Contest 67CS: The Bluewater Game-Changer
Two years ago, Holland’s top semi-custom, bluewater constructor Contest Yachts announced a design partnership with leading German studio judel/vrolijk & co. Their recently launched Contest 67CS proves just how shrewd a move this was.
Words MIKE OWEN
Retaining Contest Yachts’ much-respected visual cues of flush decks, wraparound windows and coachroof overhang as start point, judel/vrolijk’s latest transition introduces an even more dynamic shaping. First, the yacht’s bulwark height was lowered and its freeboard lifted a little, then the bow was slimmed, the stern broadened and the under-hull aft flattened. This increased form stability – aided further by a new L-keel profile – and in the process, the centre of gravity was lowered and the vessel’s interior volume grew, substantially.
Reflecting Contest’s high-end customisation skills, the yacht’s interior arrangement is very flexible, comprising a four sleeping-cabin plan with options between a master suite aft or forward; galley midships or aft; and crew either housed forward or midships. The styling and fitting is to impeccable standards both in clever, fine interior design by Wetzels Brown and the yard’s own expert craftsmanship.
Construction combines Contest’s renowned, Lloyd’s certified, vacuum-infused, cored composites methodology with judel/vrolijk’s new lay-up matrix and grid system increasing stiffness while lightening weight. Again improving CoG, engine and generator have been brought further into the boat underfloor and well silenced under the specialist guidance of Van Cappellen. This expertise applies throughout, from a custom V-bracket in place of a vibration-prone P, to fastening and ducting methodologies, and frequency-driven ventilation for accommodation and machinery spaces. This is an exceptionally quiet boat.
Further demonstrating the specific attention to engineering, there’s a dedicated, full height technical room centralising the balanced inverter/charger energy system and all other key electronic componentry. With this space insulated and temperature controlled, operation is optimised, management simplified. And in case of PLC failure, conventionally leading to a dead boat, a further failsafe system maintains services essential to getting back to harbour such as nav lights, comms and pumps.
Again for safety, feeding back to a single-point pump, the bilge has a stem to stern central line with outboard spurs in each of the five watertight compartments, all monitored and alarmed on the yacht’s touch-screen, full-management system. There are two further auto-back-up pumps should the temperature sensing indicate blockage and potential impeller burn out. There are also vacuum suction hoses running full length to remove other overflow or spills. This is all so well thought and delivered.
Tank management is simplified with automated swap-over valves; levels and pump activation again via touch screen control. Reducing risk and impact of contamination, the two fuel tanks have suction lines to evacuate surface water, and the engine, generator and heater have a separate height-staged feed point, so protecting priorities. Following Contest’s regular practice of full redundancy and always eased access, fuel and water filters are doubled and instantly accessible in the galley step for swift swap-over and immediate restarting.
This ease of access, operation and on-the-go maintenance typifies Contest’s meticulous approach to simplifying sophisticated systems, and there’s far too much to detail here. So how does she sail? Like a dream, even in the 30, gusting 40, knots of our test sail.
Single ruddered (twinned would be to disadvantage here with the 67CS sailing so flat) and with a Jefa steering system, the helm is pleasingly near finger-light yet full of feel, and the seakeeping very comfortable with good forward buoyancy. The tell-tale view forward is good and with her optional Hall carbon spars and North 3Di sails we reached along at 13 plus knots, then a healthy 10, close hauled at a remarkable 22° apparent.
A very impressive bluewater game-changer and a clear expression of the almost boundless difference between production and top end, semi-custom yachting.
Now easing ownership in Southeast Asia, Contest Yachts has engaged with Northrop & Johnson, Asia for full representation – from enquiry to commissioning and on-going yacht management.