Fantastic Berret-Racoupeau designed Wauquiez Centurion 45s aft cockpit yacht. Not launched until 2005, never used for charter and boasting a heavily upgraded specification from the factory.
FURTHER BROKER’S COMMENTS:
Constructed in 2003, but not delivered to her first UK-based owners until 2005, VATEL is a particularly highly-specified example of the Berret-Racoupeau designed Centurion 45s performance aft-cockpit cruising yacht from Wauquiez Yachts.
Configured from new to achieve the perfect balance between superb sailing performance and real comfort, she can be easily sailed single-handed thanks to her powered Andersen winches, aft spinnaker winches (which can be used as sheet winches when sailing single-handed from the helm), and her long mainsheet traveller set just forward of the large-diameter helm wheel.
Passing across to her second and third owners in 2009 (her second owner sold her almost immediately due to sudden ill health), VATEL remained in the same ownership until 2021 when she was sold to the present owners as a replacement for their 40ft Najad, and has since been used almost exclusively as a ‘floating apartment’ in Barcelona.
Her specification highlights include:- • 3-cabin, 2-heads layout with master cabin forward and two large double cabins aft • Teak joinery • 1.95m lead-ballast shoal-draft keel option • Larger Yanmar 75hp diesel engine (55hp standard) • Bowthruster • Upgraded Andersen electric winch package with powered primary and halyard winches • Carbon fibre spinnaker pole • Removable pole for asymmetric • Removable inner forestay • Harken deck gear with ball-bearing battencar system for fully-battened mainsail • Webasto diesel fired hot air cabin heating system • New stove and microwave (to be supplied upon sale) • Fridge and freezer • Alcantara upholstery • Holding tank • Raymarine instrument package with radar/chart plotter and autopilot • Digital Yacht AIS transceiver • Newly fitted Lithium service batteries • 1,800w inverter • Teak laid side decks • Sprayhood
Rome, as the cliche says, was not built in a day… but one glorious, meandering day on the water was all it took for David Lockwood to fall in love with this commanding French-built Centurion.
…Such was the good time that we all had a turn at the helm, euphorically commenting to each other that we had no idea upon boarding the Wauquiez that we would cover so much territory. Time just flew past, as it does when you’re having fun…
…Wauquiez distinguishes itself by being, well, shall we say distinguished. A boutique yachtbuilder, Wauquiez is named after Henri Wauquiez, who built his first yacht in 1965. Since his passing, Beneteau acquired Wauquiez – some six years ago – but it has not interfered with the culture of the marque. Rather, it’s let Wauquiez retain its favouritism among an essentially discerning European sailing set.
A niche yachtmaker, Wauquiez offers just four yachts in two ranges: two flush-decked Centurions and two Pilot Saloons. Overseas, these yachts – especially the Centurions – have a strong identity and loyal following. The boats are on-paper cruiser-racers, but they proceed with a more dignified air than your average production yacht. They are at once comfortable and quick…
…Subjectively, the yacht felt stiff, with a fast but settled motion through the water. It certainly didn’t pound to windward when launching off the 1.5m swells. The swooping sheerline and sharp bow sluice the swells, yet during my offshore sortie both decks and crew stayed dry…
…Wheel in hand, I particularly enjoyed sailing the yacht from the low side, with the minimum crew and full head of sail, which we carried in 18kt. Such was the vision, I sailed right up Sydney harbour, slinking beside the Opera House, abreast of criss-crossing ferries, under the Harbour Bridge, and back down again. I was having fun…
…We sailed Wauquiez’s Centurion 45S east, south, north and west, inshore and out, for about six hours straight, less 30 minutes motoring. It felt great to windward, with a touch of weather helm that soon becomes a lot of weatherhelm if you are overpowered. That the boat could fly its #2 and full main in 18kt, traveller somewhat down, shows it’s not a tippy yacht.
The stately Wauquiez sailed at 7-8kt upwind in up to 18kt – a good passagemaking speed – but it felt especially powerful reaching to speeds of 9kt. And down sea we maintained 6-7kt. But it was on the beam reach down the harbour that, after a hiatus from the helm, I got my act together and smoked a perfect 8-8.3kt line straight to those big, white sails on the Opera House…
…I tried to make sense of the stability curves and polar diagram supplied by Wauquiez, but they were beyond my interpretation ability. So I passed the information to independent yacht architect Andy Dovell (Sydney yachts and others).
“One hundred and forty degrees of vanishing angle of stability is high, which in this regard represents a pretty safe offshore boat,” Dovell explained.
He deemed the yacht a moderate light-displacement cruising boat. Which might explain why it felt more slippery than its overtly opulent fitout suggests…
…Standing still, viewed from any angle, the hull looks pretty, if not timeless, with the weight kept out of the ends. The stem has some rake to it and, underway, the stern doesn’t drag. Interior volume is generous and, in the line drawings at least, the boat’s wide beam of as much as 4.16m is carried well aft.
While it doesn’t appear apparent in the profile drawing, the cockpit is a good size. The lines of the coach house are best described as safe or of classic design. Decks have been sculptured to deliver support to captain and crew while sailing at sea, which is to be commended…
…Down below, the Wauquiez is something else again. The joinery is lovely golden-hued Burmese teak – surely the most timeless and tasteful of yacht timbers.
I tried hard to define the décor style and, looking at the groovy frosted light fittings and Wauquiez typographic emblem, consider it best described as subtly, stylishly art deco or at least retro.
The Centurion 45S is available in three versions: two standard layouts with two double cabins and alternate bed configurations forward; and an optional layout with three double cabins. This latter version is what I had the pleasure of testing.
From the moment you descend the companionway steps, which had non-skid and stainless grip pads, you get the impression that the finish is a cut above. The white headliner had teak accent strips, the joinery seemed more hand finished than jigsaw or CNC cut, and all the panels butted up cleanly…
David Lockwood – June 2004
2003 Wauquiez Centurion 45s – VATEL – Asking Euro 156,000 EU VAT paid – full details here
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