Rupert Holmes takes a look at the new Grand Soleil 72 Performance, which picks design characteristics from top racers to improve performance
The gorgeous new Italian designed Grand Soleil 72 Performance blends excellent performance that’s optimised for Mediterranean sailing with a very spacious and comfortable interior.
The sleek lines and low-profile coachroof have a timeless elegance, yet the hull shape embodies the latest design knowledge, without unnecessary nods to temporary fashion.
“The target was to take advantage of as many aspects of today’s hull shapes as possible to improve performance and also to create a yacht with lots of volume for very comfortable accommodation,” Grand Soleil 72 Performance designer Matteo Polli tells us.
“The hull shape is different to what we’ve seen in the past,” he adds. “It’s very wide, which gives enough volume for the interior of this boat to be a key feature, but the waterline beam is narrow.”
In conjunction with rounded underwater sections this gives the least possible wetted surface area for the target displacement of 30 tonnes. Performance in light airs is therefore optimised, which reduces time spent on passage under engine.
In stronger winds, once the boat starts to heel the high form stability generated by the wide maximum beam comes into play. Polli adds: “there’s a huge amount of stability at 20° of heel.”
Despite the Grand Soleil 72 Performance being optimised for lighter conditions he expects it to sail efficiently to windward with three reefs in the mainsail and a small staysail in 40 knots of true wind. This heavy weather ability should prove reassuring, whether sailing in the strong winds of the Bonifacio Strait between Corsica and Sardinia, or crossing oceans.
The mast is positioned further aft than is traditional, which allows for an efficient and easily handled choice of headsails, including two sizes of heavy weather staysail, in the same manner as for IMOCA 60s.
The decision to draw a plumb bow, rather than a fashionable reverse bow, was a design choice driven by a desire to maximise the length of the foretriangle. “A longer J measurement reduces the centre of effort for a given sail area,” Polli explains. This allows the boat to be pushed harder when racing or sailed at more comfortable angles of heel when cruising.
The in-demand Italian designer, who previously worked with Maurizio Cossutti and Italia Yachts, was also keen that this boat should have a single rudder. It’s placed well forward, as with TP52s, so operates clear of the disturbed water near the transom, and won’t tend to lift out of the water when the boat heels. Its efficiency is therefore maintained even when the boat is well pressed. A useful bonus is that this also allows for a larger tender garage on the Grand Soleil 72 Performance.
Construction is of advanced composites with the aim of producing a very light but stiff structure. This allows for the unavoidable weight of the systems and tankage that are needed to make life on board comfortable, without creating a yacht that’s too heavy for good performance. Lifting and telescopic keel options are available in addition to the conventional standard keel that has a potentially unwieldy 3.7m draught.
As standard Nauta Design has produced an owner forward four cabin/four heads arrangement with an open full-width saloon and large galley aft on the port side. Customisation is possible, while build quality and the standard of fit-out are intended to match superyacht standards.
Grand Soleil 72 Performance specifications
LOA: 23.75m / 77ft 10in
Hull length: 22.00m / 72ft 2in
LWL: 19.84m / 65ft 0in
Maximum beam: 6.20m / 20ft 4in
Draught (standard keel): 3.70m / 12ft 1in
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