Najad 44AC

by BWS Staff

Blue Water Sailing
August 2004


 

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This Swedish import has all the room and all the quality you need for a world cruise Najad 511

The new flagship of the Najad fleet, designed by Judel, Vrolijk & Co. and built by Najad in Sweden, is a trim 51-footer that has all the makings of a great liveaboard ocean-going home. While 50 feet used to be considered somewhat extravagant in the cruising fleet, today boats of this size are becoming ever more common. In fact, the difference in comfort, seakeeping and speed between a 40-footer and a 50-footer is really a quantum leap so cruisers who can afford to go larger are doing so.

Last summer BWS sailed the new Najad 373 (see our review in the August 2003 edition) and came away impressed by the quality of the design, the excellence of the construction and detail work and by the boat’s terrific sailing qualities.

The new 511, which stretches all the concepts in the 373 and the rest of the Najad line to new lengths, promises to live up to the potential of the smaller boats. A center-cockpit masthead sloop with plenty of sail area, the new boat has pleasing overhangs, bow and stern, a fairly flat sheer and a low, unobtrusive coach roof. While it is easier to make a boat look sleek at 50 feet than at 40, particularly a center-cockpit design, the 511 also picks up her air of performance from the open areas of deck space and her tall rig. This is obviously a boat designed and built to sail well.

Judel, Vrolijk & Co. have a wellearned reputation for designing racing boats that win around the buoysand offshore. Better known in Europe than in North America, the firm ranks with Bruce Farr and German Frers in the highest echelons of performance racing and cruising design.

BWS has not yet had a chance to sail the new 511, but, as noted, we have sailed her little sister (373) and found it to be surprisingly nimble and swift and a real joy to handle. That the 37-footer achieved 8 knots under working sail while broad reaching in 12 knots of sea breeze went a long way to cement our admiration for the boat and her designers.

The 511 gains all the benefits of a long waterline and a sleek hull. With a 43-foot, six-inch waterline, she will have plenty of legs on her and should be able to maintain high average speeds and great daily runs offshore.

Her non-dimensional numbers tell a lot about the 511’s performance characteristics. The sail area-to-displacement ratio, which measures the balance of sail power to hull weight and therefore resistance, is a handsome 18.6. When considering this ratio, numbers over 20 usually indicate a powered-up cruiser or a racing boat while numbers below 15 describe an under canvassed boat with a heavier than average displacement. The 511’s SA/D is higher than many cruising boats in her class and indicates that the designers and builder set out to emphasize performance in a wide range of conditions.

The displacement-to-length ratio gives us an indication of the boat’s relative displacement and therefore its ability to sail well in various conditions. The ratio also gives us a general benchmark for how comfortable a boat will be in a seaway. Quite a few years ago, respected cruising boat designer Ted Brewer wrote that he considered a D/L of 250 to be about right for a cruising boat since it described a boat that had a moderate displacement for a given length and thus would offer a good combination of comfort and speed. These days the average D/L among new cruising boats has fallen as boats have gotten lighter and constructiontechniques have improved. The 511’s D/L of 227 is now about average and is moderate in all ways. The boat has been designed to be comfortable first and fast second.

Note that the 511 can be had with either a seven-foot, 10-inch draft or a six-foot, eight-inch draft, neither of which are what would be considered “shoal” in the U.S. While drafts of this depth may make gunkholing in the Chesapeake Bay or the Bahamas slightly challenging, the deep fin keels do add both to the boats’ stability under a press of sail and its ability to sail effectively upwind.

When you run the new 511’s numbers through a performance prediction program you can see that the sum of all her design attributes translate into a cruising boat that really sails well. In breezes under 10 knots, when heavy displacement cruising boats will be motoring to maintain a decent speed, the 511 will be able to sail upwind at six knots or more and will broad reach at more than seven knots. When the wind picks up to 16 knots, the boat will beam reach at more than 8.5 knots and will sail close hauled at 45 degrees off the true wind at better than seven knots. And, when the breeze gets up to 20 knots, the boat will edge up toward 10 knots on a broad reach and will charge to windward at close to eight knots.

The sail plan drawn by Judel, Vrolijk & Co. shows a three spreader masthead sloop configuration. The spreaders of the Seldén mast are swept back slightly and the shrouds lead to chainplates that are positioned inboard to allow narrow sheeting angles. The backstay is fitted with a hydraulic pump so you can flatten the main as the wind increases. And, the boom is equipped with a mechanical
vang that allows you to control the boom while reefing and furling and adjust the leech trim while sailing.

Najad specifies a slab-reefed, full-batten, tri-radial mainsail and a Seldén Furlex roller-furling system for the tri-radial working headsail. Other options are available. An inner forestay can be rigged, either as a traditional staysail or as a Solent stay, and either in-boom or in-mast
mainsail furling systems can be integrated into the sail plan.

ACCOMMODATIONS
The general plan laid out for the 511 shows a spacious saloon amidships with the master stateroom aft and two smaller staterooms forward. The boat has two heads, each with a separate shower stall.

As you descend the companionway ladder, you note that there are good handholds on both sides and that the interior volume of the saloon is not so large that you would be hurled around in a seaway. The angled chart table to starboard has a large desktop with ample storage for daily charts and cruising guides beneath. The electrical panel, which is hinged for easy access to the wiring harness behind it, is easily accessible from the navigator’s seat, and there is plenty of cabinet space for mounting navigational electronics.

The seating arrangement in the saloon allows six crew to sit around the table, three on the L-shaped bench settee and three in portable folding chairs. When sailing, the chairs can be stowed away in the hanging locker next to the companionway. Across from the dinette are two built-in easy chairs with a Vshaped table between them. Because the 511 is a semi-custom boat, owners can modify the saloon to a certain extent to suit their needs. For example, an owner who will be spending a lot of time on passage may choose to exchange the easy chairs to starboard with a bench settee and a pilot berth to accommodate off-watch crew aft of the mast.

The galley lies in the passageway that leads to the master stateroom aft and offers sea cooks plenty of counter space, a lot of storage and secure places to brace a hip when working in a seaway. The engine room under the cockpit is accessible from the galley or from the large sail locker on the starboard side of the cockpit.

The master stateroom aft sports a large centerline double berth that has night tables on both sides and a seat to port where one can sit down to tie shoes. There are two large hanging lockers and plenty of cabinet space for clothes. The master head is large and bright and has its own separate shower stall. The whole cabin is well ventilated with four portholes and an overhead deck hatch.

In the standard plan, two double cabins have been fit in neatly forward of the main bulkhead. The forward head lies to starboard with a tidy upper and lower cabin to port. A V-berth cabin is all the way forward. Both cabins have enough cabinet and hanging locker space for crew to live aboard for a while and offer enough privacy so that those sailing together will not always be underfoot.

The interior of the 511 is large enough for a family of four or two couples to cruise together for long periods. Also, for those who want to sail with permanent crew, the V-cabin forward offers a separate space that will suit a crew’s needs.

One of the aspects of the 511 that marks it as a cruising boat is the amount of belowdecks storage for gear. Way aft, both stern quarters house sail lockers that will be home to roll-up dinghies, outboard motors, diving equipment and much more.

Amidships, the starboard cockpit locker is huge and adjacent to the engine room. This will be the space for the generator, watermaker and other add-on systems. And there will still be enough room for sail bags and a few spare water or fuel containers.

All the way forward, the bow sections have been divided into three watertight compartments, with the chain locker in the bow and two large storage lockers aft of it. This combination of lockers means that the boat has built-in collision compartments and space for downwind sails, spare headsails, docking lines and fenders and all of the spare rigging parts one usually carries when heading to sea.

CONSTRUCTION AND ENGINEERING
The 511’s hull and deck are molded sandwich-cored construction with multiaxial fiberglass in ISO polyester resin. The gel coat is nonporous NGA resin that will inhibit
osmosis. To ensure that the hull remains dry, all areas below the waterline are coated with epoxy resin before
receiving antifouling paint. The hull and deck will provide good heat and sound insulation while offering the stiffest panel structures at the least weight.

The semi-balanced rudder hangs on a strong skeg so it is protected from a collision and can be fitted with a second bearing to ensure that it swings easily and freely in all conditions and over the long haul. The rudder is fiberglass with a stainless steel post-and-web frame.

The keel mounts externally, where it will absorb a grounding without endangering the fiberglass hull. The keel-hull joint is as massively constructed as you will find, and the keel boats all are reinforced inside the hull by the massive grid frames built into the hull.

The 511’s interior structures are anchored on a complex grid of floors that distribute stress and eliminate any twisting in the hull. The frames become home to the bulkheads and to the water and fuel tanks so that all major components can be tabbed in place. All tanks are constructed of acid resistant stainless steel for long life and a low probability of fouling.

The builder specif ies a 100- horsepower four-cylinder Yanmar turbo diesel as the main auxiliary. This lives in the engine room beneath the center cockpit, where it is easy
to work on from both sides. The engine has a mechanical reverse drive and a 2.63 to 1 reduction gear that turns a three-bladed folding propeller. The stern gland is a water-cooled rubber bearing.

The engine room is well insulated and the engine itself is mounted on soft rubber mounts. Additionally, the engine is fitted with a soft shaft coupler that removes the vibration from misalignment. All told, the engine will run very quietly and will produce as little vibration as possible.

The boat’s 24-volt electrical system is built around a high-output engine- driven alternator and a 290 amphour
battery bank (580 at 12 volts). The system comes with a 12-volt converter for instruments and with a 110/240-volt AC battery charger for shore supply and both volt and ampere meters.

All house and instrument wiring runs in conduit where it can be fished and serviced, for the most part, without removing furniture. The whole electrical system is grounded to a full hull-bonding system and controlled via two high-grade main switches.

The 511 comes with a long list of standard equipment including two bilge pumps, three fire extinguishers, two propane gas bottles, Raymarine ST60 sailing instruments and much more.

BWS THOUGHTS
This is the second Najad BWS has reviewed in the past 12 months, so it is fair to say that these Swedish- built cruising boats have caught our attention. We have found the
boats to be extremely well built, comprehensively fitted out and equipped, and carefully prepared for the rigors
of the sea.

The interiors are comfortable and elegant but at the same time seamanlike and safe at sea. One could easily imagine living aboard the 511 for long periods.

Under sail, the 511 should follow in the footsteps of earlier Najad designs by Judel, Vrolijk & Co. by sailing well in a wide range of wind and sea conditions, by being nimble
around the docks and easy for a couple to handle.

For those considering a centercockpit cruiser in this size range, the Najad 511 should be on the short list.

LOA 50'4" (15.5 m.)
LWL 43'6" (13.4 m.)
Draft 7'10"/6'8" (2.4/2.0 m.)
Beam 14'8" (4.5 m.)
Air draft 72'8" (22.2 m.)
Displ. 41,800 lbs. (19 tonnes)
Ballast 13,860 lbs. (6.3 tonnes)
Sail area 1,382 sq. ft. (128 sq. m.)
SA/D 18.6
D/L 227
Water 164 gals. (630 l.)
Fuel 160 gals. (615 l.)
Price $787,000 (U.S.)
Scandinavian Yachts, Inc.
40 Mary St.
Newport, RI 02840
Ph: 401-846-8442

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