|Beam||13 ft., 5 in.|
|Draft||3 ft., 5 in.|
|Engines||Twin Volvo D-6 IPS500 370 hp|
|Base Price||See Dealer|
|Twin Volvo D-4 IPS400 300 hp. See dealer for full list.|
|Twin Volvo D-6 IPS500 370 hp. See dealer for full list.|
|Jeanneau, Les Herbiers Cedex, France; jeanneau.com|
|West Coast Dealer|
|Fraser Yacht Sales, Vancouver, B.C.;
(604) 734-3344; fraseryachtsales.com
Sundance Yachts, Seattle,
Bayport Yachts, Newport Beach, Calif.;
Posted: July 1, 2014 | Boat Type: Motoryacht
Clever design and construction serve the needs of a variety of boatersWhen Jeanneau developed the NC series (NC stands for New Concept), the approach appealed to boaters, because it allowed interior flexibility not available in recreational production boats until that series. By using upholstered, seat-height cubes that can be moved around to allow for more, or less, seating in any given part of the boat, the builder struck on an elegantly simple, inexpensive way to accomplish its goal of versatility. The cubes stow away quickly and easily, under tables usually, when the vessel is underway.
The NC series has been so popular that more than 300 of the vessels have been sold since their introduction in 2011. In fact, the NC 11 won the European Yacht of the Year award three years ago.
The builder likes to say NC series yachts — NC 9 (29 feet), NC 11 (36 feet), NC 14 (45 feet) — are like “apartments on the water with a terrace and a sea view.”
Why It’s Different
The new 45-footer features a clean, crisp, contemporary hull style, complete with a fairly plumb bow. There is plenty of window and hull glass, and that glass blends nicely and is an integrated part of the vessel styling.
While the styling of this new vessel is not as conventional as the traditionalists might like, neither is it as far “out there” as some of the new, cutting-edge designs. Many people who have tested the NC series, including this writer, feel the Jeanneau designers and stylists have found a very nice balance between traditional and modern contemporary.
The NC 14, unlike many other 45-footers, carries its maximum beam right to the stern, which means the wetted surface of the hull is horizontally wedge shaped with the “point” of the wedge being at the bow. As the vessel rises on plane, wetted surface is reduced, lessening drag, making the hull more efficient and reducing fuel consumption. Carrying the beam to the stern also gives more flotation there, where the engines and IPS pod drives are located.
Jeanneau designers recognize that a heavier boat costs more to operate than a lighter one, so every effort has been made to keep weight down. A lighter boat also means higher speeds can be reached with less power. The NC 14 weighs in at just more than 21,000 pounds, whereas a newly built similar-sized single-engine trawler weighs in at about 34,000 pounds.
If we follow the builder’s apartment analogy, the aft deck is the terrace, and since the design allows the entire aft glass salon bulkhead to open, the terrace is easily accessible from the salon. Such a setup brings the outside in, like in many land-based apartments. The cockpit features a U-shaped lounge and a table, once again like a land-based apartment. But there’s more. The lounge is on tracks and can slide fore and aft. With the lounge forward, the cockpit flows into the swim step, yielding more space for water toys or a shoreboat.
As has become almost the norm in new boat construction, access to the vessel is via the swim grid, which is at almost the same height as most floating docks. There are no international standards relating to dock height and, therefore, swim-grid water clearance. Most builders are aware, however, that many boating mishaps occur when boat owners and their guests board and disembark from vessels, which has led to deliberate efforts by many builders — Jeanneau included — to pay attention to the height of their swim steps. It has become a safety issue that boat brokers and salespeople are pointing out to prospective buyers.
The swim step itself is about 3 feet fore and aft, making it large enough for people using water toys to operate off it comfortably. The hydraulic option that allows the step to be raised and lowered can be an excellent feature for Scuba divers and swimmers. When combined with the deck lounge seating that can be moved fore and aft, you get a very large, versatile and useful aft deck. With the seating pushed fully aft, the deck becomes an ideal cocktail party location.
The versatility of the 45-footer becomes instantly obvious upon entering the cabin. The aft cabin bulkhead is made up of three glass sliding doors that stow away, bringing the outside in — or the inside out, depending on one’s point of view. In either event, even with the doors closed, the skipper can easily see to the aft deck. With plenty of window glass forward and along both sides, the interior is flooded with natural light, and the skipper has excellent visibility all around. The natural light also keeps the interior bright and cheery, even on a dull day.
The helm is forward and to starboard, and the double helm seat is very comfortable. To port, directly across from the helm, is a bench-seat dinette, with plenty of room for four. The table can easily be used as a chart table for captains still using paper charts. It is also a comfortable location for guests who simply want to hang out with the skipper when the boat is underway.
The galley of the NC 14, along the cabin port side immediately aft of the dinette, contains all the necessities for extended cruising or for a quick weekend getaway — a stove with an oven and a stainless sink and refrigerator — and plenty of storage. When not in use, the galley is covered with a hinged counter that extends back to the aft cabin glass-door bulkhead. A hideaway TV raises electrically out of the same galley countertop.
Comforts of Home
To starboard, across from the galley and behind the helm, is a U-shaped sofa and a high-low table. When a couple of the versatile upholstered cubes are hauled out as stools, the secondary dining area can comfortably seat six. With the table dropped down and the sofa cushions appropriately rearranged, the area converts to a double berth. The upholstered cubes can also be used as stools at the aft-deck table.
Sleeping accommodations and the head are located forward and down, with the master in the bow. The twin V-berth, as a result of clever design and construction, can be pivoted to form an island queen, with storage under. The head, with a separate shower stall, is modern and up to date and features plenty of storage. The second stateroom, with twin single berths, is comfortable and has full standing headroom as you enter the space, but there’s only sitting headroom in the rest of the space.
Our test NC 14 is equipped with the twin Volvo D6 500IPS system. The 370 hp, computer-controlled engines start instantly, without smoking, rattling or hunting. We pulled away from the dock easily at a 600 rpm idle and poked our way out of the marina at 4.7 knots. We were burning 0.6 gallons of diesel per hour, and our noisemeter read 69 decibels, with the aft doors open.
At 1000 revs, we made 7 knots and burned 1.9 gph. When we tapped the throttles to 1500 rpm, we burned 5 gph and made 9.3 knots. When we advanced the throttle to 1900 rpm, that was when the boat came on plane, at 10.2 knots. Most 45-foot recreational planing hulls don’t come on plane until 13 or 14 knots. The low weight of the NC 14, as well as the sophisticated design, clearly produces a very efficient hull.
At 2500 rpm, we moved along at 17.5 knots, burning 18 gph. At 24.3 knots, our tach showed 3000 rpm, which resulted in a fuel burn of 25 gph. At a fast cruise, 3200 rpm, we were doing 27.5 knots and burning 28 gph. Wide-open throttle yielded 32.1 knots at 3620 rpm with a fuel burn of 39 gph. All speeds were measured by an independent GPS, and the fuel-consumption information was generated by the engines’ onboard computers.
The vessel handled very well at all speeds and answered all helm inputs quickly and precisely. Sea conditions were calm, so we didn’t really have an opportunity to determine how the vessel would perform in a running seaway, but the bit of wake jumping we did gave a solid, secure feeling. It was well mannered in sharp turns, exhibiting no skip or shudder. At all points during our test, the boat handled very well.
The Jeanneau NC 14 is, in many ways, quite an unusual boat. The builder has opted to build a coastal cruiser that, because of very clever design and construction features, can serve the needs of a variety of boaters. Family cruisers, given accommodations for six with the drop-down dining table as a berth, will love the ability to carry an extended family. Fishermen will love the large aft deck made available by sliding the aft seat module forward; water-toy fans will enjoy that same space. Operational visibility is excellent all around, and there’s plenty of ventilation. Storage space is abundant, especially in the belowdecks “utility” space created by the IPS system that moves power and the drives well aft, opening up a lot of space under the cabin floor.