Grand Soleil 46LC: New Series of Long-Distance Cruising Yachts

Grand Soleil 46LC

The Grand Soleil 46LC is the second boat to be launched in this Italian boatyard’s new series of long-distance cruising yachts, and was voted European Yacht of the Year in 2016. The 46LC (designating Long Cruise) aims to provide the utmost in comfort for two people plus occasional guests, who spend a lot of time aboard and intend to cover significant distances while ocean cruising.
 

The design of the new 46LC is intended to maximize three key aspects of life aboard: space, elegance, and safety.

The design of the new 46LC is intended to maximize three key aspects of life aboard: space, elegance, and safety.

Compared to Grand Soleil’s main performance range, The Marco Lostuzzi designed LC models have deeper and wider hull sections. This provides more volume and space for increased tankage, machinery, and battery capacity, without unduly compromising passage times or handling characteristics.

The designers have concentrated on optimizing three things belowdecks: comfort, stowage, and systems. There are generously-sized beds, ample headroom, plenty of space to move from one area to the next, and numerous hatches, ports, and hull windows that provide an abundance of natural light.

No attempt has been made to squeeze in the maximum possible number of cabins, which means there’s a large volume of stowage throughout the interior. Sleeping accommodations are skewed towards providing the best possible owner’s suite, which occupies the entire boat forward of the main bulkhead. The smaller of the two aft cabins is to port, aft of the galley and is fitted with a double berth. The starboard cabin is noticeably larger and is arranged with twin berths that can be converted into a large double. Both heads compartments have separate shower stalls.

The saloon has a flexible arrangement that can be easily switched between dining and relaxing modes, along with a retractable navigation table and provision for a sea berth on the starboard side. You can also have a large optional pop-up flatscreen television that’s electrically operated.
 

Rather than cram in extra staterooms, Grand Soleil chose to maximize the space available to each one.

Rather than cram in extra staterooms, Grand Soleil chose to maximize the space available to each one.

The coachroof design and deep hull sections allow for a raised saloon floor. Below this there’s plenty of space for impressively large fuel and water tanks, a high-capacity battery bank, plus most of the domestic systems.

 

On Deck & Performance

The efficient and easily-driven hull shape sports a long dynamic waterline and a plumb bow. Other exterior styling features include a short bowsprit and the distinctive composite mainsheet arch.

A considerable amount of thought has gone into making the deck layout as efficient as possible, both in terms of sail-handling and moving around easily. For instance, to avoid obstructions when going forward along the side decks, the cap shroud chain plate is mounted outboard. But the inner (diagonal) shroud is taken to the side of the coachroof.

An all-furling rig is available, including a self-tacking jib, offering the ultimate in ease of handling. In addition, all key control lines are led aft to the two helm stations. The 2’3” long bowsprit is a perfect platform from which to fly furling reaching sails such as asymmetric spinnakers and Code 0s. The sprit also incorporates neat stowage for the anchor.
 

For protection from the elements, whether inclement weather or excess sun, both a Bimini and sprayhood can be mounted on the over-cockpit arch. This also supports the mainsheet, which is completely clear of the cockpit sole.

For protection from the elements, whether inclement weather or excess sun, both a Bimini and sprayhood can be mounted on the over-cockpit arch. This also supports the mainsheet, which is completely clear of the cockpit sole.

The forward section of the cockpit has three different table options for dining, while there are also sunbed positions both on the foredeck and after decks. The former also has an optional additional fold-away Bimini for use in port and at anchor.

One of the most striking aspects of this boat is the attention to detail. As well as creating a quality product, the carefully thought through ergonomics will make it a joy to spend time on board. The power in the rig is easily tamed, making it a fast boat that doesn’t need a big team of athletes to sail it. In addition, the needs of a long-distance yacht in terms of tankage, battery capacity, and stowage are also well provided for—yet within a boat small enough for a couple to handle without drama.

Perhaps the biggest criticism that can be levelled against it the 46LC in the context of extended voyaging is that this is a complex boat with a plethora of systems that will require plenty of maintenance to keep them operating in the long term. It’s clear that many owners are happy to accept this to gain the benefits of increased comfort and convenience. However, it’s important to recognize the trade-offs between this and a simpler boat that’s less likely to require special skills or equipment to be fixed or maintained in remote corners of the globe.