Neel 43 Trimaran – Owner’s Review
The Neel 43 – an owner’s perspective. Many thanks to Christophe, Audrey and family for their help on this one!
They are sailing Sail & Surf, launched Jun 2022.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your trimaran. Is this your first boat?
There are 6 of you right? What are your plans on Sail & Surf?
Sail and Surf is our first sailing yacht
We are a family of 6 with four kids from 4 to 10 yrs
The plan is to live on the boat for few years not sure how long yet! And visit the world.
Why did you choose the Neel 43?
We wanted a multihull to get more space outside especially with the kids!
We looked at “usual” catamaran and discovered the trimaran world.
Trimaran are more for racing but NEEL and few others are doing now “houseboats style” as well with very good performances! From the beginning we all loved the minimalism of the NEEL 43, the space available, the design the performances
When was she launched?
We ordered her in June 2021 and got it 12 months later
Which configuration did you decide on?
We took the basic’s one for family… so no Carbon mast or boom or whatever too fancy for us!
Few cosmetic details such as FLEXITEECK on the floor outside everywhere, it’s such nice to walk on it barefoot!
Also we add pink flowers stickers on each side and decided to go for a totally pink spinnaker!!! You better understand we drove these ideas 😉
What’s the best thing about her?
The best… hum…let’s say everything… We are all really happy globally
What would you change if anything?
The only thing would be the system to raise the dinghy which is a bit difficult
What are the main advantages of a trimaran over a catamaran in your opinion?
eg performance, lower maintenance etc
Performances for sure are great compare to a lot of “basic” catamaran,
but probably the same than an OUTREMER I guess 🙂
Lower maintenance… maybe as we have only one engine to maintain!
A really better thing is the engine room, you can litterally walk on it…. everything is
there, visible, accessible (electrical, water, engine, batteries etc…..) It’s huge
Are there any disadvantages?
I would say no for us, but it’s definitely less comfort living compared to a Lagoon for example
You have less space in the sleeping cabins for clothes 🙂
and shower is not big as it is in catamaran
It’s really LESS is LUXE we could say!
What are the “Must Have” Options buying new in your opinion? eg electric
winches, engine upgrade, folding prop, A/C, heating, watermaker, inverter, solar,
If you have a long term sailing program like us, definitely a well calibrated water maker, solar panels/batteries with inverter…. Then depending on the program a heating system such as WEBASTO, is good when you spend time in EU, Mediterranean.
50HP engine is really sufficient for the boat. A/C is really not necessary unless you go to equator maybe… but then you’ll need a small Diesel GE.
We have no electric winch, it’s not necessary on our point of view, but it depends how old is the Captain!
What sails do you have in your locker? Did you go for the standard sails or the upgraded package? Do you have a Code 0 for example?
We decide to keep it simple as a start with Main sail + front sails “Génois” and “Trinquette”.
And we have an asymetric Spinaker.
We are thinking about an OXLEY to use the wind up to 180deg…
What are the “Nice to Have Options”?
An oven with a toaster inside for the breakfast! No kidding…
Otherwise front cabin (outside) with beds, ventilation, light etc…especially if you have teenagers. We set two sleeping
cabins (except when we are sailing) there for our 9 and 10 year old daughters, It’s really great!
The B&G system inside and outside so you can sail from inside depending on the weather or at night when on duties
Grill system outside is nice as well, a bit tiny but good for fish, meat, vegetables
Which options are not worth bothering with?
Carbon mast when you go for family trip 😉 … I don’t know really.
How are the electrics, plumbing etc. Do you have much solar?
We have 6x batteries – GEL deep cycles 165Amp/h
From day-1 700 watts Solbian panel on the roof and 1350 watts added in January 2023 at the back of the trimaran.
How have you set up your power system? Can you survive off grid without running the engines too much?
We are making everyday: 2hrs of watermaker (200ltrs)
30mns washing machine (20deg)
Also we have a Fridge 24/7 🙂 and WIFI antenna 12/7
With all that around noon normally we are at 100% of battery even with a cloudy day.
With 2000Watts we do not need any engine to charge the battery
In the past with 700Watts only we did 6hrs of engine every 3-4 days (we are 6 onboard!)
Is she easy to maintain? Servicing engines, standing rigging etc. The engine
access is central, right?
Engine access is central and huge. Boat is very accessible for maintenance
Is she easy to sail short-handed? To shorten sail? Easy to reach the boom?
There is no traveller, right?
Correct the boat can be easily sail in solo. Boom is low and reachable from the roof unless you are smaller than 1,50m I would say.
No traveller, an easy system to maintain the boom and avoid unexpected movements.
What’s she like in heavy weather / a blow / big seas
The maximum we had was 3.5meters 30-35 knots. Until there no worries.
How is the helm position. Is the visibility OK, eg on a starboard tack. How is the Dyneema cable steering?
Visibility is very good on the starboard side for sure. On the port side you have to be careful with the front end essentially (you see well the back end).
Dyneema cable is short and from helm to safran, very easy to see or repair from the engine room.
How does she sail in light winds?
Very easy because we are very light too…9T charged!
How does she sail close hauled?
Nicely to maximum 40-45deg of the wind I would say
How about on a reach, heading down wind?
Very good with a spinnaker, less performances under main sail + front sail
Typically, what’s your average speed on passage?
We always calculate our sailing with 6knots average, but in reality it is more 7 knots.
We are no t pushing her a lot as we are a family 🙂 and often do direct roads instead of playing withthe winds to get faster.
Maximum surf speed so far 18,5knots
Maximum 24hrs average 9,2knots with spinnaker
What’s she like under power, say at 2400 rpm? Speed, manoeuvrability?
As per the manufacturer we use it between 1800 and 2200rpm.
We get 6-7knots depending on wind, sea, current. Consumption is around 4 to 5ltrs/hr
At 2400rpm we should be around 7.5knots
Is she easy to dock, what’s the visibility like? Are the marina fees more for a trimaran?
The Neel 43 is easy to dock after few trials for sure at the beginning! It was difficult the first weeks in La Rochelle with a side wind…
Anyway we always ask for help at the marina pontoon, at least to enter.
Luckily marina fees are the same than for catamaran 🙂
What is she like at anchor? Is she stable with a side swell?
We did few rolling spots near surf spots in Madeira…
It was not easy to re-enter the boat from the dinghy!
I won’t say it is stable with this kind of swell, but we could sleep a little bit!
I think movements are close to a catamaran, the difference is that our two sleeping areas (except front cabin) are on the main deck above water, and that helps a lot.
Is the living space comfortable? Cabins/saloon/galley/heads. How is that upper
cabin up top?
Living space is enough for us 🙂 A family of 6 everyday and 8 for long sailing.
The surface inside/outide called cockloon is helping a lot as it gives more volume.
But for people looking for bigger cabins, they would need the NEEL 47 or 51.
Upper cabin in the saloon is nicely made, separate with a curtain only it’s a tiny sleeping area with a 140x200cm bed.
Perfect also, to put the kids while sailing to rest or play.
How is the ventilation in the living spaces and the cabins?
In each cabin there is one ventilation with a porthole front of bed in the saloon, on in the master cabin and one in the front cabin to get fresh wind from outside at the anchor!
Where’s your favourite spot on the boat?
The “cockloon” definitely, everybody is there, cooking, reading, playing, resting!
How is the finish of the interior? Does she creak under sail?
Light coloured wood – Grey, other light colours were available,
but with 4 kids we need something easy to clean!
Is she good for hosting guests?
We invited my parents and left them the Master cabin.
For friends we give the saloon tiny cabin which is generally perfect. So depending on guest age you have different options!
How is the storage on the boat?
Lot of space in 4 storages: 2 at the back and 2 at the front below front side beds + Engine room which allow a good storage space too.
Also there are inside storages for food, drink, etc… below the beds.
We bought maybe 30 boxes at the very beginning to fill all these storage spacess ! But finally our house went into the NEEL 43!
What kind of modifications have you done and why?
We added two batteries to get the maximum of 6 and put 2000watts of solar panel in total to avoid starting the engine.
Any plans for further customisation?
For now, after 8 months sailing and experience on the NEEL 43 we are good.
If you were to swap her for another boat, what would that be? Or maybe you wouldn’t swap her?
For now I wouldn’t swap!!!…
But we are thinking about a NEEL 47 in few years with 4 teenagers…!
How is the after sales service from Neel?
After sales has been really good so far with us.
Things take anyway a little bit of time when you leave La Rochelle, and we had to be patient depending on the region we were to solve the “issue” but everything has been solved.
Anything else you would add to help people thinking of buying a Neel 43?
Do not hesitate to contact us we will always reply!
They should contact Maxime Vedrenne – MV YACHTING who is selling NEEL’s yachts in La Rochelle. He is very good technically and will help you a lot with all your questions!
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