Quick Look: Archambault A40 RC

This boat has cozy accomodations to make racers want to stay cruise a little bit longer. A review from our January 2009 issue

Archambault

The model year 2009 appears to be a very good one for performance cruisers with the potential to wreak havoc on a racecourse. The Santa Cruz 37 and the Andrews 28, and to a somewhat lesser extent the X-34 and the Grand Soleil 43, are all boats that shine under sail. But the speediest and slickest of them all is a highly stylized, beautifully executed 40-foot import from France, the Archambault A40RC (for racer/cruiser).

The deck layout of the A40 is centered around its absolutely gigantic cockpit-an open-transom deal with twin wheels and a set of "seats" too short to serve as such in a voyaging context-and is unabashedly laid out for vigorous sailhandling and around-the-buoys racing. A full Navtec hydraulic package (backstay, vang, etc.) helps keep the tall, carbon, fractional rig under control. All critical lines, with the exception of the beam-width traveler, are led to a suite of clutches serviced by a companionway-stationed crewmember. In other words, it's a boat that would be a handful to sail for your average cruising couple.

Once the sails are up, however, it all translates into breathtaking moments. We sailed the A40RC on a moderate day with winds ranging through 8 to 12 knots. Upwind, in the puffs, we registered an extremely closewinded 8 knots and, once the very able crew of four had the large spinnaker up and flying, lovely bursts into the mid-9-knot province.

Surprisingly, the A40 has a much cozier, more workable accommodation plan than one might expect, with twin doubles aft that also feature the best adjustable pipe berths on any boat introduced this year. They would be good for coastal sailing and even better for an offshore-racing crew. The only problem? You might never want the race to end.

Herb McCormick

Specs

LOA 39' 3"
LWL 34' 7"
Beam 12' 4"
Draft (deep) 8' 1"
Sail Area 840 sq. ft.
Displacement 14,112 lb.
Water 53 gal.
Fuel 20 gal.
Engine Nanni 29-hp. diesel
Designer Joubert/Nivelt/Mercier
Price $355,000
Archambault North America
(902) 476-5200
www.archambault-boats.ca