The third model in the Azuree range, the Azuree 41, is a welcome refinement in terms of quality, and something of a gem (all photos by Rick Tomlinson).
What is a gem but a stone yet to be polished? When Sirena Marine produced its first Azuree yacht it was somewhat rough – the potential was there to see, produced by a big yard and workforce with industrial production experience, but it needed refinement.
Eight years on, with a great deal of hard graft, the brand has moved on and its latest offering is a jewel worthy of admiration – not perfect on close inspection, but one that has a definite sparkle.
Sirena Marine’s learning curve has been a steep one engineered by improvements in quality and management. To improve quality Sirena builds a prototype. By the time you get aboard for a test sail any teething problems have been spotted – indeed they are pointed out and have most likely already been adjusted for the production version.
Third time lucky
Sirena’s original 40-footer was a fun design, a little ahead of her time perhaps, somewhat quirky and cumbersome for a production yacht.
Rob Humphreys took the wide aft beam, hard chine, twin rudder theme of that Ceccarelli-designed hull and ran with it to produce a more user-friendly, aesthetically appealing and all round better product in the 46. And now, with this Azuree 41, we see the fruits of yet further refinement.
Humphreys, who joined me for a test sail aboard the prototype, is particularly pleased with improvements in weight control. Sirena is building stiffer hulls with as much weight as possible concentrated deep in the bulb of the T-keel. His brief was for a modern take on the classic cruiser-racer, but with the emphasis on the ‘cruiser’.
“If the balance was the other way it would have a more aggressive fit-out of the interior,” he explained. As it is, some of the weight can be shed – the teak decks, for example; this 200kg luxury is the equivalent of having four people on the rail.
For a couple of hours before the wind mysteriously vanished, conditions proved ideal – a 10-13 knot breeze under full sail over flat water. I am unashamedly fond of the hull shape of the 41.
The helm doesn’t load up with wind pressure; rather heel just keeps increasing. Once past a certain sweet spot, though, the effect has a negative impact on speed. It is easy to become comfortable with too much heel because the beam provides stability and the twin rudders give real traction. Humphreys remarked that an Azuree should be sold with an inclinometer – and its easy to see why, as you can sail at over 20° heel without even trying.
I found she responded better when sailed more like a multihull – keep the bow down and get the apparent breeze up before trying to point. By keeping the traveller up and easing the mainsheet a little to get some twist in the main, the Azuree felt freer.
As a consequence, with a little less heel, the speed upwind rose from the low sevens up to 7.5 knots. Sacrifice another 5 to 10º pointing and this quickly rises to 8 knots.
And there is certainly potential to get better performance out of her by adding the designed roach into the main, for example. The test boat also had approximately 500kg of extras, which could potentially be removed, including the teak decks already mentioned, certain lockers and the bathing platform.
Unfortunately by the time we hoisted the gennaker off Adalar island the wind had dropped right away, so we were denied the offwind blast I’d been looking forward to.
Stiff and stable ride
The 41 is a fun boat to sail, responsive and light on the wheel. She has a relatively narrow waterline beam and high ballast ratio and the result is a stiff and stable ride. When she is heeled, foot chocks lift for the helmsman to brace on – a useful addition.
The diameter of the wheels could be a few inches wider, however, both to allow you to sit out properly – wide side decks mean it’s too far to sit comfortably against the rail and still hold a wheel – and to prevent your knuckles catching on the pedestal.
The best helming position I found was to straddle the wheel, which allows you to steer and trim. Unfortunately, the traveller set-up on this boat was, to put it bluntly, terrible – but I was told this was the choice of the owner for this first boat and not standard.
In my books it still should never have been fitted as it doesn’t allow for adjustment under load – only from deck level and from forward of the track – useless when heeled and sailing upwind.
A traveller that utilises the full beam, with control lines on a swivel cleat or led to cam cleats near deck level, would be a marked improvement. Harken deck gear is standard on future models.
For those who would prefer a more cruiser-friendly cockpit set-up, a mainsheet arch over the companionway is also an option. It would be good to see Dyneema used as standard for the running rigging, as our polyester lines stretched continually during the test – a small upgrade, but one that would be more in keeping with the performance credentials of this cruiser-racer.
Well sorted interior
With the 41 the concern for Sirena will be whether it is actually stealing potential customers away from its own 46. There is little to choose between the models. The 41 has three cabins with an optional second heads and the aft cabins are a similar size to those of the 46. Plus an offset forward berth helps to make the 41 feel voluminous below.
Sirena says that the lessons it learned from the 46 were more functional than aesthetic. A lot of after sales research was conducted to try to eliminate future problems. For instance, there was a water drainage issue on the deck of the 46, which was sorted at the design stage of the 41.
The Azuree 41 uses a carbon-reinforced spider frame, designed to absorb keel and rig loads. The admirable engineering is an example of Sirena’s focus on quality, which is now beginning to pay dividends – the 41 looks and feels like a higher end product than models from the mass-production yards that compete with it on price.
The comfort of the interior shows the emphasis clearly lies with the cruising brief of this cruiser-racer. Styled by Studio Spadolini, it is bright and smart, with a pale trim, lots of natural light and good headroom carried forward to the forward cabin bulkhead. The standard finish is in oak with options of walnut and teak. Understated, it is an interior that lets the quality of finish do the talking.
The outboard-facing navstation adjoining the after part of the saloon berth, the longitudinal galley and offset forward berth all help to create a generous impression of space. Examples of smart detailing include the indirect lighting, headlining with grabrails inset, alloy hinges and door handles.
The engine room has solid mesh sound and heat insulation as used by much larger yachts – a cut above the norm. There is access to the Jefa steering gear through the aft cabin bulkheads. The wire linkage to the quadrants is kept to a minimum; the latter are linked by a bar, but each can be operated independently.
This is a versatile 40-footer, a stiff, powerful yet manageable design, blessed with high levels of quality control. She will suit both family and performance cruisers and appeal to an owner who likes to race occasionally. The Azuree provides an enjoyable ride, which keeps things interesting by making you work out how best to sail her.
Sirena Marine has once again upped its game with weight control and finish quality without undue impact on the price.
In the past potential buyers might not have wanted to take on the risk of a relatively new Turkish brand. But through its mass production of automotive parts, Sirena is establishing itself as a composite expert on a global level. An Azuree is one tier up on quality over what might be suggested by the price, employing pedigree design and engineering.
Sirena has continued to polish and refine tirelessly so this 41 has taken on that brilliance that the Azuree name suggests.
Specifications: Azuree 41
LOA: 12.50m (41ft 0in)
LWL: 11.58m (38ft 0in)
Beam (max): 3.93m (12ft 11in)
Draught: 2.40m (7ft 10in)
Disp (lightship): 8,375kg (18,464lb)
Ballast: 3,145kg (6,933lb)
Sail area (100% foretriangle): 93.5sq m (1,006sq ft)
Engine: 39hp (29.11kW) Yanmar saildrive
Water: 300lt (66gal)
Fuel: 150lt (33gal)
Sail area:disp 23.1
Price ex VAT: €185,000 (£154,995)
Design: Humphreys Yacht Design