Occasionally a very special yacht is available on the brokerage market, which makes the transition from high quality performance cruising yacht to evergreen classic in one jump. This yacht was built at Camper & Nicholsons for the shipyard's owner to designs by the iconic Georgetti Magrini design house. The brief was to provide a well found and powerful cruising yacht and one which could be easily sailed by a small family group. She certainly delivered, and still in her original ownership, she is now awaiting her new family for more oceans.
To understand Aralus it might be helpful to know a little of the background of her owner. My family is a Greek ship owning family which has owned ships since the early 1800’s. In 1956 my father Captain Maris, bought the 60 foot cutter called Aralus built in 1924. Following that he owned in succession the 65 foot ketch Stilvi, and the Nicholson 55, Andria. These were followed first with a ½ tonner called Warrior, and then with a very successful racing ½ tonner called Ace. All these yachts were built by Camper & Nicholsons. By the time Aralus came to be built in 1985 my family owned the Camper & Nicholson yacht building yard at Gosport and I was the chairman of C&N.
The objective with Aralus was to create a fast, safe cruising yacht capable of being sailed by two. The yacht was to be able to sail for long periods without need of calling in port. But at the same time be functional and even luxurious below- sailing in half tonners had provided enough hardships. We also wanted her to be beautiful – at least to our eyes.
We selected Giorgetti and Magrini as designers as they had just designed an attractive 55 foot schooner called Ashanti, with a lovely modern interior in light birch wood with maple edging, a far cry from the sheets of teak veneer that then characterized most production boats. And of course C&N were to be the builders.
C&N at the time was re-establishing its reputation as a builder of first class semi custom yachts, with the Dave Pedrick designed Nicholson 58s enjoying considerable success. However my intention was to move the company back to building larger custom yachts. And Aralus was to be the prototype for the techniques we were later to use in building the 90 foot aluminium ketch Victoria, and the 130 foot aluminium Cyrano; both Superyacht award winning yachts. Cost was not a consideration.
I’m pleased to say that results were successful. She is a lovely fast, well balanced and close winded boat to sail; in moderate winds you can sail her holding the wheel between finger and thumb. She’s been sailed short handed in the Med, and on both sides of the Atlantic, whilst my family and guests have enjoyed five star luxury on extended cruises. Both my sons learned to walk on the boat, and now in their late teens/twenties they still love her – does this say something?
I didn’t touch on an aspect I consider important in a yacht, and that is that she be something individual, not mass produced, not identical to others. Before the advent of fibreglass every yacht – even every dinghy, was individually designed. Why not, there was little saving to be made in copying a previous design. But once fibreglass came into use, the size at which it became economical to produce an individual, which is a custom yacht, was fixed essentially by the risk the yacht builders were willing to take in creating tooling which needed a considerable number of yachts to amortize.
The Nicholson 70 in the 1970’s was then a step too far, but 55 feet worked fine. Today probably anything less than 100 feet (racing boats excepted) would probably be prohibitive as a one off, and that lower limit is rising not declining.
So Aralus was one of the last yachts of her size to be built as a completely unique custom yacht.
The hull, systems and fit out
It was decided from the outset that the yacht would be built to Lloyds 100A1 +LMC meaning that design of the hull, and all systems would be verified by Lloyds and the construction supervised throughout – even the main engine. The result is a yacht which is over-specified; the scantlings are heavier than need be, and the systems, including the electrical systems are to the standards of a much larger yacht. It has made the yacht structurally and systems trouble free.
The hull was built by Allday aluminium – who had just completed the two 12m British challengers for the Americas cup, they were therefore in peak form when they came to build Aralus.
The rest of the fit out took place at the C&N yard at Gosport.
The yacht has an aft cockpit with the machinery below. This means that the main engine and all auxiliary machinery is located aft in an engine room accessible from below and through a hinged access in the cockpit floor from above. Everything is unusually accessible; the main engine for example could be removed without any dismantling of joinery etc.
The yacht has large water and diesel tanks integral with the hull, about 1500 litres each. With 6 or 7 on board and paying no attention to water consumption – each person taking multiple showers, plenty of fresh water dishwashing, water consumption runs to around 400 litres a day. This means running the water-maker for around 4 hours, which in turn means running the generator for the same amount of time, which also more than deals with the fridges, and replenishes the batteries. The generator is quiet and economical. In harbour everything runs of a/c. When motoring the main engine drives the fridge compressor, and a two large alternators deal with the battery. An inverter gives ac power at all time. The water-maker still needs the generator.
The battery capacity means that lighting and fans can be run through the night and much of the day, without concern.
The other systems are what you’d expect in a well found yacht of this size.
The accommodation on Aralus is arranged so she can be sailed in several different ways. For example with a crew of two - skipper & cook / stewardess the foc’sle provides good crew accommodation accessed from the fore hatch which does not disturb the guests.
The two guest cabins can be used to accommodate four/five guests. Two bunks adjacent the companionway can be used for passage making, or for additional guests bringing the sleeping capacity of the yacht to 9 in berths, or converted to a settee or storage as needed.
The two guests cabins –the forward one with a double berth, the after with two singles (with one removable pipe cot above), have fixed port lights which offer outside views and enhance the feeling of space, whilst large hatches provide both ventilation and light. There is ample storage with generous hanging lockers and drawers and cupboards in each cabin. These cabins have reverse cycle air-conditioning.
The owner’s cabin has an en suite head, whilst the guest cabin has the head opposite. The heads have ample stall showers, so that the bathrooms remain dry when the showers are used. The toilets are vacuum flushed and lead to a holding and treatment tank aft.
Sinks and shower trays are custom made in stainless steel and the tap and shower fittings are by Vola. The heads have generous hatches for light and air.
The main saloon has a fixed teak table with seating for 6 around it. There is ample storage in cupboards and in lockers below the settee and behind the settee backs. Port lights and generous hatches provide views, light and ventilation.
The galley is separated from the saloon by a preparation/serving counter which at sea acts as a brace for the cook to work securely in the galley. Below it a custom storage set accommodates all the crockery. The counter tops, deep double sinks, and galley extractor hood/overhead are in stainless steel for easy cleaning.
For safety and for good heat output the stove is a stainless steel 4 burner and oven, paraffin fired.
A very large eye level fridge forms the forward bulkhead of the galley, while the chest freezer is below the saloon settee immediately opposite.
This is a galley that is used safely and effectively at sea, whilst allowing the cook to prepare haute cuisine meals.
Adjacent the companionway to port is a navigation station with a full sized chart table. All the electrical systems can be operated and monitored from here, with double pole switches for all circuits and master fuses for the heavy consumers. The toilet system, tank gauges, battery charge meters, ammeters and voltmeters, and generator controls are all located here. A Simrad chart plotter and radar, and Brookes and Gatehouse electronics complete the navigation instruments. Communications are provided through a Skanti Mini M satellite phone/data link and a VHF radio.
Brooks and gatehouse repeater units are located in the passage berths, in each cabin and in the foc’sle.
This is a serious navigator’s station which can be used in all sea states, and from which the yachts systems can be monitored and operated.
Throughout the accommodation there is red night time lighting, generous handholds and functional lee cloths, individual reading lights and fans, so that the yacht works properly below whilst at sea.
All in all an accommodation where there is a place for everything, and you can sleep, eat, navigate, cook, and relax, at sea and at anchor in safety and comfort for indefinite periods of time. You won’t find yourself wanting to get ashore for a decent night’s sleep, a proper shower, or some privacy.
Sailing and maneuvering
The yacht is cutter rigged. Both the staysail and the headsail are hydraulically furled by Rondal units controlled from the cockpit. The main which is fully battened is slab reefed. The winch system around the mast base allows one person to put a reef in, the reef at both tack and clew leading on to separate winches, with the central electric winch taking the main halyard to minimize the hard work.
The yacht has the equipment for a spinnaker, but not the spinnaker itself. There is an inadequately sized asymmetrical. Otherwise the yacht is sailed with main, Yankee and optionally the staysail. Progressive reduction of sail leads to a very compact rig with reefed main and the staysail, which allows the runners to be permanently set and the yacht tacked with only the staysail sheets to tend.
The yacht is wonderfully balanced and on the wind can be steered with one hand, even with a couple of fingers. She is fast and close winded, reaches well at up to 9 knots, and runs without vice, with her large rudder and skeg. She is stiff and sea kindly not slamming. Hydraulic backstay controlled from the cockpit avoids sag in the forestay to keep the yacht pointing.
Anchoring and manoeuvring in port are helped by the fact that the anchor windlass can be controlled from the cockpit as can the vertical capstan aft. So anchoring or coming stern to for example can be done by the helmsman alone. The large rudder means that once she has a little sternway she steers well astern.
There are ample large stainless steel mooring fairleads and bollards fore and aft, and amidships.
Forward is the large foc’sle hatch designed to allow any sail to be taken below. And forward below a flush hatch is an electric anchor windlass and capstan. The bow roller fairleads are housed in a massive stainless steel fabrication which allows two anchors to be carried in the stowed position. Drop nose pins prevent the anchor chain from coming off the fairleads even in very lively anchorages in a gale – as I have established.
The yacht is quiet and economical under power. The 135 hp 6 cylinder Perkins, new in 2006, is an old school engine, very low stressed and reliable. We cruise at 1750 rpm which corresponds to about 40 hp output for a consumption of around 9 litres an hour for 7.5 knots (tankage of 1500 litres means theoretical range of over 1,000 nautical miles. 2000 rpm gives about 8.5 knots.
The deep cockpit is secure at sea, and is easy to work. A dodger provides good shelter when sailing. At anchor a removable table gives a great outdoor dining space. The autopilot allows whoever is on watch to move about the decks on passage.
The decks which are essentially flush provide great sunbathing and lounging areas. We have a variety of different awnings, to provide shade on demand. There is stowage for the dinghy, windsurfers, the passarelle and the side boarding ladder in custom fittings on the deck and deckhouse, while the outboard motor stows on the pushpit.
Maintenance and refits
The yacht has been crewed for much of her life. She was kept in Lloyds class until 2010, when the cost of paying for surveyors started to exceed the cost of the work itself. She had a major refit in 2005 when the teak decks were replaced, all her hatches replaced, she was repainted and extensive additional work was done, and she had a new main engine installed in 2006. Due to pressure of work preventing us from using her, she has been stored ashore under a shrink wrapped cover since 2009.
full Awlgrip on topsides and superstructure 2002
9 berths, including 2 doubles in 3 cabins plus 2 x crew.
Double owner’s cabin, double guest cabin, twin guest cabin with pipecots, 2 x passage berths and 2 x crew berths.
2 x pipecots (one to port and one to starboard), storage, watertight door access in to chain locker at bow. Marine toilet, and wash basin
Large double berth with divided mattress, seat and lockers
WC and washbasin to starboard, and separate shower cubicle to port
Twin guest cabin:
Two single berths. Removable pipecot to make third berth. Storage, lockers, small double sided opening hatch to saloon. Guest WC/shower to starboard and separate shower.
Double guest cabin:
Double berth cabin that is located aft of the saloon.
U-shaped settee to port (ivory upholstery) and teak folding leaf table. Two pilop berths to starboard (fixed lower berth and upper berth can fold down to form back rest for a settee or up to give a second berth).
Access door to engine room starboard side of companionway (engine under cockpit)
Chart table and electronics to port - faces aft
Spars and Rigging
Lewmar 65 ST
Manual (on cockpit coaming)
Lewmar 48 ST
Manual (on cockpit coaming
Lewmar 40 ST
Manual (on cockpit coaming)
Lewmar 55 ST
Manual (on cockpit coaming)
Lewmar 46 ST
Manual (in cockpit)
Lewmar 48 ST
(To port and starboard of mast on deck)
Lewmar 48 ST
Electric (just forward of mast on deck)
Lewmar 46 ST
Manual (at foot of mast)
Mainsail – fully battened
Yankee – furling
Items excluded from the sale: all personal belongings and all other items not expressly listed in the above inventory, including 7 artworks currently on board.