The new Wauquiez 55 is aimed squarely at the premium end of the cruising market and is the first new launch from the French brand since 2018

While the graphical representations of many new designs may look impressive, rarely do we see a production yacht unveiled with so many new or reimagined clever ideas all packed into one hull as there are on this new Wauquiez 55.

And the French shipyard did so under the radar, only unveiling these images of its first new model since the Wauquiez 42 in 2018 at the Düsseldorf Boat Show in January this year. The Wauquiez 55 also marks its first new launch under new owners Exel Industries, and is aimed squarely at the premium end of the cruising market.

The novel design certainly sparks interest.

A centre cockpit cruiser with twin engines and a lift keel option, it offers the type of full cockpit protection only seen on a couple of cruising yachts such as Amels and Allures today, including the ability to control all manoeuvres and handling from here. Perhaps my favourite feature, though, is the direct access from the owner’s aft cabin straight onto the beamy sunken aft deck terrace.

Wauquiez 55 master cabin

Master cabin has near surround views plus direct access to the aft terrace.

Even before Wauquiez revealed the designer responsible, the prominent reverse sheer, lines long favoured by Lombard design, gave it away. Lombard’s longstanding co-director Eric Levet told me how this method worked particularly well for this higher deck concept – “it’s something you couldn’t do on an aft cockpit yacht”. He also confirmed that the aft terrace leans on inspiration from early Wally yachts such as Tiketitan.

While the Wauquiez 55 is designed for ease of short-handed use from within the cockpit cocoon, it’s also conceived for performance and double digit speeds. A tall rig provides almost 170m2 of upwind sail area and the boat is built in foam sandwich to keep weight down to 20 tonnes lightship.

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Options are generous including three rigs, two keels, and two different interior layouts. The ballasted swing keel version provides pointing ability in its deep 4.2m mode or raises to 1.6m, and has a fuse in the hydraulic system in case of grounding. The carbon performance rig version comes with a furling boom, while the main is sheeted to an aft deck traveller on a flatwinder winch. Levet says the push/pull JP3 steering system ensures good helming sensitivity.

The deck layout gives plenty of relaxation space, while tankage and stowage looks generous, although there’s no dinghy garage, so davits will likely be needed.

By building in full sandwich construction, including all bulkheads and floors and some furniture, he calculates Wauquiez saved around three tonnes. It’s also a very stable shape so doesn’t require too much keel weight.
“It’s like the Opium 39 we did 15 years ago – but built like a Swan,” Levet enthuses.

Wauquiez 55 saloon

More natural light in the saloon with access to the large double cabin forward

The modern Roseo Design interior stands out for its natural light and sea views, whether you’re standing or sitting in the saloon and galley, or looking out from the 270° viewing angles from the aft master cabin.

The twin drives (50hp or 75hp) are accessed via a central walk-in engine room below the cockpit. Wauquiez’s theory here is to promote safety, lower consumption, more torque and speed. Couple this with the high-powered single or dual Integrel alternators, which give 8-16kW recharging, and there’s no need for a genset either. Wauquiez is also offering a parallel hybrid system for this 55 too.

There are two layouts, an owner’s version with beam wide cabin or a ‘long distance travel’ alternative, which reduces this aft cabin to offer a utility/laundry area. Both have a second vast double cabin forward, plus a Pullman.

The first yacht is in construction and Wauquiez plans to premiere it at Cannes Boat Show in September.

Wauquiez 55 specifications

LOA: 17.58m 57ft 8in
Hull length: 16.4m 53ft 10in
Beam: 5.25m 17ft 3in
Draught: 2.4m 7ft 10in or 1.6m-4.2m 5ft3in-13ft9in
Displacement (light): 20 tonnes
Price: from €1.8m ex VAT

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