Like other models in the range, the Pogo 36 was designed out of the experiences with French long-distance solo and short-handed racing, and then translating that knowledge into a fast, yet easily handled cruising yacht. At the same time, renowned designers Finot-Conq have created a high-volume hull shape that helps to confer excellent form stability and planing performance that also has space for surprisingly decent accommodation.

Pogo 36 under sail review photo Adrien Conq

The Pogo 36 owes a lot of its heritage to long distance short-handed and solo racing. Photo Adrien Conq.

Below decks

The interior has excellent space and stowage, with a wipe clean white finish that is offset by just enough light coloured natural timber to add a feeling of warmth. The big coach roof windows allow a 300 degree view out thanks to the forward-facing windows on each side.
In the lifting keel version the saloon feels a little dominated by the keel box and lifting mechanism, although the accommodation is planned such that this is very neatly incorporated into the overall layout. There are two excellent settees each side of the saloon, both of which make good sea berths. The keel box includes a folding table, and there's a stainless steel fridge draw at the aft end that is within an arm's reach of both the galley and the companionway.
At first glance the galley looks relatively small, but there is great worktop space, and deep efficient fiddles that will stop everything sliding onto the floor at sea. That’s also a proper navigation station with it’s own forward-facing seat.

The forepeak has a double cabin with a large almost rectangular berth and easy access to a large volume of stowage. The generous heads compartment is between here and the main bulkhead. There’s also a pair of generously proportioned double aft cabins.

Pogo 36 below decks

Below decks everything is relatively plain and spartan. Photo A. Lindlahr.

Pogo 36 forward berth Photo A. Lindlahr.

The forward berth. Photo A. Lindlahr.

On deck and performance

The Pogo 36’s rig echoes many of the latest trends of the solo ocean racing scene, but is configured to make handling easier. For instance, spreaders are swept back further than usual, which means the square top mainsail can be accommodated without running backstays.

The twin tillers are a great arrangement for a boat of this style, making it easy to move around the cockpit, switching from hand steering to pilot and vice versa. The forward part the cockpit has two side benches, with a substantial stainless steel hoop in the middle that helps divide up the area and create something to brace yourself against when the boat is well heeled. This can also be fitted with a large folding table for outdoor dining. Deck gear is sized to make sale handling easy and all controls, including jib sheets, are led to 2 pairs of coachroof winches, enabling everything apart from the mainsheet to be controlled from one place.

Pogo 36 deck shot Photo Adrien Conq.

On deck there is plenty of space and the boat is easily handled by a small crew. Photo Adrien Conq.

Equipment and options

As standard the boat has a fixed deep bulb keel and aluminium mast. Frequently specified options include a carbon mast, which adds around €8,000 to the list price and a swing keel which adds around €10,000. The latter is surprisingly large, with a small bulb on the bottom and gives an impressive maximum draught of 2.95 metres, which both helps improve stability and performance to windward. With the keel raised the draught reduces to only 1.10m.

Strengths and weaknesses

It’s immediately clear what the appeal of this boat is, however you don’t need to be a speed freak to appreciate its advantages. The very high stability and powerful rudders that help give the boat a rock solid feel at speed are also a draw for those who seek the reassurance that they are sailing their boat well within its limits.

The most obvious compromise on this boat is that, although nicely finished, the interior is not as sophisticatedly fitted out as that of some out and out cruising boats and the moderate performance that help’s provide the top-level sailing qualities limits the total volume available.

Who’s it for?

The Pogo 36 Is aimed at cruising sailors who want to enjoy the fun of fast sailing on a boat that incorporates up-to-date design knowledge and top-notch sail handling systems. It's a boat with speed potential far in excess of more traditional or heavier designs of this size, especially when reaching or sailing downwind. Yet it will also be easily handled by one or two people if equipped with a top-notch autopilot system.

If you’ve not sailed a boat of this style before you won’t believe the combination of speed and rock-steady feel compared to a more conventional design of cruising yacht. When reaching it’s easy and effortless to keep up speeds of 10-12 knots or more, without pushing the boat hard in any way.

We saw boat number three at the Düsseldorf boat show, just four months after the model had been launched in France. A measure of the popularity of this new design is this there is already a two-year waiting list.

Alternative boats

French builders, largely thanks to the country’s enthusiasm for long-distance solo and short-handed racing, the stars of which are household names, currently mostly dominate this part of the market. The RM range is an obvious alternative choice, with the RM1070 the closest in the current range in size to the Pogo 36. Jeanneau’s Sun Fast 3600 is a more racy alternative, with good space below decks but a less sophisticated interior fit out. J-Boats also has a long-standing reputation in this sector of the market and the J/112E would certainly be worth a look (see J/112E review: quick comfortable cruising yacht).

For more information visit Pogo Structures.

Pogo 36 specifications

LOA: 10.86m
Beam: 4.0m
Draught: (lifting keel) 1.18-2.95m; (fin keel) 2.1m
Displacement 3,800kg
Upwind sail area 74sq m
Mainsail 45sq m
Solent jib 39sq m
Asymmetric spinnaker 120sq m

Written by: Rupert Holmes
Rupert Holmes has more than 70,000 miles of offshore cruising and racing experience, in waters ranging from the North Sea to the Southern Ocean and Cape Horn. He writes about all aspects of boat ownership and marine travel, including destinations, seamanship and maintenance, as well as undertaking regular new boat and gear tests. He currently sails around 5,000 miles per year and in the past couple of seasons has cruised from the UK to the Azores, as well as winning his class in the 2014 two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race. He also owns two yachts, one based in the Mediterranean and the other in the UK.