When we published the story of well-known sports journalist Mino Taveri aboard the very special Jeanneau Sun Loft 47, as we expected, the web lit up and the comments, among detractors and supporters of the boat, were not long in coming.(Image source: sailboatdata.com).
The beauty of discussions is that they often bring forgotten facts to light. Few, in fact, remember that the first real ancestor of the Jeanneau Sun Loft 47, already referred to as a “monohull” at the time, was Dufour’s Atoll 50, whose production began 20 years ago, in 2000, and ended as early as 2001, with a total of 30 hulls launched.
Atoll 50, uncompromising charter boat
The two boats have much in common, starting with the designer, Philippe Briand. Just like the Sun Loft 47 today, the Atoll 50 also caused much discussion at the time because of its design choices, destined uncompromisingly for the charter world: it was a boat of genius in some ways.
The Atoll 50 (preceded by a year by 43′, a slightly less ‘extreme’ boat) Was characterized by the presence of the hard top hard top with sunroof, which made the cockpit a sea-view “saloon” (with cat-style galley and living area and double L-shaped sofa with dedicated coffee tables) and, most importantly, allowed comfortable sailing even in bad weather. Looking at it again today, it perhaps comes across as a bit “heavy” aesthetically.
All maneuvering was deferred to the cockpit, in keeping with the emerging concept of easy sailing, while in the bow, another peculiar solution (not present on the 43′) the sunbathing space was recessed on deck, to the advantage of comfort for those lying down (and to the detriment of the height of the two forward cabins inside.
But it was in the almost “hotel-style” interior that was the real strength of the boat, 15.25 m overall length by 5.05 maximum beam (14 t displacement for 117 sq. m. sail area). The configuration included as many as six double cabins, with a total of 12 beds and four bathrooms with showers. Then again, with a large deck saloon the need for a large below-deck saloon was obviated, and the two aft cabins (and two separate toilets) were accessed by ladders directly from the deck, just as on the cat. The small compartment in the bow gave access to the other two bathrooms and the two forward cabins.
Atoll 50, a right boat, at the wrong time
A boat designed exclusively for chartering, when perhaps chartering had yet to experience its true heyday (today charter boats are a major core business for production yards). That was probably why Dufour did not follow up on the Atoll series. A right boat at the wrong time.
Although some Atoll 50 around the world can be found: “Here in Cartagena (Colombia) there are enough of them, they shuttle between here and San Blas carrying “mochilleros” (literally, the “backpackers”) and very often returning from San Blas they take some pretty good beating on the nose, 25/30 knots with 2.5/3 meter waves, however despite the years they still do their service,” a user reported to us on Facebook.
On the used market, Atoll 50s (also known as Atoll 6s) can be found for around 120,000 euros (for a boat in perfect condition, but we have also found models for sale for less than 50,000 euros!).
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