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Najad 332

9th May 2008

N for Najad and Nice...Very Nice!

Afloat's regular boat tester Graham Smith certainly enjoyed putting the new Najad 332 through its paces in a brisk breeze and flat seas off Howth.

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Think Swedish and the mind (depending on your generation) may spring to ABBA, Bjorn Borg or Saab and Volvo cars, with the latter being synonymous with wonderful engineering and build-quality. Well, when it comes to matters maritime, Swedish boatbuilder Najadvarvet AB has been quietly forging a name for the quality and dependability associated with its national car-makers with its Najad range of cruisers.

The fact that the Swedes have availed of the services of the renowned designers Judel/Vrolijk to add to their own undoubted construction skills is a measure of their attitude in producing even better boats.

The 332 – the baby of the current selection of ten boats – is available from Irish distributors HM Yachts in Cork and is marketed as a genuine blue-water cruiser at 33ft.

First Impressions

This is a traditional cruiser, in the very best sense of the word ‘traditional’. An attractive hull shape and a coachroof that clearly indicates no shortage of space and headroom below are reminiscent of earlier designs yet it is still distinctively modern in its overall look. A permanent windscreen with moveable canopy offers variety in the protection stakes but doesn’t detract from the style of this fine 33 footer while teak decks add an extra touch of class.

On Top

Unlike other models in the Najad range which sport a centre cockpit, the 332 has an aft cockpit, and with the large steering wheel as far back as possible, there is plenty of room for four or more adults to relax.

There’s a cleverly designed moveable cockpit table and the test boat owners, Paul and Fiona Newport, had opted for various extras that enhance the cruising experience. Among the most obvious were the teak finish on the decks and coachroof, two seats incorporated into the pushpit and a sprayhood extension that encloses the entire cockpit to provide a very cosy extra room if weather dictates.

The steering position gives the helm a clear view over the canopy, unlike some larger boats, and the instrument panel above the companionway is ideally placed – not right under your nose and not attached to the mast where some of us might need binoculars to read it! 

Down Below

Extensive use of West African mahogany is the immediate, striking feature once you go below deck and while some might find it a little dark, it is undoubtedly a warm and welcoming environment. From the varnished teak plywood with holly inlay flooring to the vinyl covered headlining panels with mahogany strips, the attention to detail is excellent.


There’s loads of storage space and the settees around the saloon table can double up as sizeable extra berths, while the forward and aft cabins provide comfortable accommodation for two adults each. Standing headroom is 1.86m and even in the well-appointed head, that height is only reduced by a few centimetres.

The L-shaped galley features twin stainless steel sinks, twin burner gas cooker with oven, large work area and an insulated icebox including a fridge unit.

Central heating, somewhat unusually, is a standard specification.

Under Sail

The 332 really comes into its own under sail. Standard specification provides tri-radial laminate sails with a fractional rig configuration and with a full main and a working jib, the 332 powered along at up to 6 knots in a 12-knot westerly breeze.

The large wheel was particularly comfortable and the boat was so well balanced that even in the brisk conditions – admittedly in a flat sea – she could literally be sailed with fingertips.

She was a joy to helm and I would go so far as to say that of the seven boats tested in 2006, the Najad ranks among the best for sheer responsiveness and ease of handling. She could be a useful performer in the growing white sail cruiser racing class too.

Under Power

All cruising enthusiasts like the comfort factor of a good, reliable engine, especially when entering strange harbours or inlets or when they need to get from A to B in a hurry. The 332 isn’t lacking in this regard and boasts a powerful Volvo Penta 28hp engine with a 2-blade fixed prop.

It has plenty of zip when you need it, either forward or reverse, and its turning circle is about the length of the boat, which is pretty impressive.

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Afloat.ie Team

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