After you’ve spent a while examining a new Najad 332, you’ll wonder if there’s been some mistake–perhaps you’re aboard a mint-condition classic that’s been meticulously modified for cruising. When we sailed the 332 off Annapolis, Maryland, last fall, clever wrinkles began to materialize almost immediately: the fiddled fold-out extension on the galley counter with snap-in support; the two-door locker over the stove with pegs and holes for different shapes and sizes of glasses or dishes; a hose to remove water and sediment from the fuel tank; hook fairleads at the lifeline gate to prevent tripping over the jib-furling line; a bronze half-round at the bow to reduce chain wear.
As you move about the Najad 332–designed by the German/Dutch firm of Judel/Vrolijk & Co. and built in Henån, on the island of Orust off Sweden’s western coast–you feel as if you’ve been on this boat before. This is because the layout is traditional and cruising oriented. Wide side decks, low bulwarks capped with teak, and stout handrails on the coachroof enhance safety. Solid-teak seats in both the pushpit and the bow pulpit add comfort.
The cockpit is seamanlike, with excellent 360-degree visibility, even for a short helmsman sitting at the wheel, and no sharp edges on which to bark shins and elbows. A fixed aluminum-framed windscreen with attached canvas dodger offers good protection.
The layout below is so intuitive and logical that you could negotiate it with your eyes closed. Wide, deep, unvarnished-teak companionway steps with inch-thick teak rails on either side lead you securely below. A sturdy handrail overhead takes you to the grabrails in the partial bulkheads forward of the galley to port and the nav station to starboard. The head/shower compartment is to starboard of the companionway, and the saloon has settees on both sides of the drop-leaf table amidships.
When you open your eyes, you’ll be bathed in the glow of the luscious African mahogany joiner work throughout the vessel. The forward cabin has lockers above the berths and a wardrobe with shelf and cupboards under an opening port. The aft cabin with a double berth has only sitting headroom, but it’s surprisingly spacious and can be used as a great sea berth. It has plenty of stowage on shelves, in sliding-door lockers, and in a large locker that’s ideal for hanging wet foulies without messing up the berth.
The L-shaped galley has a gimballed stove that locks with a latch. The stovetop slides into a slot behind the range. There’s plenty of storage for utensils, pots, and pans. The sink has a freshwater foot pump and pressure hot and cold water. A deep locker underneath holds the trash bin and a neat shelf for cleansers and solvents. It also offers access to the sink through-hull.
The forward-facing nav station has a lift-top table with two drawers below. Behind the switch panel, wires are neatly bundled, clearly labeled, and easily accessible. The 332’s single head has a large sink with a medicine chest above it and a small locker that could also handle wet gear.
In a light Chesapeake Bay southerly, the Najad 332, with its shallow fin keel and spade rudder, readily responded to the helm as though we’d been sailing it for years. This boat tracked well, tacked neatly, and was easily handled due to well-positioned control lines and winches. The 332 is a joy to sail for two couples, a family, or four pals without becoming tiring over the course of a long passage. But somehow we knew this already.
Nim Marsh is a Cruising World contributing editor.
LOA 32′ 8″ (9.98 m.)
LWL 26′ 8″ (8.14 m.)
Beam 10′ 8″ (3.02 m.)
Draft (deep/shoal) 5′ 6″/4′ 11″ (1.7 m./1.5 m)
Sail Area (100%) 505 sq. ft. (47 sq. m.)
Displacement 11,660 lb. (5,300 kg.)
Ballast 4,620 lb. (2,100 kg.)
Water 45 gal. (170 l.)
Fuel 24 gal. (92 l.)
Engine 28-hp. Volvo diesel
Designer Judel/Vrolijk & Co. and Najadvarvet AB
Sailaway Price $180,000 (Feb. 2005)
Scandinavian Yachts Inc.