“Yeeeeeessss!”, was my instant reaction upon reading the news that renowned aluminium yacht maker Alubat was going to launch a new iteration of their Cigale line. Why? Because of all the boats out there, as much as I love them, the Cigale is my absolute favorite and most longed for boat ever. And imagine my next “Woooow!”, as I read that this new Cigale was going to be conceived by no other naval architecture design bureau than Finot-Conq. Why? Because it was the ingenious idea of Jean Marie Finot back in the day which brought the Cigale to life.
As the story goes, Jean Marie Finot designed the first ever Cigale 14 just for himself. It was to be an ultra light displacement boat with loads of sailing power (and water ballast tanks) combined with a revolutionary interior design concept. For this I invented the term “magic saloon”, and here is a whole article dedicated to the original Finot-Cigale 14. So, sadly, the new upcoming boat won´t be as special and sexy as the cover photo of PLEIONE, a Lombard-designed Cigale 16, suggests.
Alubat published a handful renderings and final data on their website about the all new Cigale 15 QR and after clicking there week after week to only read “coming soon”, my heart jumped when finally this new content was uploaded. But behold, my disappointment was big. The Cigale 15 QR is not a Cigae anymore, at least in terms of the “magic saloon”, because this is flatly gone.
The layout of the boat is the classic, ordinary two cabin aft one cabin (owner) forward-configuration. The specialty of the Cigale is vanished. I knew that in the second generation Cigales, done by Marc Lombard, the yard already offered this configuration as an option to replace the “magic saloon”, but apparently sales figures must have spoken so that this beloved feature is not available anymore.
I am puzzled and moved, frankly, disappointed. I loved the idea of having the saloon aft with open galley and nav station adjoining. All cabins are placed forward, of which owner´s cabin and pilot berths are right on the pivotal point right above the keel. Perfect to find a god night´s sleep even in rough seas. Also, when sleeping, no annoying trample above your head in the cockpit. Why did they cancel this stroke of genius? So, after digesting my first reaction, I gave it a try.
A modern, true Finot-Conq
First of all, Finot-Conq has a long tradition of making fast, reliable and seaworthy boats. Both for production boat companies as well as one-offs. The new Cigale 15 QR has a very sleek and modern design. A convex sheer line, voluminous bow, double rudder and a modern swing keel. This is, by the way, what the “QR” stands for: “Quille relevable” – swing keel.
The boat reminds me of the current FC-line of Finot-Conq down to the shape of the hull windows. I must say, I like the hull shape very much and I definitely see the advantages of a variable draft, something the Ovni offers as a standard and the Cigale never had. Also, I like the modern shape which reminds of current day last generation IMOCA-racers. I don´t quite like the coachroof and window-design, I must admit and as much practical and good the dodger may be, it is quite ugly: No comparison to the elegance of the Boreal for example.
Like they say, a “Marathoner”
The pure data given on the sheet are promising: The new Cigale 15 QR will be 1 meter shorter than her predecessor, Cigale 16. She will weigh in 11 tons, compared to 11.5 tons of the Lombard-design. The SA/D ratio of the new boat will be 28.8, which makes her a very powerful sailboat, Cigale 16 had a slightly lesser number, 28.3. So the new boat will be much fun to sail, for sure.
XXXXXXBILD 05 daten
Other than the latest generation of Ovnis, which I find very bulky, very beamy and way less elegant than the classy Ovnis, the new Cigale, that´s for sure, will tie in the legacy of her two generations of predecessors. She will be a fast passage maker, stiff and rigid due to the advantages of the material aluminium, she will be spacious and for sure comfortable. But … well, but why the heck have they cancelled this cool aft-saloon layout?
It remains to be verified: We have to wait for the first real boat leaving the shed. Mostly, renderings cannot live up to the true shape of things. Most people I know have been very upset upon seeing the renderings of the First 36, now, look at the yacht in the water. She is way, way better in real life. I hope that this is also the case for the new upcoming Cigale 15 QR and maybe, next time I happen to be in Les Sables, I can see her at the pontoon, just like I have been surprise here by her sister back in the day.
Renderings © by Alubat
More articles on the Cigale:
Talking Cigale 16 with Marc Lombard
Another Cigale 16 leaves the shed
At the Alubat yard, where the Ovni and the Cigale are made