By Captain Steve Larivee
The mission of this new Velasco 43 is to serve as a family cruiser with an all-new approach to space and interior styling. The design team at Jeanneau tells us that they were striving to reach “a superior level of comfort through the distribution of interior and exterior living spaces making the boat well-suited for today’s families.”
Narrow Window Mullions.
This is important for keeping maximum visibility through the windows, particularly on a boat with a lower helm station. However, sometimes it can become problematic when the boat also has a flying bridge. The mullions need to support not only the weight of the upper deck, but the occupants as well. Somehow, Jeanneau has managed to keep them narrow while also being able to handle the task of load bearing.
Extended Flying Bridge.
This adds more useable space on the upper deck while at the same time, provides much needed shade for the aft deck below as well as the ability to fully enclose it. The aft end of the flying bridge also accommodates a large optional sun pad.
Forward of the helm are three skylights that pour natural light into the salon and helm areas. And, as the companionway to the staterooms is wide open, this becomes another area that benefits from this design feature.
Asymmetrical Side Decks.
The starboard side deck is 15'6" (39.37 cm) wide and is easy to negotiate. (See our video.) The port side deck is 12'6" (31.75 cm) wide and took some hip-swiveling by a trim Captain Steve Larivee to pass along it, but was definitely doable. There is a sliding side door at the helm to starboard.
Four-Panel Sliding Doors.
There are four glass panels - three of which slide -- in the boat's opening between the cabin to the aft deck. By using the four panels the builder is able to maximize the width of the opening and the "outdoor" feel when sitting in the cabin.
The Jeanneau Velasco 43 has a LOA of 44’11” (13.7 m), a beam of 13'6" (4.13 m), and a draft of 3'7" (1.09 m). With an empty weight of 23,724 lbs. (10,761 kgs.), 158 gallons (598 L) of fuel (half full) and four people onboard we had a test weight of 24,432 lbs. (11,082 kgs.).With a pair of 380-hp Cummins QSB 6.7 engines turning the ZF V-drive transmissions, we reached a top speed at 3070 rpm of 27.8 kn. At that speed fuel burn was a combined 34.3 gph (130 lph), giving the Velasco 43 a range of 231 nautical miles. Best cruise came in at 2700 rpm and 22.7 kn. At that speed the fuel burn was reduced to 25.89 gph (98 lph), giving the Velasco 43 an endurance of 11 hours and 250 nautical miles, while still maintaining a 10% reserve.
On acceleration, she has a 5-degree bow rise and she seems fairly comfortable maintaining that angle at cruising speeds. With her foredeck angled down slightly she still maintains good sightlines ahead of the bow. She leans only 10-degrees into the turns and then seems to come back from that and stays relatively flat, providing a unique but still comfortable riding characteristic. She handles sea conditions well and I think she will present a comfortable platform for extended trips.
The full beam swim platform comes out 3'5" (1.04 m) from the transom, making it wide enough to accommodate a RIB tender. That being the case, owners may want to opt for the hydraulically actuated swim platform that will not only ease launching, but create the much enjoyed teak beach.
The aft deck is accessed from two steps to the starboard side. It features four across bench seating with storage underneath that is large enough to accommodate a life raft and is surrounded by standard teak decking. The open space measures 11'8" (3.56 m) across by 5'5" (1.65 m). Small steps are on both sides leading to the side decks. A hatch in the center leads to the engine room.
This Velasco 43 featured the first installation of the new Cummins QSB 380-hp high output engines that I've seen and I was impressed with the installation. A single post ladder led directly between the two engines for the daily check points. ZF V-drive transmissions were located forward of the engines, as was the optional 11 kW generator, all being serviced by a hatch in the forward bulkhead that was accessible from the storage compartment located in the salon deck.
This is a new generation of V-drive from ZF which is directly flange-mounted to the engine, which reduces vibration, ware, noise and also allows the unit to be moved slightly aft. It uses a gear cascade that is more energy efficient than conventional V-drives which typically lost 5% of power or even more.
Our test boat was fitted with optional teak decking on the bow and side decks. The trunk cabin is slightly sloped downward providing a little more visibility from the lower helm at cruise speed, while sacrificing marginal headroom over the berth in the master stateroom. Two sun pads flank the skylight and deck hatch providing light to the master stateroom. The pads are secured by two handrails. If needed, additional central cushions create a wide area to enjoy the sun. Fully forward a Lewmar anchor windlass is recessed into the deck with the rode leading out to a stainless anchor roller.
Triple-wide glass doors provide an opening of 5'1" (1.55 m) and allow for a seamless transition between the outside and inside. The salon presents booth style seating to starboard and an aft facing lounger to port.
The dinette will easily accommodate four, but should additional guests arrive, two extra seats can be removed from under the starboard bulwarks to increase the seating capacity at the table to six. Headroom in the salon is a surprising 6'7" (2 m). Naturally, the dinette table lowers to convert to a berth, should those additional two people decide not to leave. The table is also secured to the deck by thumb screws which are easily removable, allowing the table to be repositioned or even relocated to the aft deck.
The starboard side helm consists of a fiberglass module set into position. Dual-molded panels are to port and starboard, the port housing the chartplotter and dual SmartCraft gauges. The starboard contains the Vessel View display, autopilot and VHF radio. In the center is a recessed section housing the compass with the rudder indicator just beneath. The ignitions are below the three-spoke leather-wrapped wheel and are well clear of the knee-strike zone.
There are two appealing features of the lower helm. First, it provides excellent sightlines and ergonomics from a standing position. I spent most of my time operating while leaning back against the seat with one foot on the footrest. The second feature is the opening side door. This provides ventilation while at the same time gives the Velasco 43 the added benefit of being able to tie her up single-handed. Just outside the side door is a midship cleat. Drop a line dockside from that cleat and it's an easy bow and stern line to complete the process.
The U-shaped galley is located to port of the helm and not only benefits from the natural light pouring in from the wraparound windows and overhead skylights, but also from the opening side window as well. The solid surface counter in the galley has square corners and hard edges, but with the roominess of the Velasco 43 it presented no problems while underway.
An aluminum backsplash wraps around the front and side of the galley while the counter is sectioned off with a glass partition. A double basin sink is forward with covers that increase the usable counter space. The stove is to port with an optional dishwasher beneath. A modest refrigerator/freezer is under the helm seat. An optional additional freezer can be installed in the storage compartment below.
The master stateroom is forward and features a twin island berth with storage underneath. Natural light comes in from dual hull side windows with opening port lights to either side as well as an overhead skylight and opening foredeck hatch. Access to an ensuite head is located in the aft port bulkhead and it includes a corner mounted walk-in shower separated from the rest of the compartment. An opening port light is embedded into the hull side window appropriately accommodating ventilation.
The guest stateroom is to starboard with standing headroom at the entrance. The overhead above the berths runs from 28” (71.12 cm) down to 23” (58.42 cm). The compartment itself is just wide enough to accommodate the twin berths and the hullside window alleviates any claustrophobic feelings. Forward is a private entrance to the head, which is almost as big as the master head with the addition of a second entrance to the companionway, allowing it to serve double duty as a day head.
The flying bridge is accessed from a stairway in the aft deck fabricated from stainless railing and teak stair treads. With a ladder in this location, valuable space is freed up inside the salon.
At the aft end of the flying bridge deck is an optional triple-wide sun pad that will provide excellent views while catching rays. Forward and to port is U-shaped seating with the forward seatback being reversible, allowing it to accommodate forward facing passengers... a much preferred position when underway. Directly across and behind the helm, is an optional flying bridge galley with a sink and space for an optional grill all under a single piece hatch. Below are storage and a cockpit refrigerator.
The flying bridge helm, much like the lower helm, is a pod-style mounted to the starboard side. The same separate modules to port and starboard house the electronics displays and gauges with the compass mounted in the center of the two. The lengthy Cummins engine controls allow for comfortable operations from the standing position. The smoked glass windscreen did a good job of deflecting the breeze over my head.
One significant difference between the lower and upper helm is that this flybridge helm features a single bucket seat as opposed to the double-wide bench seat below. But with the forward facing seat nearby, there is still the benefit of extra eyes looking forward.
Jeanneau has taken an important step with the creation of the Velasco 43. When in home waters she can provide a welcome platform for day boating and entertaining, and while she’s hard to classify into a single category, clearly she makes a capable cruiser. With the storage and amenities to allow her owners to stay onboard for an extended period of time and go nearly anywhere, we can see her exploring far and wide. Remember, at 7.4 knots she has a range of 503 nautical miles, with a 10% fuel reserve.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Jeanneau Velasco 43 (2014-) is 31.9 mph (51.3 kph), burning 34.34 gallons per hour (gph) or 129.98 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Jeanneau Velasco 43 (2014-) is 26.1 mph (42 kph), and the boat gets 1.01 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.43 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 287 miles (461.88 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 380-hp Cummins QSB6.7.
Standard and Optional Features
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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