REVIEW: X-YACHTS XP 33

By: ALLAN WHITING, Photography by: ALLAN WHITING

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The X-Yachts Xp 33 is the smallest racing yacht in the X-Yachts performance range. It’s also the first X-Yachts model to come with a telescopic bowsprit.

The X-Yachts Xp 33 racing yacht is a strongly-made, quality-finished performance yacht with an unquestioned emphasis on racing. The deck layout and sailplan allow it to be sailed by small or large crews. However, it should also make a handy weekend family cruising yacht.

 

X-YACHTS RACING

X-YACHTS-XP-33

In recent years, the X-Yachts lineup of racing yachts has separated into three different groups: the Xc cruiser/racers; Xp racer/cruisers and Xr racers. Still to come is the delicious X6 superboat that’s due for release next year.

The Xp 33 was conceived unashamedly as a fixed-keel sportsboat that could perform well in Europe’s shorthanded racing regattas, as well as in crewed IRC/ORC competition. In lineage terms its deck and interior layout has more in common with the X35 racer than the superseded X34 cruiser/racer.

It would seem that X-Yachts reckons the yacht racing / cruising market is moving up the waterline length scale and that a 33-footer should now have more pace.

The pace was penned in by designer Niels Jeppeson and validated by velocity prediction programs. The hull-shape target was optimised for all-round performance, not just brilliant off-the-wind speed, in wind speeds of five to 20kts.

Low freeboard, narrow waterlines, a high ballast ratio and a broad stern to increase waterline length when heeled are intended to produce good upwind speed even in light breezes.

Less freeboard means that the Xp33’s coach house is relatively tall to provide headroom in the cabin. With the boat’s very narrow sheeting angles the coach house height dictates a high, rather than deck-hugging jib clew and on the test boat the jib had a roached foot, to increase sail area.

 

HULL

X-YACHTS XP 33 RACING YACHT

Interestingly, there’s a fair amount of rocker in the hull profile – particularly aft – and the saildrive leg is positioned 2/3 forward in the keel-rudder space, where its turbulence should have minimal effect on the blade.

The Xp 33 has an iron keel with a lead T-bulb and both are layered with vacuum-infused epoxy E-glass for a smooth finish.

Weight reduction involved replacement of the X-Yachts’ trademark galvanised steel sub-frame by a much lighter but similarly rigid carbon/FRP lattice to absorb keel, mast and rigging loads. Foam/FRP laminate is used for hull and deck but solid laminate is used in these high-stress areas.

The Xp 33 weighs nearly one tonne less than the X-34 and while that doesn’t make it the lightest yacht in this class, there are strength compromises X-Yachts engineers won’t make.

Another distinguishing mark of the Xp 33 is a telescopic carbon fibre bowsprit that allows easy spinnaker handling in shorthanded racing. The pole’s home is a sleeve in the vee-berth cabin and it’s launched by line-pull from the cockpit. The Xp 33 can fly a racing asymmetric spinnaker or a cruising one.

For windward-leeward crewed racing a symmetrical kite with pole can be specified. Simple end-for-end gybing is standard.

 

STANDARD RIG

The standard rig is 9/10 with keel-stepped aluminium mast, aluminium boom, rod vang, twin sweptback spreaders and discontinuous rod rigging. Carbon spars are optional. There’s also a choice of a low-profile, above-deck jib furler or a twin-track, foil headstay. A tackle-adjustable Dyneema backstay is standard and all halyards are Dyneema. 

Mainsheet control is by tackle, with a 6:1 main purchase and fine tune, while the fore-aft jib car sheeting angle can be narrowed by barber-haulers.

X-Yachts’ steering preference for this boat was always a tiller, in the interests of simplicity and weight saving, but that posed some cockpit layout difficulties if a desirable forward-mounted single rudder was used, rather than accepting the additional drag of twin blades. The solution was simple: move the tiller aft to allow more crew space in the cockpit; position the rudder optimally under the cockpit and connect the tiller post to the rudder shaft by a drag link.

 

PERFORMANCE

X-YACHTS XP 33 LEANING

We’ve been trying for some time to sync a test of the Xp 33 and it finally happened on a day that was forecast to have mainly light breezes and the odd shower. Seabreeze was correct and we were lucky enough to find a few squalls that helped give us a test wind range between five and 15kts.

We left Gladesville Bridge Marina, in one of the several arms of Sydney Harbour, without drama and I found the tiller response direct and without vice under power, going forward or in reverse. A very wide cockpit and aft-set tiller and engine controls made it easy for the helmsperson to handle port and starboard aft dock lines.

The Quantum jib and main went up quickly and the boat responded instantly, accelerating rapidly. During a 10-knot puff I saw high sixes on the GPS when close hauled and with sheets eased a tad the speed went to 7.5kts.

Tacking and gybing were easy enough, once I adjusted to the 3.2m beam that dictated a few large steps across the cockpit! A narrow coach house allowed tight jib sheeting angles that could be enhanced by easily-used barber haulers.

The varying wind was handy for checking out the boat’s response in different strengths and it also highlighted just how stiff this Xp 33 is. We were humming along in a five-knot airstream and copped a 15-knot squall: the boat heeled initially and then settled on its fat, chined bum and picked up speed.

Crew weight on the rail is always handy in this class of boat and we found that the dart shape of the Xp 33 encouraged crew hiking farther aft, to avoid a nose-down attitude. Fortunately there’s ample deck space to allow this positioning, because the helmsperson and mainsheet trimmer sit right aft.

I thought initially that the cockpit sole foot chocks were a tad on the small side and I was also concerned that the shallow-height coamings for the steerer and main trimmer might not be adequate to stop them sliding into the cockpit, but the boat didn’t heel enough for that to be an issue. Even with an over-trimmed main during one squall the boat just leaned and then sat there. Very reassuring.


X-YACHTS XP 33 SAIL

The main was set up with a 6:1 coarse purchase and a fine tune, and I felt that more coarse purchase would ease the main trimmer’s work load; there seemed to be enough mainsheet length to feed through 8:1 blocks. Backstay adjustment via a 16:1 cascade block arrangement was quite easy.

The test boat was fitted with the largest asymmetric allowed by the sailplan. At a well-fed 109m² it was close to double the combined area of the main and 106 per cent genoa! Because this kite was large enough to fill even when part-blanketed by the main it could be carried squarer than many asos.

Getting it up was simple: line-launch the bowsprit out of its sleeve; attach the tack, halyard and sheets and away the boat goes. And it did go: 9.4kts in average breeze and I was too busy to check out the GPS when we were overpowered by one squall, but the acceleration was instant and the helm still felt quite balanced.

 

THE VERDICT

Despite the showery weather, I had a ball playing with the Xp 33 and I think it’s a model that’s destined for success. Even with an over-trimmed main during one squall the boat just leaned and then sat there. Very reassuring.

 

HIGHS

  • Quality build
  • Flexibility of racing vocations
  • Stiff, drama-free performance
  • Huge working cockpit

 

LOWS

  • Mainsheet effort

 

X-YACHTS XP 33 SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE AS TESTED

$272,455 (inc. GST)

 

OPTIONS FITTED 

Quantum carbon racing sails (main, code 4 and code 2 jibs), asymmetric spinnaker and spinnaker gear, teak-faced cockpit seats, vee-berth furniture and bunks, front-opening fridge, upgraded ENO stove with oven, shorepower, galvanic isolation and boom cover

 

PRICED FROM

$240,000 (inc. GST)

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Vacuum-infused vinylester hull with E-glass and carbon reinforcement, cored with Airex; solid laminate in high-stress areas; foam-
cored deck

TYPE Monohull

LENGTH 9.99m overall; 8.86m waterline

BEAM 3.21m

DRAFT 1.9m

WEIGHT 4300kg

BALLAST 1700kg (iron/lead keel)

 

CAPACITIES

BERTHS 3 doubles, 2 singles (settee berths)

FUEL 50lt

WATER 110lt

 

SAILS

MAINSAIL 33.8m2

HEADSAIL 28.3m2 

SPINNAKER 93m2 (cruising asymmetric); 96m2 (cruising symmetric); 109m2 (racing asymmetric)

 

ENGINE

MAKE Yanmar 

TYPE Diesel saildrive

RATED HP 20

PROP Two-blade folding prop

 

SUPPLIED BY

X-YACHTS AUSTRALIA

64A The Quayside,

Roseby Street,

Birkenhead Point,

Drummoyne, NSW, 2047

Phone +61 2 9719 9411

Web x-yachts.net.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #451, April / May 2014. Why not subscribe today?

Find X-Yachts sailing yachts for sale.

 


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