New Yachts - Aureus XV

Dubbing a new model ‘maxi’ and ‘compact’ in the same sentence might seem something of a paradox, yet the French-built Aureus XV looks to be an ambitious design that aims to fulfil exactly that premise. With naval architecture by Italian Emmanuel Rossi, the 15m (50ft) yacht is an attempt to blend the extremes of maxi racers with more manageable sailing.

The performance aims are clear from the chosen build materials — a carbon reinforced, vacuum-infused hull and deck, foam-cored interior joinery, high modulus carbon mast and D4 carbon sails are all standard spec. Similarly, the Aureus XV seems to borrow styling cues from some of the super sailing yachts — think top-end Swans, Wally, Southern Wind — with completely uncluttered decks, hidden winches and push-button control from the helm of all systems for singlehanded autonomy.

The interior has been conceived by Parisian designer Eric Benqué to a style that the yard calls “sober luxury”; other amenities on tap include a genset, a watermaker, a hydro-generator, air-con, good storage space, and a multimedia area with satellite internet.

The Aureus XV is being built at the yard’s facility in Marans, France, where 68 experienced craftsmen will work their magic (apparently) on the build process. Among the yard’s onsite facilities are post-cure ovens for carbon parts, a leatherwork/carpeting department, a carpentry workshop and a carbon manufacture and finishing workshop, so it will be interesting to see if the yard can pull-off the quality element and make a name for itself alongside some of the more recognised French builders.

The first Aureus XV is due to launch late summer. Can she pull off the paradox? Watch this space…

From Trade-a-Boat Issue 428, June-July 2012.