France is undoubtedly one of the homelands of sailing. Monohull or multihull, every year the French shipyards present models that are successful all over the world. This is why we decided to select our top 15 French sailboats (and catamarans) for 2022; we choose them between the new ones and the slightly older ones. And you? What’s your favorite model?
Top 15 French sailboats for 2022: monohulls
The Allures 51.9 innovates with its full-beam aft owner’s cabin. This model disrupts the codes of the yard also outside with its cockpit of 6 meters long with sunbath and swim platform for comfort; the navigation space can be protected by a hardtop to navigate in any security. The boat has a length of 51.9 feet (15.8 meters) and a beam (width) of 15.4 feet (4.7 meters). It is equipped with a fixed keel and a composite hull, which provides good stability and seaworthiness. The Allures 51.9 is available in a variety of configurations, including a three-cabin layout with a spacious owner’s cabin and two guest cabins, or a two-cabin layout with a larger owner’s cabin and a smaller guest cabin. It is also equipped with a well-equipped galley, a large saloon, and a navigation station. The boat is designed to be comfortable and easy to handle, with a simple sail plan and a self-tacking jib. The Allures 51.9 is a popular choice for sailors looking for a high-quality, reliable, and seaworthy yacht for extended cruising. Allures official website.
With this 15-meter unit, the La Rochelle shipyard opens the Amel concept to a new category of clients, thanks to more accessible dimensions. While they are not abandoning the emblematic ketch design of the La Rochelle shipyard, Amel has chosen the sloop for this unit. However, this is not a new format as such, as a number of sloops have already left the shipyard in the past. Among the innovations on this new model, the choice of a straight, powerful bow is a break from the shipyard’s habits. The waterline is extended to improve performance, making the front part of the boat more spacious. The addition of a bowsprit makes it possible to tack an additional sail such as an asymmetric spinnaker or a code-0. Amel official website.
Beneteau First 36
The Beneteau First 36 has a mission to bridge the gap between high-tech development in the world of racing and mainstream racer-cruisers. To be specific, even the standard version of First 36 will fully plane in a moderate breeze. Positioning six winches, steering wheels, and other deck gear was thoroughly tested on several mock-ups and a full-scale testbed sailboat to enable the sailing experience promised on the previous page.
Details like an offshore hatch on the foredeck or removable cockpit benches show the priority of sailing functionality over style used throughout the design process. Standard aluminium rig and cast iron keel were chosen to keep the boat accessible. Yet, Sam Manuard brought his experience and focused on perfecting the shape and design of these two key ingredients for a great sailing experience. The draft of 2,25 m was chosen as a compromise between performance and ease of use. Beneteau official website.
The new Dufour 32, designed by Umberto Felci, has been developed in the same spirit as all the latest models in the Dufour range: it’s a sporty, innovative yacht that is easy to handle, both with a crew and single-handed. All the spaces have been completely redesigned to create a multitude of playful and intelligent uses. For the first time on a 32-foot sailboat, you can now enjoy an aft sunbathing area … sheltered by a fabric shade that can be adjusted in moments. The inflatable and removable aft door of the cockpit folds down to complete this large friendly space. Dufour official website.
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 380
Designed by naval architect Marc Lombard with interior styling by Piaton Bercault, the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 380 complete with the award-winning walk-around deck, follows the same design trend of its predecessors the Sun Odyssey 410, 440, and 490. On the interior, while the design features the hallmarks of this line, careful consideration was given to the perception of space and the simplification of lines, with the objective of creating sensations of peace and calm. Jeanneau official website.
For this fast cruising yacht, the shipyard has once again entrusted the Finot-Conq naval architecture firm to apply the very successful design of the Pogo 36 to a larger model. As for the hull, the Pogo 44 features a wide, chine hull, which guarantees high performance in planning and comfort when sailing at all speeds. The bow has a large volume, which is reminiscent of the Pogo 3. The keel of the Pogo 44, still made with a vacuum infused Monolithic Fiberglass veil and a lead ballast, receives the same hydraulic system as the Pogo 12.50 or Pogo 50. Pogo official website.
The French yard is well known not only among ocean sailors but also to those who love short-handed sailing and are looking for seaworthy and easily driven boats, both safe and comfortable. This last aspect is where Fora Marine has made great progress in the last few years, shedding some of the spartan image that characterized their products for many years.
What has not changed, and what is still the RM range’s defining characteristic, is the twin-chined hull, made of Okumé plywood impregnated with epoxy resin (the deck is in fiberglass sandwich). Below the hull, the yard offers two options, a single deep keel or double shoal draft keels. The RM are designed by Marc Lombard, probably one of the architects most able to transform the fashionable chine into an important element in cruising design. A chined hull, when properly drawn, gives both better hull shape and interior volumes. RM Yachts official website.
Top 15 French sailboats for 2022: catamarans
The new Bali 4.4 offers interesting living spaces, both inside and outside. With an optimized sail plan, sailing should gain in performance. The French shipyard is constantly developing its range and, after the 5.4, the fleet’s flagship, and the recent 4.2 and 4.6, the Bali 4.4 joins this renewed family. The Bali 4.4 replaces the 4.3 and 4.5 from the Bali catamaran range. With the same origins (designer Olivier Poncin, architect Xavier Fay and Lasta Design for the interiors) the Bali 4.4 has the DNA of the last models with slender bows, a silhouette lightened by the presence of long hull portholes and vast living spaces. The latter are divided between the spacious rigid forward cockpit between the two hulls, the flying bridge with its saloon and solarium, and finally the tilt-and-turn door joining together the cockpit and saloon. Bali official website.
Excess 15 (bluewater sailing configuration)
The bluewater sailing configuration of the Excess 15 consists of twin Deep Blue 50 kW electric saildrives in cooperation with ZF, two Deep Blue high-capacity lithium-ion BMW i3 batteries, and a full energy management system for harvesting green energy and charging the boat’s batteries while underway. On the yacht’s long test sail, the hydro generation system easily provided enough electricity to power one hundred percent of the onboard hotel loads at a cruising speed of seven to eight knots. Adding solar photovoltaics, planned for phase two of the Excess 15 with Deep Blue Hybrid project, will extend the system’s range and provide even more hybrid power and comfort on board. Excess Catamarans official website.
Fountaine Pajot Isla 40
The 12m Isla 40 embodies the spirit of French yard Fountaine Pajot and is distinguished by invigorating lines. The catamaran features inverted bows and a particular saloon where the chart table is accessible from the entrance. Her performance is complemented by optimal liveability with the option of three or four double cabins plus the possibility of a skipper’s cabin if required. Olivier Racoupeau Yacht Design, in collaboration with the engineers at Fountaine Pajot, has designed this new model, taking inspiration from the strengths of the other models in the range, and giving this 40-foot catamaran even more space and storage. Fountaine Pajot official website.
Garcia Explocat 52
The Garcia Explocat 52 is custom made with aluminum hulls and structures and fiberglass composite deck roofs. Aluminum shipbuilding has been Garcia’s strength for over 40 years. In Normandy (France), the Garcia shipyard has built more than 300 monohulls, catamarans, and trawlers up to 102 feet in length. Garcia Explocat 52 is specially designed for owners who want to walk in high latitudes and / or in the tropics. In addition to the three versions offered, the aluminum structure allows the yard to customize the yacht to meet all the expectations of the owner. Available in 3 or 4 cabin versions, each Explocat 52 is uniquely adapted to fit your cruising dreams. Garcia Yachts official website.
With nearly 6,000 units produced since the French shipyard began in 1987, Lagoon remains by far the world leader in the multihull market. To celebrate this international success, the shipyard launched last year the Lagoon 55. Designed by the VPLP team on the naval architecture side, this 16.56-meter long and 9-meter wide multihull was designed by Patrick le Quément for the exterior and Nauta Design for the interior. This 55’ model is equipped with an extra-large 25 m2 (269 sq ft) cockpit, including a large dining area; two large loungers at the stern, a comfortable deck chair in the shade of the roof; as well as a bar area perfectly equipped to ensure comfort on board. Lagoon official website.
Nautitech 40 Open
The redesigned roof enhances the streamlined silhouette and “Open Concept” of this award-winning yacht. The remodeled structure with large windows has optimized the helmsman’s 360-degree view from both helm stations. A skylight window in the cockpit roof provides the helmsman a clear view of the mainsail’s trim. The lounge area with a U-shaped sofa can now be found on the port side. And for those who don’t want to lose touch with the office on long trips, a desk can be included in the lounge area, if so desired. Nautitech official website.
The Outremer 55, a liveaboard catamaran, is easy to maneuver, whether short-handed or even solo. The Outremer 55 features twin helms but they can be switched from on deck in a new double helm seat with full outdoor visibility for fun sailing, or switched down into the cockpit for fully protected sailing in bad conditions. The Outremer’s design team from VPLP have used CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) to reduce drag ad forward resistance, while allowing for higher carrying capacity hen blue water cruising. At just 13.5t and combined sail area of 172 sm (Mainsail & Genoa) sailing in light winds will be a joy, but if needed the twin 60hp diesel motors are ready to engage. Outremer official website.
Windelo 50 Adventure
Designed in partnership with the architects Christophe Barreau and Frédéric Neuman, this fast blue-water cruising catamaran features an electric propulsion system that includes great hydro-generation facilities, solar panels, and the possibility to work under generator when it’s a necessity. With the development of an eco-composite in basalt fiber and PET foam, this is definitely an eco-friendly boat. Behind the mast, the forward cockpit has two helm stations protected from the wind and spray, a good view of the sails and the bows, and all the running rigging at hand. At anchor, the cockpit can be well protected from the elements and opens up to the stern. The self-tacking facilitates maneuvers also with limited crew; the lifting daggerboards are placed at the center of the hull to optimize their hydrodynamic performance. Windelo official website.
So, this is the selection of our top 15 French sailboats (and catamarans) for 2022. And you? What’s your favorite model?