X-41 One Design: Review
X-41 One Design: Review
X-Yachts' new 41-foot racer is the boat with which you do anything and everything. With stellar performance, clean design, and attention to detail in its hardware, construction, it was a standout in a crowded field of crossover designs, boats as well suited for racing as they are for cruising. In our light-air tests this boat sailed well and this performance has been confirmed in other conditions by winning several major events last summer and fall.A first look at the X-41 shows a slight rake to the stem, and the stern has powerful cross sections and a small amount of overhang, indicating this boat is all waterline. At just under 12-feet wide the X-41 has moderate beam, and the 8-foot T-bulb keel provides more stability than some similar boats. The carbon-fiber Nordic mast, six winches, halyard clutches, and sail control hardware all say this boat wants to race.During our test sail the X-41 accelerated well in only 6 knots of wind. With two sets of aft-swept spreaders and chainplates on the rail, jib LP is limited to 106 percent but the foretriangle is tall, about 95 percent of mast height, and the rig was sized with the small jib overlap in mind. Sail controls are also in place to easily adjust the sails, powering up in the light and de-powering in more breeze with jib in-hauler tackle hidden in the companionway hatch rails. The main trimmer has no need to leave the weather side as all controls are within reach.The helm on this boat feels great; smooth with no friction in the Jefa rudder bearings and steering components controlled with a 67-inch carbon wheel. Upwind there is a touch of weather helm pressure to keep the helmsman happy and in touch with the boat's feel. The helmsman has terrific visibility from the weather side with the jib telltales, oncoming waves, and up-course breeze all visible. Downwind the helm is again light and responsive, but also positive.Off the wind the X-41 sets a 1,577- square-foot masthead spinnaker on a traditional spinnaker pole. Our speed on the GPS was 5.5 knots in just under 6 knots true-wind speed at a true-wind angle of 130 degrees. Maneuvers went smoothly with the cockpit laid out so headsail trimmers were not elbowing the main trimmer.Typical of many boats this size, the spinnaker sheets share the cabin-top winches; halyards and afterguys lead to primary winches. Dual-diameter Harken Quattro drums on the cabin house accommodate for the different line speeds required by a light-air spinnaker sheet trim and the last centimeter of a heavily loaded halyard. Harken three-speed primary winches have the range of speed and power to handle jib sheets and afterguys.There are toe rails forward of the mast only, and the lifeline stanchions are located all the way outboard, within an inch of the rail, which puts the lower lifeline further outboard so it's easier for crew to hike hard. At the bow the twin groove headfoil has a jib-furling drum set below deck to take full advantage of available luff length. The interior of the X-41 will work well for distance as well as day racing. Aft on each side of the boat, under the cockpit, are double berths with pipe berths. The mid-cabin settee/berths sleep another body to weather on hinged platforms. For the serious racer, the cabin table pulls off its base, revealing a stainless steel tube that now serves as a grab bar/divider to keep the headsails where they are stowed instead of in a pile to leeward.X-Yachts builds the X-41 of E-glass and PVC foam sandwich. Vinylester resin is used for the outside layers for resistance to osmotic blistering and polyester resin thereafter. By using female mold tooling, X-Yachts can vary core thickness and density to remove weight from lightly loaded areas of the hull while maintaining extra strength in high-load areas. Where there are high local loads, such as near the keel frame, the rudder bearings, and other through hulls, the foam is replaced with solid fiberglass. X-Yachts has used galvanized steel frames with single-point lifting attachments throughout their history and it is interesting to see this heavy item is smaller in the new, lighter models to where it supports only the keel and mast. The rest of the structural support is supplied by the molded fiberglass liner. The result is less structural weight and less chance of corrosion over time. Further saving weight of toe rails and fasteners, the X-41's deck is bonded to the hull (with modern adhesives this has become standard boatbuilding procedure). X-Yachts have paid a lot of attention to both the broad-brush concept and also to details with the X-41. They have a combination of hull shape, keel, rudder, and rig that sails as a raceboat should, is relatively easy to keep in the groove, and is winning races. The sail-handling areas and interior work well, and many hardware details add to the mix. Even their manufacturing details help create a boat that not only sails well but is built efficiently so they can deliver the base boat at about $375,000.
For SW's complete 2008 Boat of the Year coverage, click here