Finally I got a bit of time to make that report about the Salona 41. I am interested in that boat as one of the boats that will meet my needs so this was not a regular charter, but really a long test sail.
The boat had the performance pack, regular dracon sails, good hardware and 2.70m draft. I will not want a boat with 2.7m draft but they can make it with several drafts beginning in 1.70m. I will want probably one with 2.25m draft. I was a little worried with the 2.70m draft but I would say that I found out that in Croatia that is not a problem at all. The anchorages are deep and very close to the shore you have more than 3.5m and as there are no tides I ended up as being normally one of the boats nearer to the shore, anchoring in about 5/7m of water and with 4m of water at the end of the 35m of chain.
Let’s start from the beginning:
When we motored out of the marina Kastela we were slightly back of the big pack of charter boats that were leaving the Marina and all boats were pointed to the same spot, 4 or 5 miles away, between the Island and the continent and the only way out of the big bay were Kastela Marina is situated.
20 minutes later my daughter said to me: Daddy, it doesn’t look well.
What are you talking about? Said I, surprised.
Daddy, you are overtaking all the boats, it seems that you want to get first to the anchoring spots, that’s not a race.
Humm, I looked at the engine rpm: 2000, on a 40hp Yanmar. That is economical cruising rpm. I looked at the GPS: 7K. How!!!!
I put all the engine down: 8.3K. Tried normal cruising speed at 2.300rpm: 7.7K and a wake like a fishing boat
My wife said: I like this one.
As everybody knows and she certainly knows when you do coastal cruising and cruise to faraway places and like to travel, even with a sailingboat that needs very little wind, unless you have some kind of trade winds you end up to use your engine a lot. I would say that 50% sailing would be an extremely good performance and 1/3 motoring an exceptional one so a good speed under engine at low rpm with a modest consumption is a must to any long range cruiser as well as the extra power to meet some emergency situation in bad weather.
This boat meets brilliantly both needs.
Those speeds were measured in flat water but even with normal conditions and some small waves and pulling a dinghy the boat made consistently speeds over 7K at cruising speed and over 6.6K at low rpm (2000).
Regarding sailing, even with Dracon sails, the Salona 41 performed as I expected and that is not as common as it seems. Last year the Dufour 425 grand large left me disappointed even if the boat had very good test sails on boat magazines. I am sure it is a great boat, but not what I wanted.
As I said the boat has the standard dracon sails that were not bad (for dracon sails) and a 130% genoa.
Most of the days we had no wind at all in the early morning and just a weak thermic breeze that raised at late morning. With those conditions between 60/90ş of the wind and with very weak winds the boat went about 1K faster than wind speed . With 3.5K true wind we were making 4.5K and with 4.5 about 5.2K. With 6K wind the boat made about 6K speed, with 8K true wind a bit over 7 and with 10K true wind about 8K speed. The boat sailed almost without disturbing the water and only the GPS gave a truthful idea about the boat speed. The boat also accelerated sharply to the smallest of puffs of wind.
My daughter said to me:
Dady I like this one
Take a good look, the boat is making a bit over 7k and the wake of the dinghy is bigger than the sailboat wake that is truly minimal.
I had no chance to sail the boat in medium/strong winds but I assume that this is a boat will take the first reef with medium winds. I reefed the boat anyway to see how it worked and worked just fine with a very strong boomjack keeping the boom up making unnecessary the use of the line that pulls the boom up (the first time I reefed decently a sail without using the boom cable to lift the boom). The reefed sail maintained a good shape.
The wheel feeling is very good for a twin wheel system. Not as good as the big single carbon wheel of the Elan 380 but miles away from the lack of feeling I found on the twin wheels of the Dufour 425. Maybe the Opium 39 has a slightly better feeling but that is very close.
The running rigging has German sheeting and has good material everywhere. It works well even if I find that it has a bit more friction than on the Opium 39 but that is amply compensated by two more winches, one for the Genoa and the other for the Boom (the Opium uses the same winch for the Genoa and the Boom). The car worked very well with very little force needed.
The boom winch and the genoa winch could be nearer the wheel and that would make them easier to use by the one that is at the wheel, I mean, solo sailing.The genoa cars are very long and very easily handed from the cockpit. They will permit the use of many different sized front sails.
The sailing position(s) for the wheelsman are good and there are several of them even if a removable raised platform for the inside foot, like the one that they have on the new 38 would come very handy when the boat is heavily heeled. I bet they will also mount them on this boat. The back bench that can be tilted and lowered, serving as “passarela” has the width necessary to seat or even to lay down (as I like) while the boat sails away.
I didn’t like the position of the instruments (plotter inside and wind and speed faraway over the entry) but that is easily modified. Pods will look bad on this boat but the wind and speed/depth can be mounted laterally near the wheels and the plotter can be mounted outside aft the last winch in a place where it can be viewed and used by the skipper while at the wheel.
The cockpit is very clean with lots of space. The twin wheels really clean up the space and with the table stored the sensation of space is great. However the boat is not large enough to give one the impression to be on the 2th floor when the boat is deeply heeled (as I experienced on the Opium 39) and without any place to grab if things turn badly. Of course this is just a personal feeling and probably unjustified but the truth is that I did not felt comfortable high in the air with the Opium deeply heeled. Maybe we can get used to it.
I thought that the boat had few places to get a grip but between the two wheels, the double backstay (synthetic cable sweet to the hands), the boom line, the winches and the long grab rail to the front of the boat, I would only add a lateral hand grab on each side of the spraywood.
The boat had a huge bimini that you cannot use while sailing. Certainly a thing for the charter business
. You can change that for a smaller bimini that will protect the wheel man and a well made tent (for use while at anchor) that will be connected in two pieces on each side of the boom through a dedicated rail. I did not see it but by the description it seems interesting.
We all liked the boat interior and the illumination scheme, that gives a very nice ambiance and has dedicated led lights on the Cabins and chart table for low consumption reading and that will permit to read for a long time at night(the boat can have all led lights) My wife loved that, she is an unstoppable reader
The interior was teak and the storage space very good, with several spaces dedicated to wine bottles
. This boat had not the saloon port hulls (that I saw already on the 38) but the new ones will have them.
The chart table is big, has lateral drawers, a good storage under the cover and a comfortable sit.
The galley is big with two fridges (one of them has a small freezer) and lots of storage spaces but with no dedicated space for a garbage bin. It will have one if the optional vertical fridge is not mounted. I have asked my wife what she would prefer: The fridge she said: The garbage we put in a plastic bag suspended from the nearby cabin handle when cooking .After that anyway we never leave garbage inside the boat (we always have it outside suspended on the anchor locker)and the fridge is so nice….Women
….but on the other way I never drank so cold beer in a boat …Men
The head on the two cabin version is kind of small but very well designed with two separated cabinets, lots of storage space, and the bowl is the big one (not the small one that I really hate) and put in a position that will give you all the leg space you need (I am big) and unlike many boats I have saw, even heeled by any side you will be comfortable and leaning on the sides…a true sofa.
The front cabin is big for a performance boat with lots of space and the lateral cabins are all right with good ventilation. The boat ventilation is good with two lateral big open port lights (one over the stove). This provides good lateral ventilation and would not be to mention if some performance boats would not have them or had just some tiny openings.
A very good interior for a performance boat with nothing fancy but cozy , light, spacious and with lots of storage spaces. For really living aboard the two cabin boat would be far more indicated.
Normally on 42ft boat I would not consider a 3 cabin boat. They simply don’t have the outside storage space a cruising sailboat needs, I mean for really cruising. Not so with this one. The boat has five outside lockers (not counting the one for the two bottles of gas), two on the floor, two on the side of the cockpit and the anchor locker. The two side ones are normal and for normal I mean that one of those is not just a very small space (to make the interior of the cabin bigger) as in some boats. There will more than enough space for all the stuff providing the liferaft and the fenders can be stowed in another place…and they can.
One of the floor lockers is a dedicated liferaft carrier and the other it is just huge: It can carry the big six fat fenders of our boat and with lots of space to spare. That is also the compartment were you can access the rudder and the place the ruder comes out of the boat. All that compartment as well as the anchor locker is separated by the rest of the boat by strong integral waterproof bulkheads. On this one you can have a big and improbable accident with the rudder post with open water (like the one that sink a Hanse some years back) and all you will have is a boat without a rudder with a partially flooded compartment.
The boat transom: you can see the two covers of the two floor lockers as well as one side locker. Also the back bench that can lower itself and rotate to be transformed in a "passarela" (a bridge to the marina when the boat is moored Mediterranean style).
The anchor locker is big and the 50m of chain occupy just a small part of the available space. Impeccable to carry garbage bags on longer passages. The space is so big that this is the first time that we could just take away the 50m chain without having to pull it sideways (inside the locker) not to block the Winch that is powerful and has a hand command. However I failed to understand how the clutch worked. Well it worked but once open I could not close it at least while the chain was running (that does not make sense, probably I have missed something). The Anchor is so incredibly bad ( a Bruce copy) that about it I would only say that they change it for any anchor you want (you just have to pay the difference).
The boat had a removable outside table that is a good idea badly executed with the wrong materials (it is heavy and doesn’t fit well in its mounts). It has also a removable stair that fits well in its mountings giving a rigid and good way up from the water. Of course I would have to rig a permanent emergency line that I could be pulled from the water and that would permit me to climb inside because it would just be a matter of time before I forget to mount the stairs before jumping in the water
The access to the dinghy is very good and it is easy to put and take out the outboard engine on the dinghy.
I am not the only one that find this boat beautiful. The boat was photographed numerous times while we were sailing it and I am not counting the ones taken by tourist boats, only the ones taken by other charter boats.
The boat looks very good even on bad photos with towels hanging down from the lifelines:
After having discussed it with them I am pretty sure they will modify everything I don’t like to my specifications including an heavier keel bulb to make the boat more stiff and more able to carry sail with medium and strong winds, permitting to reef less times and with more wind.
So it will be that one? Well, all the family liked the boat and certainly in what regards sailing , motoring and living aboard fits the bill. The price is a bit over the budget for us even if the boat is a lot of boat for the money especially considering that Stainless steel grid to take care of the keel and shrouds efforts, a grid that only much more expensive boats have and that is one of the things I really love on this boat.
So why any doubts? Well I have made a test sail on the new 38 and I loved that one also and I am not sure I need a boat this big, I mean the 41.
The 38 will pay less on the marina will be more easily handed solo and will cost less 27 000 €. The 38 will sail as easily as this one in weak winds, it would be a bit less fast with medium and strong winds and a lot less fast on engine.
The interior is nice and adequate but not comparable with the sense of space on the 41 and off course, the storage space will be smaller and with the 38 I would have to have the two cabin boat.
Time to think and to ponder the advantages and disadvantages.
Maybe a week of charter on the 38?