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x 34 yacht test

X-34 Review

x 34 yacht test

Rupert Holmes sails the latest model from X-Yachts the X-34.


The X-34 started to turn heads when Colin Bryne’s ‘Xtravagance’ won Class 3 in her first event, last autumn’s Garmin Hamble Winter Series. This model the smallest in the Danish boat builder’s cruiser-racer range of 12 designs from 34-55ft. It’s less of an out-and-out racing machine than the successful X-35 onedesign that was launched in 2006 and is intended as a dual-purpose vessel that will appeal also to those looking for a performance cruiser.

It exhibits all the hallmarks you’d expect of a contemporary IRC design, including long sailing waterline length, with minimal overhangs, a 9/10ths fractional rig with non-overlapping headsails and a composite low-centre-of gravity fin with a large lead bulb. Hull shape is moderate, with relatively fine forward sections and by, contemporary standards, not overly wide aft.

There are two keel options — the standard draught of 1.9m will appeal to those for whom performance and handling are the key priorities, but if your sailing area demands a shallower draught, there is a 1.6m alternative. At 1,850kg the keel is notably heavier than that of most of the 34’s competitors. The overall displacement, however, is similar to that of the Elan 340 and Dehler 34, which means the X-34’s weight is where it should be — low down.

A galvanised steel frame with three wings is bonded to the hull to take the loads from the mast step and keel bolts, as well as being structurally linked to the chain-plates. This helps to spread the main loads throughout the structure and should offer a good degree of impact protection in the event of grounding.

Hull construction is of solid bi-axial E-glass laminate around this frame, but elsewhere a Divinylcell foam core is used. The deck is also foam cored, with aluminium plates laminated in where deck gear needs to be sited.The hull and deck joint is bonded together, with through bolts providing additional strength in high stress areas.

To ensure all boats are manufactured to exactly the same weight, all materials are weighed and measured out before each individual moulding is laid up. This ensures that exactly the optimum amount of foam, glass and resin is used for each moulding, which maximises strength, minimises weight and ensures consistency between boats.

Rig and layout

X34 -review

Halyards and other lines are run under the deck, creating a clean appearance and maximising the amount of clear deck space. Six Harken self-tailing winches are fitted — two pairs of 40s, plus a pair of 46s as primaries. Blocks and genoa cars are by Ronstan, while clutches are Spinlock’s XTS model. The well planned pit is worked from the cockpit floor, with the winches each side at an optimun height to throw your weight behind and the clutches within easy reach. Two large halyard bags help keep the area tidy. The German mainsheet arrangement is led under the deck to self-tailing winches just forward of the wheel, enabling it to be reached from the helm when sailing short handed, but also allows for a dedicated trimmer when racing fully-crewed.

The wide sidedecks are unobstructed by deck gear, which makes moving around easy and a fulllength moulded toe rail helps provide good ondeck security. It is mounted far enough inboard to allow crew to sit outside of it when hiking, so it doesn’t dig into the thighs. The relatively uncluttered foredeck will win praise from the crew at the sharp end, especially as the forehatch is in the coachroof, not the deck itself.

A number of neat small touches that are all too rarely found on production yachts show the attention to detail that has gone into the planning stage of the deck layout. Anti-chafe plates are positioned where lines run across the edges of the coamings, coachroof and deck, for instance, to prevent lines chafing the mouldings. Teak is standard in the cockpit and bathing platform, while elsewhere there’s an effective while non-slip finish. There’s provision for fitting a sprayhood for cruising which can be folded away into an unobtrusive sock when not in use.

An under-deck headsail furler with a twingroove foil is part of the standard inventory. The boom is configured with single-line reefing, so for cruising or short-handed racing all handling of white sails can be done from the cockpit. There’s an offset bow roller to take the anchor rode and space for an electric windlass in the anchor locker, although obviously from a performance perspective this would be detrimental as it places so much weight right forward.

The cockpit is relatively wide, but it’s possible to brace yourself in place if sitting on the weather seat when the boat’s heeled. A shallow cockpit locker to port, above the aft cabin, is suitable for ropes, smaller fenders and the like and also houses the gas locker. A larger locker to starboard has ample space for the paraphernalia that may be needed when cruising and houses the optional holding tank. The conventional washboards have a custom stowage slot in the big cockpit locker, but it’s not as neat as boats with a captive system that self-stows within the bridge deck. There’s custom stowage for a liferaft under the cockpit sole aft of the wheel and also easy on-deck access to the steering quadrant here.

Racing crews may want to leave the optional removable helmsman’s seat ashore, thus creating a fairly open transom, but it will undoubtedly prove useful for family sailing, as will the standard built in boarding ladder and the — albeit admittedly small — bathing platform.

The double spreader 9/10ths fractional rig is a relatively stiff section from Danish mastmaker John Mast, designed specifically for X-Yachts, that needs neither babystay nor checkstays for support. Discontinuous rod rigging is standard and there’s a powerful backstay tensioner. On our test boat, one of the first off the production line, this was by means of cascade of blocks, but this system is set to change for the ‘magic wheel’ used on the X-35 and X-41. This will give a power advantage of nearly 50:1 when combined with a purchase led to each side of the wheel pedestal.

The sail plan shows a maximum 106 per cent genoa, with the furling sail a modest 95 per cent, which will help make the boat easy to handle short-handed. The size of the furling genoa is such that just two or three rolls will provide a significant reduction in sail area.

On the water

The 150cm wheel is slightly recessed into the cockpit sole and is wide enough to easily see the headsail luff when helming from the side deck, although those with shorter legs may find themselves stretching a little to brace themselves when well heeled.

Our test took place in a stable 11-14 knots of wind and flat water in the Solent. Close-hauled the boat fell effortlessly into the groove at indicated speeds of between 6.3-7.0 knots. There was always plenty of positive feel in the helm and the boat responds quickly.

In these conditions appreciable weather helm could only be created by heavily over-sheeting and the rudder always had a firm grip on the water. This was equally true whether spinnaker reaching with the apparent wind just forward of the beam, or bearing away from close-hauled with the rig fully powered up and the sheets pinned in tight.

Reaching under spinnaker gave 6.5-7.8 knots, depending on the wind angle. Gybing with just three crew on board proved easy and it wouldn’t have needed much additional organisation to do so two-handed.

Although at the smaller end of the builder’s range, this looks to be a boat with excellent offshore potential. The low centre of gravity keel, commendably high ballast ratio of over 40 per cent, and the boat’s refined handling characteristics combine to create a vessel that should comfortably eat up the miles on a long run, as well as looking after the crew in testing weather.

X34 -review

The L-shaped galley is of a good size and has smart moulded worktops, a two-burner gas cooker with oven, decent crockery stowage, a capacious fridge and a single sink with pressurised hot and cold water supply. On the downside it lacks fixed worktop space — apart from a narrow strip at the side of the cooker, the lid of the fridge must double for this purpose. Also fiddles aren’t raised sufficiently high to keep items in place at sea, but this boat is not alone in these respects. The opening port above the cooker gains full marks — it’s amazing how many boats omit such a simple detail.

Opposite the galley is a proper nav station, with a dedicated forward-facing seat, good stowage space and ample room to mount instruments. Aft of the chart table is an all-moulded heads compartment.

The forecabin is a good size and will be the preferred choice for many owners. It has a very long double berth, although the tallest may find headroom is a little limited, and there’s good stowage in lockers either side of the changing area. The aft cabin has less stowage and room to stand up, but the berth itself is larger — it’s 170cm wide at its head, although overhead clearance between the berth and the cockpit sole is somewhat less than that of the forecabin.

The engine installation deserves praise for the quality of its execution and the excellent level of its soundproofing. Verdict X-Yachts has specialised in the performance cruiserracer end of the market for almost 30 years and the X-34 brings the latest thinking to this end of the company’s range. It’s a very strong product in an increasingly competitive sector of the market and will appeal both as an easily-handled fast family cruiser and as a ready-to-go raceboat.


x 34 yacht test

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Whitsunday Holidays 2018 MPU

First test sail of the X-34

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x 34 yacht test

X-34 Standard

Sailboat specifications.

  • Last update: 3rd April 2020

X-34's main features

X-34's main dimensions, x-34's rig and sails, x-34's performances, x-34's auxiliary engine, x-34's accommodations and layout, x-34's saloon, x-34's fore cabin, x-34's aft cabin.

X-Yachts X-34  Picture extracted from the commercial documentation © X-Yachts

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  • Sailboat Guide

X-34 is a 33 ′ 11 ″ / 10.4 m monohull sailboat designed by Niels Jeppesen and built by X-Yachts between 2007 and 2013.

Drawing of X-34

Rig and Sails

Auxilary power, accomodations, calculations.

The theoretical maximum speed that a displacement hull can move efficiently through the water is determined by it's waterline length and displacement. It may be unable to reach this speed if the boat is underpowered or heavily loaded, though it may exceed this speed given enough power. Read more.

Classic hull speed formula:

Hull Speed = 1.34 x √LWL

Max Speed/Length ratio = 8.26 ÷ Displacement/Length ratio .311 Hull Speed = Max Speed/Length ratio x √LWL

Sail Area / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the power of the sails relative to the weight of the boat. The higher the number, the higher the performance, but the harder the boat will be to handle. This ratio is a "non-dimensional" value that facilitates comparisons between boats of different types and sizes. Read more.

SA/D = SA ÷ (D ÷ 64) 2/3

  • SA : Sail area in square feet, derived by adding the mainsail area to 100% of the foretriangle area (the lateral area above the deck between the mast and the forestay).
  • D : Displacement in pounds.

Ballast / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the stability of a boat's hull that suggests how well a monohull will stand up to its sails. The ballast displacement ratio indicates how much of the weight of a boat is placed for maximum stability against capsizing and is an indicator of stiffness and resistance to capsize.

Ballast / Displacement * 100

Displacement / Length Ratio

A measure of the weight of the boat relative to it's length at the waterline. The higher a boat’s D/L ratio, the more easily it will carry a load and the more comfortable its motion will be. The lower a boat's ratio is, the less power it takes to drive the boat to its nominal hull speed or beyond. Read more.

D/L = (D ÷ 2240) ÷ (0.01 x LWL)³

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds.
  • LWL: Waterline length in feet

Comfort Ratio

This ratio assess how quickly and abruptly a boat’s hull reacts to waves in a significant seaway, these being the elements of a boat’s motion most likely to cause seasickness. Read more.

Comfort ratio = D ÷ (.65 x (.7 LWL + .3 LOA) x Beam 1.33 )

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds
  • LOA: Length overall in feet
  • Beam: Width of boat at the widest point in feet

Capsize Screening Formula

This formula attempts to indicate whether a given boat might be too wide and light to readily right itself after being overturned in extreme conditions. Read more.

CSV = Beam ÷ ³√(D / 64)

Shallow Draft: 1.65m/5.4’

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2022 Cruisers Yachts 34GLS

  • By Capt. Chris Caswell
  • April 6, 2022

Cruisers Yachts 34GLS out cruising

The new Cruisers Yachts 34GLS is the latest iteration of the popular GLS series from Cruisers Yachts, which persists in claiming that GLS stands for Grand Luxury Sport. But I like to think it stands for Great Little Ship. This yacht defines family fun—if you look up “family fun” in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of the 34GLS. Well, not really, but you get the idea.

The 34GLS is aimed at day outings and occasional overnight adventures, and it has enough speed (45 mph) with twin Mercury Verado outboards to satisfy all the towed water-toy needs.

Outboards generally preclude a usable transom platform, but the 34GLS has two “wings” extending alongside the engines as well as a comfortably wide walkway forward of the outboards, with all the plumbing and connections hidden so no one will trip. Like the rest of the cockpit, the area is covered with SeaDek for a cushy nonslip surface.

Cruisers Yachts 34GL cockpit

Interior and Accessories

The cockpit seating is offset to allow a rear-facing seat to port, the outdoor galley console, and a settee with a back that flips to become either a companion seat or aft-facing lounge. To starboard is an L-shaped settee, also with a flipping back for facing aft or forming a sun pad when folded flat. Cruisers gets credit not just for two perfectly finished tables (standard), but also for providing dedicated stowage (in a bag for varnish protection).

Cruisers Yachts 34GL aft lounge

The mini galley includes a sink, but be sure to order the optional grill, fridge or ice maker for serious outings, and maybe even the fridge drawer under the helm seat. A standard fiberglass hardtop covers the cockpit, and our boat had both the optional SureShade to stretch the sun protection and an opening sunroof.

Cruisers Yachts 34GL helm

The skipper gets a well-arranged throne with a bench seat (adult-plus-kid size), and a Simrad electronics package with twin 9-inch displays in an eyebrowed dash to prevent reflections.  

The bow seating is via a passage to port, with a closing windshield and wind door to protect the cockpit. This is an area where parents worry, but Cruisers made the coamings high at 33 inches. The cockpit is even deeper at about 40 inches for safety.

There’s nothing unusual forward, with wraparound seats, a pedestal table that becomes a sun pad, and a 48-quart cooler. The forward-facing seats have flip-down armrests with beverage holders. The windlass ($7,355) tucks under a flush foredeck hatch, with push-button controls at the helm and at the bow.

Cruisers Yachts 34GL bow seating

Going below, I was impressed by the sliding screen door and usual fiberglass door. One night of dodging no-see-ums and you’ll also appreciate them. Cruisers managed to jigsaw all the important things into the living area, with a pair of settees that convert to a 77-by-48-inch double berth using the dining table, and our test boat had the optional fridge and microwave for morning coffee. A second cabin is just aft, with a single 6-by-3-foot berth tucked athwartships—perfect for a kid or mother-in-law.

Cruisers Yachts 34GL cabin

A strong selling point for the 34GLS is the enclosed head with a Dometic electric flush toilet, and a counter with a vessel sink and Euro faucet. It’s a wet head with a wraparound shower curtain, a shower wand, and an opening port to vent the steam.

Cruisers Yachts 34GL head

Cruisers also gets points for paying attention to details, such as the fully finished lockers. Lift a hatch and you find all the plumbing carefully secured and labeled in a white-finished bilge for easy cleaning. A sump handles the shower and sink so soapy water doesn’t go into the bilge, and Cruisers doesn’t cut any corners on construction with the 34GLS. The all-fiberglass hull is reinforced with rot-free foam and glass stringers, plus numerous molded sections for monocoque strength. I was also impressed by the deep gutters in the deck hatches, which should easily handle enthusiastic washdowns or downpours without water leaking belowdecks.

Our test boat had the standard Merc 300 Verados with Joystick Piloting, but you can up the ante to 350, 400 or even 450R outboards if you have a need for speed. For the Great Lakes, the 34GLS can also be fitted with Volvo Penta or MerCruiser sterndrives up to 350 hp each, but you’d lose the immense utility room under the cockpit sole. With outboards, that cavern can handle a 5 kW Kohler diesel generator, although our 34 boasted the inverter ($6,740) that can power the air conditioning ($6,235) for up to six hours.

Cruisers Yachts 34GL outboards running

The 34GLS has hydraulic trim tabs as standard, but the boat came up flat and fast during our test without needing a nudge from the tabs to get onto plane. Because we ran flat at speed, I suspect the tabs are there to balance the boat when Aunt Edna parks to one side.

The bottom was designed by Ocean Five naval architects, a growing force in production boats, and it sliced neatly through wakes and chop with its 21-degree transom deadrise without throwing spray everywhere. The 34GLS is fun to drive too, and the skipper is going to have people lined up saying, “My turn, my turn!”

If you’re looking around, check out the Scout 350LXZ ($551,000), which is a foot shorter but offers triple outboards.

Whether you’re entertaining a bunch of friends or getting away for a lazy weekend, the Cruisers 34GLS fulfills the promise of grand luxury sport; even better, it’s also a great little ship.

How We Tested

  • Engine: Twin 300 hp Mercury Verado V-8s
  • Drive/Prop: Outboard/16″ x 16.5″ Enertia 3-blade stainless steel
  • Gear Ratio: 1.85:1 Fuel Load: 200 gal. Water on Board: 0 gal. Crew Weight: 400 lb

High Points 

  • Immense finished stowage throughout, including for large items such as fenders.
  • Clearly labeled and user-friendly dash, with shifter and throttles, joystick, and trim-tab controls in the armrest.
  • Wide walkway to the bow from the cockpit with high coamings.
  • Deep hatch gutters with rubber seals and double drains.
  • Needs more handrails for moving around the cockpit safely, and the strange knee-high rails on the seats are too low.
  • Getting into the aft cabin past the stairs requires a bit of wiggling.

Pricing and Specs

Speed, efficiency, operation.

Cruisers Yachts 34GLS performance data

Cruisers Yachts – Oconto, Wisconsin; 800-743-3478; cruisersyachts.com

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Sunday 31st July 2016

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x 34 yacht test

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Sales information

  • De Valk Monnickendam The Netherlands
  • +31 299 65 63 50
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Broker's comments.

This X-yachts X-34 is a sportive family yacht. Suitable for a day sailing, holiday or for sailing regattas. The quality of finish and equipment is at a high level. Recent sails, large carbon steering wheel, keel stepped mast and rod rigging together, ensure a super good sailing yacht. Well maintained. Can also be delivered ex. VAT. For viewing, please contact our Monnickendam office.

General - X-YACHTS X-34


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x 34 yacht test

  • Reference ID 345
  • Builder X-yachts
  • Location Italy
  • L.O.A. (mtr) 10.36
  • Beam (mtr) 3.41
  • Draft (mtr) 1.90
  • Displacement (Kg) 5300
  • Material GRP - polyester

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Yacht description.

  • Anti osmosis treatment 2018.
  • Second owner
  • Very well maintained and taken care of by owner.  

  • Carbon bowsprit
  • Furler for genua
  • Double spreader 9/10ths fractional rig John Mast
  • Discontinuous rod rigging
  • backstay tensioner
  • Halyards and other lines are run under the deck
  • 6 Harken self-tailing winches two pairs of 40s, plus a pair of 46s as primaries
  • Blocks and genoa cars by Ronstan
  • clutches Spinlock’s XTS model
  • German mainsheet arrangement underdeck to self-tailing winches just forward of the wheel, enabling it to be reached from the helm when sailing short handed, but also allows for a dedicated trimmer when racing fully-crewed.
  • Mainsail full batten technora/carbon 2 reef 2016
  • 1 jib light 106 rollable techonora
  • 1 jib medium 106% rollable technora
  • Main and genoa of dacron 2008


Light and airy saloon, with overhead hatch fitted with both blackout and mosquito blinds.  Settees port and starboard and a central table.

Water tank is beneath one of the settees

Diesel tank and batteries are under the other.

Opposite the galley is a proper nav station, with a dedicated forward-facing seat, good stowage space and ample room to mount instruments.

Aft of the chart table is an all-moulded heads compartment with shower, toilet and sink.

The forecabin is a good size. It has a very long double berth and there’s good stowage in lockers either side of the changing area.

The aft cabin has less stowage and room to stand up, but the berth itself is larger — it’s 170cm wide at its head, although overhead clearance between the berth and the cockpit sole is somewhat less than that of the forecabin.

  • Head with hower, sink, toilet and holding tank

Galley L-shaped galley

two-burner gas cooker with oven

decent crockery stowage

a capacious fridge

single sink with pressurised hot and cold water supply

Deck and Cockpit

  • The cockpit is relatively widewith a shallow cockpit locker to port, above the aft cabin suitable for ropes, smaller fenders and the like and also houses the gas locker.
  • A larger locker to starboard has ample space for the paraphernalia and houses the holding tank.
  • Moorings spring
  • Electric windlass
  • Swimming platform
  • Swimming ladder
  • Steering wheel
  • Steering pedastle with plotter
  • Teak on cockpit sole and cokcpit seats
  • 2 AGM service batteries 70 amp
  • 1 engine battery 55 amp
  • Batterycharger 30 amp
  • Shorepower with cable
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Safety buoy
  • Manual and electric bilgepump

Electronics and Navigational Gear

  • Autopilot Raymarine st7000 smart
  • ST60 Tridata
  • AIS Raymarine 500 class B
  • Chartplotter raymarine
  • Spray hood blue
  • Mainsail cover blue
  • Fenders and mooring lines
  • Two large halyard bags in cockpit

The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.

Contact Details

  • Name Site Broker | Racing-Yachts.com
  • Email [email protected]
  • Phone +31 (0)320 746046
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The X-Yachts Xp 33 racing yacht is a strongly-made, quality-finished performance yacht with an unquestioned emphasis on racing

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.


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.

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.


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.


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.

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.


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.

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


Price as tested.

$272,455 (inc. GST)


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


$240,000 (inc. GST)

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

WEIGHT 4300kg

BALLAST 1700kg (iron/lead keel)

BERTHS 3 doubles, 2 singles (settee berths)

WATER 110lt


HEADSAIL 28.3m2 

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

MAKE Yanmar 

TYPE Diesel saildrive


PROP Two-blade folding prop



64A The Quayside,

Roseby Street,

Birkenhead Point,

Drummoyne, NSW, 2047

Phone +61 2 9719 9411

Web x-yachts.net.au

Yachting World

  • Digital Edition

Yachting World cover

X-Yachts X4-9 test: Danish yard strikes a tough balance with hybrid design

Pip Hare

  • April 11, 2019

The X4-9 is a stylish performance cruiser that is both manageable short-handed and can still win races, reports Pip Hare


Photos: Rick Tomlinson

The X4 9 is squarely aimed at the no-compromise sailor who wants it all. It combines a comfortable, stylish interior, with clean, beautiful lines on deck and can even be raced with a minimal crew. This is a tough balance to achieve, and so often compromise can lead to disappointment.

Setting out on one of the only blustery days of the summer, with a crew of four, I was intrigued to find out if this 50-footer could really deliver the whole package. Within ten minutes of leaving the berth I was glued to the helm, blasting upwind with a grin on my face. When a company has 40 years of design experience, hybrid does not necessarily mean compromise.

The X4 9 is the third model to launch in the new ‘Pure’ X range, following the impressive X4 3 and X6 5 that we tested two years ago. This popular new range aims to bridge the gap between the Xp performance and Xc cruising lines. Some 18 boats have already sold since the first hull launched early this year.

Hitting the sweet spot between comfort and performance is a tricky thing to achieve, but this boat appears to have it all. The stylish interior combines good looks and practicality. On deck the X4 9 cuts an equally subtle yet impressive figure. The pin stripes of a full teak deck run seamlessly from bow to stern with every piece of deck gear that may interrupt it recessed or covered.


Control lines – along with the sprayhood – are concealed beneath the completely uncluttered deck

Our test boat had twin carbon wheels on unobtrusive pedestals and carried a carbon rig and deep V-boom. No single item grabs the eye but the whole boat holds your attention. It’s a powerful yacht, yet one that can be simply managed solo using well laid-out electric controls – perfect for a greedy helmsman.

Leaving our berth in the Hamble River, the wind was gusting 18 knots, with grey clouds scudding across the sky. It was going to be a feisty day and I was interested to see how our small crew would cope.

Power on tap

Looking up the 20m (65ft 7in) mast, I sensed the effort of hoisting the mainsail but no sooner had those thoughts crossed my mind than the main was up and the self-tacking jib set. Our test boat had an upgrade to electric power for all four winches and so handling the 119m 2 sail area was effortless: without this option, a lot of huffing and puffing will doubtless be involved.

Gently pulling the wheel down we bore away and almost immediately began blasting along at over 7 knots, the X4 9 straining to go faster. The instant power didn’t seem to match with how easily all the sail appeared; it felt like we’d dropped the clutch on a high-revving engine and I half expected to see steam rising from the wake behind us.


A flush, uncluttered deck contributes to X4^9’s pleasingly clean lines

The wind was at the top limit for a full mainsail as we set off on a bouncy beat, which provided a dynamic and rapid ride. The X4 9 felt tender in transition from a standing start to being powered-up close hauled, heeling to around 20°, but once under way our angle of heel remained steady and appropriate for performance.

At a true wind angle of 44° the X4 9 stormed along at 7.5 knots giving a performance on the fast side of the cruising/racing spectrum. Helming from either position required only a light touch and even at maximum heel I felt completely secure standing against the single foot chock – even so, X-Yachts plan to offer a hinging steering ‘platform’ for greater stability on future models.

The low side deck only reached the back of my knees while standing and I wondered if this would be a compromise to comfort. In fact, it proved comfortable when heeled and felt natural with a great view of the sails and sea.

x 34 yacht test

Ease of handling

The wind remained shifty and 20-knot bullets of breeze started to bully us as we tacked between shallows. Our test boat was fitted with an electric mainsheet traveller below decks, an optional feature I was hugely impressed by. The flat winder is effectively a captive winch system that drives the mainsheet car up and down the recessed track. The motor dropped the car fast enough to keep the X4 9 on its feet during the gusts and only required a light touch of a finger to power us back up.

The standard X4 9 package has a German mainsheet attached to a central point and no traveller. An increasing trend in cruising boats, this seems an acceptable shift from the barely effective coachroof travellers. However, given the ‘Pure’ X ethos is firmly grounded in a quality sailing experience, I was surprised that travellers are not standard. I personally struggle with the performance compromise when trimming a mainsail on vang and sheet alone.

I quizzed X-Yachts ’ founder and designer Niels Jeppesen on this and he responded that not all sailors actively use travellers and that, particularly on larger yachts, they can be dangerous for novice crews or guests. This is good reasoning but I feel the recessed and motorised solution to this problem is beautiful, practical and safe – I would pay the extra £7,000 to control the leech.

When we eventually capitulated to conditions, tucking in a first reef, the angle of heel reduced and our ride instantly became less twitchy with little effect on speed.

Article continues below…

x 34 yacht test

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For my first tack at the helm I announced “Ready to tack?” and received the confirmation from our crew of three. Steering slowly through the tack, I anticipated a flurry of activity, but instead watched the crew get up, cross the cockpit and settle themselves into the cushions again as the self-tacking jib flopped over. Again, I was surprised by the performance versus effort relationship. There is little for crew to other than to sit back and enjoy the ride.

All four winches are set to the back of the cockpit leaving the seating area entirely rope-free. Despite the frisky conditions, the waves only reached halfway down the coachroof, leaving the cockpit totally dry.


Primary and secondary winches are of equal size and set well apart for simultaneous use. The bank of jammers and rope organisers are far enough forward to allow ropes to be taken to either winch in a sensible radius. Controls could be reached by the helmsman leaning around the wheel.

The standard package comes with a self-tacking jib, though all boats are engineered to take longitudinal genoa tracks. Of the 18 boats sold to date, none have chosen that option. Our North 3Di jib had a number of holes in the clew, which provided surprisingly effective twist control on the breeze – move the shackle up a hole to reduce twist, down to open the top of the sail.

For reaching, a well-placed padeye attaches to the toerail to create an outboard lead. When powered up reaching under full main, we achieved 10 knots of boat speed at 100–110° to the true wind. I don’t imagine you would use the jib much below 150° true, as the position of the jib car makes it difficult to fill or pole-out, wing on wing. We made speeds of 7-8 knots dead downwind under main alone.

Our test boat carried a 200m 2 asymmetric spinnaker on a top-down furler, which we set in the lee of the Isle of Wight. Off-wind sails are flown from a padeye on the stemhead, as the stainless-steel bow roller has no bobstay so cannot support significant load.

We carried the spinnaker in winds from 14 knots up to 20 knots, managing wind angles of between 130° and 150° to the true wind. Our boat speed peaked at 12 knots and steering was fun but quite a handful at the higher wind angles.

In the stronger breeze, the 2.4m deep rudder kept a good grip but needed active interaction, resulting in fun and energetic sailing. I hogged the helm downwind, enjoying the ride and eating up the miles.


A self-tacking jib on an X? It helps make a powerful boat easy to handle when shorthanded

Stowage taken seriously

Stowage on deck is in ‘the ends’ with both a cavernous bow sail locker and a lazarette cum tender garage. The transom drops down to create a bathing platform, revealing a garage 2.5m wide between the rams. This is large enough to stow a small inflated tender and houses access hatches for steering gear, rudder bearings and the mainsheet traveller system.

There is dedicated liferaft stowage under the starboard cockpit seats, which lift entirely off a flat bottom enabling the raft to be slid-out rather than lifted.


The garage is 2.5m wide between rams, but the test boat packed in a 3.2m RIB with deflated bow

The recessed sprayhood sits beneath a number of teak deck panels. To raise it, all panels must be removed, the hood erected, before the panels are replaced. It’s a multistep process, so don’t expect to be putting this up and down during a day on the water, but it’s a stylish solution to the problem of ugly and cumbersome sprayhoods.

Under the water, the X4 9 uses the T-keel of the Xp but has deeper sections and more rocker, like the Xc, for a more comfortable motion upwind. Topsides culminate in a substantial moulded toerail, and there is a gentle sheerline as the deck rises up to meet a blunt bow.

Strength and quality are cornerstones of X-Yachts build and design. Hulls are vacuum-infused, post-cured epoxy foam sandwich, with three watertight bulkheads. Rod rigging is standard.


Interior fit-out is understated but with a soft and welcoming feel

Below decks

Below decks the Pure X4 9 is understated but stunning. The standard finish of Nordic oak is earthy but not dark and no reflective materials have been used in proximity to LED downlights to eliminate any ugly pinpoints of bright light. Overall the effect is soft and welcoming. The saloon felt instantly comfortable, a warm space with room both to live and practically stow all that’s needed.

The eyecatching centrepiece dining table is surrounded by a U-shaped sofa. There is stowage under the seats, accessed either via lifting tops on gas struts or deep pull-out drawers. Lockers at head level surround the entire cabin. All bench and cupboard tops are fitted with ergonomic fiddles, which add to a secure feeling moving around under way.

Located forward of the heads is a dedicated navstation. When not in use, instruments can be hidden from sight behind a locker door and, if a chartplotter is required, an additional wooden structure can be fitted over the chart table at eye-level.

The L-shaped galley is spacious and ergonomic, with white Corian worktops including a stove cover, a double sink, the option for two fridges and space for a microwave and the ubiquitous espresso machine. Opposite the galley is the aft heads, which has an integrated shower.


The X4^9 can sleep up to six

Smart cabins

The owner’s cabin is forward, an area flooded with light from two separate full-size deck hatches and bed-level hull windows. The main feature of this minimalist cabin is the large island bed and thick mattress. The bed lifts revealing stowage beneath. The ensuite heads is a generous size and has a separate shower cubicle.

The X4 9 is available with either two double guest cabins or a twin and a double aft cabin arrangement. Our test boat had the latter as well as bespoke fabric pipe cots.

The twin singles can be converted to a double using an insert, which creates versatility. Set up as a twin, the cabin did not feel cramped, there was plenty of room between the berths and I was able to sit comfortably upright on both bunks.


Engine room access is a bit of a squeeze

Both cabins have large hanging lockers and drawers as well as under-bunk stowage. Access to the space under the cockpit is through side hatches from both cabins – here there is room for a generator, and a washing machine should they be chosen as options.

Our test boat had an uprated 80hp engine which seemed to fill every inch of the space under the companionway. There are additional access panels on both side of the engine bay but you won’t be getting in there to service the engine without a bit of a wriggle.

Our verdict

The X4 9 is an impressive beast that certainly seems to have it all. It is elegant and stylish without being showy and the consistent, thoughtful design and high quality build will appeal enormously to the experienced sailor.

But the magic really happens when you hoist the sails. It kept me engaged from the first moment I grabbed the helm and I was blown away that such a dynamic sailing experience could be achieved with such little effort.

There’s no doubt that our test boat, with its carbon rig and top-quality sails, gave an enhanced performance, but even without these features I believe this boat could feed our sailing souls.

There is truly a delicate balance between comfort, style, performance and the effort required to sail a boat of this size, but the X4 9 has the potential to keep everyone happy. This is not a compromise – X-Yachts has nailed it.




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