BOAT REVIEW Frers 33.8m Superyacht Cygnus Montanus

August 2016 Yacht Reviews
Words by Lawrence Schäffler Photos by Matt Crawford
OUR RATING
5 STARS
Performance
Handling
Build Quality
Specification
MODEL DETAILS
MODEL Frers 33.8m Superyacht
DESIGNER Frers Naval Achitecture
BUILDER Yachting Developments Ltd
CONSTRUCTION Carbon fibre
SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 33.83M
BEAM 8.06M
DRAFT 4.86M
DISPLACEMENT 131000kg
ENGINE Cummins QSL9-405 405hp
Mast & Rigging carbon fibre
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Carbon fibre
  • Built in New Zealand
  • Easy handling
  • Lifting keel
  • Hydraulic sail controls
  • Twin rudders
OBSERVATIONS
  • Built for a serious sailor
  • Needs only a small crew to sail
  • Stylish and sumptuously-appointed
  • True ocean wanderer
  • Capable of 300-mile days

This 33.8m carbon-fibre sloop’s stately presence would enhance any superyacht marina, but she’s unlikely to spend much time harnessed in one. Cygnus Montanus is owned by a serious sailor.


The latest superyacht build from Auckland’s Yachting Developments Limited (YDL), she was launched mid-June. As the images reflect, she’s magnificent in every way – a glowing tribute to YDL’s expertise and, by association, New Zealand’s marine industry skills.

Cygnus Montanus means ‘Mountain Swan’ and it’s a construction of two parts: the Swedish owner’s previous vessel (Cygnus Montanus II) is a Swan 77 – a marque synonymous with grace and elegance. The ‘mountain’ is a nod to his homeland’s topography.

YD_Cygnus_Montanus_Aerials_464HR-resizeUsing my rapier-sharp powers of deduction, I’ll assume there was a Cygnus Montanus 1 and that strictly speaking, this new Frers-designed beauty should be Cygnus Montanus 111. Whatever the truth, this iteration is a superb coda to the lineage.

There is much to admire. But perhaps her signature attribute is the way the owner’s vision has been realised by the ‘team’ – designer, builder, interior décor specialist and sailmaker. Yes, she’s luxurious, impeccably stylish and sumptuously-appointed, yet there’s also an unsuperyacht-like ‘purposefulness’ about her. When did you last see twin rudders on a superyacht? You sense she’d be happier at sea than being tied up as a cocktail venue.

The reason for this somewhat unorthodox blend is revealed in the owner’s brief – he wanted a true ‘ocean wanderer’ – a yacht suited to leisurely circumnavigations. And to appreciate this perspective consider that he completed 95,000 miles wandering the oceans in the Swan 77. This Frers is designed to sail in the Swan’s wake – though I’d suggest quite a bit more quickly.

Another clue to her set-up and configuration is the ‘family living’ part of the design brief. I gather the owner has a large, extended family – all of whom like to sail, and often together. For a 33m yacht with a 51m mast, Cygnus Montanus carries a modest crew (four) – leaving plenty of room for the family. More than anything else, this small crew/large family requirement shaped the sloop’s design and rigging set-up.

EASY HANDLING

I don’t have to remind you that the loads on sails this size are daunting and handling/reefing/trimming them can’t be considered easy – particularly for a small crew. Yet the sail plan is geared to simple, offshore cruising and easy handling.

The Southern Spars rig carries an in-boom furling main and, as with all the sail controls, hydraulics provide the grunt work. The main’s complemented by a blade jib with vertical battens, maximized to fit the forward triangle, a hanked-on inner staysail, a Code 0, an asymmetrical gennaker and a storm trysail.

This sail plan is a sensible ‘handling’ solution. A furling main/hanked staysail set-up offers fast, easy reefing options in mid-ocean. Harken supplied all the running rigging and sail-trimming falls to four imposing Harken winches positioned around the perimeter of the vast cockpit. Doyle built the sails and, optimising durability and performance, opted for Stratis GPc sails made from carbon technora.

In around 20 knots of wind the 85-tonne sloop sighs along at an easy 15 knots – 24 hour runs in excess of 300 miles will be ho-hum. Building the Code 0, says Doyle’s chief designer Richard Bouzaid, was an enjoyable project. The owner wanted an exact colour and logo on the sail. Doyle delivered this with its Sail Art technology, which offers photo-quality printing into the sail membranes prior to lamination. The more conventional solution requires painting of the entire sail, adding significant weight and compromising the sail’s performance.

DESIGN DETAIL

YD_Cygnus Montanus_MasterCabin-resizedThere isn’t sufficient room in these pages to cover all of the yacht’s innovative handling features, but I want to draw your attention to two – the anchor and the keel – to give you some idea of the design and engineering challenges YDL faced. As you may have noticed from the images, there isn’t an anchor hanging off the front – leaving the aesthetics of that sleek bow unadulterated.

Instead, the stainless steel Manson anchor rides below the waterline and slips into a purpose-designed housing, with the anchor’s flanges neatly ‘filling’ or completing the shape of the hull’s underwater profile. An underwater camera relays the deployment/ retrieval action to screens at the helm stations. Very cool.

She’s also fitted with a lifting keel – and building it caused quite a bit of head-scratching among YDL’s structural engineers. It’s a vertically lifting rather than a pivoting model, with 1.5m of travel. As such, it significantly dictated the design and layout of the interior midships. With the keel fully extended Cygnus Montanus draws 4.8m – retracted it gives her access to relatively shallow anchorages. Of course, wandering through the vessel, there is no hint of a fin intruding into the saloon area. Smart design.

Given the various discreet ‘zones’ around the vessel with variable electrical/lighting/air-conditioning needs, CZone was the logical candidate for controlling her electrics. The entire vessel is wired around a CanBus system. She also runs 240-volts AC exclusively, delivered by twin 33kVA generators (port and starboard). Note that the galley is equipped with an induction hob. Note too, that as part of the ‘crew-efficiency’ concept, the chef is also the yacht’s engineer. Undoubtedly a multi-talented gent, and I’m assured he keeps his supplies of hydraulic oil well away from the galley.

INTERIOR

Stylish, elegant, graceful, plush – yet also a very warm, homely space. Interior design is by Adam Lay Studio – and every vantage point offers an exceptional composition of colour and shape. Venture down the companionway and you’ll find a roomy full-beam main saloon with a dedicated dining space. The galley and crew’s accommodation are forward. All interior spaces have large skylights delivering plenty of natural light.

Though she can accommodate 24, the vessel’s more typical guest list is set at eight: a full-beam owner’s cabin aft and three guest cabins. Each space has its own personality – with the décor themed around trips undertaken on the owner’s previous yacht.

There are identical twin crew cabins up forward, accessed via the galley and crew companionway via a central passageway. To port is the main cooking and preparation area and to starboard the laundry, equipped with a full-height fridges and freezers. The main living area is open plan and the skylights give the area a light, bright feel.

YD_Cygnus Montanus_MasterCabin-resizedAt the aft end of the galley port side is a small crew mess, with a coffee-making and dry storage area. At this point the galley opens directly into the port side navigation station area with access to the forward twin/double convertible guest cabin to starboard with Pullmans and en-suite bathroom.

Step up into the spacious saloon – with its portholes, skylights and high-level coachroof windows, you’ll find a bar on the starboard side and a dining area for eight people. A large format flat-screen TV is mounted to port behind a generous U-shaped lounging area with a coffee table and – my favourite feature on the entire boat – an electric piano skilfully integrated into the table. A beautiful piece of craftsmanship!

At the aft end of the saloon is the companionway up to the cockpit and beside it steps down to the guest passageway with mirror image twin/double convertible guest cabins with Pullmans and en-suite bathrooms. The engine room is accessible from the guest passageway.

In the owner’s cabin, a dressing room sits to port. Opposite is the bathroom with twin basins, bath and shower. The passageway then opens out into a full-beam cabin with king-size bed which is offset slightly to make space for a seating area to port with a small sofa and desk to starboard. Again, skylights add natural light.

YDL says the greatest challenge presented by the build was completing it in the 18 months allotted – all timed to meet the owner’s schedule. Consider that the project also involved developing thousands of working drawings from the basic Frers design – as well as building mock-ups of the cabins and various living areas to get them exactly right. I’d suggest that while completing the build on time was a great achievement – the milestone pales to insignificance in the context of what’s been delivered. A majestic vessel.

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