The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Test Sail and Review of The Boréal 47.2

Back in July of 2020 when I wrote my initial piece on the new Boréal 44.2 and 47.2 models, it was with every expectation that I would soon have a test sail to share with you.

How wrong can you be? I don’t need to go into why because I’m sure you can guess, but after four attempts I finally made it over to France in late October 2021, just before winter finally struck.

Read on for the results of my in-person inspection followed by a test sail:

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More Articles From Boréal 44.2/47.2:

  1. Test Sail and Review of The Boréal 47.2
  2. Two New Designs From Boréal
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Michael Lambert

Thanks so much for this long-awaited article! I have to say I was getting all giddy again about my 47.2, until I saw that rendering of the 44.2! Two of the things I’m looking forward to are to not have to ask guests to move every time I want to turn a winch, and easy access to the platform, and it looks like that design accomplishes those as well, in a simpler, smaller package. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll be fine….

Bryan Keith

A great article Colin, thank you. We’ve noticed via the Boreal fb group, the 47.2 seems to be a very popular choice. The attraction with the bigger cockpit would be a plus for sure but with the sail handling at the mast on the 44.2, that was the deciding factor for us. Whilst the philosophy of Boreal design really makes sense and they are without doubt fine vessels it is the crew onboard that will make it a great sailboat, something we need to focus on after our launch in March 2022.

James Evans

I’m surprised that the staysail isn’t self-tacking, and the sprit could do with extending. Overall quite nice if you’ve goat a million bucks to spare.

Reed Erskine

Low profile, impressive tankage on this vessel is certainly a plus, but I have never understood the French devotion to running the galley along the side of the salon. Depending on the angle of heel, dealing with a linear galley would seem to be more difficult and hazardous than a compact, centralized work area surrounding the user on two or three sides. The galley sink amidships, with its center-line through-hull eliminates the possibility of seawater back up when the galley side is heeled hard to leeward. Center line sink through-hulls seem to be an essential feature on most US and UK built monohull sailing vessels.

Jacob Lejdström

Amazing article, and an amazing boat design. As for the larger hull form, what was your opinion on its motion when heading into waves? Is there a big difference as opposed to the previous hull shape?

David Zaharik

Thanks Colin. Nice article… Boréal do make fine yachts and our 47.0 is still an attraction at the club or where ever we go. She sails so well.I’ve actually used my stay sail in close quarter tacking out a channel in quite light winds and she did much better than I anticipated. LOL… I still can’t tack the genoa properly! Sheesh…

John Harries

Hi Colin,

One thing that does concern me about the new boats is what the lighter air performance is going to be like. Boreal added a lot of weight and wetted surface, as well as upping the prismatic coefficient a lot without adding any appreciable sail area over the older models to the point that the SA/D is below 17 light ship and will, I’m guessing, go below 15 when the boats are loaded—the draw back of more space is it’s always tempting to fill it with stuff.

Did JFD talk at all about the decision not to add mast height to scale the sail area with the increase in size?

I sailed a 44 Mk1 in light air and found that once the wind got below about 8 true, she was getting pretty sluggish, even up wind, and that with a larger overlap on the genoa, so, unless I’m missing something, the new boats are going to end up motoring or setting light air sails quite a bit more than the old?

John Harries

Hi Again Colin,

Another thing that struck me about the new 47.2 is that it’s bulked up to the point that it now displaces only a little less than a ton less than the Boreal 52, but with the 52 we get another meter of waterline without having to go to the plumb bow. And with the 55 that waterline is even longer.

And the beam on at the waterline is only a fraction bigger on the 52/55 than the 47.2.

Having spent three decades cruising a longer narrower boat I wonder if one would not be better served, if we want all the added amenity, to buy a 52? She should be both faster and more easily driven that the 47.2 I’m thinking. Also more able to carry load. And when the breeze is up, the bigger boat is always going to be easier on the crew.

That said, the market always wants the biggest boat for the shortest possible overall length, so I get why Boreal had to do this, but if it were me with that kind of money to spend on a long distance live aboard boat, I would be looking at a 52 or 55 and would get my order in before Boreal are forced by the market to bulk up the longer boat.

John Harries

Hi Colin,

Good points, and I agree that smaller boats have many advantages. But let’s not forget that your 435 is a much smaller boat than the new 47.2. About 2/3 the size based on displacement.

Also, I can’t see why a 52/55 would be double the price given that it’s not much heavier. A lot of why longer boats get more expensive is because the owners fill them up with expensive stuff, but if left simple I can’t see any intrinsic reason a 52 would be more than say 25% more than a 47.2. Of course the actual price maybe a lot more due to marketing and production considerations.

But on the other hand Steve Dashew has repeatedly told me that making a boat longer for a given displacement can actually make it less expensive to build because the access is so much better for equipment and accommodation installation.

On ease of sailing. I wonder if the 52 might not be a bit more easily driven too (longer boats often are) so she might not be much more of a handful than the 47.2 if intelligently managed.

That was the case with our McCurdy and Rhodes 56 to the point that once we understood how to sail her, we found her easier to sail than my old Fastnet 45. And our M&R is a lot bigger than the 52.

I guess this all just comes down to my fundamental belief that if we are going to have a big boat (and the 47.2 is certainly that), we are better of with a longer boat:

John Harries

Hi Colin,

If the difference to a 55 is 33%, I’m guessing it would be less than that on a 52. If I were in the wealth bracket to afford any of these boats and planning to go back to living aboard and doing big milage, as we did back in the day, I would be selecting a 52/55 over a 47.2 after all of 5 seconds thought. Just a no brainer for me.

That said, I do agree that bigger boats take more time to get underway. In fact that’s one of the big reasons we sold the McCurdy and Rhodes, but even so I would argue that to get an appreciable benefit over a 52 in that category one would need to go with a lot smaller boat than a 47.2, say your 435.

I guess that’s my whole point here, and Stein’s: the 47.2 is, like so many boats these days, a big boat masquerading as a small one.

Also, when we were full time voyagers living aboard, we never found the time to get the McCurdy and Rhodes ready to sail a problem. That only became an issue when we moved off the boat and wanted to do more day sailing. And at that point what really makes a difference is going to 11,000 pounds: a J/109, or Matt’s C&C 35 at ~12,000 pounds

Matt Marsh

Time to get underway is more a function of complexity than of size. Complexity tends to scale with size, true, but it doesn’t *have* to. I am pretty sure I could spec a two-person 55-footer to reliably clock the same 10 minutes from locking the car to leaving the dock that we get with our C&C 35…. it just wouldn’t have much more mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, etc. gear than the smaller boat.
With large simple boats being as rare as hen’s teeth, going down a few sizes is certainly the easiest way to get something that needs less time and effort to get going, to pack up, and to take care of.

John Harries

Hi Matt,

Having had a large and simple boat, I can’t agree on that. The big issues that affect ease of getting under way are weight and size related. For example, just coiling down and putting away a bunch of 7/8″ dock lines and large fenders is a lot more time and energy consuming than doing the same on a 35′ boat with exponentially smaller gear.

Another example is taking off and stowing the sail cover, which is way more work on the bigger boat.

And then there’s the work of setting the sails once underway.

None of this matters much when living aboard and voyaging, but if we want to go out for a two hour day sail, it matters big time.

Another example: our J/109 will happily berth next to a floating dock in gale force winds (our wharf is sheltered) but the bigger boat would have torn the floating dock apart, so she lived alongside our massive wharf with no floating dock and was kept off the wharf with 1″ offshore lines spliced to chains running to an anchor. Said offshore lines where a big effort to get aboard after a sail.

And big boats are hard on the dock lines—the material is the same, so big boat’s chafe their lines more than small ones do—so all of ours had back up lines. A total of eight lines to be handled some 1-1/8″.

I could go on all day, but you get the idea.

Prentiss Berry

Hi Colin and John,

One of the things that I like better about the shorter Boreals is the mast height is ICW friendly. With the longer boat/higher mast I wouldn’t be able to go to one of my favorite local anchorages. I also think the shorter boat would be better for couples because it would be easier to raise the mainsail and roll in the headsails.

John Harries

Hi Prentiss,

Good point on the waterway. I guess it depends on your use profile for the boat. For me, if in the market for a Boreal (in my dreams), waterway capability would be a long way back on the selection list, way behind all the offshore factors that would make the 52 a way better option for me.

As to hoisting the main. That’s interesting, but in practise ease of sail handling is way more about efficient layout than boat size, and that’s particularly true about mainsail hosting. For example the Boreal 44 that I sailed on had such a poor set up that it took both JFs working together three times as long (I timed them) to hoist the main as it used to take one old fart on a boat of twice the size (displacement):

As to rolling in the headsails, I agree, a pain on a bigger boat, but an Ewincher solves that:

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that a bigger boat is better than a smaller one, just that some usage profiles are better served by a bigger boat, and further that the disavantages of bigger can be ameliorated of even solved in simple and relatively inexpensive ways, just as the disadvantages of small, (gear access and worse motion at sea are the worst) need to be taken into account and ameliorated by those who select that option.

John Harries

Hi Colin,

I hear you. No question that bigger boats take more skill and experience to sail safely. That said, my thinking is that the Boreal 52 is actually not much bigger than the 47.2. Less than a ton bigger, and not that much more sail area, and we can always put in a reef on the 52 to even it up, but still have more power when it’s light. To me that, and the added speed and milage from a longer waterline, is the best of both worlds.

Stein Varjord

Hi Colin and John,
Thanks for a nice and informative report. I’m not in the market for a new boat, but the Boreals all seem very well thought out. The new models also seem to fit that description. I think these models follow the market demands on more interior space seemingly without compromising too much, but it’s still a very interesting topic in general.

I totally understand the emotional process making customers fixate on a boat length and then trying to get as much as possible into that length. I’m still entirely convinced that it’s not a good way to choose a boat, and for that reason also not a good way to design a boat.

To make my reasoning clear, I think it’ useful to introduce two concepts: Lengthened smaller boats and chopped off bigger boats. I don’t think any Boreal model is suitable as a good example of either, but since the points are mentioned here…

If we look at the Mini Transat racing class, the new style is scow bows, which works great for them. They have a 6,5 metre max hull length and try to get the performance of a much bigger boat squeezed into that length. If that rule wasn’t there, one could add two meters at the bow and one at the stern, do nothing else and get a much faster and better behaving boat. The total cost in money and weight would be negligible, as the extra material and work time of more hull area alone is a very minor part of boat build costs. A very rough estimate says that when hull and deck are built and joined, the boat looks “almost finished. You just have to put on the equipment etc, but in reality you only did about 10% of the cost and work time. Thus, adding 30% to the 10% might add 3% to the total cost, for a boat that is 50% longer and a far better boat. In real life, one would probably be tempted to change a bit more than the hull alone, but still a very minor cost increase is totally realistic.

For cruisers, the reasoning is different, but the logic is the same one. Most present day cruising sailboats are really chopped off bigger boats. Their bows and sterns have been squeezed shorter, just to pretend the boat is smaller than it really is, so buyers don’t get intimidated by a too long boat. One they might think is too expensive and to hard to handle. A much longer boat could easily cost about the same, as long as it doesn’t also get inflated and filled up with stuff. Just adding length alone is very cheap. (I have designed and built some boats and done the calcs).

I really think it would be a smart strategy for a builder to use this as a tool to win the market. Build a 15 metre (50 foot) boat, equip it like a 12m (40ft) boat and then price and market it as a 12m (40ft) boat. One that has just been stretched a bit, or not been chopped off, like the others have. If I were to market boats, (not an impossible future), I would absolutely do this. The boats would perform the pants off any competition, at any metric, at a similar price.

As I’m a fast multihull devotee, looking at the normal condomarans brings out the exact same thoughts. The normal 12m (40ft) cat is really a chopped 15m (50ft) or so cat. The only benefit they get is that it’s cheaper in harbours. That’s their primary intended operating environment, of course, even though they’re definitely capable of more. Still, if buying a boat for half a million euro/dollar or more, is harbour costs really a good enough reason for totally castrating the boat?

Matt Marsh

For much of the boating world, length is the dominant factor driving the operating costs. Our marina fees, crane fees, and winter storage fees are all on a per-foot basis. Combined, length-based charges make up more than two-thirds of the total cost of ownership of the boat.

For a boat that will spend the bulk of her life moored, anchored, or underway, this is not a problem, and “same amount of boat on a longer waterline & LOA” is a very good strategy. It yields better performance and a more pleasant total experience. But the market forces that push the majority of production builders into “most boat in a given LOA” are very real.

John Harries

Hi Matt,

That’s true, and I can certainly see how that works in your case, but for someone with the wealth to buy and maintain a Boreal 52 the difference in marina fees for the extra 5 feet over a 47.2 is a rounding error and therefore should not, I would suggest, play a part in the decision between the two boats.

Matt Marsh

At this price point I would tend to agree. There’s also a case to be made that the prestige value of owning a “larger” yacht (same true size by displacement and gross tonnage, but longer) ought to be a strong forcing factor in the favourable direction.

John Harries

Hi Colin,

I don’t think Stein is proposing anything as radical as Steve’s boats. And even if he were, let’s not forget that Steve sold a bunch of his boats over the years, including a production run of 27 Sundeers that only came to an end because Steve fell out with TPI over QC issues.

Anyway, I think we have already shown that a longer lighter and smaller for her LOA boat can generate a lot of interest in that we are now at 574 active sign ups for the Adventure 40. I’m betting an Adventure 50 would do just as well, as long as the concept were properly explained.

Matt Marsh

I think the key there is looking at “boat per dollar” as a figure of merit.

The kind of person who can spend $770k on a cruising yacht is absolutely going to expect luxury, amenities, etc. befitting a wealthy person in their late working years or retirement. The kind of person who spends $300k on a day / weekend yacht likely has similar expectations.

But there’s also a kind of person (or, rather, a kind of couple / family) who can spend $300k, expects a proper cruising yacht, and wants it simple, clean, and functional. Said person does not want to pay $25k extra for varnished oak interior panelling when basic white enamel would suffice, nor do they want $40k of laminate sails when $15k of classic cruising Dacron is on the menu. They’ll weigh all options on a cost/benefit scale. It’s a harder market to understand and target than the “I have boatloads of cash and want top performance and luxury” crowd, but it exists, and an Adventure 50 might hit it nicely.

John Harries

Hi Stein,

I totally agree with every point…and you all know how rare that is!

Also love the 50-footer idea…sounds a lot like the Adventure 50 I have been thinking about lately, which would actually be a smaller and less expensive boat than the Boreal 44.2

Garry Crothers

Great article Colin, … With the new rig layout the cap shrouds are now further outboard. With this layout is there now a need when hard on the wind to relead the sheet inboard of the shroud. On my Ovni 435 I find this is required.

Terence Thatcher

I will never afford a boat of this caliber, but please don’t take this as sour grapes. The design provokes me to ask the experts to explain why the massive beam of this vessel–and many other less substantial boats now built– does not create performance problems, except when running down wind. It has become the standard approach these days, everyone wants to have something that looks like an ocean racing maxi. Doesn’t that beam just dig into the water when going upwind, creating a very distorted, asymmetrical shape aft? Thanks.

Matt Marsh

That has become a lot easier to manage since 3D CAD became common. Once you’re able to instantly calculate full hydrostatics and performance parameters at any arbitrary trim and heel angle, it’s possible to shape the hull so that the asymmetry as the boat heels does not introduce any undesirable behaviours. Essentially, most of the nasty quirks you might have in mind come from changes in the distribution of volume (and therefore in forces) as the boat heels, and with enough math, you can find shapes such that those heel-angle-dependent asymmetries remain small relative to the dominant static and first-order terms. That, in turn, gives the designer some freedom to move away from “traditional” time-proven shapes while having high confidence in how it will behave.
The Boreals being shallow-draught centreboarders, wide beam is necessary for sail-carrying power, and computer analysis of the hull in dozens or hundreds of trim and heel states helps the designers avoid the problems that can come from penning such a design without all that math to back it up.

John Harries

Hi Terence,

You are right to worry. Although, as Matt says, this can be managed, even with extreme beam aft (Think the super maxi Comanche) wide sterns only work if the designer and owner are willing to be careful about weight and do the work Matt mentions. They also work better on planing boats than displacement

This is not always done right and the result is that here are a lot of cruising boats out there that go so out of control in a puff that they self tack.

The other issue is the relationship between prismatic coefficient and efficiency in displacement hulls.

On the Mk1 Boreals JFD managed this well by using hull flare to get the stability he needed and the volume aft without a big efficiency hit or any strange behaviour.

Based on Colin’s sail he seems to have managed the same trick with the 47.2, although I’m guessing at a cost in efficiency, particularly in light air and under power, due to a larger prismatic coefficient—there is no free lunch in yacht design

To me the bigger question mark hangs over the 44.2 since she is basically a sawn off 47.2, unlike the relationship between the old boats where the 47 was a lengthened 44, generally a healthier way to modify a design. (I have said this directly to JFE, so this will not come as a shock to them.)

More on prismatic coefficients and why they matter here:

Victor Lara

The 44.2 should be slightly more efficient than the 47.2 since it is 900 pounds lighter with the same waterline length as the 47.2. The 47.2 is 19 inches longer at the stern above the waterline. Other than that, they share identical hulls.

Do you think these boats could be easily converted to a cutter by simply changing the Genoa to a yankee and adding staysail tracks on the coach roof?

John Harries

Hi Victor,

That maybe so, but maybe not in that we can’t just use the waterline length for this comparison since at least some, and probably all, of added length of the 47.2 will become effective waterline length once it immerses once underway.

As to converting to a true cutter, my guess would be that would not work well. The secret to true cutter is getting the slot between the three sails perfect and that usually only happens when the designer has started with that goal in mind. That said, I could easily be wrong, so the best bet is to check and see what JFD has to say on the matter. I do know he looked at that for the Mk1 boats and decided that it would not work well.

Dick Stevenson

Hi John,
I appreciate what you write about true cutters. I see (and have sailed next to) skippers who try to sail like cutters and actually slow their boats down because they are actually double headsail sloops (often called cutters or cutter-rigged). Unless quite large (with large Js) these double headsail sloops generate turbulence among the air flowing around their three sails as they are just too close together: thereby slowing them down.
Random observations, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Terence Thatcher

Oops, one other question. It arises from the suggestion for sail protection from shrouds. Is there a substitute for baggy wrinkle now available for purchase somewhere? I don’t want PVC on my shrouds and I don’t have the patience to make my own baggy wrinkle. Thanks.

Rob Gill

Hi Colin,

Thanks so much for the report and observations. We currently have a similar sized 47 foot B473 with fixed 2.1 m draft that we simply love, but no harm dreaming of adding shoal draft adventures to our cruises?

Our boat being similar in displacement and beam (but slightly longer WLL), I have no doubt she (47.2) will have more than adequate sail area. To us under 15 metres is the sweet spot, easily handled by two or single handed, but enough space and comfort for extended cruising.

But I was interested in your opening remarks about sailing the 47.2, “we knew that tacking a stiff new genoa around the furled staysail would be a challenge, Boréal designer Jean-Francois Delvoye, our skipper for the day, instead suggested that we just unfurl the staysail…

If you can’t use the Genoa practically (new sails or not), why have one? I see so many cruising yachts motor-sailing in under 8 knots of wind, or over 25 knots upwind, because they have too little sail, or too much. So the 47.2 Solent style rig seems to me to be the worst of all worlds – so much so we wouldn’t buy one if this were the only option available!

Why not remove the Genoa and put on a self-tacking jib (like you see on Hanse Yachts as standard and an option now on some other production boats? Surely a well engineered track for a self-tacker will provide better sheeting angle control than a fixed outboard track? With modern composite sails fabrics our 103% jib (not self-tacking) is more powerful, and closer winded than our original (but still relatively new) 130% Genoa over about 14 knots TWS, upwind.

In less than 10 knots upwind we use a composite Code 0 and are nearly as close winded as we were with the old Genoa, but a couple of knots faster. The 47.2 should be able to achieve this outcome if the rig is well engineered and with her full chine, she may be able to carry the Code 0 upwind to 14 knots TWS?

The only compromise with this rig (there always is one) is if you are keen on sailing performance, you need to run outboard sheets for optimum jib leech control with eased sheets. We have used permanently rigged lazy sheets for five years now, offshore and inshore without issues.

I wonder if Boreal would consider a self-tacker as a factory fitted option, if we win the Lotto?

Best regards, Rob

Michael Lambert

Riffing off of that idea, since to my satisfaction Colin found the staysail a versatile option, the flip side of that coin would mean the genoa is LESS used. Since light air is a fact of life in Maine, I wonder about skipping the genoa altogether, and rigging a code 0 in its place. Especially since the genoa is rigged through the slot so probably compromised off the wind?

Rob Gill

Hi Michael, congratulations on your boat choice – what a beauty. Not sure if you are meaning to rig a Code 0 on the forestay using the Genoa furler?

From our experience the Code 0 has a free luff (not attached to the stay) and this is what make it a truly versatile sail.

On the wind the luff cable (or newer structured luff) is pulled on hard so the forestay on our boat even goes slightly loose, and then we crank on the back stay so the Code 0 luff is as straight as can be, with little sag in under 10 knots.

I should say our Code 0 is a high-modulus sail with a Dyneema (or similar) rope cable that tapers in the middle of the luff but is substantial at the head and tack. It is built to take the big loads generated by the sail. At around 12-13 knots TWS we are starting to be over-powered upwind and we swap to the jib.

Off the wind the luff is eased slightly, then more when reaching and broad reaching. When running off we can hold the Code 0 to 165 deg apparent in stable conditions (see our windex in the attached picture) when the halyard is eased even more, to propel the luff to windward (between half to one metre – see attached picture). This catches more wind and provides stability to the sail and boat in waves. Lastly, the Code 0 creates enormous lift off the wind helping keep the bow out and promoting continued surfing.

15 knots is our best speed so far in 27 knots TWS, continuous surfing down waves with the Code 0. But many sailmakers will tell you what we experience isn’t possible – maybe because they want you to buy a Code 0 and an A-sail. We have an almost new A-sail that came with our boat which we used as a beanbag offshore, but now sulks in our attic.

Hope this helps your thinking. Rob

Screen Shot 2022-01-01 at 2.55.28 PM.png
Dick Stevenson

Hi Rob and Colin,
Colin, I could not agree more about not having self-tacking headsails, especially a staysail. Like roller furling mains and boom furling, they have much initial appeal, but the downsides are often not so readily apparent and, I believe, the benefits are greatly exaggerated.
Short tacking my staysail is basically a doddle. As it comes across, a bit of practice allows me to get the staysail sheet pulled in by hand except for the last few inches. One or two rotations of the winch handle and I am done.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Neil McCubbin

We are not fans of self tacking staysails either. When tacking we leave the staysail aback until the jib is across, because it prevents the jib wrapping around the inner stay

Rob Gill

Thanks Colin, I’m with you on staysails.

Really interesting to read your comment about slot rigs in France, and maybe I would just stick with our conventional 100% jib arrangement with its “gréement à fente” sheeted between our outer and inner shrouds – I never knew this was a thing!

How did the 47.2 110% Genoa set off the wind? If inboard sheeted through the slot I would expect the leech to open right up and lose half its power. Is there an arrangement for outboard sheeting (we have a jib track mounted on our cap-rail for this). Rob

Neil McCubbin

Good article
I am surprised the brilliantly designed doghouse/hard dodger that boréals have was not discussed

John Harries

Hi Neil,

Both Colin and I have explored the dog house at length in other articles about the Boreal boats:

Given that, Colin was focusing on the changes from earlier boats that we have already written a bunch about.

Yan Brand

Hi Colin,

Thank you very much for this review. It is very enlightening for us to read what a seasoned sailor thinks of the unit. I also note that Chiara was on the light side when sailed, and that this will make a difference with a full weight boat.
We had no opportunity to sail a 47.2 before committing to buying one in 2019. Then the virus hit, and all travel plans had to be halted, so that the first time we were able to see our unit in its aluminum flesh was last September, on the day that Chiara sailed to LaRochelle for the Grand Pavois exhibition.
Not that it would have made a lot of difference anyway, as the robustness of the construction, the doghouse concept, as well as the thick insulation, the go anywhere capabilities of the boat, the twin freezer and fridge and the separated shower were deciding factors for us as future liveaboards, not the speed or the ability to sail up to the wind. These last two are essentially added bonuses if they materialize. 
We will most likely never sail it near its empty weight anyway, but rather with full water and fuel tanks and loads of consumables to be as independent as possible, in as remote as possible areas, for as long as possible. 
Well at least this is the theory…

We will know soon enough; launch on January 25th and delivery on February 4th if all goes well, for our hull No 4. The sea trial should happen then mid-February, weather permitting. We opted for the Gennaker as the numbers at full weight were indicating that a light air sail could be an interesting addition.

In summary, the go anywhere capabilities of the boat with the improvements of the liveaboard conditions of the 47.2 compared to the 47 were deciding factors for us. 

Salutations de Genève,


Ignacio Suarez

Hi, nice review and discussion, I would love to have a Boreal and if some day I have enough free time to go offshore, it would be on the top of the list.
I understand that upwind angle might not be the strongest point of this design, but do you have any data regarding tacking angles?
Thanks a lot.

John Harries

Hi Ignacio,
Colin mentions 40 degrees apparent in his article. That was in smooth water and would translate into tacking in a little over 90 degrees. That said, in waves that’s likely to widen a bit, so if I were navigating the boat I would plan for around 92-95 degrees in flat water and between 95 and 100 in waves. That would assume the boat were not overloaded and was sailed well, with good sails.

I know that sounds wide and many cruisers claim tighter angles but in fact only race boats with narrow sheeting angles, great sails, and deep ballasted high aspect keels and great rudders do better than 90 degrees (45 to the true wind) in the real world.

Dick Stevenson

Hi John,
I am glad you wrote about tacking angles and I agree completely. Reading the slicks about tacking angles on the boats they review (and listening to certain sailors) just promotes unrealistic expectations, confusion, and a competitiveness which does not serve well our sport.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Ignacio Suarez

Ok, thanks a lot for the reply. Sorry, I had missed that part of the article.
In fact is better than I expected. I have a First 44.7 racing edition and with cruising sails and no barberhauler, 90 dregrees real is the best I get…

Ignacio Suarez

Thanks for the reply Colin, very interesting.

Kevin Dreese

Love the Boreals. Really do, however I wish they made when under 40 feet. Excited about the new Ovni 370. Maybe Boreal will creat a competitor? I feel like the boats just keep getting bigger and bigger.

John Harries

Hi Kevin,

You are right, boats are getting bigger. There are a whole bunch of reasons for that, but one of the primary ones is that it’s much easier to run a profitable boat building company if you build larger boats. And you will note that the Boreal’s are getting bigger in that the Mk2 boats are way bigger than the originals.

Also, the last time I talked to the partners there were no plans for a smaller Boreal and given that their order book is full of the bigger boats for years out, I doubt we will see a smaller Boreal.

Jean François Delvoye

Hi John,
You are partly right. But if you remember the story of Boréal, the real reason is elsewhere. The first Boréal that I designed in 2005 was the 50. The specificity of this plan is that I first designed what seemed essential to me on my boat: a dog house and an ergonomic cockpit. I then drew a boat around these two elements. In 2008, Jean François Eeman, who was my client before becoming my partner, asked me to design him the smallest possible Boreal with, of course, the same doghouse and the same cockpit. Thus was born the Boréal 44 . I think that a doghouse, which is the DNA of Boréal, on a smaller model would be neither functional nor aesthetic. This is the reason why it will be difficult to imagine a smaller size.

John Harries

Hi Jean François,

I should have mention that too since you and JD-E explained it to me when we visited. Aging brain problem! Anyway, thanks for the fill.

Timothy Brown

The photo you shared of the 44.2 in build shows two passageways at the stern of the boat. One to starboard and one in the center. The rendering only shows the one passageway on the starboard side. Did something change or will that space in the center be filled with something?

Look forward to seeing more photos of the completed 44.2