Yacht Class n°17 (june-july-august 2019)
With its flagship, the Dutch shipyard Contest Yachts launches a high-performance, elegant and refined sailboat. And thanks to her commissioner, the first Contest 85CS offers seaworthy equipment, with a particular emphasis on safety features, that destines her for long deep-ocean cruises.
Written by: Christophe Varène – Photos : All rights reserved
Over the past sixty years, the Dutch yard has acquired a solid reputation for quality through a range of high-performance and comfortable yachts, which starts at 42 foot and includes eight models. Its new flagship, the Contest 85CS, is perfectly in line with this philosophy based on the shipyard’s know-how, on the collaboration with the best architects and designers and on carefully selected materials and equipment from recognized suppliers. Its first model, thanks to a semi-custom production, was developed with her owner who plans a circumnavigation. Her maiden voyage took him from the Netherlands to the Italian island of Elba, between Corsica and Tuscany. The offshore vocation emanates from this very first Contest 85CS, named Polina Star IV. Her lines, designed by the famous studio Judel/Vrolijk & Co, are rather sleek and sporty, yet some elements strengthen the “call of the sea” dimension, starting with the solid, fixed bimini protecting most of the cockpit. The hull form is modern with vertical bow and transom, while the beam is constant enough from amidships to the aft end to ensure good stability. The massive freeboard also guarantees an efficient marine behaviour, even in rough conditions, while the two sets of three large winches on each side of the cockpit reveal that all manoeuvres are led aft for added safety. Finally, the coachroof – well above the deck without being massive – foreshadows protective interiors but with a good visibility. With its headsails, genoa and staysail, furling system and huge asymmetrical spinnaker rigged with a sleeve, this yacht is ready to set sail on a long journey, even with a small crew.
Following the specifications imposed by a seasoned owner, she can be crewed by two in all seas and in self-sufficiency, which required, for example, overprotecting or doubling all systems. In the same vein, she only features equipment that could be repaired on board by the crew, which explains the extraordinary workshop and her a large tools and spare parts storage capacity. This also led to opt for the cutter rig with quick reefing that can be single-handled, and the surprising presence of dorade boxes on a flush deck further meets the search for comfort at sea by ensuring good indoor ventilation in all weathers. This “old-fashioned” but proven system also avoids overusing the modern heating and cooling systems, limits the use of generator and reduces fuel consumption.
The elegant interior by Wetzels Brown Partners benefits from the shipowner’s sailing experience and regular collaboration with the yard since Polina Star IV is his third Contest yacht. The forward end of the Contest 85CS is primarily dedicated to the crew and the operational areas of the boat, with the guest cabins and the vast saloon. As a keen gourmet, the owner chose to install the galley next to his suite, which features a central, island king size bed, sofas, wardrobes and a spacious bathroom. This configuration answers a particular program and desires but other layouts can be envisaged: a longitudinal or transverse tender garage, a forward or aft master suite, an aft galley and crew area… Once again, semi-custom offers a large range of possibilities.
One motto of this Contest 85CS could be: safety is the key to long journey. Still building on his experience and on the yard’s attentive listening, the owner of this exceptional unit placed emphasis on safety. Polina Star IV was designed with four watertight compartments, open lifejacket lockers next to the companionway, hatches with escape ladders in each cabin and emergency lighting on the ceiling. The bilge pumping arrangement is extremely efficient and along the length of the yacht there is also a high-power pumping system to fight fires. This seaworthiness is also found in the beautiful carpentry, made of teak and oak, as all the furniture have rounded corners to avoid injury at sea.
Naturally, the construction was the object of particular care, with a hull made with vacuum infusion and foam core, a stainless steel and lead keel, carbon rudders and bowsprit. She features a Hall Spars rigging, also in carbon, carrying a North Sails sails. Polina Star IV is designed to sail from 5 to 50 knots of wind and, unlike many other sailboats, only use mechanical propulsion for port manoeuvres and when the wind fails to come up. The evidence is clear that the Contest 85CS is a seafaring sailboat, designed by sailors.