Originally published in BWS in January 2016.
The morning after the Annapolis Sailboat Show that we got to go for a test sail of the 40.3, the breeze was light and the sky overcast above the Chesapeake Bay. Aboard with us that morning was the North American distributor, Slavek Krolikiewicz, and the new dealers in the Mid-Atlantic region Jack and Sharon Malatich of S&J Yachts.
We fired up the 55-hp. diesel engine and eased the boat out of her slip at the Port Annapolis Marina. The engine was quiet and the vibration in the cockpit sole minimal. In reverse, the 40.3 handled very well as the big spade rudder bit the water and spun the bow around with alacrity.
We motored down Back Creek and out into Annapolis Harbor and the Bay. Once clear of the channel we put the throttle down and were happy to see that the 40.3 will make close to eight knots at maximum revs and will cruise at a comfortable 6.5 knots at cruising revs of 2200 rpms. At cruising speed and in flat water, the engine will burn approximately half a gallon per hour, which translates into a safe cruising range, with 55 gallons of fuel in the tanks, of over 600 miles. That’s comforting to know.
The design has a seven eighths rig with a large full battened mainsail. We hoisted the main and then fell off the light breeze and rolled out the genoa. The main traveler sits on the cabintop forward of the companionway, so it is out of the cockpit and not in anyone’s way. The main sheet runs to a line stopper and winch on the port side of the cabintop where you will also find halyards and control lines.
The cockpit is comfortable but not overly large. The five of us onboard that day fit in the cockpit easily while underway and we were able to trim the main and genoa easily without feeling crowded in any way.
The wind was hovering around five to seven knots, not really enough to give the boat a serious sea trial. But, in the light breeze, we were able to get her going and get a sense of her balance and speed potential.
The boat we sailed had the twin-wheel option and the shoal draft keel option. Hard on the wind you could sit to leeward in the cockpit to get a good view of the telltales on the genoa and trailing edge of the main. Hard on the wind, the 40.3 will sail at about 28 degrees to the apparent wind and has an easy groove when the main is trimmed right. With the smaller genoa, the boat tacks easily and held her speed well through the tacks despite the wind being fairly light.
The 40.3 was designed by Andrzej Skrzat and has a pleasing and traditional look. With a long waterline, easy sections below the water and efficient foils, the boat feels fast and nimble. The design’s non-dimensional ratios tell a lot about her design profile. Her length to beam ratio is a modest 2.8, so she is relatively narrow and therefore more easily driven than boats with more massive beams.
The displacement to length ratio of 178 falls in the mid-range of modern production cruisers and indicates that at 18,960 pounds of displacement, the boat will have a solid motion in a seaway and stand up well in a blow. Regarding her sailing horsepower, the boat’s sail area to displacement ratio is 15.41, which is again in the mid-range for production cruisers and indicates that the rig will be well rounded for easy, fast sailing in a wide range of conditions. All in all, the design of the 40.3 is sensible for a cruising couple who want good high average cruising speeds without the jerky motion of a lightweight speedster.
We put the 40.3 through a series of tacks and then played with sailing angles downwind. It was a shame we did not have a spinnaker that morning, since the boat would have been a lot of fun to sail in the light stuff with a big kite up.
After an hour of sailing we motored back to the marina and slipped her into her docks without any fuss or bother. Both undersail and power, the 40.3 handles very well and is fun, fast and surefooted.
The 40.3 can be configured with the standard deep fin keel with a bulb that draws seven feet, five inches and the high aspect spade rudder.This version will offer the best sailing qualities and is vprobably a good choice for offshore sailing. Or, it can have a shoal cruising fin keel with a bulb that draws five feet, 11 inches. Or, an owner can opt for the swing keel version that draws only three feet, four inches with the keel raised and six feet, five inches with the keel all the way down. The swing keel version has twin rudders that will allow it to dry out on a beach without tipping over and will give the boat a very positive steering capability underway. For the Chesapeake Bay, southern New England or the Bahamas, the swing keel version looks very attractive.
The 40.3 has six arrangement plans to choose from that allow you to select a layout that fits your specific needs.
The simplest layout and one that will appeal to couples who often cruise alone and occasionally invite friends and family aboard will be the two cabin layout with two heads and the galley aft. This provides for a good seagoing galley and plenty of storage in the large port cockpit locker.
But you can opt for a layout with two cabins aft and two heads. This three cabin layout will work for families with children or couples who like to sail with multiple friends aboard. The three cabin layout has the galley running fore and aft on the starboard side.
For those who want to run a charter or excursion program, the boat can be modified to have four separate cabins and two heads. The fourth cabin is tucked into the boat forward and to port and shares the forepeak with a double cabin with a V berth.
All of the designs have a large dinette in the saloon to port that is a full U-shape in the two cabin versions and is more of an L-shape in the three and four cabin versions.
The interior fit and finish of the 40.3 and all of the Delphia boats is to the highest standards among production boats. There are several wood finishes available from a traditional mahogany or teak to lighter colored verneers. With large windows on both sides, large skylights at the forward end of the saloon and numerous opening hatches and ports, the boat is bright inside, even with the darker wood finishes and has excellent ventilation.
Storage spaces and lockers have been well thought out with family cruising in mind so there are plenty of places for clothes and all of the gear you bring with you when you head off sailing for a few weeks or months at a time.
The Delphia 40.3 has been in production for several years and has proven to be a boat that fits the needs of many different sailors with different sailing styles. Circumnavigators have chosen the 40.3 for their adventures because the boat is solidly built and is such a capable long distance passagemaker. And coastal sailors who only sail a few miles each weekend have found the boat fits their needs very well, too.
Built using advanced infusion techniques and modern coring materials in the topsides and deck, the boat is stiff, durable and up to the rigors of the sea.
A very attractive player in the mid-size range of the cruising market, the Delphia 40.3 offers a lot in a handy size-package and turns out to be an excellent value, too. This is not just another cookie cutter cruiser. This is a boat that you can tailor to your own needs and then sail to the ends of the earth.
Draft (deep) 7’5”
Draft (shoal) 5’11”
Draft (swing) 3’4”/6’5”
Displ. (std.) 18,960 lbs.
Ballast (std.) 6,085 lbs.
Sail area 685 sq. ft. (100%)
Water 80 gals.
Fuel 55 gals.
Waste 25 gals.
Mississauga, Ont. Canada
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