably close to be the perfect cruiser at least for some type of sailors. I am very curious about the interior. I know the quality will be good, like on the other models,but what I am  really interested about is in the interior feeling and in what regards that, space and design are critical.

In what concerns seaworthiness I have no doubt this is a great boat: the big 41.3% B/D on a lead torpedo keel with 2.30m draft in a boat with a moderate beam will give it not only lots of power as it will assure a high AVS and a big reserve or safety stability. One of the cruisers with better values in what that concerns.

This type of high performance keel with a huge ballast (4500kg) can pose safety problems in what regards the way it is secured to the boat, not when the boat is new but decades later or on the sequence of groundings. Not the case with this boat that has the keel bolted to a big galvanized steel grid that distributes the efforts by the hull.

The hull is cored having as core a top foam, using epoxy resins and vacuum infusion. This, with the steel structure allows for a strong but light boat with a displacement of 10900kg. That is more 2250kg than the more sportive XP44 but since the building techniques are almost similar (the XP44 has a carbon reinforced hull structure, not a steel one) I would say that superior weight means a stronger boat....and the XP 44 is already a strong one.

To be fair let me say that not all that weight has to do with a stronger boat: only the difference of ballast for a similar B/D ratio (due to a lighter boat with a higher B/D) is responsible for about 850kg, the epoxy/carbon boat structure versus a steel one for probably 200 or 300kg, and about the same due to a lighter cruising interior. Considering all that the diference in weight would be probably around 900/1000kg, even so a considerable one if it corresponds to a more substancial laminate.
Above X4-6 below XP44

Comparing the XP44 (13.29m) hull with the one of the X4-6 (13.50) we will see that the X4-6 is more modern with a bigger LWL (12.33 to 11.89), a bigger beam ( 4.20 to 3.95) and the beam more pulled aft. Surprisingly we can see that Niels Jeppesen had resisted to increase the width of the frontal cabin much, giving  more substancial bow entries to the cruising boat.

He also resisted using the older performance cruising boat hull for the cruising boat, creating instead a new hull, a more modern one and better adapted to cruising due to the bigger beam.

That bigger beam and the much bigger transom will increase substantially hull form stability and even considering the XP 44 slightly bigger B/D (44.5% to 41.3%) its GZ curve probably equals or has slightly better values (except AVS). That, with the difference in weight, will  that give the X4-6 a considerably bigger overall stability.

The hull has a lot of rocker for a performance boat and that with the fine entries will reduce in much the possibility of slamming upwind increasing also the boat performance on that point of sail. Note also that the sail drive is closer to the keel than in many other boats, being better protected by it.

Regarding sailing, giving the quality of Jeppesen design and the boat characteristics the X4-6 will be an excellent sailboatboat, fast but easy. The reduced weight will make dispensable the use of a big genoa and the small jib mounted on a self tacking rail will be enough to provide a good speed on most occasions.

With really light winds a furling code 0 or geenaker can be used on the fixed bowsprit that also includes the anchor stand. X yachts are known to have a very good performance upwind and this one will not be an exception but the beam pulled aft will give the X4-6 an easy downwind performance, with a bigger roll resistance, making it more adapted to be sailed fast with an autopilot.

There are some more points that are worth consideration: the very interesting lateral cabin portlights that when open offer protection from the rain and opening to the outside offer an increasing protection to infiltration and safety in extreme conditions. The main winches near the wheel are also neat, even though  I don't like the rigging using only 4 winches and much less the other two to be far away from the wheel.

Also the very interesting solution in what regards the ventilation of the aft cabins that is made not by the usual small cockpit portlights in conjunction with a hatch but by a hatch and bigger portlights opening to the outside. That solution gives a boat a very distinctive lateral cabin shape, unusual on modern designs but far from being ugly.

The boat features a boom traveler, big and recessed near the wheel, a traveler for the self tacking jib and an optional genoa jib over the cabin, a not very usual location on cruising boats and one that will contribute for a great upwind performance.

The outside storage seems very good with a sail locker aft the chain locker, two big cockpit lockers, one of them dedicated to the liferaft and a big under the cockpit locker with two hatches.

The transom opens to form a swim platform, more than enough for having a better water interface while swimming.

There are a few things I don't like, among them the choice of a single rudder for this boat. It is not an efficiency concern but one regarding practicability and exposure: A big single rudder is necessarily more fragile then a smaller one from a twin system. A shock with an object near the end of it will result in a much bigger force on the rudder structure and the hull due to a much bigger arm (rudder length). Also when a rudder has problems due to delamination or is broken by a shock, with a twin rudder it is possible to continue sailing the boat, even if more slowly.

But most of all the biggest problem has to do with sailing on the Med where the traditional mooring system is to bring back the boat on anchor to a quay. The depths near the quay are many times smaller than 2 meters while the depths at just three meters away are 3 meters or more. This poses a big risk to touch the bottom with the rudder while backing up with catastrophic results.

Note that this can be a smaller problem on a cruising boat with a smaller performance but on a boat like the X4-6 the rudder should have a depth of 2.0m, possibly a bit over, making the Med mooring a delicate maneuver. I know what I am talking about since I have a boat with similar characteristics.

I would say that for someone that will be sailing extensively on the Med it makes sense to have the boat with the optional 2.50m draft. It will not be a problem to touch the bottom at small speed with the keel but it can be with the rudder. The rudder has the same size on the two versions and the keel with 2.50m offers a much better rudder protection, making sure that in case of grounding it is the keel not the rudder that it will touch the bottom.

Besides the rudder and in what concerns negative remarks, one regarding aesthetics and the interior: Obviously the port hulls were positioned to be at equal distances on the hull but I would say that the interior aesthetics are in this case much more important and it makes no sense to have a port hull sideways on the saloon and not in the middle of it.

 I would also say that it would make more sense to have two in the saloon even if smaller. That would give a bigger sense of interior space (that's amazing what light can make in what regards spacial sense). The other regards the non integrated swim ladder. There are plenty of ways to do better than the adopted solution, I mean it looks like a kind of after thought (the ladder) that needs yet to be moved to the right position to be used.

Generally the information provided by X yacht regarding this new design is a good one except on one point, that unfortunately has become usual not to be provided, not even in boats already on the water: sprayhood, bimini an other sun protections. Even if optional they should be integrated on the boat and the best or worst design shown on the boat information.

These are pieces of equipment that almost all cruisers use and it makes no sense in calling a boat the perfect family cruiser without showing them and their adequacy.

Finally the price that on a boat with this quality cannot be a bargain one: they are offering a promotional discount on the first boats including free extras on the value of  68 5000 euros  (Hull Treatment and Antifouling, Instruments: (Raymarine Wind, Speed and Depth and Chart Plotter), North Sails: Mainsail and Jib in Soft Norlam, 2 years warranty, 2 years Winter Service). The price for the standard boat including those extras is 386 500 euro without taxes.

Certainly it is a lot of money but that does not mean it is not a reasonable price for the quality and for what it offers. With this promotional price it costs more than 100 000 euros less than an Halberg- Rassy 44 equipped the same way.


  1. I see where you are coming frem regarding the sprayhood, but you can actually see the recessed sprayhood (boomerang shape) in the pictures.

    1. Yes I noticed it, it is a nice feature, I mean to have it out of site and covered.

      I only hope that it is not as on the Solaris where you have it also on a recessed space but the space only allows it to be there if it is dismounted, I mean only the structure. Not much sense that solution!

      What I mean is that even if it is there I believe it should be showed up on some images, as well as the bimini that with the traveller on that position has to be very well studied not to be ridiculously small.

      Bottom point, those items today tend to be a kind of leftovers regarding overall boat design. I would like to see them being treated in an integrated way as part of the overall design, looking as good as the boat looks.

    2. I think it's going to be similar to the X4-3, see page 8 in the following brochure:

      What do you think about the displacement of the boats in the new "Pure X-line", as they call it themself? Aren't they a little heavy compared to the older X-boats?

    3. Yes and that is what I mean, the design of that sprayhood is much worse than the boat design. An afterthought and even so a bad one LOL.

      If we discount the X35 and the X41, that were almost race boats, the older X-line was the only line of X yacht and the boats were cruiser racers. That's the origin of X-yachts, cruiser-racers.

      Now X-yachts has 3 lines, the XP line that is the one closest to the old line, a line of cruiser racers and two more, the one that they call X range that are performance cruisers and the XC that they call the cruising line, much heavier boats with a kind of "classic" or outdated outlook.

      They are trying to cover all bases in what regards market demand.LOL

      Regarding the XP line the old X-line was not lighter, it was slightly heavier due to the steel boat structure. Now they use a carbon and fiberglass structure on the XP and that contributes for a lighter built.

      For instance the old X-43 (12.93m) displaced 8600kg, today the XP 44 (13.30) displaces 8650kg. If we took in consideration that the XP is a bit bigger and it has a slightly bigger B/D, in fact it is lighter than the older X-43.