Above all CNB 66 is a pure cruiser yacht, which means large areas, but also good performance under sail. Even when there is not much wind
by Niccolò Volpati, photo by Nicolas Claris
The sea is calm, except for the normal wakes from passing boats, but most of all there isn’t very much wind. The high pressure over the Gulf of Cannes has given us a day, which nearly feels like summer. The problem is that I am on board the latest model from CNB, which is twenty meters long, and is a boat that is most definitely aimed at cruising. How will it handle? Will five knots wind speed be enough to get it moving?
We move up to the deckhouse at the base of the mast. That is where the electric winch control is for hoisting the mainsail. The halyard is not taken down to the cockpit, so a crew member has to go there. The advantage is that it is very close and you can see when to raise it, without wasting energy unnecessarily. It is not a furling mainsail like most. This furls within the boom, and the system was worked out by CNB working together with Hall Spars.
The unusual aspect is that the tension doesn’t weigh on the hydraulic part because there is a mechanical sprocket which blocks it. That is very useful when you have to reduce the amount of sail because the mainsail can go as low as the batten, for example, and then you can use the sprocket to block it. At that point you just have to haul the halyard back in to the required tension. It is easier to use than it is to explain. Essentially this system means you can have a high-performing battened mainsail and not just a handkerchief of a few square metres, which doesn’t give good performance under sail, as is often the case with pure cruiser boats.c
As soon as the genoa is unfurled, I take the boat close to the wind. The instruments show that we are doing five knots, when the wind speed is at most six. And of course I don’t like to pinch the wind. It luffs if you go beyond thirty degrees. So it is best to stay around 45 degrees. The CNB 66 is very sure footed. It doesn’t react to gusts, and not even to lulls. It is a perfect cruising machine. It holds its speed and proceeds without paying much attention to changes in wind speed.
It is easy to steer and soft on the waves. The feel is that it would behave pretty much in the same way even if there were a lot of wind. It is the balance that a sailor looks for from a cruiser. It isn’t in a rush to get the most out of the smallest gust, because it isn’t in a race, but it also doesn’t want to slow down if the wind falls away. CNB 66 is the “third way”.
The sail plan has been developed so as not to have any problems. As well as the furling mainsail, which means you can trim without much trouble, there is also a foremast with a self-furling system. Everything you need, both for light wind and for tougher conditions is there to hand.
I liked the deck a lot. I appreciated the fact that everything from stern to bow was practically all at the same level. Portholes and gangways are all flush and the size of the cockpit makes it look like a motor boat. There are two benches of course, but the special feature is that the area available is so extensive that the one to port isn’t linear but U-shaped. In the middle there is a large foldable table with telescopic legs. It is also nicely located. The table is actually on the left, so it is never in the way of people who are going forward. Even with the table open you can go across the cockpit without difficulty.
I also liked the two seats for the helmsman, because they don’t take up room to the stern, given that they are arranged vertically to the sides. The instrument holders are large enough to hold two displays in each position. Everything is under control, including the electronics. Two things are notable in terms of engine performance. Firstly because of the speed we achieved. The top speed we managed actually exceeded ten knots, which means that you can go comfortably over nine knots without forcing the engine too much. The CNB 66 engine is a 180 hp Volvo D4, with in-line transmission.
The second positive aspect of the engine performance is how very quiet it is. The sound measured in the stern cabin, so really close to the engine room, was between 60 and 70 decibels at cruising speed. Moving further forward, in the owner’s cabin, the loudest noise was caused by the water outside, rather than the engine.
Below decks, as well as the natural light – which comes into the dinette from nearly 360 degrees – and the quality of the finish, I also liked the CNB 66 layout. There is actually just one cabin in the stern, while the owner one is in the bows and there are two further guest cabins amidships. The galley takes the place of the second stern cabin. This layout gives two advantages. The first is that the galley is distinctly large, and has an extensive work surface, and the second is that there is more room available in the dinette. The dinner table, a living area with a huge television, seats and map area, are not so restricted. All in all, it is a boat that makes you want to spend time on board.
Project: Philippe Briand (naval architecture) •Jean-Marc Piaton and Rafael Bonet (interiors)
Hull: LOA 20.61m • Length 19.86m • Waterline length 18.4 m • Maximum beam 5.51m • Draft 2.95m • Standard keel (approx.) 9,350 kg • Displacement 31,100 kg • Fuel tank volume 1300 l • Water tank volume 1000 l • Mainsail area 112 m2 • Genoa area 103 m2 • Asymmetric Spinnaker area 330 m2 • Staysail area 55 m2 • Code 0 area 155 m2
Main Propulsion: Volvo D4-180 • Outlet mechanical power 132 kW (180 hp) • 4 cylinders • Bore%Stroke 103 mm x110 mm • Swept volume 3,7 l • Maximal rotational speed 2800/min • Dry Weight 482 kg
EC Certification: CAT A
Price: 1.690.000 € Excl.VAT (As tested) – 1.450.000 € Excl.VAT (As standard).
162 quai de Brazza
F-33072 Bordeaux CEDEX, France
+33 05 57808550
(CNB 66, comfort sailing – Barchemagazine.com – Dicembre 2018)