Grace Under Pressure
Looking at this shot you would easily think that you were aboard a luxury megayacht. But it’s just a sample of the work that goes into this wooden boat. Now the plastic fantastic crowd that clearly dominates today’s buyers market, will want nothing to do with this boat. And that’s just fine with Windsor Craft. Clearly, they’re building for a discriminating buyer, and the hose-and-go day-boater that only touches his boat on rare weekends isn’t it. This is more for the Bentley owner that buys for the eye appeal that you just can’t find in a Ford or Chevy. And a dedication to the craft is evident all through the boat.
Windsor Craft is the brain child of none other than Genmar’s Irwin Jacobs. According to Jacobs, the line was first launched in 1990 from his Glastron factory in Minnesota, which at that time was building fiberglass hulls. The problem was, the boats were being built as more of a hobby than a dedicated brand, and it only served to “screw up” the other brands they were building at the time in the same factory. About 100 Windsor Craft were built in Little Falls, Minnesota back in those days. The relief was evident in the workers when Jacobs shut it down the Windsor Craft production and the employees could go back to forgiving and relatively easy fiberglass construction. But he refused to let his dream of building upscale boats die. After a global search for craftsmen in the ever fading art of wooden boat building, Jacobs finally hit pay dirt when he found the Turkish boatbuilding company, Vicem. After a year of “pond hopping” the collaboration was finally complete and the result is the Windsor Craft 40.
We’re Not Talking Polyurethane
When a yacht yard takes a typical varnish job on…say, a teak rail, then the usual standard is to layer it with no less than 8-10 coats of quality spar varnish. On this boat, Windsor Craft’s artisans in the Vicem yard apply 60 coats. That gives staying power that will keep this finish gleaming long after the others fade away. What you can’t see, is that the mahogany that the workers are applying the varnish to, is all cut from the same tree so it all matches cleanly. The wood colors match because they are from the same section of the same tree! This is a dedication to the craft that is from an era long past, but thankfully, at least one manufacturer is catering to the discriminating art that can only be found in a wooden boat.
What seems like an anachronism on a boat of this caliber, however, is the modern touches that are present throughout the boat. The flat-screen TV in the stateroom and main saloon… the Raymarine E80 display at the helm… while welcome for their functionality, all seem to display a sense of mocking the gleaming display that is the bright work on this yacht. And, of course, if you don’t want these gadgets, you don’t have to put them aboard.
There are exceptions to the modern touches, which are ever present in this boat, being out of place. Bow and stern thrusters will more than make their presence appreciated when easing into tight spaces lest the unwary captain dare scratch this classic piece of floating artwork. The retractable sunroof lets in light that enhances the beauty of the fit and finish. An electric windlass is right at home, as is the air conditioning, and stainless steel fittings. AC electrical power is supplied via an 11.5kw Onan generator. The hull is "cold-molded" which means it is made of alternating layers of thin mahogany sheets, with resin in between. This is a tired and true process used for over 50 years and it is extremely strong.
The layout does not lend itself to large groups, but rather an intimate gathering with overnighting for a couple. The single forward cabin sleeps two, and the designers made an excellent choice with the head layout. To port is the water closet with sink and toilet. To starboard is the enclosed shower. In this manner, two people can get ready for a night on the town at the same time. A welcome feature in any boat. The 40 comes with a base price of $1.1 million, but if you find yourself in the mood for a bargain, a 40 open saloon demonstrator version can currently be had (as of this writing) for only $856,594. Remember, he who hesitates…FYI, Irwin Jacobs told us on Monday that his new boat-building holding company, J&D, will honor warranty claims of Windsor Crafts purchased before the Chapter 11 filing, as well as standing behind the new boats. In addition to Windsor Craft, J&D also own Marquis and Carver, and will be closing on Larson and other brands later this week.
The Windsor Craft 40 has a LOA of 42' (12.8 m), a beam of 12' (3.7 m) and a draft of 4’ (1.21 m). Her empty weight is 22,000 lbs (9,979 kgs), and she carries a 225 gallon (851.7 L) fuel capacity and a 74 gallon (280 L) water capacity. The standard power is a pair of 380-hp Yanmar diesels, and there is an available option for twin 440-hp. With a base price of $1.1 million, this clearly isn’t a boat for everyone. But that’s fine with Windsor Craft. They’re looking more for the discriminating buyer anyway. In fact, we’d go so far as to say they need to qualify each buyer with an individual interview. “Are you ever going to bring a fishing pole onboard this boat?” “Yes.” “I’m sorry, move along please.”
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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