Classic Boats and Shipyards | From a barn to great success: the story of X-Yachts

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X-Yachts – IMX-38 – 1994

X-Yachts: a consistent success story

If today we can still appreciate so many of the boats that have survived the last century, excellent Classic Boats that are still able to excite, credit is undoubtedly due to the hands and minds behind their creation. We have already seen some of the great designers behind the signatures, but, if these boats have since seen the light of day, it is certainly also thanks to the yards behind them, enlightened realities capable of maintaining quality standards that are still commendable today. In this micro-series, aimed at celebrating some of the great shipyards, we have already seen such brands as
Hallberg Rassy
,
Dufour
,
Cantieri del Pardo,

Baltic Yachts
e
Solaris
. Now, coming to the sixth episode in this series, it is the turn of a great little Danish prodigy, X-Yachts.

X-95; X-Yachts; 9.24 x 3.20 m; 1982; Niels Jeppesen

X-Yachts – Origins

X-Yachts was born in 1979, but found its foundation in a period just before that, strong from the early collaborations between Birger Hansen and the Jeppesen brothers, Lars and Niels. Collaborations born among friends in the first place, all of them daughters of skills learned in related fields, but not necessarily related to shipbuilding. In 1978 the first hull signed by trio was designed and built. The project came to life in Hansen’s barn-a place where he already laminated fiberglass to build hoods for Citröen 2CVs-and from the start developed as a boat designed to race and win. Thus was born the
Banner 29
, launched in 1978 and immediately able to prove to be a great performer. The first demonstration of these qualities comes in the same year, at the Little Belt Cup, the first regatta in which the boat participates. He will win it all, despite the hundreds and hundreds of participants and the many many emblazoned hulls on the water. It is a success that smacks of a miracle.

Classic Boat
Banner 29

Among the owners of the emblazoned hulls, Peter Reedtz was on that occasion one of the many beaten. A colorful note that actually lays the foundation for X-Yachts, because Reedtz is impressed beyond measure and commissions the trio to build a 36-foot racing yacht. The three accept the challenge. The
Ravage 36
, another success destined to dominate on the race courses. Reedtz, however, will have an outside shipyard, one of the largest Danish builders of the time, mass-produce a version. A sore point, which leads the three to question the need to “own” their projects. The answer came in the form of a new hull, a small 7.9-meter designed in 1979, a sort of response to the very popular J/24. It is the
X-79
, a resounding success and, like the previous designs, it overachieves in regattas. Needless to say, the boat is immediately sold, but new orders are also received. It is the birth of a myth, the birth of X-Yachts. The X-79 will then be produced in 460 hulls.

X-Yachts – X79 – 1977

In 1981 X-Yachts replicated. A Three Quarter Tonner designed to run at the top, exploiting every gap in the rating, is born. It is the
X-102
, the second consecutive success on the production and perfromance front. He would win the Three Quarter Ton World Championship in Helsinki, in 1981, doing the encore in 1982 with overall victory at the Three Quarter Ton World Championship in Denia, Spain. There is nothing more to be done, the construction site is now serious and underway.

X-102; X-Yachts; 10.02 x 3.41 m; 1981; Niels Jeppesen

X-Yachts – The 1980s

Inaugurated by the great success of theX-102, the 1980s opened for X-Yachts what was its first real shipbuilding phase. The 102 was followed in 82 by the
X-95
, a fast, high-performance hull based on the same criteria but designed to compete in the highly accessible Half Tonner championship. Needless to say, X-Yachts’ third official project equals a third consecutive success, with the Half Ton Cup won in 1983 and over 153 hulls sold.

X-95; X-Yachts; 9.24 x 3.20 m; 1982; Niels Jeppesen

1984 is the year of two more projects. On the one hand, the
X-402
, the shipyard’s first hull above 40 feet, as well as more oriented toward luxury and a cruise market as well. On the other hand, on the other hand, a revival of the X-102 was born, the
X-3/4 Ton Mk1
, a fast and competitive racing hull, but one that failed to distinguish itself at the levels of the previous three, earning 4th place at the 1984 Kiel Three Quarter Ton Cup. Attitude is not lacking, however, and in ’85 X introduced an updated version, the Mk2, which instead depopulated at the world championships, with 4 separate
X-3/4 Ton Mk2
to occupy first, second, fourth and fifth places, respectively.

X-402

As the 1980s came to a close, the shipyard began to differentiate more consistently. After the great success of its racers, X-Yachts decided that the time was ripe for a series of fast-cruisers. Prominent at this stage were the

X-372

, which did not disappoint the public’s expectation. The hull is powerful, the boat is comfortable, and the performance is not lacking. After all, underneath the waterline the spirit is privateer, strong with tapered appendages and minimal turbulence. A formula that, again in 1987, will also give birth to its “big sister,” the

X-452

, which aims to be the most competitive Cruiser-Racer on the market. Thus was born a 45-footer with beautiful lines, crowned by an outstanding transom and performance not to complain about.

X-Yachts – X-452 – 1986

The “boom” of the 1990s

The 1990s opened with two subdued major successes for the X-Yachts house. In fact, 1990 saw the launch of two of the shipyard’s cult products, respectively the
X-412
and the
X-512
. The first is, in hindsight, the real start of the brand’s Performance Cruiser segment, a hull now totally removed from IOR logic and, indeed, designed to best meet the new IMS handicaps. Success is immediate, revealing a boat that will, in fact, also become a trendsetter for the market. In turn, the X-512 is a child of this new philosophy, but it is also X’s first performance cruiser to break through the 50-foot wall. It is an all-round and highly regarded boat, well able to balance performance and cruising life with each other.

X-512; X-Yachts; 15.57 x 4.52 m; 1990; Niels Jeppesen

Other major projects followed, including the 40-footer
One Ton
, winner of the world championship of the same name, but, making her mark again would be, in ’92, the

IMX-38

, an icon among offshore monotypes. This is a design as aggressive as it is smart, immediately seen as a great boat, definitely performing well under the new IMS racing rules. Instead, in ’93 comes the

X-362

, a powerful cruiser but also capable of remarkable performance, followed then by the great mid-nineties success, the

X-332

, one of the most successful Xs ever: 432 units sold for a cruiser with plenty of desire to race.

X-332

However, the decade does not end here, bringing forth successes and big boats. Among those that follow certainly stands out the
X-482
’96, younger son of the larger
512
e
612
, of which it incorporates different deck and layout solutions. A 14.6-meter that can be a performance cruiser and fast, though comfortable and more than suitable for cruising life. The end of the decade then saw the launch of another great performer, launched in 2000: the
IMX-40
, one of the big IMS performers of the early 2000s.

X-482; X-Yachts; 14.63 x 4.29 m; 1996; Niels Jeppesen

The 2000s and the contemporary

As the 2000s rolled on, the trend did not change, and X continued to churn out well-regarded all-round boats, custom designs, and sport cruisers. Thus followed a series of projects destined for success, such as the
IMX-45
, l’X-43 and the
X-50
, to name a few. In parallel, however, distinctions of use are beginning to become more apparent, increasingly differentiating the more pure racer from the more comfortable cruiser. However, there is no shortage of great hybrids, always the Danish brand’s strong point. Indeed, 2005 sees the churning out of the
X-35
, a great success in this regard, replicated in 2007 by the
X-41
.

X-41

New nomenclatures have been introduced since 2008,
XC
e
XP
, indicating Cruiser and Performance respectively, with the
XC-45
serving as its first ambassador, also recording no small success: 128 hulls sold. Instead, 2016 sees the opening of the newest season, which flanks XCs and XPs with the new X-Yachts strand, the
X-Range
, a segment of “contemporary performance cruisers” inaugurated by the launch of the
X6⁵
, which then went out of production in 2021.

X6⁵

Three “tidbits” about Classic Boats


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