Delphia 33: Polish Express
This speedy cruiser proves itself in heavy air in Annapolis and wins CW's Import Boat of the Year. A boat review from our April 2008 issue
Lack of wind wasn't an issue when we boarded the Delphia 33, which earned honors as CW's Import Boat of the Year. Indeed, a steady blast of 18- to 23-knot breeze was coursing down the Chesapeake. There was enough pressure that we tucked a pair of reefs into the high-aspect mainsail and wound a few turns on the furling line for the slightly overlapping fractional jib. With the shortened rig ready for anything, we sheeted it all home, pointed the 33 to weather, and went sailing.
Upwind, considering the reduced sail, we hit very respectable numbers on the speedometer, topping off at around 5.8 knots. And once we cracked off, the speed climbed into the mid-6s. When perched on the cockpit coaming, both to windward and leeward, I found that the steering station was comfortable and that visibility forward was excellent. For the most part, except in the heaviest of the puffs, the rudder answered the constant course corrections with authority. In those moments when the boat seemed on the verge of rounding up, a quick ease on the mainsheet settled everything down; nevertheless, the mainsheet position, on the top of the coach roof and beyond the reach of the helmsman, isn't ideal.
You learn a lot about a boat when sailing in heavy air, and if you planned on cruising the 33 in locales where prevailing winds are in the mid-20-knot range, you'd probably want to make some modifications. The Lewmar 30ST primary winches, for instance, are undersized, and cockpit foot chocks would be useful for the crew. Also, the short traveler track, forward of the mainsheet, is so far removed from the action and is of such minimal length that its sail-trim effectiveness is negligible.
That said, the overall fit and finish of the Delphia 33, from the joiner work to the systems installation to the structural integrity of the boat, is well done and reassuring, as evidenced by the boat's European Union Category A offshore rating. The brothers Kot-Piotr and Wojceich-and a talented workforce of more than 600 employees build the boats in landlocked Olecko, Poland, some 170 miles northeast of Warsaw. The Kots have been in business since 1990 and now build more than 300 sailboats (along with the Delphia 37 and 40, they're also licensed to build J/Boats in Europe) as well as 2,000 powerboats per year. The Delphia facility is modern, efficient, and clearly able to handle large production runs on a par with the other major European yards.
Like the other Delphias, the 33 was designed by Polish naval architect Andrzej Skrzat and features a solid-glass laminate in the hull below the waterline and an Airex foam core above it. Bulkheads are tabbed into the hull and deck to promote stiffness, and rigging loads are dispersed through the vessel via stainless-steel tie-rods glassed directly into the hull, to which the chainplates for the double-spreader rig are affixed.
Like the Etap, the Delphia 33 is a boat that's maximized every inch of available space, though the profile plan of the 33-footer shows a more traditional rake to the stem and transom, the latter being a scoop affair with an integral boarding step and a long, fold-down swim ladder. The nearly straight sheer is capped by a low, contemporary coach roof with cat's-eye ports for styling and internal light. On deck, there are a pair of standard fore-and-aft hatches as well as a set of outward-opening hatches centered over the main saloon; the combination provides good ventilation below. The cockpit is cozy; all halyards and reefing controls are led aft to a pair of winches and clutches on the coach roof. An instrument pod is set atop the companionway.
The time-honored layout in the accommodation plan is handsomely rendered in mahogany. A separate stateroom with V-berth and lockers sits forward, ahead of the central saloon, which has an L-shaped settee to port and a much shorter seating bench to starboard. The short bench serves to accommodate a good-sized galley for a boat of this length, also to port, that features a big island housing the ample sink, a refrigerator/freezer, and a two-burner range and oven. There's excellent stowage overhead. The head compartment and forward-facing nav station are to starboard. The aft stateroom includes a big double berth tucked beneath the cockpit. For a 33-footer, it's a spacious setup indeed.
Herb McCormick is a Cruising World editor at large.
LOA 32' 9'' (9.98 m.)
LWL 31' 3'' (9.53 m.)
Beam 11' 5'' (3.47 m.)
Draft (deep/standard) 5' 10'' (1.80 m.)
Sail area (100%) 434 sq. ft. (40.3 sq. m)
Ballast (deep) 2,932 lb. (1,330 kg.)
Displacement (deep) 11,464 lb. (5,200 kg.)
Water 55 gal. (210 l.)
Fuel 33 gal. (125 l.)
Engine 18-hp. Volvo diesel
Designer Andrzej Skrzat
Base Price (sailaway) $145,000
Phone (443) 454-2380