img4566From a distance, many of the Grand Soleil yachts look like Swans. Close up, they also look like Swans. The real debate is which came first, particularly with regards to speed and performance. With its new 45 and 70, Nautor has embraced the full-on racer/cruiser concept, this from a company whose reputation over several decades was that of a builder of superbly constructed and finished yachts that were never accused of sailing too fast. Grand Soleil hasn't had to go through a design Renaissance (which in Nautor's case took place after Italians purchase the company): Grand Soleil yachts were always about going very fast, in sumptous style.

Cantiere del Pardo has been building boats under the Grand Soleil brand since 1973 when they introduced their famous 34 footer, which won virtully every major Mediterranean race in the 70s. The pool of designers they've drawn from reads like a who's who of Grand Prix sailboat design: German Frers, Bruce Farr, Doug Peterson, Judel & Vrolijk, Philippe Briand, Groupe Finot.

img4565Cantiere del Pardo now owns the Dufour Yacht line, and has repositioned that line with the GIb'Sea as the entry, family cruiser line, the new Dufour Line as the racer/cruiser, with Grand Soleil as the luxury, if-you-have-to-ask, you-can't-afford-it line of go-fast yachts.

For the new Grand Soleil 43, the builder turned to the J&J Design office, established
in 1983 by Jernej and Japec Jakopin. The office has drawn the lines for dozens of yachts, both one-offs and production builders, including the Elan, Bavaria, Jeanneau, Dufour and Etap.

img4564The basic concept as a fast hull that would be quick in a wide variety of conditions, while providing safety in all weather conditions, a true bluewater racer/cruiser. The interior layout is focused on an expansive salon; the galley is to port and is linear, providing enormous space for a U shaped couch, center table, and, if needed, two more settees on the centerline.

img4562The owner's cabin is forward, with its own enclosed head and shower. Aft there are twin cabins, with a head and shower tucked to port behind the galley. All the equipment systems are soundproofed, even with the engine running sleeping in the aft cabins should be no trouble at all.

The 43 is designed for short, even single-handed sailing, with a simple deck layout and all control lines leading into the cockpit.

img4563With a displacement to length ratio of 181:1, this is a light boat, thanks to Cantiere del Pardo's advanced hull construction techniques. The Sail Area to Displacement ratio is 24.69, putting it squarely into the category of high performance racer. Not into the stratosphere of the Swan 45, which is over 30, but still not a sailplan for a timid sailor.

Until recently, the only way you could get a Grand Soleil was to go to Europe and have it shipped to North America. That changed in April of this year, when Grand Soleil, and the 43 in particular, made their debut at Sail Expo at Oakland's Jack London Square. Distribution details are incomplete at present but should be formally announced shortly.

In the meantime, contact the Italian factory for details.


Length overall13.39 m43' 11"
Length hull12.98 m42' 7"
Length waterline10.95 m35' 11"
Beam max4.02 m13' 2"
Draft2.10 / 2.35 m6' 11" / 7' 9"
Draft shallow1.75 m5' 9"
Displacement8500 kg18700 lbs
Ballast3000 kg6600 lbs
Sail area84 / 101 m2900 / 1090 sq ft
Fresh water450 l119 USg
Engine: Yanmar30kw40 hp

Cantiere Del Pardo
Mr Michele Ricci
Sales coordinator Italy
Via Fratelli Lumiere 34
47100 FORLI' FC
Tel +39-0543-782404
Fax +39-0543-782405

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