While some boaters spend tons of time on deck lounging about, different folks spend more time marina-hopping and entertaining aboard. And some others are more adventurous, poking up into remote coves, or perhaps even launching kayaks and stand up paddleboards to further their exploration. To fit these multiple needs, Jeanneau has come up with a fresh line of boats that bend elegance and utility. They call the line a “new concept,” represented by the “NC” in each model’s name. But can this new concept really fill a number of needs, still be an all-around good boat, and offer solid performance as well? You have to run one to find out—so that's exactly what we did.
From the dock you’ll notice the NC 11 has a chiseled, angular look that suits its do-everything work ethic well. But don’t let that fool you, because it’s not inelegant. In fact, it has a lot of lines that resemble those found on boats in Jeanneau’s luxury motoryacht range, Prestige. Bronze and white colors are mixed in tasteful amounts, and the copious teak used on the aft and side decks gives the NC 11 a yachty look.
Hopping from the dock onto the NC 11’s swim platform, note that the cockpit and platform are a single, cohesive level. There’s a wide upholstered bench at the transom, and the cabin top and an awning reach out over the aft cockpit to keep occupants sheltered.
That unassuming transom bench is part of what makes the NC 11’s aft cockpit and swim platform design unique; lift a set of pins and pull the bench back, and you can create about 25-percent more space in the aft cockpit. Slide it forward again and the swim platform real-estate grows by about the same amount. Being able to expand each of those spaces individually is a nice way to customize whichever area is currently the focus of activity. The bench module itself also has some shape-shifting qualities. Simply flip a couple of cushions and support panels to turn it into a comfy, expansive sunpad. A few adjustments turn it right back into a comfy bench. But the convertibility doesn’t end in the aft cockpit; there’s a dinette just inside that also has some tricks up its sleeve.
Walk inside the cabin, and you'll find that the dinette sits immediately to starboard. The aft seat of the booth-like dining area flips backward to form an aft-facing seating area for three. The forward dinette bench is quite nifty; it flips forward to form companion seating across from the portside helm. A hefty drop-leaf teak table sits in the center of the dinette and swivels into a portrait or landscape orientation, while two upholstered stools that stow under it can be used to increase guest seating to six. Last but not least, the table and stools are portable enough to move out into the aft cockpit to create an alfresco dining space.
Across from the dinette is a credenza-like galley with two flip-up panels that expose a two-burner electric stove and a stainless-steel sink with faucet. A propane two-burner stove and stand-alone oven are options. There’s a bit of stowage situated underneath the galley sink and in a couple other small drawers and cabinets. A microwave oven is mounted just underneath the stove. Jeanneau has engineered a sort of “pantry” under the cabin sole, where you’ll normally stand to prepare meals. There’s tons of stowage down here and pull-out crates for sundries and dry goods, but it’s not convenient to access.
Down three steps from the main saloon is a common landing. The master stateroom is situated in the bow with a queen-size island berth. To starboard and just a bit aft is a guest stateroom, and to port there’s a shared head and shower. The guest stateroom is a bit Bohemian and feels a little cramped, but it does have enough headroom for getting dressed. There’s only one overhead hatch down here, but a couple of opening hullside ports throughout the lower living areas should help with ventilation.
Staying on the standard side of the NC 11’s equipment check-list gets you a pair of 200 HP Volvo D3 turbo diesels coupled to DPS Duoprop sterndrives. A single 330 HP D6 turbo diesel with DPR Duoprop sterndrives is available as an option, as is Volvo Penta’s joystick steering system, which our test craft had installed. Whichever package you select, the powerplants will be situated under a pair of hatches in the aft cockpit that open easily with the help of beefy stainless-steel gas-assist struts. Everything in the engine room is very easy to access, from the generator to the batteries, but the area where the two hatches join flexed and creaked a bit underfoot on our test boat.
The helm area has an adjacent sliding door that opens out onto the side deck, making single-handed docking much easier, especially with the joystick docking system. A set of buttons overhead cause the aluminum and glass sunroof to smoothly slide open. That sunroof is huge, taking up nearly a third of the NC 11’s cabin top.
A lack of noise and vibration underway are worth mentioning. Motoring out toward Chesapeake Bay through a no-wake zone, even with the port side door next to the helm, overhead sunroof, and aft sliding doors open, the cabin and aft deck spaces were extremely quiet. A smartphone decibel meter showed between 58 dBA and 78 dBA at the helm.
Once the D3s spooled up we were well on our way to the top end of around 34 MPH at 4,000 rpm. Jeanneau claims that fuel consumption at this speed is around 20 gallons per hour. But cruising in the 18 MPH range the engines should provide the best economy for this hull, between two and three GPH.
There was a distinct lack of chop on Chesapeake Bay during the run, so we created our own waves by putting the NC 11 through a series of sharp turns and aggressive maneuvers, which also provided the chance to see how she handles. The boat turns with ease and tracks very well, even with the helm laid hard over. Steering response is a bit delayed, but still sporty enough to keep things fun.
There’s a lot to like about the NC 11, especially if you’re someone who uses their boat in many different ways. While some boats on the market try to get this blend right, they can be exercises in compromise. This new concept from Jeanneau, on the other hand, nails the landing.
Other Choices: The Carver C37 Coupe will make an interesting comparison, as will the Regal 35 Sport Coupe. Those looking for a sportier, more open boat might look at the Beneteau Gran Tourismo 35.
For more information, visit Jeanneau.
See current Jeanneau NC 11 listings.
|Fuel capacity||190 gal.|
|Water capacity||66 gal.|