The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Two New Designs From Boréal

One of the most challenging tasks for any yacht builder has to be coming up with a new design to replace a successful and much-admired model. It is one thing for a big volume builder in the business of building boats to meet the latest fashions in design, when constant novelty is expected, but if your reputation is synonymous with a particular niche, then things become far more complicated.

In the case of Boréal Yachts, who have spent a little over fifteen years building a range of production high latitude yachts that have won every award imaginable, the challenge is even greater. How do you improve upon such a winning formula without losing touch with the things that originally made your name?

Boréal have built 65 of their most popular models, the 44 and the 47. Both of these yachts share most of their design features with the exception of the stern, the 44 having a flat transom and the 47 having an extended retroussé (sugar scoop) transom. Both are simple, robust boats designed to be safely navigated in the most extreme conditions to the wildest places on earth.

They are a tough act to follow, but now Boréal have come up with a truly ‘new’ design that will replace those two models and will certainly expand their target market.

As with the old 44 and 47, the new boats—designated the 44.2 and the 47.2—will share an identical hull form except that, rather than a sugar scoop, the new 47.2 is extended aft to accommodate the larger cockpit and also has changes to the rig and sail handling.

While writing this first article for English-speaking readers about the new boats, I spoke to Boréal founder and designer Jean-Francois Delvoye, to find out more about the new boats and how they have been developed:

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Maxime Gérardin

Thank you for this much-awaited article!!
The amount of change is larger than one could have expected! 11 centimeters of freeboard is a lot. Many questions come to mind, among which:
– what is the angle of spreader-sweepback? It looks quite substantial, both from the pictures and from the ability to carry a 122% (55 over 45) genoa. To what extent does it allow to reduce the weight of the mast? Surely this adds (or contributes?) to the +10% of righting moment at low angles, and to the improvement of the AVS?
– now that the staysail is larger, a storm jib may be needed? Will Boréal make provisions for this to work well?
– what is the intended working position for the port genoa, and for both mainsheet, winches? Kneeled on top of the lazarette? It looks quite original, but can work well! However the mainsheet winches look a little far away, in case you need to open the main in a hurry and were, say, under the dodger.
– will it be possible to go twin wheels but without the expense and complexity of halyards-led-aft?

Anyway, for sure these moves will help Boréal keep growing, and flood the market with boats that will sail for many decades!

David Bangsberg

Hi Colin,

Thanks for the great article. It couldn’t have been timed better. I am corresponding with JFE about converting my contract to build a 47 to a 47.2.

If I understand you correctly, the increase in volume is due to increased beam above the waterline ahead of the mast and at the stern, while the hull below the waterline is unchanged. There is also the change to a straight stem. How do you think these changes will impact sea kindliness? I have sailed a lot of “modern” straight stemmed wide beamed boats that felt like they were about to shatter into pieces while pounding in steep short seas. Will decreased sea kindliness be a compromise for a more comfortable interior?

Also, how to you think the 4″ of extra freeboard will impact windward performance? Does this account for the extra ballast which presumably will bring some of the extra height below the water?

As always, thanks for sharing your expertise.

Best regards,
David Bangsberg

John Harries

Hi David,

The 47.2 is a full 2600 kg (5700 lbs) heavier than the 47 and the waterline is about a meter longer, so a lot of that added displacement is below the waterline and I’m guessing will result in a higher prismatic coefficient than the older boats. Also the sail area remains the same so the SA/D has gone down quite a bit. My guess is that this will result in a slower boat in the light, but a more powerful one once the wind is up, particularly when reaching and running.

I share you worry on the plumb bow because of the reduction in reserve buoyancy, so I think there will be a trade off there, particularly up wind. On the other hand JFD is a very smart guy with a huge amount of data from the older boats, so I suspect the tradeoff will not be too bad.

On freeboard, I don’t worry much and in fact applaud this change since I always felt that the older boats were a bit too low to the water and even with the increase the new boats are certainly not high sided by any measure.

Bottom line, when the designer adds this much volume there will always be tradeoffs. As I say so often, to the point that everyone is probably sick of it “there is no free lunch in yacht design”.

David Zaharik

Hi Colin… If I had the choice, for what I am doing, I would undoubtably gone for the 47.2… however having said that, as you know, our Boréal 47 is a beauty and will be an eye turner and a safe haven for many years. Some very interesting innovations… well done boys!

Michael Corboy

A good read about the new model. We currently own an Ovni 435 with which we are very happy with. Recently we have looked at a Boreal 47 with a view to upgrading? The Boreal has been a dream boat of mine and it was a great opportunity to have a look at one in the flesh. (not many for sale down here in New Zealand)
My wife and I went to view her. She was everything and more, but… Did I see enough to want to own her? A few key points that stood out was head room in the heads and width of doors. The cockpit, I felt was not ideal size wise and I knocked my head navigating the companionway. The interior felt cramped. In cold climes, I could see the reasoning. More temperate areas, not so appealing. This view was also shared by my wife. What I am talking about is “the feel” of things that one may have to live with day in and out.
The rest of the boat, and I mean, the rest of the systems, rig, storage etc were superb. Nothing is ever fixed and all is a compromise as the old adage goes. Did I buy? No. For what we wish to do and how we live, we decided that our current boat fitted us best. How ever, now that this new model has appeared, my interest is such that one day, I may yet own one of these beauties. Thanks.

Murray Arthur

Hi Mike, random question but do you keep your boat at Bayswater marina on D pier? (wandered down there on my way home tonight and there was an Ovni 43.5)

Michael Corboy

Hi Murray
Yes, this is us. Moved on in December. Covid has altered our plans… Stop by again.

Michael Lambert

Thanks Colin, I was just wondering when I’d see this, but didn’t expect it till the fall! I blame it on the pandemic, but I pulled the trigger on the 47.2 without ever being aboard any boreal, but since it’s such a new design I figured nobody has, so what the heck? For me, and this wasn’t mentioned specifically, it was the separate areas for sitting and sailing. Given that I’m always single handing, or my wife is while I hang with two little kids, it seems like a game changer. No more moving people to turn a winch…

Another change I’ll mention is the step down to the forward hall and cabin is now not in the middle of the galley. But I didn’t even know yet about the starboard cabin option, interesting…….

And yes, VERY interested in the sea trial. As a us citizen I can’t visit!

Yan Brand

Bonjour Michael,

My wife and I are the future owners of the 47.2 hull No 3 with a scheduled delivery next year in October (if all goes well, it goes without saying). “Fabule” will be the name of the vessel, because we still cannot believe in it and that fells surreal, with a Canadian registration.
We have been petitioning the Jean-François for a separated shower as a sine qua non condition for buying a 47, as we intend to be full-time live-aboards. We have been very enthusiastic when this new version was presented to us last year, and pulled the trigger at the Grand Pavois in La Rochelle last year, and learned that we would be hull No 3 as an “American Customer” bought the No 2 since we were slow to decide ourselves between Boreal 47.2 and the OVNI 450.
We ordered the starboard “Technical Area” option, as I wish to have a compact mechanical setup (small lathe, small milling) to maintain the systems, being a Mechanics in my first live. But things are not yet fully defined for the TA, and the layout remains to be seen. This should come in the Fall probably.

Now the question: Are you the “American Customer” who beat us on the hull No 2 please? :o)
Anyhow, I am certain that we will have plenty of details to discuss during the construction of our respective boats and I would like to maintain contact with you, if you would agree please?

Salutations de Montréal,


Michael Lambert

Hi Yan!
I apparently don’t get notified when someone replies to me, but luckily I was so bored that I was re-reading this thread! No I’m not, I’ve heard tell of the other one but idk who it is. I’m #5/6 I believe(spring 2022). I am considering the technical room, but it would be for the freezers I think. I found a vitrifrigo that allows making either the top or bottom a freezer, but it’s very slightly taller and deeper, luckily not wider. I’d like to use that(But since I’m farther down the queue I’m not doing any badgering yet) , and skip the tech room, as space for kids is important, and I figure a vice can live somewhere else. Yes, I’d love to keep in touch. Mikelima207@gmail

Prentiss Berry

Hi Colin,

Exciting to see these changes you described. It will be interesting to see the actual product of the 47.2.

I am surprised to see that the sugar scoop is gone. The sugar scoop was the reason I preferred the 47 over the 44. It’s obvious that in order to have a larger cockpit something had to go in order to keep the same length. I wonder if there is more to this decision? I used to think the compartments on the sugar scoop would be useful in the old 47, but maybe they aren’t as useful as I thought with the new design adding 35% to the lazarette. Also, it looks like the swimming platform will offer more area for that purpose than the sugar scoop.

I would be interest to hear from current Boreal 47 owners as to their thoughts on this new design. Do they really the sugar scoop or would they be willing to give up the sugar scoop for a larger cockpit and do they mind giving up the smaller compartments on the sugar scoop?

I’m sure Boreal has put a lot of research into this change and I’m looking forward to learning more of the details.

Philip Aston

It will be interesting to see how a Watt & Sea, windpilot, some solar panels, and a wind gen fit on a 47.2. These are all popular options on the 47.

Mike Thrower

Thanks very much for the excellent article giving us a ‘taster’ of the changes !
I took delivery of my 44 last year and have been so impressed before and since at the amount of thought that JFD has put into the design. But, having done a bit of sailing now , quite a bit on my own, I would have made the doors wider because not easy to get through with all your kit on , and he has !!……….. I keep falling down the step in the galley !….and I believe that’s gone !
I managed to ‘ crease’ the boom last year in an accidental gybe in cross seas and 35 kts. My fault with autopilot gain settings but the supplied boom is quite a narrow section. It has been replaced with a thicker Selden boom section which allows single line reefing back in the cockpit ( or will do when I get the main halyard led aft) , so I like that the lines run aft, I think that you reef at the correct time with this set up !
I thought that the 47 looked better with the sugar scoop but the lazarette is bigger on the 44 without the intrusions. I can’t quite see how the arch works on the 47.2 in that picture but I’m very pleased that I elected to have it , unusually, on my 44.
I prefer the winches being closer to the pilot house for easy adjustment without getting all my kit on but I guess that’s for the warmer climes. And I probably spend little time steering as the NKE autopilot does a great job whilst I watch the world go by !
I’ll be visiting the factory in September/October and look forwards to seeing the other changes……thanks for the article

Mike Thrower

No worries..they were just my musings!

Meant to add that I couldn’t see where the daggerboards go on that drawing….have they been done away with ?

Michael Lambert

I’m not as informed as Colin, but I don’t think so, I’ve been given renderings of the interior that show their slots. My guess is that they live under the primaries somewhere.

And I too wonder about the trek to the winches, but on the other hand, the path to the helm seems very clear. Besides, I think there is some interesting potential for an enclosure….

Adam Kerner

Hi Colin
Thanks for the very interesting article. Funny, we’ve been in and around Treguier since our 52 was launched in February (yes, we then spent the 2-1/2 month COVID lockdown at the marina pontoon!…another story!) and this is the first we’ve learned about the details of the rumored new 47. It definitely sounds like it is an idea resonating with many sailors, given the sales numbers.
One feature I wanted to comment on is the starboard cabin “technical space” option. I believe that we were the first Boréal to go this direction, having tasked JFD and Brice during design with 1. moving all of the big electrical gear out of the hot engine room, 2. Finding room for freezer(s), and 3. Adding more storage (though we’ve come to learn that the stock Boréals already have loads!!!) This was all that we requested in the new space. JFD really impressed us with the CAD model that he developed. It included all 3 requests above. In addition he was able to fit a single pilot berth, great for off watch, and our requested Northern Lights 5kw genset in sound enclosure. All in a cabin that doesn’t feel awkward at cramped! Brilliant! We think this space works really well for a boat designed for a couple. (We still have the port cabin for The occasional guests. ). I think this will be a terrific option for the 47.2 as well. And we continue to be very happy with the overall Boréal concept, and especially with our new boat! Cheers from Tréguier, Adam and Cindi, s/v BRAVO

Terence Thatcher

These are surely magnificent craft that I will never be able to own. My spouse rejected the offer to buy Starbuck’s stock at its IPO. But I agree with John’s other articles. Never build a cruising mast with swept back spreaders (19% is a lot, in my mind). Avoid fat stern boats. Two helms is for cats or Hunters. And I will add: don’t waste accommodation/storage space on two heads.

Scott Arenz

Great article, Colin!

Intrigued by the new Boréal designs, I went hunting for more information, and found this collection of photos of the first built 55 Open Cockpit, “Timalou”. I found the images instructive for understanding the cockpit layout of the 47.2, so thought I would share the link here:

There are several photos that help you get a sense of how the halyards and control lines are routed in the “OC” configuration. The designers have made very clever use of deck organizers and tubes to route lines cleanly back to the winches.

Additionally, there are line storage areas both forward and aft of the helm positions, which should help reduce the tangle in the cockpit somewhat. (Clutter being the bane of many all-lines-to-the-cockpit designs.)

Some other observations:
• The headsail winch positions (the ones just inboard of the helm seats) seem highly ergonomic, eliminating the need to lean or step out to leeward to trim. Hopefully that same convenience translates well to the 47.2 adaptation of the design (and perhaps even to the 44.2).

• The daggerboards are located under the helm seat/headsail winch bases, but so far I haven’t found the position of their control lines.

• It appears that Timalou was built with the combination of both swept spreaders and a self-tacking staysail, which is a different combination than Colin describes for the 47.2. Perhaps Boréal had an additional reason for swept spreaders on the 55OC?

It will be very exciting to see more information on these new designs, especially if the 44.2 retains some of the traditional features AAC readers are fond of.

Lastly, here’s a link to a collection of photos of Timalou on a test sail and drying out, with Jean-François Delvoye at the helm:
(Click the “Not now” link on the bottom right of the pop-up if Facebook prods you to create an account.)

Scott A.

Atlanta, GA, USA

Jean-François Eeman

Hi Scott,

Thank you for your nice comment.

Please allow me this quick reply :
The cleats for raising/lowering the dagger boards are vertical, along the rear watertight bulkhead. More or less where you see the two genua winches.

Timalou is build in a way she can be rigged with a self tacking staysail, either with a more powerful, not self-tacking jib. That is what we agreed with the owner.

The 44.2 will conceptually indeed be much closer to the original, more classic, approach of the 44. We hope she’ll meet the expectations of some owners who have a preference for the more traditional features of the 44 (one steering wheel, more closed cockpit…).
We’ll have to ask for some more patience before we can release the final design.

Best regards,

Jean-François EEMAN

Scott Arenz

Colin and Jean-François, thank you for the clarification and details.

With JF’s description, I was able to spot the daggerboard cleat in one of the photos. The line looks ideally placed to provide the helmsman with good leverage. This ergonomic positioning is the icing on the impressive level of functional integration of this structure, which combines genoa winch base, daggerboard housing, helm seat, line passage and storage. It’s a great day when you can design something to have more than one useful function, let alone five!

I noticed that Timalou is equipped with side deck jacklines, which AAC readers know can still allow a crew member to fall and dangle overboard. I’ve been contemplating how one might move the jacklines further inboard on the new Boréal design despite the presence of the mainsheet “web”.

Forward, the absence of the staysail self-tacking track would allow a centerline jackline from bow to mast, as long as the foredeck is kept clear. For work at the mast, one could follow John’s example on Morgan’s Cloud and provide a fixed tether.

Aft of the mast is trickier, as one must traverse the lowers and the mainsheet. But it might be possible to run a discontinuous series of jacklines: From the granny bars to the lowers, then from the lowers running just inboard of the grab rail all the way to the side of the doghouse. A short “Y” shaped tether would be needed to traverse the lowers, double-clipping for a moment as you switch to the next section. This tether might be able to be kept short enough to prevent crew from getting over the lifeline.

Obviously it’s impossible to know if this is feasible without walking the deck, but I suspect there is potential.

Very much looking forward to the ongoing developments of the 44.2!

Best regards,

Kevin Dreese

Its great to see Boreal doing well. For me they are really the perfect voyaging boat (aluminum, lifting keel, doghouse, etc.)… however, it does seem that all manufacturers keep making larger and larger boats.

I wish Boreal would create a version less than 40 feet… Maybe a 35-37 footer with all the major features (aluminum, lifting keel, doghouse) but only 1 head, smaller saloon, smaller lazerette, flat stern like the 44 (with flipdown platform). I would even be happy with quality sea berths and no additional staterooms but the master. Use that space for equipment access, storage, workbench. It would be a single-handers dream yacht. In the mean-time a used Ovni 345 with an add-on hard dodger would probably work.

John Harries

Hi Kevin,

I hear you on a smaller more affordable Boreal. They did look at it at one time but concluded that it was not financially viable. Just seems like the market just wants ever bigger boats. Probably much of the reason no one has taken on our Adventure 40 project.

Cyrille Rio

I think after all this good work, it is time for Boréal and Mr JFD to start thinking about how to build a real blue water for high latitude catamaran. Fix all the short comings of the ovnicat48 and the Allure 47.9 ? (while it looks they may have got the deck in fiber glass right …)
Or what about a new AAC ebook: a cat for 70N to 70S ?

Yan Brand

Hi Colin,

I wonder if you have had the opportunity to test sail the new Boréal 47.2 please?

If yes, will you share your experience with us please?

My wife and I are future Boréal 47.2 owners, but the current situation did not allow us to come to France for a sea trial, ad most new owners these days, so I am always keen on getting impressions and comments whenever possible.

Salutations de Montréal,


John Harries

Hi Yan,

Colin may not see this, but I happen to know that he has not been to France yet. Given the situation in the UK, I’m guessing that won’t happen until they have Covid under control in both countries.

Yigit Karis

Hi Yan,

As a future owner for another 47.2 I’d love to exchange experiences. I’m planning to visit Boreal yard on the future months depending Covid situation. If you are interested send a quick email to yigit.karis@gmail…

Yan Brand

Bonjour Colin,

I am Yan Brand, future co-owner with my wife of a 47.2 hull No 4, “Fabule”.
Due to the actual Pandemic situation the first time that we will see the boat will be at the delivery, in October of this year, virus permitting. Therefore, we will not have had the chance to sail on a 47.2 before taking the delivery of our boat, like most of the future owners in these challenging times.

I wonder if you have plans to test sail a 47.2 and to report your impressions on MorgansCloud please?

I thank you in advance for your answer.

Salutations de Montréal,


John Harries

Hi Yan,

Colin is planning, I believe, to travel to France and sail the new boats at some point, but if you would like to get more information I suggest you contact him directly:

Also, JDF has invited me to France to sail on the new Boreals, but of course that will have to wait until Covid is under control. That and other things I have going on, like selling my boat and finding a new boat, mean that the earliest I can see that happening is 2022.

Timothy Brown

I haven’t t heard or seen anything about the new Boreal 44.2. Have any been built yet? I would love to see pictures of the new design.

John Harries

Hi Timothy,

As I understand it, there is one 44.2 in build, nearing completion, and several 47.2s complete and a bunch in build.

We will be publishing an update, including a sailing trial in a 47.2 from Colin in the next month.

Timothy Brown

That’s great new! I’m looking forward to the upcoming article with the sailing trial.

It will be good to hear what Colin thinks about the twin helm layout on the 47.2. It appears this is model is a huge success for Boreal based on it’s popularity thus far. I prefer the traditional single helm variant but maybe I should reconsider the advantages of having dual helms and the ability to reef from the cockpit with the central electric winch.

David Zaharik

I have a single helm 47 and it truly is a nice boat. The wheel is large enough to easily steer and see. Further, although I don’t have the exact specs, I suspect my stern is a bit narrower and gives a very nice ride in all seas. I am sailing locally in British Columbia now so I have a greater variety of points of sail rather that the broad reach and downwind… and she sails fabulously on all points.

Timothy Brown

Thanks for sharing your first hand experiences. I too prefer the cleaner and simpler layout of the single helm. Admittedly it’s what I’m familiar with and I’m a creature of habit.