Jeanneau’s new 37-foot NC37 is a lively, sophisticated vessel with bold lines, great living spaces and excellent attention to detail.
Auckland’s Orakei Marine is the agent for the NC37 and, as Service Manager Tom Van Praagh explains, “the NC boats are shaped by a design philosophy focussed at living on one level – creating a seamless flow between the internal and external spaces.”
This is immediately obvious with the single level shared by the helm station, main saloon and galley – all connected to the rear deck via a fully-retractable sliding door. And the sense of unity is accentuated by a neat, half-height opening window at the aft end of the galley – there is a real sense of an ‘inclusive’ space.
The NC37 is an upgrade of Jeanneau’s earlier NC11 – a model that’s proved popular internationally and here – Orakei Marine has sold eight of them in the last six years. Changes to the new design tend to be ‘evolutionary’ – enhancements of existing features – but the key difference with the 37 is the addition of a third double-berth cabin.
Stepping aboard the launch is straightforward via the large transom platform. Entry is through a small stainless safety gate – and once through it you’re straight into those open, living areas splashed with light. Much of that is thanks to large panoramic windows surrounding the saloon – they offer glorious 360° views.
Of course, if you do need protection when the weather turns sour, there’s a small bimini that extends from the roofline to cover the rear deck. Zip-in covers are also available – so when things are nasty you can keep the area dry and toasty.
This aft area provides comfortable seating for six people, together with plenty of storage. As an optional extra, the rear seat backrest can fold down horizontally, to allow aft-facing seating. A swimming ladder is extracted from under the boarding platform and there are two recessed handholds built into the deck to help your creaking joints when climbing aboard after a swim.
Inside the saloon natural light pours in from large overhead hatches. They’re fitted with dual screens – and clever screens they are too. One slides left, providing shade – the other, sliding right, is an insect screen. And if you really want to bring the outside environment into the saloon, a large, motorised sliding roof is available as an option.
With the galley (to starboard) on the same level as the main living space, the saloon is a warm, convivial space – no loss in conversation among family and friends during food preparation.
And it’s a nicely-equipped galley – among its attractions are a lift-up lid covering the sink and a two-burner gas cooker with separate oven directly below. That lid creates plenty more bench space when you’re not cooking or washing up. The fridge (with ice box) is just to the right of the oven, located neatly under the benchtop.
The interior timber finish on this boat is a dark, rich walnut. A lighter moabi timber is available as an option. Both look superb in the lacquer-finish. I was impressed by the recessed lighting at ceiling and floor level around the galley – a nice touch – no bright, direct lighting to dazzle you.
Saloon seating is arranged around a drop-down table which can be lowered to form another bunk if late-night stragglers are incapable of leaving. And – a really cool feature – the rear cushioned seat can be unbolted and moved once the rear main cabin door is open to create continuous bench seating.
Leaving the dock is simple with the bowthruster, but with twin engines it’ll probably only be required in brisk conditions. There is an option of having an additional joystick control for steering when manoeuvring.
And it should be seriously considered by potential buyers – joystick control allows the sternlegs to be articulated independently, whereas the helm turns both sternlegs in the same direction simultaneously. The joystick option simplifies the occasionally daunting task of docking when the wind gets up.
Having meandered down the harbour at the 12-knot speed limit, we were finally able to open the throttles. The NC37 accelerates smoothly with no noticeable transition to planing, and soon we were cruising effortlessly at 23 knots with the twin D4-260hp Volvo Pentas purring away.
Top speed is around 31 knots. The boat certainly feels powerful and is well-behaved during tight turns at speed. And peeking into the engine room shows that those twin beauties are very compact for their level of horsepower.
Hull design is by Michael Peters, known for his winning offshore racing and production boat designs. While our calm conditions didn’t present the NC37 with any challenges, it’s obviously a comfort that she’s been penned by a ‘known’ designer. There’s an element of confidence that this boat has good handling characteristics.
And she’s pretty fuel-efficient. Jeanneau has supplied the consumption/performance data which shows a reasonably constant fuel consumption above 20 knots (3.4 litres per nautical mile). If you’re not in a hurry, her 650-litre tank will carry you a fair distance.
Getting to the engines and their servicing points is through a large access hatch in the cockpit floor – and even large gents like me will be able to change fuel filters without too many skinned knuckles.
Engine room insulation keeps noise to an acceptable level while running, but it’s noticeably quieter with the aft saloon door closed. It’s certainly sufficiently muted to enjoy the full benefit of the Fusion stereo while you’re underway.
Access to the foredeck is via a wide, starboard side deck. The helm station has direct access to this side deck via a sliding door. The raised coaming provides a sense of security when moving about on the boat, supported by the well-positioned handholds. There is also foredeck access along the port side, but it’s a little narrower.
Up forward you’ll find two large sun lounger cushions. They have adjustable backs and I especially like the ‘reclining’ position. Ideal for soaking up the rays on lazy, summer days.
The anchor hangs off an extended stainless bow roller and feeds into a deep locker via the electric winch, remotely operated from the helm station. And for those who like to run plenty of electronics – the top of the main cabin is clear with plenty of room for mounting an array of solar panels. And speaking of electronics…
The helm station dashboard includes a stylish set of Volvo instruments for all engine data. They flank a large Raymarine MFD – bright and easily readable considering the amount of natural light flooding the area.
While living on the level during the day is ideal, you descend a few steps to go forward to the cabins – up to three depending on how you elect to configure the NC37.
A wide double berth takes pride of place in the bow master cabin. Again, it enjoys plenty of natural light through central deck hatches and wide hull windows. Locker storage is excellent – around the edges of the cabin, above and below the windows. Nicely-positioned LED reading lights are mounted on stalks either side of the bed.
Moving aft there’s a separate toilet to port, with the vanity and shower to starboard. White surfaces and elegant fittings create a clean, integrated feel in bathrooms. Further to port is another double berth, again with a side window and a hanging locker helping to create a comfortable space. To starboard (under the main cabin floor) is an area with tighter access but which can be made into a third double berth. Alternatively, it could be used as a large storage area.
There is good reason why the NC37 was nominated for the 2019 European Powerboat of the Year. She embodies the modern design trend of large, light-filled spaces with classy accessories and fittings. With her generous accommodation and performance she’s an ideal option for cruising New Zealand’s coasts./>