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Grand Soleil – If You Want to Race Competitively & Cruise Very Comfortably – On the Same Boat

18th September 2020
The Grand Soleil 44 Performance - a new model for 2020 The Grand Soleil 44 Performance - a new model for 2020

Mark Mansfield, Irish agent for Grand Soleil, highlights recent Irish sailing successes on different Grand Soleil models and looks forward to the New Grand Soleil 44 Performance being similar

The much-lauded Grand Soleil 44 performance was announced at Dusseldorf Boat Show last January, and much is expected from this proper "cruiser-racer". The first model of this range has been launched and will debut at the Genoa Boat show at the start of October.

Grand Soleil has a history of producing 'Proper Yachts' that are handmade, thus keeping excess weight to a minimum and ensuring that, though they are beautifully fitted out inside, they also can race very competitively. Recently, the Murphy family's' Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo from Cork Harbour won the Fastnet 450 race, among other races. This is a fully fitted out cruiser-racer, with teak decks, which can match and beat many full race designs.

Nieulargo Grand Soleil 44Nieulargo, Grand Soleil 44—Fastnet 450 winner, pounding upwind Photo: Bob Bateman

A year or two ago we had the previous model Grand Soleil 44, Eleuthera, taking all before her, virtually unbeatable. She, likewise, had a fully fitted out cruising interior. Back in 2014, the Grand Soleil 43, Quokka, formed an integral part of the Irish winning Commodores Cup team that year, having just won Cork Week overall with straight wins. Though tricked up for racing, Quokka had a fully fitted out cruising interior.

 Eleuthera, an older model Grand Soleil 44, winning Cork Week in 2018 Eleuthera, an older model Grand Soleil 44, winning Cork Week in 2018 Photo: Bob Bateman

Not many yacht manufacturers can claim their designs are proper cruiser racers. Some claim this, but in reality, few manage it. The time and effort that is needed to keep the weight down, particularly in the ends of the boat, means the normal mass-produced "cruiser-racers" end of being cruisers that can race but will not be that competitive on handicap.

Grand Soleil Performance 44 interiorGrand Soleil Performance 44 interior layout

In the case of the New Grand Soleil 44 performance, this boat can be had in a Race mode (with a slightly lighter interior and the deck layout designed for a full crew, or the cruiser/racer model, with a full cruising interior and a deck layout to suit less crew. Both will be fast, just tweaks for individual preferences. Both will be able to be cruised in great comfort.

Grand Soleil Performance interior(Above and below) Grand Soleil Performance 44 interior

In these COVID times, those wanting a comfortable Cruising interior for cruising in waters more local (or abroad) with the family, and still wanting to cut their teeth in the top-level racing scene have few options. Grand Soleil has to be on the wish list, and this new 44 Performance has to be close to the top of that list in this size range. 

Grand Soleil also has a specific Cruising range, the Long Cruise line where the Long Cruise 42 and Long Cruise 46 have been selling very well.

For further information on the Grand Soleil 44 performance, or any of the Grand Soleil Range, contact Mark Mansfield at [email protected] or ph 087 250 6838

Mark Mansfield

About The Author

Mark Mansfield

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Four-time Olympian Mark Mansfield is a Professional Sailor. He is Irish Agent for Key Yachting Ltd, the sole U.K. and Irish agent for J Boats, Grand Soleil, Nautitech Catamarans and the Tofinou range of boats. More on Mark here

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