New take on an established hull yields big results
When a boat builder decides to base a new model on the hull being used by the model it’s going to replace, there’s a bit of a risk. What if the new model is so similar to the old one that nobody notices? Worse, what if the new model has people pining for the old one? Well, as popular as the 49 was for Selene — 37 of them were sold — the 50 Europa is sure to establish itself on its own terms. I got to test hull #1 of the 50 Europa, which the builder is calling hull #5038, since it is a continuation of the Howard Chen-designed 49 hull, and I found it to be comfortable, sturdy, cruise friendly and efficient. Not surprising, as the hull design is meant to cleave the seas up front with a sharper entry and provide more stability aft where the hull is flatter and longer, adding length to the waterline.
Room for Three
The first, and maybe biggest, characteristic that sets the 50 apart from the 49 is the fact the 50 has three staterooms instead of the 49’s two. That was the concept behind the 50, according to Selene Yachts Northwest’s Brian Taylor.
The master is forward, but the queen berth isn’t tucked up into the “point” of the yacht, which can squeeze the head of the bed. The berth runs athwartships, with its head against the port hull side, which leaves room for built-in nightstands on either side and a small shelf that runs the width of the bed and the nightstands. Two hanging lockers and at least nine other small storage spots will take care of one’s stuff. Four portlights and an overhead hatch let in lots of natural light, so the room doesn’t feel like a dungeon. An en suite head — toilet, sink and separate shower stall — rounds out the master’s features.
The other two staterooms are amidships, one to each side of the landing at the foot of the stairs from the helm. To port is a double berth — cozy for two — that has a hanging locker, a nightstand and private access to the second head (and access to the engine room). The stateroom to starboard features separate single berths and a hanging locker.
Six people can sleep comfortably belowdecks, and two heads with separate shower stalls ensure things won’t get too crowded during morning ablutions. Two people could easily stay aboard for weeks at a time without too much trouble. Hawaii, anyone?
A step through the door from the aft deck to the salon reveals a teak-outfitted social area (cherry is an option) that gives way forward to a U-shaped galley and the helm. Windows wrap around the main cabin, with only a slight break in the aft port corner where stairs run from the aft deck to the flybridge, so the view all around is very good and sunlight pours in.
A C-shaped settee to port surrounds a wood table, and two barrel chairs sit opposite, creating a comfortable conversation area for six or seven people. The white chairs and cream-colored settee contrast nicely with the teak and greatly enhance decorating possibilities — though my expertise in that area is not to be trusted.
Where Things Get Done
While the main deck is essentially one area from the bulkhead door to the outward-leaning windshield, designers created a bit of a break between the salon and the galley/helm area. To port is a high galley countertop and to starboard is an entertainment cabinet and the refrigerator enclosure, the forward part of which serves double duty as the helm seatback and the aft part of which holds the mounted flat-screen TV.
The galley is definitely a one-person space, but that person has everything he needs at his disposal, from the three-burner stove and Force 10 oven to the double sink and microwave to the granite countertops and overhead cabinets.
Opposite the galley is the helm. A doublewide bench faces a teak dash that has room for a couple of multifunction displays up to 18 inches, plus all the necessary gauges and switches, including the joystick controls for the standard bow and stern SidePower thrusters. A big wooden steering wheel delivers a ship-like feel, and a watertight door provides access to the sidedecks for docking and lets the breeze in when necessary.
Breathe in the Air
The highlight of the 50 Europa, for many people, will be the flybridge. An optional hardtop — plenty tall for most everyone — covers the forward half, which is where the captain and passengers will find the second fully outfitted helm with twin captain’s chairs, an L-shaped settee and a table, and a covered grill. Aft is a Maxwell windlass and room for the optional Apex A-10 dinghy. With the dinghy in the water, three or four sun worshippers can laze about on chaise lounges or beach towels on the deck.
Selene Northwest’s Taylor and Patrick Dunlop were still getting a feel for the yacht and its performance on test day, so we ran the 50 Europa through the entire power spectrum, and it took us a while to get to the point at which the Cummins QSL9 was burning more than 1 gallon per mile. At 1600 rpm, the Cummins was burning 9.4 gph while the yacht was moving at 9.6 knots. When we moved up 100 rpm, speed increased to 9.8 knots while fuel burn jumped to 11.3 gph, which still isn’t bad, but it shows where the efficiency curve loses its upward momentum. Top speed was 10.4 knots at 1870 rpm, which yielded a 15.8 gph fuel burn.
Most people buy trawlers because they want to be able to do one thing: take it places. Near places. Faraway places. Exotic places. Comfortable old favorite places. No matter one’s predilection for the places one goes, the 50 Europa can likely get there. At 7.8 knots, the Europa’s range is almost 3,400 nautical miles (with a 10 percent reserve built in). Slow down slightly to 7.4 knots, and the range jumps to about 4,500 miles. To really stretch things out, cut the throttle back to 6.6 knots and watch the boat’s range climb to around 5,500 miles. The latter two ranges are good enough for a Los Angeles-to-Tahiti cruise. A yacht with that kind of range will go to Cabo and back from San Diego and then ask if it can head to Seattle.
Test day on Lake Washington didn’t present many challenges for the “deep hull” design, but we have printed cruising features written by Selene owners who had cruised from the West Coast to French Polynesia, Australia and Indonesia. Those trips speak volumes about the oceangoing abilities of Selene yachts.
Where the Selene 50 Europa is sure to get noticed is the bottom line. The yacht starts at $995,000 FOB from Hong Kong, and even with a couple of feature packages — the Trawler Package and the Explorer Package — the price peaks around $1.25 million. That’s for an ocean-capable three-stateroom trawler.