Fresh from the success of the Ed Dubois-designed Southerly 57RS, the folks at Northshore Yachts have released plans for a 45-footer. This Stephen Jones design is also a bluewater cruiser and no doubt at a very different price point, but will have many of the same assets of its big sister. Foremost, in my mind, will be its stellar performance, long-range cruisability, and the high quality that Northshore is increasingly instilling into their boats.

Southerly 45, a stylish bluewater cruiser by Stephen Jones

Southerly 45, a stylish bluewater cruiser by Stephen Jones

Speaking of performance, like all the boats in the Southerly line, the 45 has a very solid swing-keel arrangement that allows for a draft, when lowered, of 10'3". That will no doubt turn this fully fitted cruising boat with self-tacking jib (or double-head rig) into a great upwind sailer. But when combined with the shallow-draft double rudders, which are extremely efficient as the boat heels and presses them into undisturbed water, the boat can also slide into very skinny water. It draws 3'3" with the keel up. If my experiences sailing on the Southerly 38 ("Sailing the Southerly 38 on a Breezy Chichester Day") and Southerly 42 RST ("Sail Inshore or Offshore") are any indication, this boat will be a pleasure underway.

I can't offer much about the interior beyond what the Southerly's website shows and tells us, which is that the boat will have a raised saloon, nav station and galley, although one sitting area to starboard is at a lower level. All of the Southerly interiors are slightly idiosyncratic because they are designed around the keel case, but based on my viewing of the 38 a couple years ago and the 57 at the recent London Boat Show, I'd say the Northshore design team is coming up with more innovation in this area than the past. And the counterpoint to any awkwardness amidships is always the volume of the aft master stateroom. With the rudder posts outboard and an extremely wide hull shape, there's loads of room.

The 45, which is actually 47 feet long, is under construction and due to launch in the summer of 2011.