Boat: NEEL 45 Trimaran
Location: La Rochelle, France
Sea state: Flat
Wind speeds: 8-14knots true
The test sail started off in what can only be described as light conditions.
On leaving the marina I was surprised at just how manoeuvrable the boat is in confined spaces. The single rudder has a very light but responsive feel. The boat also has a very good motoring speed with it easily reaching ten knots at cruising RPM. As soon as the sails were hoisted the advantage of the trimaran was instantly evident. The windward hull lifts in 3 knots of breeze and the boat accelerates accordingly.
On a reach, at all wind speeds up to 10 knots, the boat sails at the same speed as the wind. The boat can reach hull speeds of up to 18 knots on flat water before reefing is necessary.The Zspars rig runs a mainsail with self tacking jib and furling Gennaker as standard.
The boat has plenty of storage below decks in the central hull, keeping all the weight low and directly above the keel. The wings cleverly accommodate a double cabin and ensuite on either side with single berths or storage in the outer hulls. There is a forward double berth in the bow.
The cockpit is a good size that comfortably seats 8 people with plans to build a hard top over this area for Australian clients. This could then have clears fitted to extend the living area in bad weather. The internal fit out is nicely done with a lot of options for different materials and colours for the owner at the time of build.
When making comparisons to other 45 foot multihulls of a similar price range the Neel has certain compromises. The double cabins have low beds and the forward double is certainly not big. Compared to a catamaran the living space is more elongated with a slightly separated feel to the walk through arrangement.
For anyone looking to cruise with a view to more performance, the Neel is certainly worth looking at. It is a comfortable and very exciting boat to sail. With an empty weight of 6.5 tonnes, the trimaran makes a very stable but light platform that would make a great coastal or Pacific cruising boat. It’s ideal for our Australasian region.