Large yachts are often associated with luxury and amazing accommodation, however, many novice yacht buyers are surprised at just how much accommodation can be squeezed into a well-designed smaller yacht. So if you're put off by the big-yacht price tag but can't do without the extra space, then read on: this list of 30-footers with amazing accommodation is for you.
The Westerly Konsort is a Laurent Giles designed 29-footer offering one of the largest interiors you’ll find on a boat of this size and era. Indeed, even though it was not intended to compete against the GK29 performance cruiser, when it was launched in 1979 the overwhelming majority of those who had been considering the faster boat were swayed by the Konsort’s impressive space.
This was before British designs incorporated a double aft quarter cabin, so the layout is very traditional. Nevertheless the forecabin has a spacious double vee berth, which is well separated from the saloon by a completely separate heads compartment, opposite which is a useful hanging locker.
The large saloon has plenty of stowage outboard of the two settees, and there’s a good sized traditional chart table, with a 3ft wide quarter berth abaft of it. Opposite is a compact, but functional, L-shaped galley, although it lacks worktop space. Perhaps the biggest downside is headroom for anyone over 6ft tall, although the berth lengths are good. Compared to more recent designs, the accommodation is relatively dark, and this was still an era in which equipment such as hot and cold pressurised water and refrigeration were considered extras. Most boats, however, will have been retrofitted with such conveniences by now.
In all, more than 700 Konsorts were sold by the time production stopped in 1992. A further 100 or so were built as the Konsort Duo, a motor sailor with an impressively large and light deck saloon/wheelhouse.
Based on a design from Jeanneau, this Greek built boat was hugely popular in charter fleets throughout the eastern Mediterranean from its inception in the mid-1980s until after the millennium. For a 30-footer of its era it offers surprisingly good accommodation that benefits from plenty of natural light and ventilation.
Although the double forecabin is relatively small, the quarter cabin is a generous size, with a large berth, standing space and good stowage. There’s also a decent galley, a proper chart table and saloon in which the settees also make good sea berths.
Early versions had a closed transom, however, by 1987 this had been changed to a walk-through arrangement incorporating a small bathing platform, a very practical change for Mediterranean based boats that also updated the styling. Later there was also an option of a two-foot extension on the transom, which extended both the bathing platform and the effective waterline length, albeit at the expense of a little extra weight. These models were dubbed the Discovery 3200.
This is a boat that also sails well, thanks to an efficient hull shape, lead keel and generously sized rig. Sadly, when new, many boats were dogged by leaky deck fittings and windows that were next to impossible to seal, which dulled the design’s reputation. However, on well maintained boats these problems will have been long solved, which makes them a good choice.
If the above sounds a little biased, that’s because one of my own boats is a Discovery 3000 that I’ve owned since buying her out of a charter fleet in 2001. The fact that I’ve owned the boat for much longer than I ever envisaged is testament to its intrinsic qualities.
In the 1980s the Moody name was synonymous with spacious family cruising yachts that were built to a good standard. Originally launched in 1983, the Moody 31 didn’t disappoint in this respect. It was one of the smallest boats of the time to offer a proper forecabin with standing space and stowage aft of the double vee berth, as well as a separate aft quarter cabin (for a closer look at Moody yachts, try: Four great centre cockpit Moody yachts).
In other respects the accommodation follows the newly-established pattern of an aft heads compartment, L-shaped galley with chart table opposite, and a traditional saloon with settees that could also be used as sea berths. The mark 2 version, launched at the end of 1985, saw a restyled transom with a ‘sugar scoop’ vestigial bathing platform, although this model never acquired the walk through transom of the Discovery 3000 or later designs. In all, more that 300 Moody 31s had been built by the time production stopped in 1991.
This is a more modern design that was produced in large numbers from 1998 to 2003. Although the Finot designed hull had its origins in the Figaro one design racer and the First 31.7 performance cruiser, the 311 added enough extra weight and freeboard, while at the same time decreasing the size of the rig, that it can’t be considered a performance boat.
However, it does offer an impressive amount of space for a boat of this length, particularly in the aft cabin. This has a king-size double berth, albeit partially tucked away under the cockpit, as well as reasonable stowage and space to stand up and change clothes.
There’s also a well-proportioned heads compartment, although the galley is a little smaller than some and the chart table doesn’t have its own seat – instead you sit on the aft end of the starboard settee berth. While the forecabin is not as large as that on the Moody 31, it is nevertheless larger than that of most boats of this size and incorporates a small hanging locker.
Island Packet 320
This Florida-based builder of long-keel serious cruising yachts has a reputation for producing yachts with much more space than their hull length suggests. In part this is due to wide beam, plenty of freeboard and a comparatively deep canoe body, helped by generous displacement, factors that together create a high-volume hull.
The 320, which was launched in 1998, has a beam of nearly 12ft with the result that the saloon feels as large as that of some 36-38ft yachts. There are also spacious aft and fore cabins, both with space to stand up and class-leading stowage. In common with many other American designs, the galley is particularly impressive, with significantly more worktop space and stowage than European boats of a similar size.
When the boat was new arguably the biggest compromise was with a folding bulkhead and chart table arrangement between the aft cabin and the port settee. However, in today’s world, where there’s less need for a dedicated navigation station for paper charts, that’s less of a disadvantage.
It’s often thought that a boat with a lot of accommodation for its length is always one that does not sail well. However, the Island Packet 320 is one that belies that theory. Granted, progress upwind would be slow, but once cracked off the relatively long effective waterline length ensures a good turn of speed. In addition, the combination of rock steady motion, thanks to the heavy displacement and long keel, plus wide beam, generous side decks, and wide bow sprit, all give the impression of sailing a much larger and more capable boat than the hull length suggests.
On the downside, a vessel of this quality and attention to detail is not cheap and on the second hand market the 320 sells at asking prices that start at around £60,000.
For more on small, spacious cruisers
Other boats worth considering include the Hunter 320 (sold as the Legend range in the UK) and Jeanneau’s Sun Odyssey 32i, of which large numbers were sold in the late 2000s.
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