Moody’s new 45 Deck Saloon is a radical design with accommodation which puts some larger yachts to shame, and Andi Robertson likes it, a lot!
THERE’S ‘wow’ factor and ‘wow, what is that?’ factor. The new Moody 45DS’s debut at European boat shows has drawn a share of the latter. When viewed in the stark fluorescent lit halls there is no doubt that the 45DS appears radically different.
And seeing the boat under sail for the first time, moving effortlessly across a calm sea, she certainly looks even more appealing than at the dock or in boat show mode.
It makes a bold statement but the 45DS is mostly about function, offering a handful of usually disparate, different options and traits in the one hull.
In fact the new 45DS has taken some of the best aspects of the powerboat, cruising catamaran and deck saloon concepts and designer Bill Dixon has done a fantastic job in synthesising them into an appealing package.
Of course looks may be one thing, but the key issue at the moment is that Hanse Yachts, now the owners of the Moody marque, are doing incredible business with the 45DS given the economic situation we face.
Boat sales at Kip, who again handle the brand they were synonymous with for decades, have just sold the boat we tested and have live, hot prospects for another pair. The only factor holding them back is delivery. Ironically, in a stagnant market where there are hundreds of millions of pounds of stock eating away at the nerves of boat sales outfits all over Europe, this success story’s production is sold out through the summer. In eight months they have sold about 30 new Moody 45DSs and the order books remain extraordinarily healthy going forwards, which is a triumph considering the price for this sail/motor away boat with extras is in the high £300ks.
Part of the reason, perhaps, is that the Moody 45DS is drawing from a mainly mature market, people who have or have had boats. Indeed, many have come from powerboats.
Spoilt by their vantage points, comfort and accommodation levels, the airy saloons and wrapped in cotton wool comfort, few would previously have swapped for a sailing cruiser.
We were among the doubters, but even a brief sail in light winds out from Inverkip was enough to etch a place in our hearts for this slightly radical approach. The thing is that, in the end, this Moody adds up to so much more than a sum of its parts. It is a bold conceptual statement, with definite appeal.
The proportions work well on the water, especially when the boat comes alive. It sailed nicely, tracking effortlessly across the glassy seas. There is a good feel from the twin rudders and even in the gentle breeze it was clear that this is an accomplished sailing boat which does the business under engine rather than a, dare we use the now antiquated term, motor sailer?
The effective waterline is long, from a flat plumb bow, to the squat, square transom which shows a notable chine. The hull shape below the waterline is more akin to that of a performance cruiser, which is why she slips along so easily, and there is no shortage of sail area.
The layout is much more powerboat. You walk directly into the one level saloon through the full height sliding doors from a slightly lowered cockpit. Behind, the working area is slightly raised. Around the decks there is a raised bulwark which echoes the powerboat hallmarks. There are twin wheels and ample working space at the back, as all the controls come to hand easily.
All of the sail handling is controlled by a pair of beefy Lewmar electric 54 AEST winches which can be reached by the helm. With the self tacking headsail system and in-mast reefing push button sailing is on offer; simple but rewarding. That ability to keep the guests/crew slightly forward and protected out of the working area is a slight borrow from big super-yachts and overall the whole ethos is to give that kind of feel, space and light without being laden with the costs.
The sliding solid bimini is excellent, giving complete cover for the cockpit. And for those who really want to maximise their space and use there are fabric side fills which will wrap round the sides.
It goes without saying that this is a fantastic boat for countries where the elements are more extreme, and changeable. And of course with that great all round vista ‘indoors’ then you can do most of the steering from inside cover, with just the occasional step out to adjust sails and so on.
One slight caveat in this respect is the lack of any hatches in the roof of the boat we tried. That may be an optional extra, but the ability to see up and see the main above you would be appreciated when sailing like this.
We would almost certainly prefer a good, fully battened main stacking system, echoing the thoughts of Peter Cameron, Kip’s boat sales supremo. Working up on the upper deck does feel precarious. You have no where to go when the boom sweeps at knee level, although with both main sail systems there would be little regular reason to be up there.
Sailing flat in the light breezes it does take some adjustment to get a good line of vision forward. At my height the end corners of the bridge deck are at eye level, but of course as soon as the boat heels then there is good forward vision, but that is a little disconcerting until you are used to it.
There are five interior options. Mix and match and you can go for the study to port and forego a third double cabin. There is the option to have either a twin cabin to starboard forward or a lateral double, but it is the forecabin which is truly great. All the accommodation area is on the lower level and the forecabin offers great natural light.
There is a full length sky light as well as three additional opening ports and a big deck hatch.
The main double bunk is centre line, semi island. In the version we tried there is a small vanity area/dressing table, and stowage is good.
The other two cabins are also excellent. The version we sailed has the twin berths to port and there is plenty of space here too. Indeed when you step down from the saloon it is easy to forget this is a boat which is only 45ft long. There are 55 footers around with less well used space.
But the pride of the 45 is the saloon and the cockpit. In good weather they become seamless and open plan. The galley is small but is well executed. There are two parts to the fridge freezer, front opening and chest unit. Overall there is good stowage with a big moulded bin under foot, for tinned and non-breakable items.
Indeed a couple of plastic crates in here could produce a useful food store and the floors lift using a set of clever rubber suckers. The dining area is excellent and is where the proper deck saloon like this really works.
You can sit and see the full panorama at your secluded anchorage and the whole area feels lovely and airy. The child in me really liked the flat screen TV which rises out of its housing electrically!
Overall you can add us to the fan club for the Moody 45DS. Not only does it do a remarkable job for a boat of her size, pushing the boundaries in many respects, but it is a bold statement which an owner can be proud to make.
Price as tested, with Hood sails, 75hp Yanmar diesel inboard, including commissioning, delivery to Kip and antifouling was £334,761 plus VAT.