Fontaine Design Group of Portsmouth, R.I., has just launched a 40-foot modern version of the classic Friendship sloop. Austral Yachts in Whangarei, New Zealand, built the new luxury yacht, and so far, sea trials have proven the small superyacht to be quick on its heels and stunning in craftsmanship and attention to detail. A 40-foot voyager is quite a departure for a designer like Fontaine, whose stable of successful bluewater boats includes the elegant Amelia3 and a number of larger vessels like Whisper and the 109-foot Aventura, yachts truly deserving of the superyacht moniker.
The new yacht, aptly named Manaaki, a Maori word meaning cherish and sustain, was built for a Jamestown, R.I., owner who previously owned a Fontaine-designed Little Harbor 42.
Manaakiï¿½s profile is classic ï¿½ one of those boats that has true turnaround appeal whether lying at a mooring or alongside a dock. But besides being a pretty boat, Fontaine also designed it to be a stable and responsive hull that is easily driven. He has incorporated his proven Delta Form shape in the underbody with a deadrise shape that seems to create its own lift. For shoal water, a lifting centerboard provides a draft of just under 4 feet, opening up a world of coastal cruising.
The boatï¿½s powerful rig was built by Sparcraft, is 61 feet 3 inches in height and carries 920 square feet of sail. The boat is configured for single-handed sailing and is effortless at the helm. For ease of sail-handling, Fontaine has included big-boat features like a Leisure Furl in-boom main with hydraulic sheet buttons at the helmsmanï¿½s feet and a Reckmann roller-furling 100 percent genoa with electric winches at either side of the wheel. The mainsail is fully battened and features a Navtec stainless-steel hydraulic boom vang. The mainsheet is led straight down through the coaming and controlled hydraulically by foot switches near the pedestal. This is not a new concept but one that Fontaine feels works exceptionally well on the Friendship 40. The cockpit is kept clear of lines, and the need for a traveler is eliminated ï¿½ true self-tacking ability. In the event of a malfunction, a conventional sheet can be rigged in an emergency. The yachtï¿½s four winches are electric and, like the stainless-steel blocks, come from Antal.