Equal parts performance and comfort, the Allures 45 will take you wherever you want to go By Andrew Cross
At first glance the Allures 45 looked every bit the capable blue water voyager I had expected, ready and willing to take a competent crew around the world many times over. From the floating docks of the Annapolis boat show, I easily imagined her swinging at anchor in crystal clear tropical waters, resting with centerboard up on a high-latitude beach or romping offshore with reefs neatly tucked in her sails. But dockside admiration and wanderlust alone are just the beginning for this well-found French-built aluminum world cruiser.
With fellow Seattleite Ryan Helling of Swiftsure Yachts—Allures Yachting’s U.S. distributor—we found a beautiful Chesapeake day to get the boat out for a sail with the boat’s owner and to walk through her systems. Ryan picked me up in the dinghy near the Annapolis Yacht Club and minutes later I was behind the port helm of the Allures 45 firing up the 55 horsepower Volvo diesel (a 75 hp diesel is also available).
When Ryan gave the all clear signal from the bow, I backed away from the mooring as her twin rudders bit and allowed me to spin the stern to port; no need for the bow thruster. Then, with the throttle down in forward I slowly brought her to speed as we headed for the open water of the bay. At about 1,400 rpms we were at just under five knots, at 2,000 rpms we were over six and at max rpms of 3,000 we topped out at eight knots. Little changed in the 45’s steerage as we went through this range of rpms and speeds.
With our motoring shenanigans over, I turned slightly to starboard of head-to-wind so we could raise the full batten mainsail. Full batten mains on a 45-footer can be heavy, but the electric winch to port of the companionway allowed us to hoist the sail through the well conceived lazy jack system without a snag. As I turned down to a reach, our boat speed slid north of three knots and out came the slightly overlapping genoa to bring us to an effortless 5.5 knots in about 10 knots of northeasterly breeze.
We settled in on a broad reach and soon the decision was made to rig and fly the boat’s symmetrical spinnaker. (A gennaker can also be rigged and flown from the 45’s bowsprit). As the sheets, guys and pole were set up I enjoyed the light feel of the helm while watching numerous other boats out soaking in one of fall’s last warm and sunny days. Soon we were ready and as the chute’s sock was hoisted, the sail’s shoulders opened to the wind to reveal a beautiful bright orange contrast to the blue sky.
Giving up the helm to walk the deck I found a number of features that help this boat earn the tag of a proper world cruiser. Starting at the stern, a robust arch houses davits for the dinghy, antennas, a solar panel and can also accommodate a wind generator. Solar panels can also be integrated into the deck between the cockpit and mast. There are plenty of well-placed handholds that are helpful when moving forward and there is good walkthrough space between the upper and lower shrouds. At the bow is a full depth locker deep enough to stand in that will be perfect for lines, fenders and sails, and the stout double bow roller is seamlessly integrated into the hull.
After tinkering with the spinnaker for a bit, and in the process getting further downwind than expected, we figured it was time to see what the 45 could do while sailing on the wind. With the genoa back out and sheeted in tight, I settled in at the leeward helm with my back resting comfortably against the stern arch to get a clear view of the telltales. From this vantage point, I quickly noticed that the genoa sheeted nicely between the upper and lower shrouds and the winch for that sheet was literally at my fingertips. Actually, all control lines, sheets and halyards are led aft to the cockpit through channels on deck, which allows for a clean look that is also user friendly. And the line that controls the centerboard is run up and to the electric winch, making it easy to raise and lower while underway.
As we sailed to windward our apparent wind increased to around 15 knots and the 9 foot 10 inch draft of the centerboard allowed us to sail surprisingly close winded at 40 degrees off the true wind, just shy of pinching. The knot meter leveled off at a steady 6.5 knots as we sliced through a light chop, which made me want to get this offshore goddess out into some real blue water.
I’ve always admired cutter rigs for their versatility offshore, and though it wasn’t necessary, we decided to roll out the staysail to see how it would fly in concert with the genoa. The staysail on the 45 sheets back to its own fairlead car on the same track as the genoa, thereby alleviating the need for a separate set of tracks on deck. With the sail up and drawing we might have gained a little speed, but given the wind conditions and point of sail, this wasn’t really the staysail’s time to shine.
Given the boat’s relatively light displacement, I wasn’t caught off guard by how quickly she accelerated in light air, and expected the twin rudders to be smooth on all points. The more boats I sail with twin rudders the more impressed I am, and the Allures 45 seemed to sail herself with minimal effort. When the apparent wind came up as we sailed close hauled, the 45 showed the pedigree of a true performance cruiser and I’m guessing that she really finds her legs and ticks off the miles as the wind kicks into the upper teens and beyond.
DESIGN & BUILD
The Grand Large Yachting (http://www.glyachting.com/) group encompasses Allures Yachting, Outremer Catamarans and Garcia boatbuilders, who are currently building Jimmy Cornell’s custom Aventura IV. Everything incorporated into the design and build of these boats is uncompromisingly purposeful, state of the art and top of the line. The hulls in the Allures family of yachts, which includes a 39.9, 45 and 51, are designed by well-known and respected Berret Racoupeau Yacht Design.
While walking me through the inside of the 45, Ryan, who has visited the factory in Cherbourg, explained that the hulls start off as a meticulously crafted aluminum shell by Garcia. “When they’re done, the hulls are incredibly fair,” he’s says in a very matter of fact way. “And the entire process of the build is impressively detail oriented because they’re not just building them on an assembly line.” According to Helling, what is even more impressive about the operation is that each boat is drawn in CAD for the owner, which allows them to work with the builder to customize features and also provides them with a detailed schematic of their boat.
Once the hulls are finished the aluminum side decks, stringers, collision bulkhead, water and fuel tanks, and fixed ballast are welded or bolted to the hull, as are reinforcements for chainplates and other high stress areas. Then comes the boat’s livable interior, which is smartly planned in a modern Euro-style by Franck Darnet and employs as many offshore quality details as the rest of the boat. When the interior is completed, they attach the composite coach roof and cockpit. Building these parts out of composites instead of aluminum not only allows them to finish the interior first, but it also gives the designer freedom to shape them in a more attractive and ergonomic way. What the boat ends up with is a modern looking cabin top with plenty of windows and ventilation that fits seamlessly onto the hull and deck.
When stepping back to look at the Allures 45’s design numbers a few things jump out right away for a yacht of this size. Given that the boat has a centerboard, the 9 foot 10 inch maximum draft is going to keep you pointing with the best of them and the 3 foot 6 inch board up draft and twin rudders allows you to set the boat on a gently sloping beach. And I’m sure it will also sail well off the wind with the board up. With a 62-foot double spreader fractional rig carrying a full battened main, staysail, genoa and gennaker or symmetrical spinnaker, the Allures 45 is going to be versatile in a number of different wind conditions. A SA/Disp. ratio of 19.69 suggests a boat that will sail well in light air, but with tanks to carry 145 gallons of diesel and 145 gallons of water, plus all the gear you may need to sail offshore, that may change. In my mind, though, given the 45’s strength and ability to shoulder a load, its light displacement-to-length ratio of 174.82 is not a concern.
Cockpits are one of the most lived in spaces aboard a cruising sailboat and the cockpit on the Allures 45 will be no exception. With a 14.5 foot beam that is carried well aft, volume is created down below as well as at deck level. The sturdy cockpit table will be great for entertaining on the hook and will be a convenient place to lean against at sea. Storage space in the cockpit is ample and unique. Transom lockers accessed while standing on the scoop stern provide room for a life raft, outboard engine and dive gear. A voluminous lazarette to starboard will gobble up fenders and spare lines with room to spare. And while there is no locker to port, there is a hatch under the settee that will allow the mechanic in the workroom below, if this option is chosen, some needed ventilation on a warm day.
The Allures 45 is available in three layouts and I imagine owners will choose their layout based on how many crew members they plan to sail with. A cruising couple will feel right at home on the version with a centerline queen bunk forward, double bunk aft to starboard and workroom aft to port with full access to the engine and generator. Those sailing with a larger crew will want to turn that workroom into another cabin and the v-berth can also be setup with two “passage bunks” along with a double bunk. Each version has a head and shower that is aft of the galley on the port side and an additional head and shower can be added en suite in the v-berth. While these are the layouts that Allures suggests, they are willing to work with any buyer to tweak them as necessary. Plus, a wide array of options are available including genset, extra refrigeration, watermaker and more.
When stepping down the companionway I quickly noted the saloon’s perfect set of contrasts. Large cat eye windows to port and starboard, coupled with generously sized overhead hatches combine to dump light into the interior while the white headliner and cushions complete the airy feel. From there, the light brown joinery is well finished and provides a modern and clean look that doesn’t dampen light coming in from above. At foot level, a dark sole completes the light to dark fade of the cabin and is not only attractive, but will be durable as well. The galley, main saloon and navigation table all circulate around the housing for the centerboard in a functional way. Atop the centerboard trunk is a bench seat opposite a L-shaped settee to starboard that runs into the nav table at its aft end. The raised nav station is unique in that it is set up for two people to work at while facing each other, and large drawers underneath will be great for stacks of chart books or as “junk drawers.”
A linear galley is situated to port with a double sink and three-burner stove. Two large pullout stainless steel refrigerators, the likes of which I have never seen on a sailboat before, are very functional for the space and give the galley a clean look. Handholds are close by as you move fore and aft through the galley, and though two people can pass each other in this space, the back of the centerline settee will give the ship’s cook a place to lean against in a blow. One of the most impressive things about the interior of the 45, though, is what you can’t see by just stepping below. The hull and bilge areas underneath the cabin sole are obviously well crafted and everything from freshwater manifolds to through hull access has been devised with a true cruising sailor in mind.
There aren’t many boats available on the market today that you could step aboard and promptly take off on around the world. And while that same market has been trending towards comfort, performance and safety for some time, the Allures line is truly taking each of those points above and beyond for a discerning blue water sailor. The level of care for the customer and quality of craftsmanship put into each boat cannot be understated. And seemingly everywhere you turn, there is a small detail that makes the 45 safe and comfortable at sea. I can clearly envision the Allures 45 being a solid cruising platform for a couple or family. It is easy to sail shorthanded or with a crew, has plenty of room down below and on deck, and is versatile enough to sail fast and then tuck into a shallow, protected bay. My dockside lust for the 45 was hardly quenched by a mere two-hour sail. Though we put the boat through her paces as much as possible, and even managed to fly the spinnaker, I can’t help but be left yearning to get this boat out on the open ocean.
Hull Length: 45’87″
Waterline: 40′ 52″
Displacement: 11.8 tons
Ballast: 4.3 tons
Engine: Volvo Penta D2-55 55 hp diesel, or 75 hp diesel
Diesel Tank: 145 gallons
Water tank: 145 gallons