The new X-Yachts pure X4o was recently named the 2020 European Yacht of the Year by an international panel of journalists and judges. That is no small feat in a field crowded with many of the best known and best-selling brands in the world. But the new pure X4o is something very special.
By way of background, X-Yachts is a Danish boatbuilder that has been building performance cruising boats and pure performance boats for 40 years, now coming on 41. The boats are premium quality yachts and come to the market priced above the huge production builders in France and Germany. They are more in line with Scandinavian brands like Hallberg-Rally, Sweden Yachts and Najad, but with a performance edge.
There are three versions of X- Yachts, the pure X line of standard versions like the 4o, the XC luxury cruising line and the XP performance line. The X line has seven models from the 4o up to the 65-foot (with bowsprit) X65. The Performance line has four true racer cruisers and the Cruising line has three very high end, moderate displacement designs. Despite having 14 models, each boat fits the X-Yacht pedigree.
I was in Denmark a few years ago and sailed with the company’s president aboard his new XP44. It was a blustery, chilly fall day on the edge of the Kattegat between Denmark and Sweden so we got to see the XP experience in living color. The boat was easy to sail, very close winded and lightning fast for a boat full of handsome furniture.
The brand new X4o shares the same pedigree but has not been tricked out as a racing boat or loaded with extra luxury like the XCs. The hull is thoroughly modern with a plumb bow and bowsprit, flat sheer and squared off transom with a large fold-down swim platform. The standard keel is a T-bulb which is pretty racy and very efficient. The rudder is a high-aspect spade with a tapered tip.
The hull and deck are cored, infused laminates, which are very light, stiff and strong. Since 2018, X-Yachts has been using only epoxy in their laminations so the boats are incredibly strong and absolutely impermeable to water. You’ll never see a blister or even a blemish on a modern X-Yacht. This build-technique means the hull and deck are lighter than normal composite so the boat can be given a heavier keel that in turn improves its stability and sail carrying capability, all of which means more speed and better sailing characteristics.
The heart of the boat’s engineering is the galvanized steel grid that runs down the middle of the hull. This incredibly robust structure takes all of the load from the keel beneath it and the compression of the big sailing rig and disperses it evenly. As far as I know, X-Yachts is the only builder that uses such a steel structure.
The X4o has a tall fractional sloop rig with a large mainsail and small headsails. The standard headsail is an 88-percent self-tacking jib with a track running across the foredeck forward of the mast. Genoa sheet tracks can be mounted on the cabin top that will work well with a 110-percent genoa. With either configuration, the boat will be simple and easy to tack.
The idea is that you will fly a large downwind sail from the bowsprit when reaching or sailing down wind and these could include a Code 0 on a furling device and a reacher or asymmetrical spinnaker on a top-down furler. X-Yachts are designed to be sailed most of the time and to sail fast on all angles.
The cockpit is a good size for a 40-footer but not overly large. It has twin wheels so you will always have a good view forward and of the sails. The bench seats are long enough to lie down on and with the leaves of the table folded up you can get six people seated for out-door meals. A cockpit dodger and a bimini over the helms will make for more protection from the weather.
Down below the X4o has either a two-cabin or three-cabin layout. In the two-cabin layout, there is a double quarter cabin to port and the head to starboard leaving room for a large sail locker under the starboard cockpit seat. In the three-cabin layout, there are two quarter cabins with the engine room between them. The master cabin is forward and has a center-line double and plenty of storage for living aboard.
The saloon has the L-shaped galley to port with the dinette in front of it and a bench settee across to starboard. In the two-cabin design, there is an aft-facing chart table to starboard, but it did not make the cut in the three-cabin design.
Denmark has long been famous for its modern design talents in all things from Lego to high-end furniture. X-Yachts is no exception, in fact it is one of the country’s finest example of design, engineering and technology. The interior finish of the X4o is simple, elegant, warm and very inviting. The standard boat comes with a handsome pale Nordic Oak finish in the veneers of bulkheads, drawers, cabinets and doors. It’s a traditional woody look but also timelessly modern. Teak veneers are an optional extra.
The new X4o is the smallest of the pure X line yet it is still an elegant performance cruiser that will turn heads and always show her rivals her handsome transom as she sails away. For a couple or family that loves high quality, great design and superior sailing performance, the new X40 will fit the bill. All of which is why the boat won the 2020 European Boat of the Year Award.