Saturday, February 9, 2019

ARCONA 435, 2019 EUROPEAN BOAT OF THE YEAR


Most would not expect Arcona to win the 2019 boat of the year trophy for performance cruisers but I am glad they won and I think it is a well deserved victory. After some financial instability on the shipyard last year Arcona was bought by Orust Quality Yachts AB, that is now also the owner of Najad and I hope this yacht will contribute to the success of the new management.
Above the 435, below the 430

The previous  boat was the 430, a very fast and good looking boat  with a very nice interior but looking a bit too classic for my taste, mainly in what regards the cabin port lights,  the shape of the hull, specially on the transom and also the bow design.

On this one they have finally made a boat that, without losing the Arcona identity, looks much more modern. not only on the cabin design, with a lot more light coming inside. but also on the transom design that is much more adapted to short crew sailing and will allow a more easy control downwind and on autopilot.

Much better looking and a more efficient sailboat too. A very beautiful yacht still with a bit of a classical taste and I say that not in a negative way because, contrary to most cases, that does not interfere with the boat's sail performance that is a very good one.

The only thing I would like to have seen changed is the shape of the bow that did not follow the evolution on the transom, remaining a bit outdated. I would have liked to see a bit more buoyancy there, not to mention style. the bow looks a lot better with the optional integrated bowsprit.

The changes were all on the right sense and the Arcona remains light, powerful and less beamy than the average, with a great B/D ratio. I will compare it with the Jeanneau SO 440, not because both boats are similar but because the Jeanneau is a kind of benchmark in what regards 44ft mass produced boats and it will help to show the differences.

The hull length and length of the water line on the Arcona and Jeanneau are respectively- 12.64, LWL 12.20 - 12.00m. Regarding beam, Arcona and Jeanneau have: 3.98 - 4.29m. The Arcona is slightly longer and considerably narrower.  The standard draft of the Arcona is just slightly bigger than the one of the Jeanneau, 2.30 to 2.20m. The Arcona can have also a 2.0m or a 2.6m draft.

The Arcona can have two types of keels (T and L) but it comes standard with a maximum efficiency T keel, with a lead torpedo at the end of a steel foil. The Jeanneau can have several drafts but only one type of keel, a well designed L keel but even so less efficient in lowering the CG than the Arcona standard keel. The  Arcona has a much bigger B/D ( 38% - 27%), being the RM maximized by the type of keel and by the superior draft.

The Arcona is slightly heavier (8900 - 8561kg ) but much more than that difference in weight is difference between the two ballasts (1120 kg) meaning that in what regards the weight of both boats without keel, the Arcona is 339 kg lighter.

The Jeanneau, because it is beamier has more form stability but that is compensated in what regards overall stability by the Arcona's bigger mass and lower center of gravity. What will not be compensated by the Jeanneau is the Arcona's much better safety stability, better AVS and smaller inverted stability. Besides that the Arcona will have an all around much better overall performance that will be more noticed in light wind, upwind and will be incomparably better in stronger winds and demanding conditions.

The SA/D and the D/L confirm that, having the Arcona a bigger SA/D (27 - 23.9) and a smaller D/L (135.8 - 137.8). What these numbers don't show is that the Arcona, due to being considerably narrow, but with a similar or bigger stiffness will need less sail area than the Jeanneau to go at the same speed and that will make the difference in speed potential much bigger than the one already indicated by those  ratios.

The Arcona has a sandwich hull having as core 20mm divinycell, all lamination is done with vinylester resins, its vacuum bagged, all bulkheads are laminated to hull and deck and as main structure it has a galvanized steel girder, bolted to the main bulkhead and laminated to stringers. It can also be made fully in carbon and  that will make it a faster and even  stiffer boat, a lighter one too, but that is an expensive option (115 000 euros) and will only make sense for racing since it will increase a lot the noise inside the boat while sailing upwind with waves.

The keel and the the chainplates are connected to the steel structure. In what concerns the Jeanneau the built is much low tech, cheaper and less strong. If you don't know how it is built there is a description on the previous post  (about the Solaris 50).

The interior is of excellent quality and very good taste, a tad classical without looking old. Unfortunately the photos from the shipyard are taken on a boat with blue fabric on seats and cushions and I can tell you that the version with light cream fabric is much nicer and much more luminous (you can see that on the movie).

The interior electrical illumination contributes to make the interior even nicer, it is one of the best I have seen and it comes standard with the boat.

It has a good storage, that could be better because there are no lockers under the cockpit seats, even if it has a big cockpit locker, aft the wheels with access by two hatches, and a huge anchor locker that is subdivided and works also as sail locker. I didn't like the division on that locker, that provides little space for chain but they said that is easily modified.

The Arcona comes standard with a 40hp saildrive Yanmar with a 180L diesel tank and a 300L water tank. In what concerns standard equipment this boat is equipped as all boats should be, with a lot of equipment and a small options list.

Many things that are expensive options on other boats are here standard. It comes standard with 6 Harken winches (2X60 and 4X46), Harken travelers for the genoa and mainsheet, backstay tensioner, 6 mooring cleats, a sprayhood that enters on a "garage", anchor, waterboiler, all portholes come standard with mosquito nets, 6 fenders and  4 mooring lines.

The sails are not included as well as the electronics but it comes with a flexofold propeller. Contrary to other boats the trimming and launching at the yard is not expensive and in a general way the extras are less expensive than in other expensive boats  and some of them make me envious, like an upgrade to have a water cooled refrigerator for 518 euros and an installed and integrated solar panel for 1287 euros.

The standard yacht costs 359 961 euros and a well equipped boat, with about the same equipment (extras) I chose for the Solaris, will cost about 425 000 euros, on the water in Sweden. Considering a 20% VAT it will go to about 510 000 euros, plus transport, in case you will not pick it at the shipyard.

The Solaris 44  has a hull only 15cm longer and it costs 60 000 euro more, with about the same equipment. The Solaris price compared to the one of the Halberg Rassy 44 and the one of the  X 4-6 was quite good and that makes the price of the Arcona 435 even better. 

A great boat at a very nice price and a well chosen boat of the year. The Arcona 435 has been tested by many sail magazines and without exception all test sailors found it a delightful boat to sail: fast, pleasurable and comfortable and that counted a lot in what regards the choice as 2019 boat of the year.


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