Andi Robertson heads for Cannes to take the helm of the Velasco 37F, a flybridge cruiser that makes a virtue of simplicity.
THE VELASCO 37F follows on from the successful Velasco 43 and 43F which was voted as Boat of the Year in Europe in 2013. The smaller sister of course carrties forward many of the ideas and themes from the 43, but is altogether a little smaller and more compact.
The Velasco is an interesting and unique proposition which appeals to the traditionalists and modernists alike thanks to a range of differences which set it apart from the opposition.
The deep, safe, enclosed walk round sidedecks make for a safe and accessible boat which has the side entering lateral door, but there is a massive forward sun pad and a great foredeck.
The side door is loved by Velasco owners, many of whom are more experienced powerboaters who are happy to work short handed. The side door is right by the springs mooring cleat.
The cockpit is big and safe with good seating but has two access doors and a fabulous big aft swim and boarding platform. The two doors promote good circulation.
The twin Volvo D4 300 driven Velasco 37F offers classic shaft drives which are still preferred by a big cross section of owners for their simplicity and ease of maintenance. Top speed is of the order of 27kts, cruising comfortably at 22kts.
There is great stowage through the boat. Under the cockpit floor, a bay which will also house an optional generator. Inside, below the saloon floor, is a similarly deep space with drawer and shelving to facilitate extended living aboard.
One of the key aspects of the Velasco is the separation of the different areas, but each is easily accessible to one another, living, cooking and food preparation is close to the cockpit, the helm station and the flying bridge thanks to the linear kitchen space to port.
The galley has good storage areas with drawers and lockers, a good sized fridge and much more drawer space below the helm’s seat and below the little co-pilot’s seat which is to port.
Between the helm’s bench style seat which will take two or three and the co-pilot’s seat opposite there is good forward facing seating for three or four, especially welcomed when the weather is a bit dreich and the flybridge option is unpopular.
And the helm’s bench lifts to allow circulation in and out of the side door.
The all round view for the helm is excellent from the seats indoors with good access to all the electronics.
Behind the helm’s station is a big, flat, squared off and nicely styled U shaped saloon seating. The aft seat lifts on little gas struts to reveal a mini-bar. The table moves to become a large double berth in the saloon and this space can be separated off by a lateral curtain. And of course the side door now also permits access to and from the forecabins without coming through the back patio doors.
The owner’s cabin is fabulous. Those big, trademark eyebrow windows in the forward sections of the hull allow great natural light and visibility outside. There is a large central double berth with lots of space around it.
There is an extension to the bed which takes it to the full two metres for those who need it. And, as usual, you can lift the bed and there is massive stowage beneath it. In addition, there is a good, big hanging locker.
The second cabin, a twin, offers a surprising amount of space and volume. With some clever use of mirrors the light is magnified. And there is an infill which makes for a big double bed. There is excellent headroom at the entrance space to the cabin.
Similarly the bathroom space is first class with a big, separated shower cubicle. Again the volume and space is impressive, to the point that overall you are starting to wonder ‘why go up to the 43?!’
The flybridge is the jewel in the crown for the Velasco 37.
It is massive for the size of boat with three clear zones; a sun bathing platform, enclosed seating and a table area. There is also the pilot’s seat which the forward seat section on the opposite side converts into a forwards facing co-pilot’s bench. All extremely clever, practical and nicely executed. The flybridge pilot’s station also has all the electronics repeated upstairs too.
The Velasco 37 does not try to be too clever. It makes a virtue of simplicity. There is excellent all round vision from within the main cabin and the general ambience and finish is top notch. The boat does what it says it should. It is a family friendly flybridge cruiser and handles nicely. It drives well, accelerates smoothly on to the plane, the ride is good and soft and the steering positive and firm.
We were happy cruising off Cannes at 22-23kts though those who were desperate pushed it up to 26kts plus, simply because they wanted to. Overall it is a pleasing, simple, unfussy, well executed boat which will have a broad appeal.