BOAT REVIEW Sasga Menorquín 34 HT

February 2022 Launch Reviews
Words, photography and video by Roger Mills.
OUR RATING
4 STARS
Performance
Economy
Handling
Value
Build Quality
Specification
MODEL DETAILS
MODEL Sasga Menorquín 34 HT
DESIGNER Menorquín Yachts
BUILDER Menorquín Yachts
PRICE AS TESTED $860,000
SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 10.03M
BEAM 3.8M
DRAFT 1.1M
DISPLACEMENT 9000kg
ENGINE 2 x Volvo Penta D4-270
FUEL CAPACITY 650L
WATER CAPACITY 350L
Maximum Speed 24 knots
Cruise Speed 12-19 knots
ACCOMMODATION two cabins

Occasionally you see a boat that makes a memorable impression, as happened to Ernest Henshaw a few years ago.


He and his wife were motoring laboriously to windward in big seas and high winds off the west coast of Sardinia in their Swan 53 when another vessel appeared off their port beam making what looked like double their 8-knot speed. Surprisingly, and very memorably for Ernest, it was handling the conditions with aplomb – as sure and steady in the nasty short seas as a substantial keeler and unlike any 54-foot motorboat Ernest had ever seen.
That motor yacht was a Menorquín 54.

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A few days later in the next marina, Ernest pulled into a berth alongside a smaller Menorquín 39 and after the owner helped them safely tie up, he invited the Henshaws aboard to have a look.
Impressed with the build quality, and the obvious sea keeping ability of the design, Ernest decided to find out more about Sasga Yachts and the Menorquín range of boats.
With their sailing adventures in the Mediterranean completed, future boating would be based in the Marlborough Sounds where they have a property with water access only. Having previously owned two high-powered sportfishing-style cruisers, after twenty years, now was the time to change.


Ernest started looking for a secondhand Menorquin in Spain, but couldn’t find one in the condition he wanted, so decided he would buy a new one.
Those discussions led to him taking the agency for Sasga Yachts in New Zealand. Bruce McGill, who was with Riviera NZ for over 20 years, came in as a partner in the company, called European Marine Imports Ltd.

Sasga Yachts
Sasga Yachts are based in Menorca, one of the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain.
The original design of the Sasga Menorquín range was informed by the island’s traditional fishing boats, known as llaüts. Developed over centuries, these traditional fishing boats are famous for handling the Mediterranean’s short, sharp seas. Having operated for four decades, the design has been modernised to incororate the best new developments in production moulding, hull optimisation and technology.


The range includes boat lengths of 34, 42, 54 and 68 feet. The three larger models come in both hardtop and flybridge configurations.
The hulls are built to European CE category A: Ocean rating.
Sasga Yachts offer customisation options on their vessels in terms of layout, choice of materials and finishing packages.

Menorquín 34 HT
The Menorquín 34 is the first model to arrive in New Zealand, Ernest’s own boat. Our boat test was undertaken out of Waikawa Marina in Queen Charlotte Sound in perfect weather – great for getting pictures of the boat in picturesque bays, but not ideal for testing her heavy weather handling characteristics. However, Ernest had an opportunity to test this aspect of the boat’s handling during his crossing of Cook Strait from Mana Marina near Wellington to the boat’s new home in Waikawa.
Since I was down near Wellington for my family Christmas on the day Ernest left Mana, I was lucky to get a picture of the boat motoring out past Mana Island in heavy whitecaps.


Here is Ernest’s email report of the trip:
“It had been blowing 50-plus knots NW Monday and Tuesday and was still 24 gusting 29 at The Brothers as we crossed the Strait. Add to that a mid-tide current running north and we had a pretty interesting sea state.
For 34 feet, it is an amazing little boat! We held 9 knots all the way to Tory (except occasionally when coming off a wave and seeing 13-14 knots).”
This was a good first-up run for the boat, testing it in the harshest conditions it is likely to encounter.

Layout
Arriving at the marina the boat stood out with her unique style: rounded transom corners and the duckboard extending out like a lip – it looks integrated with the hull.


High topsides provide a generous bulwark and safety rail, making walking forward on the side deck very secure. Wide teak cap rails give it a solid feel and quality appearance.
The rear deck has teak flooring and curved cockpit seats. A small rear door to starboard gives access to the duckboard.
The boarding ladder is currently not in the best location for starboard boarding from a marina berth and will be replaced with one hung under the boarding platform.


The size of the rear deck/cockpit is generous and it is mostly covered by the extended cabin top, which has a lovely varnished teak lining, providing good shade for anyone relaxing outside.
The boat carries its beam well forward at deck level, giving generous foredeck space and good access to the anchor winch.
The Lofrans anchor winch is situated beside a timber figurehead post. This is a nod to the fishing design heritage of the boats, along with the timber light post on the cabin top.
Integrated seats built into the stem rail are a nice touch, providing a comfortable resting place forward.
Moving inside from the rear deck through teak doors, the boat opens up to a generous main saloon, galley and helm station on the port side.


The saloon table can be lowered and covered with a squab to form an extra berth.
The galley to port has a two-burner gas hob, isotherm electric fridge with ice box and the usual cupboard and drawer storage.
The floor is teak and holly with furniture and trim finished in White Oak Decape. The saloon roof lining has a gloss finish, reflecting light around the cabin from the generous windows. Easy to clean as well! Headroom is a very generous 1.96m and a pair of overhead hatches above the helm let in more light, as well as fresh air. They are furnished with sunscreen covers.


Two comfortable cabins and a head with a shower are accessed via the companionway steps forward.
In the bow there’s a generous double cabin with hanging lockers on both sides, hull windows, cabin ports and an overhead hatch – plenty of options for ventilation and light. The wide beam forward is evident here with great access around the side of the bed.
Again, the tall hull provides generous headroom here as well.
To starboard are two berths tucked in under the main saloon across the hull. The timber wall panelling is light in colour, and together with the recessed lights, it provides a nice ambience. Storage lockers include a hanging locker and there’s a useful bench located along one side.
There is headroom enough to stand and comfortable dress in the entry to the guest cabin, but sitting room only on the beds.
An electric toilet, vanity and shower are located to port in a well finished single enclosure that makes maximum use of the space available.

Helm station
The helm station is on the port side forward of the galley. It enjoys good visibility though all-around windows and aft through the cabin’s folding rear doors. A Raymarine 12-inch MFD takes pride of place in the centre of the instrument panel. Engine revolutions, temperature and oil pressure are displayed by analogue dials on either side, which show key data from the twin 270hp Volvo Penta diesels.


Twin throttle controls fall readily to hand above and to port of the nice timber steering wheel.
Digital gauges cover the autopilot, anchor winch rode counter with switches for the windscreen wiper and washer controls.
To port of the panel is the Zipwake trimtab control, along with the bow thruster and VHF radio below, with the Fusion stereo to the right.
The hardtop supports the radar, AIS and VHF aerials – the vessel is well equipped for gloomy days with poor visibility.

Performance
The Menorquín 34 HT is a quiet performer. With little fanfare it accelerates smoothly to an easy 9-knot displacement speed. Steering is light and responsive from the twin rudders. Twin Volvo Penta 270hp diesels deliver their power via v-drives, pushing her along quietly – a good cruising speed is around 16 knots.


When the throttles are opened up she accelerates briskly – at 3500rpm and getting maximum thrust from her four-bladed props, the vessel happily sits a touch over 23 knots. There is plenty of power on hand to push her through adverse conditions.
Access to the engines is through hatches in the cockpit sole, one smaller one for maintenance checks and a larger one should more serious maintenance be required.
Fuel capacity is 650 litres, stored in fuel tanks either side of the engine bay.
After getting our drone shots zooming round Ruakaka Bay, we quickly motored a few miles around to the Bay of Many Coves Resort for lunch. Top quality food and service was provided, along with great views from the quarterdeck of the Menorquín quietly resting in the bay on her mooring.

Impressions
The Menorquín 34 HT is an impressive boat for its size. It does all the things it needs to do well, has great build quality, good layout and accommodation and excellent performance.
I asked Ernest what sets this boat apart from the rest. His response: “A boat with true integrity that was built for the sea state – not the fashion parade. I think it will appeal particularly to people like ourselves who have been sailors and are now into our seventies, don’t want to pull up the mainsail anymore and want a slightly easier life.”
I think he could be right – a few more seasons pulling up the main for me and I might well be knocking on his door!

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