With the world a very different place than it was, what better time for some positive news and genuine enthusiasm for yachting adventures. I’d like to thank the owners of this impressive Allures sailing yacht for writing this article for us. Enjoy the read and get out there on a yacht and explore. “Experience Freedom”
For Mark Ellyatt, Williams & Smithells Ltd May 2020
Allures 45 l’escale
Hello! We are Neil (Skipper) and Kirstie (Mate) Hird, the proud and delighted owners of Allures 45 l’escale. She’s been ours from new, in 2014, and in July 2016 we moved aboard to become full-time cruisers. Slowly and leisurely we are making our way around the world.
We have both sailed all our adult lives, and were previously owners of a Sigma 362 and raced dinghies too. We created a prioritised ‘wish list’ of the features we were looking for in the boat we intended to live on, and spent many happy hours in research and at boat shows.
Domestically, we wanted a yacht large enough for easy living in comfort:
Having dismissed most of the British brands on the market, we were recommended Allures and visited the factory in Cherbourg for a preliminary look around. During the detailed factory tour and unexpected test sail, we observed obvious care taken at all stages, attention to detail and exemplary finish of several boats at various stages in the production process. Impromptu discussions with the design office, production manager and commercial director quickly confirmed Allures on our shortlist.
Technically, we had an extensive list of requirements:
Aluminium hulls are few and far between in the UK, yet popular across the Channel. Built well, we know them to be lightweight, strong and well-suited to the sort of cruising we were looking forward to. Having both been RYA dinghy sailors and instructors, we know how to sail with a lifting centreboard, and wanted to maximise our options regarding cruising areas, and access to rivers, canals and shallow bays for anchoring.
On paper Allures ticked a lot of boxes. After several rounds of helpful (and patient) discussions with factory staff and UK agents Williams & Smithells, we arrived at a satisfactory specification, price and contractual terms. During the six- month build process we visited the factory several times and in-between evolved some further aspects of the specification, within the time limits and logistics imposed by the build schedule. Overall it was a very positive experience from beginning to completion.
Her accommodation is beautifully designed; roomy with good head height throughout, handholds everywhere you need them underway, and masses of storage hidden away tidily. The galley is a sensible, stable working space, the saloon table seats six comfortably for fun social evenings, and the guest cabin is apparently adequate, judging by the number of friends and relations who’ve visited us more than once. The heads is ‘intimate luxury’ and the master cabin incredibly comfortable, whilst the ‘tech room’ is invaluable as a workshop/bike store/utility room for airing laundry.
Usable access to the engine is generous, while many traps in the floor allow for additional storage in the bilges. On deck she feels spacious and very secure: side decks are clear as shrouds and jib car tracks are inboard against the cabin superstructure, or right out at the toe rail, whilst all lines are led back to the cockpit. The sail locker, just behind the anchor locker, is huge, while the stern bathing platform is wide and deep for access to and from the tender, land and sea. The cockpit is really comfortable on passage and in port or at anchor…oh, and she sails like a dream.
Whilst every yacht is invariably a blend of ideals and compromises, we can emphatically say that our Allures 45, l’escale, meets our main requirements in spades. Are there facets we would wish were different? Inevitably yes. It is very interesting to see that some of the necessary compromises we made for our build have been addressed in newer models, and some features first designed for us are now on the standard options list. Since delivery we have improved systems to meet needs, using the insight that only time and experience onboard can provide.
L’escale always attracts attention and curiosity, offering easy introductions as a talking point and conversation starter – we’ve met so many interesting people, and made some good friends, thanks to our beautiful yacht. Six years on, living onboard full time in varied locations, l’escale is everything we ever dreamed of, and so much more.
Click here to follow the adventure so far