X-41 One Design Launch and Test
X-Yachts has launched the brand new X-41 One Design Class, which made its maiden test sail just in time for Christmas.
Report by: Lars Jeppesen
The maiden test sail took place on Thursday 21 December on “Lille Bælt” in the waters outside Haderslev Fjord.
On board were the “head crew”, from the design office, and the crew from my department, consisting of quality control and engineers, who have the responsibility of making the production tooling, which ensures that the series production is of the highest quality and efficiency from the very beginning.
Since a series production of the first 25 units has been planned for delivery before midsummer 2007, and only a six week test period for hull 01, everything has to be built extremely accurately, with special attention paid to the smallest detail.
Rene Villefrance, from North Sails Denmark, was on board to check sails and rig, and to help us to judge the overall performance.
The westerly wind varied from 10 to 18 knots true, the air was a brisk six degrees, and the sea was smooth.
The Nordic Carbon mast seemed stiff but very easy to adjust via the patented “Ronstan Backstay wheel”, which we developed with “Ronstan” back in 2000, when the IMX 40 was launched.
The specially designed carbon section is completely new, specified for the type of rig with just two sets of spreaders; and it has been designed and engineered by a successful partnership between Nordic Mast and the X-Yachts Design Group.
The sails were almost “spot on”, which proves how close to perfection it is possible to come with the modern three-dimensional design tools. Critical details, such as the correct Genoa clew height, which enabled the “sheet inhauler” to change the sheeting angle without influencing the leech tension, used to take a few test sails to make perfect, but these days the details are worked out on the computer.
Details, such a mast luff curve, headstay sack etc, are also so predictable that it is possible to reduce development time on the boat, mast/rig and sail, and to supply the market with a “pack”, which is closer to perfection than ever before.
The deck layout is a direct development of the arrangements on the X-35: double led back control lines for cunningham, outhaul and vang; Harken Quattro winches operating halyards and spinn sheets; Harken three-speed winches for the Genoa; and Harken two-speed winches operating the deck recessed main sail sheets which, as on almost all other X-Yachts, are led back to the aftmost cockpit winches.
The Genoa sheet inhauler system is neatly hidden by the sliding hatch garage. All blocks and tracks are best quality from Ronstan (the former Frederiksen), and all of them are perfectly sited, making her a joy to handle.
A very responsive steering
The carbon fibre wheel is light and stiff, which enables the helmsman to respond to the smallest “wish” of the lady beneath.
The rudder produces just enough pressure, which allows the helmsman easy fingertip control. The rudder balance is very critical on these modern yachts, as it is very important that the response and pressure make steering easy, as the aim of the X-41 is to be an “owner driver” One Design Class.
The stability is noticeably higher than our IMX 40, which creates a superb feel, as the hull lines are slightly narrower and longer. Due to the low VCG T-keel, the X-41 accelerates to top upwind speed as soon the wind gusts hit. The height we were able to point was extremely impressive.
Impressive boat speeds
The boat speed is very impressive. Under the full main and the maximum 106% Genoa, the X-41 managed:
- in 10 knots true wind, pointing 35 degrees, 7.4 knots boat speed
- in 16 knots true wind, pointing 32 degrees, an astonishing 7.6 knots
Hoisting the symmetric masthead spinnaker, sailing at 120 degrees, the speeds came to:
- 9.0 knots in 10 knots true wind speed
- 10.2 knots in 16 knots true wind speed
These figures are, of course, not 100% accurate, but are a result of the analyses of the GPS data collected.
The shortest day became one of the best this year
After the test sail, we motored up the Haderslev Fjord to the yard. It was hard not to smile all the way, in spite of the early darkness. The shortest day was also one of the most thrilling.
We are positive that the X-41 will fulfill our most optimistic expectations. Never have the crew and I had such an enjoyable “cold” day …
I can promise all the clients, who have purchased an X-41, that a real “machine” is in the making.
The test crew was dressed in Yachtingwear from Jeantex.