Having spent half a day going around the Boreal factory looking at the boats in build, I was looking forward to seeing the completed item. The boat that is used by the factory as their demonstrator Juan Sa Bulan 3 was built for Jean-Francois Eeman and his family with two small children, and they kindly offered to let me stay on board, which allowed me time to have a good look around and get the feel of things.
Starting from the bow, the forward cabin is large, light and airy with a proper double bunk. This works well as a ‘bedroom’ in my view – we have a similar set-up in our OVNI and like it a lot. In most circumstances you wouldn’t want to sleep up forward on passage, so there is a good case for avoiding a compromise and creating a really decent in-harbour sleeping area. There is a head and shower in the forward cabin on the port side aft of the double bunk, but it isn’t huge, and whilst the joinery is attractive it can be difficult to keep clean.
The main saloon is roomy and with all woodwork in light French Ash and lots of window area, feels even bigger. All of the joinery is nicely finished, and there is plenty of locker space. The main saloon table and seating area is raised to allow good views all around, and the table can also be lowered to form an additional double bunk. One thing I would have liked to see was a seat back to the central bunk, to break up what is at the moment a very open plan interior, but I have since seen a picture of a later boat that had exactly that, so it’s purely a matter of choice.
The galley is neat, well equipped and functional with all of the basics. But from experience these European style linear galleys are not to everyone’s taste – fine in port, but they take some getting used to at sea. This boat is equipped with a diesel fired Danish Refleks stove, mounted just ahead of the galley in a recess, which not only provides heat for the saloon, but also feeds radiators in all cabins, a really well thought out, reliable set-up. Combined with the substantial insulation throughout and the double-glazed cabin windows this boat should be really cosy in colder climes.
There is a second head and shower to starboard on this boat, just aft of the galley. Again, this is a little small for my taste, and with all internal joinery will be difficult to keep clean. Jean-Francois Eeman did point out that in future boats an internal GRP moulding will be used, which, although more utilitarian, will be far easier to clean and maintain and so much easier to live with.
Twin double cabins aft complete the interior, making it ideal for a family, or for people who sail with larger parties. As the boat carries her beam well aft these cabins are large, and the area between them has been usefully employed to give excellent access to the engine and stern gear, something every designer should be made to consider as a priority. The hinged engine cover also forms the steps up into the doghouse and navigation station.
This area works really well. The chart area is offset to port, and all instruments can be mounted in the coamings, so everything is to hand. This boat uses a laptop for navigation, which can be viewed from the cockpit, but a multi-function plotter could just as easily be mounted in its place. The doghouse provides first class shelter, and with its watertight door there’s far less chance of water getting below or near sensitive electronics. For the helmsman there’s a cockpit repeater mounted on the welded wheel box covering all instruments and the autopilot controls.
There are two large stowage areas accessed from the deck – a sail locker right forward accessed via a deck hatch, and a huge lazarette right aft. Between the two, most items can be easily swallowed up, avoiding one of my personal dislikes, gear on deck at sea!
All in all it’s a well finished, functional boat from the point of view of living aboard. Jean-Francois Eeman was at pains to point out the many lessons learned from this boat, which is, after all, number one. It’s also true that this is a boat designed specifically with a young family in mind. Being at the other end of the age scale, and generally only sailing with the two of us, there are things I would change, but there is every indication that the factory can accommodate most tastes. And there are many features that are there as standard that you’d really appreciate if you want to go off the beaten track.