CNB Bordeaux 60
Toby Hodges spends three glorious days aboard one of CNB’s semi-custom model, the Bordeaux 60, which has been turning heads worldwide since its debut in 2008
It’s a bold move naming a yacht after such a historic city and wine-growing mecca; but also a shrewd one. The region is synonymous with wine, both for the discerning client and the bulk shopper. Similarities can be therefore be drawn to the Bordeaux 60’s parent companies: her builders are CNB, part of the Beneteau Group and specialising in one-off prestigious yachts, with over 40 built so far in the 20 to 32 metre range.
But the Bordeaux 60 is a semi-custom model that brings together the Beneteau Group’s experience in high volume production with CNB’s custom-build nous. The result is therefore like a carefully blended wine – mixing the right measures of experience and production to produce a full-bodied design that promises to remain palatable for years to come. CNB gets each new owner off to a fitting start with a case of Bordeaux 60-labeled wine from the region.
Design and layout
Semi-custom translates to the availability of four basic interior layouts and two keel options – the rest, from hull colour, rig and sails, to interior décor, is customisable. Our test boat was apparently very close to standard, especially with the interior layout, with a skipper’s cabin in the forepeak and owner’s cabin forward.
From the start, you can appreciate that she’s not just another pretty face – Philippe Briand has drawn a hull that both slips along under sail and provides vast living area below. Slab sides and a shallow forefoot indicate upwind potential. But it’s the sheer height of these topsides (almost two metres from the dock), combined with rounded displacement in the bilge and extensive beam (nigh-on five metres), that creates such lofty space below. This is given plenty of daylight thanks to a subtly rising coachroof and surround sa
loon windows that keep the styling sharp. Mast lines are led aft over these windows, to two wheel-side winches and into alcoves.
The spacious cockpit is accentuated by high coamings with long benches. The centrepiece is the tapered table with fridge, cupholders and dual-coloured lighting, which makes al-fresco dining and entertaining very inviting, especially with the optional bimini. Cockpit lockers are all gas sprung, but are small or shallow. But the skipper’s cabin in the forepeak – a compact, workmanlike affair, with a six-foot breadthways bunk, heads and shower – can also swallow fenders and warps.
Our sail set up was ‘manageable’ with an furling in-boom, fully-battened main and self tacking jib. Lazyjacks are standard, with in-mast or in-boom furling, and carbon booms being optional.
My time aboard was more of a passage cruise than your average quickfire boat test: a three-day sail from Barcelona to Cannes. Considering we only had a self-tacking jib and no downwind sails, the wind gods couldn’t have been kinder, providing close-reaching conditions for the better part of the trip.
Sitting directly on the sidedecks, each side of the wheels makes helming comfortable, while foot chocks and angled floorboards help standing. The primary winches have foot pedals to make shorthanded work easy, and backstay and vang are compressed hydraulically.
While we only had a light breeze to start off from the Catalunyan coast close-hauled, making 4.5 knots in ten knots true wind, it was as the wind steadily increased, and we could crack off 10–20 degrees that she showed her colours, quickly accelerating to eight knots in 11 to 12 knots wind. Apart from dropping on the first night, the wind remained consistent, increasing steadily through the gauges up to 19 knots – speed increased in kind, hitting nine knots in 16, with a top speed of 9.5. Helm feedback was positive and she tracked true, providing the easy ride indicative of her size and moderate displacement.
After three days of sailing in perfect Mediterranean conditions, she had won me over. With over 20 knots apparent wind and one reef dropped in, the B60 exuded balance and stiffness. She sat at just under eight knots to windward, only needing light corrections if a wave slapped her off course while we chewed away the passage miles.