If a list of the seven wonders of boating had been drawn up, like that of the seven wonders of the world, the Contest 67CS would have certainly and rightfully joined it. Beauty, luxury and performance are masterfully mixed together in a 21-meter yacht that is close to perfection.
Made in perfect Contest Yachts style, and therefore without sacrificing a single screw upon the altar of costs, the Contest 67CS is the perfect example of how all sailboats should be built. At least those that really want to sail. It is sufficient to put the boat about to see the huge difference.
That is exactly why, as soon as the opportunity arose, we rushed to test her in the native waters of Medemblick, Holland.
The Contest 67CS is a very particular boat. Equipped with a hull designed by Judel & Vrolijk, the world masters of speed, she nonchalantly boasts a light average displacement, caring nothing about the frantic yet useless search for a lightness that, although useful in light wind, entails many contraindications in all the other cases.
I think about this while, immediately after giving canvas, the Waldron gathers way effortlessly and begins to do what she prefers: to sail. It is a royal gait that of the Contest 67CS which, at all concerned about the short steep wave that characterizes the IJsselmeer, moves almost as if we were in flat water.
It’s sunny, the true wind is blowing at 15/16 knots but, despite a temperature of 4 degrees, as soon as we set up sails, the Contest 67CS takes off and we forget the cold. At 80 degrees from the apparent wind, we’re already sailing at more than 10 knots. The boat is slightly heeled and runs determinedly, as on tracks. A feeling of pleasure and euphoria overcomes me while I think how extraordinary it is to sail like this.
The swell increases as we move away from the coast but the Waldron seems not to care about this; navigation is always fast and comfortable. After passing the shallow water area, we can finally maneuver at will, in any direction.
I start to sail close to the wind while the boat heels and the crew trims sails. The bow cuts through the waves, without hesitation and without any shocks. At 50 degrees from the wind, we are still sailing at 9 knots. Comfort on board is stunning.
At the wheel, the perception of the boat is total, the helm transmits everything and it is very easy to understand when to luff, to bear away or to command to ease the mainsail. From these two wheels, it is equally clear if, like in this case, we are over-powered.
After all, with a true wind of 16 knots and a speed of 9, it is easy to calculate the apparent wind (22/24 knots) and we’re at full speed. But a test is a test, so, although the wheel is asking me to slow down, I sail even closer to the wind.
At 30 degrees, we’re still sailing at more than 8 knots in total comfort. The bow is surprisingly dry and I’m having fun like never before. Even now that, sailing close-hauled and with the boat heeled, we’re handling the waves from a not exactly favorable angle, everything is safe and stable on board, the reactions controlled, the life on board comfortable.
In such conditions, I leave the helm of the Contest 67CS to Annick Conijn and go below deck. I walk in this oblique universe using the numerous handrails and holds that, as if by magic, materialize there, exactly where they are needed.
Below deck, luxury, practicality and elegance are perceivable everywhere. It is a dazzling beauty that almost gives no perception of the real heeling angle of the boat. The total absence of crunches, as well as the sound of the sea that comes here muffled, says a lot about the building parameters used by Contest Yachts which, thanks to the well-known Conyplex Vacuum System and the use of a balsa core, builds one-piece, sound-absorbing, sturdy and thermally insulated hulls.
I get on the deck and take the wheel again, I try to sail close the wind to the maximum and, at 25 degrees from the apparent wind, we fly at 7.4 knots which, with a furling mainsail, are really many. Then, I start to sail less close and, again, the speed increases and the heeling decreases.
The Contest 67CS turns into a motorboat and the log marks double digits again, the trail is clean, the drag completely absent. At 100 degrees from the apparent wind, despite the 110& genoa of which the boat is equipped, we’re still sailing at 10 knots. I can only imagine how the Waldron could sail with her red gennaker which, unfortunately, is not on board today.
A look at the stern confirms the speed we have maintained, the coast is far and its profile begins to disappear. It’s time to come back and I want to test this boat with the staysail which, under such wind conditions and sailing close-hauled, is its sail.
We roll up the genoa and we remain with the mainsail only. At 100 degrees, we sail at 5.5 knots. What a hull, guys, what a hull….
At this point, we set the running backstay and unroll the staysail. We luff, we trim the staysail and… and I discover a new boat. The wheel lightens and the heeling decreases. The speed is almost the same as before, when we were over-powered.
In such conditions, steering with two fingers, I can choose the exact point where to pass a wave, precision is absolute, comfort is total although we are sailing against the sea between 9 and 10 knots.
As the waves pass, the Waldron does not slow down. This light average displacement is amazing and the advantages are remarkable. Reluctantly, I let my colleague take the helm and start walking on the deck where everything is safe and stable, so stable that I can take some photos.
The sun is setting and colours get warmer. Annick joins me and she, too, after taking her mobile phone out of her sailing jacket, begins to take some photos. The naturalness with which she walks upwind to reach the bow suggests her passion and expertise.
The latter are essential ingredients to run, together with her brother Arjen, the shipyard which builds what are probably the best sailboats in the world.
And, if the concept is still not clear to you, I suggest you to visit Medemblik where, in addition to great hospitality, you can see for yourself what it means to sail on board one of these masterpieces.
Let’s start by saying that the Contest 67CS is not a 67-footer but a 70, even abundant, one. In spite of her acronym and in contrast to many other shipyards, Contest Yachts has built a boat with an overall length of 21.26 meters (70 feet) which become 21.71 ( 71.22 feet) when the bowsprit is considered.
There is therefore ” a lot of extra boat” in this Contest, where lengths and volumes are clearly perceivable, both inside and outside. You can realize this in the dinette where, thanks to a beam of 5.65 meters, you can enjoy a spectacular space.
A space that, in perfect Contest Yachts style, the owner managed to customize abundantly, thus recreating, through the extensive use of leather, woods in warm tones and brass details, the Caribbean atmospheres of the “Buena Vista Social Club”, a theme very dear to him. This atmosphere culminates in the creation of two cigar humidors , one completely hidden behind the sofa on the left bulwark, the other which transforms and becomes a smoking table of rare beauty.
In a world where the term “custom” is often used very lightly, these details unequivocally underline the very high level of customization and of quality that the shipyard is able to express.
The U-shaped galley develops from the dinette. Beautiful and designed to be used without difficulty in navigation, it features an extraordinary storage capacity as well as a multitude of arrangements that cancel the risk of seeing ingredients roll at every tacking.
The Master Suite is accessible from a corridor positioned behind the chart table. Here, the shipwrights of the shipyard have created a series of pieces of furniture whose quality leaves no room for interpretation. Solid wood and curves chase each other in a space without corners which comes into contact with leather to create an overall effect of rare beauty.
The big central bed is surrounded by a walkway of perfect size that frames it, housing two bedside tables and two sofas which, positioned on each side, convey the cabin a very particular character.
The VIP cabins in the bow, in this version chosen by the owner, are twin and positioned along the bulwarks. Their bathrooms, each with separate shower, are positioned forward. The crew cabin features a double entrance and can be reached both from a hatch on the deck and from the bathroom of the guest cabin on the left.
Every space is created with the same obsessive care and with the same attention to details that the shipyard reserves to all its yachts.
Yachts that are, in all respects, true masterpieces.
The base price of the Contest 67CS is equal to 2.6 million euros which, considering construction, equipment and finishes, is not so high, especially if we consider the price over time of these boats.