By John Snyder - From Ocean Navigator
Fontaine Design Group of Portsmouth, RI has just launched a 40-foot version of the classic Friendship sloop. Austral Yachts in Whangarei, New Zealand, built the new luxury yacht, and so far, sea trials have proven the small superyacht to be quick on its heels and stunning in craftsmanship and attention to detail. A forty-foot voyager is quite a departure for a designer like Fontaine, whose stable of successful bluewater boats includes the elegant Amelia3 and a number of larger vessels like Whisper and the 109-foot Aventura, yachts truly deserving of the superyacht moniker.
The new yacht, aptly named Manaaki, a Maori word meaning cherish and sustain, was built for a Jamestown, RI owner who previously owned a Fontaine-designed Little Harbor 42.
Manaaki’s profile is classic – one of those boats that has true turnaround appeal whether lying at a mooring or alongside a dock. But besides being a pretty boat, Fontaine also designed it to be a stale and responsive hull that is easily driven. He has incorporated his proven Delta Form shale in the underbody with a deadrise shape that seems to created its own lift. For shoal water, a lifting centerboard provides a draft of just under 4 feet, opening up a world of coastal cruising.
The boat’s powerful rig was built by Sparcraft, is 61 feet 3 inches in height and carries 920 square feet of sail. The boat is configured for single-handed sailing and is effort-less at the helm. For ease of sail-handling, Fontaine has included a Leisure Furl in-boom main with hydraulic sheet buttons at the helmsman’s feet and a Reckmann foller-furling 100 percent genoa with electric winches at either side of the wheel. The mainsail is fully battened and features a Navtec stainless-steel hydraulic boom vang. The mainsheet is led straight down through the coaming and controlled hysdraulically by foot switches near the pedestal. This is not a new concept but one that Fontaine feels works exceptionally well on the Friendship 40. The cockpit is kept clear of lines, and the need for a traveler is eliminated – true self-tacking ability. In the event of a malfunction, a conventional sheet can be rigged in an emergency. The yacht’s four winches are electric and, like the stainless steel blocks, come fro Antal.
From Manaaki’s enormous split cockpit, the helm has a full 360’ view. Fontaine designed the boat with a clean fore and aft deckand a sleek low profile-profile cabin top without sacrificing headroom below. The windlass and anchor are contained in a custom flush anchor locker so as not to detract from the yacht’s flush deck lines. There are also Atwood pop-up cleats to maintain the clean look on flush decks.
In the cockpit there are three deep settees – port, starboard and one sweeping behind the helm, following the turn of the coaming. The teak coaming is wide and perfectly proportioned, and its finish complements the teak of the sheer strake and cap rail. Splitting the cockput fore and are are two partial bulkheads that serve as winch tables and storage. They separate the helm from the sitting area, enhancing the roomy feel. A foo-size centerline cockpit table fills out the space and conceals the GPS and VHF radio. Line bins are built into the bulkheads on either side of the companionway beneath the winches mounted on the cabin top.
Manaaki is powered by a 40-hp Yanmar diesel with a Saildrive turning a 16-inch- diameter Gori three-bladed prop. For close-quarters maneuverability, Vetus bow thrusters have been installed. The steering equipment includes a Whitlock Cobra system, FRP rudder and carbon-fiber stock. The oversized wheel adds to the boat’s extremely light helm.
Four Endurant house batteries, two starting batteries, an additional Leece-Neville 130-amp alternator, and a Xantrex Prosine 2,000-watt inverter handle the boat’s modest electrical demands.