The first few miles at sea for the Grand Soleil 44: style, design, performance and comfort

From its World Premiere to its first trial at sea, the new 44 foot yacht, built completely by Cantiere del Pardo confirmed its perfect balance between performance cruising and racing. All this without renouncing elegance and comfort on board, distinctive traits in the family feeling of the Grand Soleil

17 November 2020 | by Redazione

The new  Grand Soleil 44, the latest vessel by Cantiere del Pardo, solidifies their brilliant design intuition and singular position on the market, anticipating the needs of increasingly demanding owners interested in a yacht with a dual soul – cruising and racing.

After the World Premiere at the Genoa Boat Show, where we visited the vessel, the new 44 foot yacht has superseded the most ambitious expectations during its first test at sea. The first few miles slipped away in the waters off Portofino and in the Tigullio Gulf, an ideal location for its first photo shoot (in partnership with B&G, official supplier for all the electronics on the GS 44) with Carlo Borlenghi, a photographer who is experienced and well known in the sailing industry.

At the helm were Matteo Polli, the designer who defined and perfected the geometry of the hull of the Grand Soleil 44, and Enrico Zennaro, a consolidated racer holding a number of awards including 8 international, 7 European, and 12 Italian titles, both in agreement on the quality construction, flexibility of use and feeling at the helm after the trial.

Holding the wheel in hand – noted Matteo Polli  – I was able to feel the boat’s characteristics in different wind conditions. The GS 44 sailed well at all speeds, both close-hauled and with a tailwind, confirming that it is a pleasant and fun vessel to sail, thanks to being able to make careful and precise adjustments to the sails and to the well-studied layout. Also in windier conditions, with tight movements and elevated listing, the helm responds well.

The helmsman can always allow himself a few mistakes – added Polli – its stability allows us to use the entire sail rigging even in strong winds, an interesting aspect for a boat that doesn’t necessarily have crew at the gunwale. This 44 was based on Cantiere del Pardo’s specific need: to put a boat in the water that would win in competition but at the same time be comfortable and easy during cruising with a reduced crew compliment.

It is a well-balanced boat, spacious below deck where the generous walkway to the bow, – explained Enrico Zennaro – the contoured cockpit, and ample spaces of the stern are found. This all makes cruising an advantage. On the racing side, the narrow, streamlined hull goes very well with little air, a characteristic confirmed also by its upwind angle and the acceleration when starting again. When manoeuvring you immediately note that it is all well balanced. The use of B&G instruments also guarantees better navigation.


The Grand Soleil 44 is the latest challenge taken on by Cantiere del Pardo in performance. In order to win this, the shipyard turned to the designer who better than anyone has known over the last few years, how to interpret the concept of a high performance vessel in races around the world: Matteo Polli.

Many define him as the “Wizard of ORC”, thanks to the many titles won over the last few years with boats of his design – three world championships and two Italian championships in ORC class from 2015 to the present – in addition to having reached the podium in many other European level races. This new 44 foot boat completes the Performance range of  Grand Soleil Yachts, dedicated to sporty owners looking for a high performance vessel capable of providing results in competition, as part of  the GS 34, GS 48 , and the GS 58.

As already seen on board the Grand Soleil 48, the GS 44 will also be available in a double version: one layout will be better for cruising, with a different rigging and deck set up to make manoeuvring easier, the other, instead, will be more for racing, to give the best performance during competition.

The design also includes the work of Nauta Design (Exterior & Interior Design) and the Technical Department of Cantiere del Pardo. “This new model – notes Vincenzo Candela, lead engineer in the technical department at Cantiere del Pardo – allowed us to reach this great objective and complete the new Grand Soleil performance range.”

On the market – he explains – the GS 44 is the only vessel allowing for a double layout on deck, to please both owners with a love of racing, and those who prefer cruising, but enjoy an aggressive yet elegant design, a distinctive trait of every Grand Soleil. Closing the circle is also a very clean layout, three cabins and two bathrooms, both with a separate shower.


The maximum beam of over 4 metres is fundamentally important to maximise the stability of the shape, but also to ensure ample spaces both above and below deck. Simple technical solutions have been well integrated to the aesthetic of the deck with six winches (racing set up) or four winches within reach of the pilot if cruising is wanted, and ready for easy sailing.

The self-tacking jib is standard, to allow for easy boat management, but, by request transversal rails can be mounted to regulate the sheet lead of the jib. The result is an upper deck that guarantees excellent performance and speed in racing manoeuvres and at the same time easy navigation during cruising.


As already seen on board the Grand Soleil 48, the 44 also has the possibility of choosing between two different rigging layouts: standard with aluminium mast for cruising use, and race in carbon fibre (premium) to be used for competition.

Regarding appendages there is the option of choosing between two different draughts: standard is 2.60 metres, while as an option there are draughts of 2.40 metres and 2.80 metres.


The interior layout, which includes three cabins and two bathrooms (both with separate shower), is surprisingly liveable with spaces that go well with a sporty hull.

The perceived space is truly surprising. The undercover spaces have a generous beam giving ample and comfortable volumes: the L-shaped kitchen is located to the left, the dinette is made up of a comfortable U-shaped sofa with at its centre a dining table that can fit up to eight people, and on the right by a wall mounted three-seater sofa with a charting table located on the bow wall.

The owner cabin, with a comfortable double bed, divan and dedicated bathroom, is a generous size for a 44 foot sporting yacht. Making the interior space even more comfortable is the natural light that comes in through the various windows on the hull and deck.


Giuseppe Orrù


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