Boat Review: Tartan 4700

For 50 years, Tartan has been building high quality production cruising and performance cruising boats in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio that have set a worldwide standard for integrity and design quality. But until this year, the company was never known as a custom or semi-custom builder. Out of their innovative efforts, a new model has been introduced into the Tartan family of cruisers.

Last fall, a customer from Long Island Sound approached new Tartan dealer McMichael Yachts in his search for the perfect family boat. He had been looking at the Tartan 5300, which he thought was too large for his needs, and he liked the Tartan 4400, but felt it was too small. What to do?

McMichael’s sales manager threw the question to Tartan’s design chief Tim Jackett and new owner Steve Malbasa, who came back with a solution. Expand the 4400 by three feet to accommodate a larger after cabin, add an upper and lower cabin forward next to the master cabin, and build a really tall rig that will spread enough canvas to perform well in the light summer airs commonly found on Long Island Sound.

And so the new 4700 was born. Amazingly, Tartan was able to deliver the new boat six months later, just in time for the 2011 summer cruising season. Meanwhile, Tartan was also developing the new 4000 for this year’s launch and starting a new racer-cruiser for their sister company C&C—all of which means a lot of creative activity in the midst of the current recession.

SEA TRIALS

BWS had the opportunity to test sail the new 4700 in June. The afternoon was sharp and clear and the sea breeze was filling in nicely as the land around Mamaroneck, New York, heated up in the midday sun.

We motored out into the sound, giving the boat a bit of a run through under power. The engine is mounted below the raised saloon floor and the room is well insulated, so we could barely hear the motor from the cockpit. With a folding prop on the shaft, the boat powered up nicely and slipped along at a comfortable 8 knots at cruising revs. The boat has a single wheel with a rack and pinion steering system, so the feel of the rudder under power is positive.

The boat we were sailing, Glory, has a Leisure Furl in-boom mainsail system instead of the standard Tartan pocket boom. We powered clear of the channel and headed into the wind. The big mainsail rolled out neatly with the halyard on an electric winch and looked great with full and half-length battens. Falling off onto starboard tack, we rolled out the self-tacking jib and sheeted it home. The big 47-footer put her shoulder down and gradually gained speed until we were sailing at 7+ knots in the 10 to 12-knot breeze. The helm still felt positive and the balance was very good.

We made a few tacks without having to trim at all and then fell off the breeze, rolled up the jib and rolled out the flat cut reacher. Tartan calls this headsail arrangement with a self-tacking jib and a reacher their Cruise Control Rig.

Off the wind with the reacher drawing, the 4700 really gathered her skirts and began to fly. As mentioned, the rig is tall—almost as tall as that on the 5300—so with full main and full reacher, we were spreading a lot of canvas. But even so, the 4700 didn’t lose her footing in the puffs and stood up very nicely, transforming wind pressure into boat speed.

The boat is easy to sail from the cockpit, so a cruising couple who are comfortable handling an in-boom roller furling mainsail will find the boat fast, weatherly and a real pleasure to sail. For those who want simplicity to rule, the pocket boom system with lazy jacks will also work very well.

LIVING ABOARD

The owner of the new 4700 sails with his wife and children and often with the children’s friends as well. The boat needed to accommodate at least six sleeping and six on a single berth so they could all watch a movie together.

The configuration that Tim Jackett and the owner came up with is a modification of the 4400. The after cabin in the 4700 now runs the full width of the boat and has full headroom across the forward end of the big double berth. There is a large TV mounted in the bulkhead so the family can all lounge on the big berth. The aft head has been positioned at the level of the raised saloon and has a full shower stall.

To fit in the two cabins forward, the master stateroom has been slightly reduced in size and the forward head shifted forward into the cabin and made a bit smaller. There is no shower forward. The smaller second cabin forward has upper and lower bunk berths, which have proven very popular with the kids.

The galley on the 4700 is very similar to that on the 4400, which is to say that it is an amazing seagoing galley for a boat of this size. The top-loading fridge and freezer are under the main counter. The four-burner stove is outboard. The twin sinks are nearly on the centerline, where they will drain well on both tacks. Under the sinks, you have access to the fresh water manifolds and other systems that need to be handy.

The raised saloon is somewhat unique among boats of this style since you can sit in the dinette and actually see through the large windows all around you. The dinette is oval and four or five can sit comfortably around the table. With the addition of two folding chairs, six can dine together.

The chart table to starboard has a proper table that will hold a ChartKit and ample vertical surfaces for mounting radar, chartplotter, radios and more. This will be the 4700’s command central with the added advantage that you can see forward and to both sides while seated—a valued feature when making cold or rainy passages.

The 4700 has a lovely finish down below with solid stock cherry doors, cabinet fronts and drawers, all with elegant raised-panel styling. The bulkheads are cherry veneers, while the overheads and the inside of the cabin sides are an off-white laminate. The combination of varnished cherry, meticulous joinery, white laminate and large windows creates a living space that is warm, homey and bright.

For living aboard over a weekend or a year, the 4700 has the space, the light and the atmosphere to make life extremely comfortable.

CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING

Among production boat builders, Tartan sets themselves apart by using exotic materials and building techniques to create hulls and decks that are lighter and stiffer than average. The hulls are foam-cored, epoxy-infused laminates that offer superior strength-to-weight ratios. The vacuum bag technique enables the company to build with very high glass-to-resin ratios, which makes the hulls light and extremely strong. The insides of the hulls are painted with epoxy to completely seal the laminate. Because of this building method, Tartan offers a 15-year hull warranty against structural or blister damage.

The decks are epoxy and E-glass structures with end-grain balsa coring for stiffness and strength. Like the hulls, the decks are vacuum bag-infused laminates. All stress areas, such as under winches or high load deck fittings, are solid laminate and supported with backing plates. When you walk on deck, you never feel the flat areas flexing; down below, the balsa core acts as sound and heat insulation, too.

The 4700 can be built with either Tartan’s shoal draft Beavertail keel or a traditional keel-centerboard configuration. In either case, the keels are high quality lead castings that are faired and sealed with an epoxy overcoat. The rudder is a high aspect cruising spade with a carbon fiber rudderpost and a rack and pinion gearing system.

Tartan uses Forespar’s Marelon thru-hull fittings and seacocks, so you never have to grease them and they will never fail due to corrosion. The rudder hangs are high-density synthetic bearings and the post is sealed with a Gator rudderpost seal.

The 4700’s rig, like all of the rigs in the Tartan line, comes standard with a carbon fiber mast and unique carbon fiber pocket boom; the use of carbon fiber reduces weight aloft significantly, thus reducing the boat’s tendency to pitch and roll. Plus, lighter weight adds to sailing performance. The Leisure Furl boom on Glory was added as a labor saving option.

The Cruise Control Rig on the new 4700 has Harken electric roller furling systems on the jib and reacher so we were able to deploy, reef and furl the sails with buttons on the binnacle at the helm. Very convenient.

The engineering systems are all assembled with ease of maintenance and sound insulation in mind. The engine room lies beneath the raised saloon floor, so you fold up the floor and climb down into the space to work on the engine and genset. The compartment is well insulated with lead-foam insulation.

A lot of equipment that might be an option on another boat comes standard on the 4700. The alternator has been upgraded to 100 amps and supplied with a smart charger. The battery bank, which can be expanded, starts at 480 amp hours with two 8D house batteries. A Mastervolt sine wave inverter allows you to run all of your 110-volt appliances, such as a microwave oven.

The plumbing system includes two marine heads and two 24-gallon holding tanks with Y-valves for overboard discharge at sea. With 200 gallons of fresh water in the tanks, a watermaker is not a necessity. And the 10-gallon hot water heater provides ample hot water for everyone to have quick “navy style” showers.

As we poked around the 4700’s engineering spaces, we were impressed at how neat and seamanlike all of the installations are and how well Tartan’s craftsmen have finished all of the hidden spaces.

For those who want a boat with reliable long-term systems that are installed so you can easily perform routine maintenance, the 4700 is a shining example of how to do it right.

BWS THOUGHTS

We sailed the Tartan 4400 offshore from Newport, RI to Annapolis, MD several years ago and were impressed by the boat’s sea-keeping qualities and high average speed on a long haul.

No doubt, the 4700, with its extra tall rig, will offer even better performance. And, with a longer waterline it will be less liable to pitch in a seaway. The 4700’s transom looks right on the boat and adds just enough to the lines to really enhance the hull’s overall look. Plus, the extra length adds to the spaciousness of the cockpit and after swim platform.

The Tartan 4700 is a great family cruising boat that has been built to last and equipped to serve her owners well for generations. The new boat fulfills the demands of Tartan’s 50-year legacy extremely well by combining design integrity with high quality construction and a dedication to delivering the best solutions for cruising sailors.

Tartan 4700
LOA 47’0” LWL 39’0”
Beam 14’1”
Draft 6’3”
Ballast 9,750 lbs.
Displacement 28,000 lbs
Sail area 1,038 sq. ft
Water 200 gals.
Fuel 80 gals.
Holding 48 gals
Engine 100 hp.
Diesel Sail area/Displ. 18.09
Ballast/Displ. 35
Displ./Length 210

Tartan Yachts
One High Tech Ave.
Painesville, OH 44077
Ph: 440-357-7777
www.tartanyachts.com

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