Rupert Holmes takes a look at the newly announced Arcona 50, a yacht that breaks new ground for the Swedish yard
This Swedish yard’s new flagship, the Arcona 50, represents more than just a step up in size – it’s also the outcome of a different philosophy. This is especially apparent in the choice of designer – X-Yachts’ founder Niels Jeppesen – although there are also other respects in which it breaks new ground for Arcona.
Historically the bulk of the yard’s clients were Swedish owners, most of whom kept their boats in one of the country’s many archipelagos, where the combination of light displacement and tall rig was ideal for the local conditions, as well as allowing owners to race competitively.
That picture has changed over the past few years and CEO Urban Lagnéus tells me the UK is now by far the company’s biggest market. This larger model was also conceived from the outset as a boat for longer distance sailing, while still retaining the brand’s fundamental attributes.
At the same time as the yard was looking to create a larger model, Arcona’s long standing de facto in house designer Stefan Qviberg passed away. “We therefore needed a new person to create this boat,” says Lagnéus. “At that time, Niels and Ariadna Pons were setting up a new design office, so we had a meeting and discovered we all speak the same boat language, so it was an easy choice.
“A 50ft boat is much more one for the ocean than our smaller boats,” he told me. “So our aim for this one was an offshore yacht that will be quick when sailing long distances – we wanted it to be one of the quickest 50-footers – but it also has many comforts.”
The yacht has been kept as light as possible, without compromising strength or stiffness. Lagnéus says the most cost effective way of doing this is with foam-cored composite furniture and bulkheads, in place of the plywood that’s more usually used. This model therefore only uses carbon in key structural areas, especially where it can help keep weight out of the ends of the boat.
A similar philosophy of saving weight was also applied to the selection of hotel systems and deck gear. A single saving of 5, 10 or 15kg may not sound important for a boat of this size, but once that’s scaled up to scores of items the cumulative reduction can be considerable. This helps keep total displacement in check and allows for a heavier keel bulb – an aspect that’s often compromised when a boat ends up being heavier than the designer originally intended.
The Arcona 50’s hull shape has proportionally much wider aft sections than previous models, with more flare above the waterline and soft chines fairly high up the topsides. It’s therefore a shape that doesn’t have a great deal of wetted surface area in light airs, but stability builds quickly as heel increases and there are twin rudders for ultimate control. These can also be positioned further aft than a single rudder, which allows more of the hull’s length to be used for both accommodation and stowage.
This leaves room for a transverse tender garage, without pushing the aft cabins too far forward. Watertight composite bulkheads separate the accommodation from both the bow sail locker and the tender garage.
This is also the first Arcona to have L-shaped benches with twin tables in the forward part of the cockpit and therefore a clear passage between the transom and companionway. Below decks there’s a minimalist Scandinavian style with lots of natural light from hull windows and flush overhead hatches. Aft cabins can be converted between twin and double formats, while there’s a large forward owner’s cabin.
Construction of the first Arcona 50 is scheduled to start in September 2022, with five boats planned for launch in 2023. Pricing will be determined closer to the launch date.
Arcona 50 specifications
Hull length: 14.99m 49ft 2in
Beam: 4.60m 15ft 1in
Draught: 2.95m, 2.5m or 2.2m 9ft 8in, 8ft 2in or 7ft 3in
Displacement (deep keel): 13,900kg 30,650lb
Ballast: (deep keel) 4,600kg 10,140lb
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