Najad 570: A Robust, Ready Swede
A powerful center-cockpit sloop makes a fitting Scandinavian flagship.
At most times, the entrance to Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay would never bring to mind the southwest coast of Sweden or the Baltic Sea. But the morning I boarded the brawny Najad 570 in nearby Newport wasn’t your usual late-summer September day, nor was it a stretch to imagine that we were making our way through the very sorts of waters for which the boat was originally conceived.
An extremely staunch west-southwest breeze, matched with a tide at full ebb, was stacking up an impressive row of short, steep waves at the gateway to Rhode Island Sound. Soon enough, with about three-quarters of the Seldén furling main unfurled, and perhaps 100 percent of the Furlex furling jib unrolled and sheeted home, we found ourselves right in the middle of the rather boisterous seaway. The big, rock-solid 57-footer, shouldering aside the formidable chop on a tight, closehauled course (the apparent-wind angle was locked in at about 45 degrees—very good in wavy rollers), couldn’t have been happier. Me neither.
In marginal weather, it doesn’t take long to figure out if a boat would be better off on a mooring or if it’s ready to go anywhere and take whatever gets dished out. The 570 resides in the second category. Frankly, I’m not a huge fan of furling mainsails (an option to the standard, fully battened main), but this one, flat and forceful with an efficient set of vertical battens, could make me a believer.
Accompanied by the shortened headsail on the tall, three-spreader fractional rig, the evenly balanced boat was a delight to drive, with a ridiculously light helm at the twin carbon wheels. Muscling through the chop with ease and purpose, the SOG figures on the pedestal-mounted Furuno Navnet 3-D GPS/chart plotter wavered between 7.6 and 8.3 knots. I scribbled a quick thought in my notebook: “Plenty of grunt upwind. We’re sailing the 6-foot-8-inch shoal-draft version. Can’t image the 8-foot-9-inch full-draft version could be much better.” If it is: Oh, heavens.
Earlier, on the launch ride out to the boat, I’d made another notation: “Doesn’t look Swedish.” I realize this could be construed as a left-handed compliment, but I meant it in a positive way. The 570 isn’t a handsome boat in the traditional sense, but it has a very modern aesthetic. The nearly plumb bow and slightly angled reverse transom maximize the water length. There’s a surprising amount of freeboard and a long, flush teak deck forward of the mast; the teak is standard. This might’ve appeared clunky in the hands of naval architects less skilled than the collaborative German design team of Judel/Vrolijk & Co., but the low, generous center cockpit, coupled with the wraparound windows for the raised-deck saloon and the short afterdeck, pulls it all together visually. The little windscreen is a nice touch, a nod to the boat’s Scandinavian roots. On second thought: Let me just say it, this is a pretty good-looking yacht.
It’s also one rich in systems—this isn’t a boat for beginners. Our test yacht was powered by the optional 180-horsepower Volvo Penta diesel engine spinning a four-bladed prop; like all modern, fully electronic diesels, this one is meant to be operated at low revs, and it registered a solid 7 knots at 2,000 rpm. A Najad representative said the boat will make 11 knots opened up, but we were too anxious to go sailing to confirm it. We did spin the boat in its own length with the aid of the Max Power bow and stern thrusters, the joysticks for which are stationed at the twin pedestals (as are the repeaters for the Furuno autopilot, all the engine readouts and controls, a VHF radio, and so on). One thing about the Najad: It’s tough to see over the dodger from the steering stations. Consider a nit picked.
Everything else you might imagine topside is, well, topside: a complete Holmatro hydraulics package, a full suite of Andersen winches (of course, you can order the optional electric versions, which were installed on this version), a belowdecks Lofrans windlass coupled with a big Delta anchor and husky twin bow rollers, and a generous selection of Lewmar hardware and Spinlock clutches.