The new Marlow Legend 31 is a cruising yacht built to a high standard, offering an unusually large amount of space for its length and with the benefit of a choice of keels, including a twin bilge-keel option.
This Florida built design (it’s branded as Marlow Hunter in the USA) is a boat that brings new levels of space to a sailing yacht of this size. This is due to a number of factors, including a long hull length – it’s actually 9.73m (32ft) long – coupled with a wide 3.61m beam that’s beam carried well aft. There’s also a choice of keels, with a twin bilge option offered alongside more conventional deep and shallow fins.
See the following video we took of the boat.
There are three easy wide and secure steps leading down to the saloon. At the foot of the companionway is a wide and open area that emphasises the volume available in this boat and ensures it’s one that will minimise the ‘excuse me’ factor for crew members wanting to move around past each other. To starboard is a linear galley, equipped with a pair of top opening ice boxes that can be fitted with a fridge and freezer. There’s also a gimballed two-burner gas cooker with oven, a single sink and a microwave. Stowage is generally good, although fixed worktop space is limited.
Forward of the galley is a short settee on the starboard side of the saloon, while opposite this is a larger L-shaped settee that can be converted to a double berth. The two cabins are both of a decent size, with good stowage and room to stand when changing, especially in the forecabin. The heads, which is aft on the port side, is also worthy of note – this is a good size and incorporates a separate shower stall.
On deck and performance
The cockpit configuration is unconventional, but manages to pack in a large amount of space as the side seats are moved right out to the edge of the hull. An optional pivoting wheel pedestal that can be swung to either side of the cockpit makes it easy to steer from either the lee or weather sides, while there are decent folding foot rests that allow you to brace in position when the boat is heeled.
As with other Marlow Legends, the mainsheet traveller is mounted on a stainless steel arch over the back of the cockpit. This makes for easy sail trimming, especially in gusty conditions, while keeping both boom and mainsheet safely clear of the yacht’s crew. Another useful signature feature is the pair of corner seats incorporated in the pushpit on each side of the cockpit.
Deep rope bins integrated in the after end of the coachroof will help to keep the cockpit tidy and there’s also a folding table fitted as standard. The rig is again the backstay-free Bergstrom and Ridder design that has long been favoured by the marque. The rig is dominated by the mainsail, with a relatively small and therefore easily handled headsail. The three keels are of relatively shallow draught, with even the deep fin version having a draught of only 1.65m – significantly less than that of many other contemporary designs of a similar length.
Equipment and options
There’s a generally high level of equipment installed as standard, including basic instrumentation, holding tank, hot and cold pressurised water and shorepower. However, some important items including ground tackle and VHF radio and other safety equipment are not listed.
Key options include the choice of keels, the canting wheel system and an all-furling rig. The latter has a 1.6m longer mast, which reduces the loss of sail area to seven per cent compared to the standard rig, which has a large-roached mainsail. There’s also a choice of engines, with the option of a 29hp unit in place of the standard 21hp Yanmar model.
What it does best
Clearly the biggest appeal of this boat is in the space it offers relative to the overall length. Since David Marlow bought the company he has also sought to increase quality throughout the boat, covering everything from hull strength to the final finish.
While there are lots of examples of good design in this boat, there’s no escaping the fact that a relative shallow draught boat of this size won’t be as quick as a more performance oriented alternative. Granted, in a decent breeze on a reach the rig will develop enough power for the long waterline length to provide a good turn of speed. However, in lighter airs and when sailing to windward the speed will inevitably suffer.
Other models in the range
This model is the third new model since David Marlow bought the company, following 37ft and 40ft designs that have been launched in the last couple of years (see Marlow Legend 37 review on boats.com). There’s also an older 33ft model, plus a 45-footer with a deck saloon and a 50-footer with a choice of centre or aft cockpits.
To get a roughly comparable amount of accommodation you need to look at boats that are badged as being longer. Despite their model names, the Hanse 345, Beneteau Oceanis 34 and Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 are all within 12 inches of the hull length of the Marlow Legend 31.
Specifications: Marlow Legend 31 Review
Hull length: 9.73m
Draught – shoal fin and bilge keel: 1.35m
Draught – deep fin keel: 1.65m
Displacement – shoal keel: 5,443kg
Ballast – shoal keel: 1,598kg
Ballast – deep keel: 1,532kg
Sail area – standard rig: 54.0sq m
Sail area – furling rig: 50.4sq m
Fuel tankage: 95 litres
Water tankage: 190 litres
Holding tank: 59 litres
Water heater: 19 litres