Sailing aboard Super Yacht Liara

Bill Dixon on the helm of Liara on Tuesday

The life of a Super Yacht journalist can be tough at times, as these pages will occasionally testify, but Tuesday’s day in the office stands out and is worth reporting on.

We joined the 30 metre super yacht Liara the brand new sailing yacht in Southampton and took her for a sail down the Solent past Hamble and in the general direction of Cowes and the Isle of Wight.

With stunning weather, a highly professional crew who looked after us in fantastic fashion, lunching us in great style, we set off to put this boat through her paces.

The yacht’s sailing ability is nothing short of remarkable and she is a testament to her designer Bill Dixon, who sailed with us aboard the yacht. Liara manages to take maximum advantage of even the lightest of airs and glides across the surface. We quickly had her sailing up wind at 11 knots in a light breeze, and that was with Michael at the helm, when her Captain, Ross Appelbey, took the wheel he really made her sing as did Bill Dixon.

Her slippery hull shape and ultra light hull and rig give her many advantages but not a single cruising comfort has been sacrificed. Below decks the yacht is fully equipped and while furniture does utilise honeycomb and foam construction, the yacht still manages to use solid marble in bathrooms.

It is this clever combination of weight saving design techniques and sensible outfitting that allow her to truly use the often misapplied term performance cruising yacht

Liara is the debut yacht from the new marketing team at Performance Yachts who are introducing a range of four large sailing yachts all designed by Bill Dixon. Headed up by lifetime sailor Adrian Nicholle who also sailed with us on Tuesday, Performance Yachts enter the market with designs starting at 26 metres and working their way up to 38 metres. The four yachts will be sold as the 90, 100, 115 and 125 with the smaller sizes built by Southern Ocean Marine in New Zealand and the larger two built in the Azzurra Yachts yard in Australia. Liara, the first to be built will debut at the Monaco Yacht Show and will, because of her many different attributes, undoubtedly cause quite a stir among the shows visitors.

Before that public viewing the yacht will maintain a presence in UK waters. She has already been booked for test sailing days by five potential clients, whose interest has already been pre qualified because they took time to visit the yacht during the construction stages. All the indications are that she will arrive in Monaco with an impressive order book for this size yacht and her sisters.

Basing her in the UK will also give Tony Todd her owner the opportunity to build on the yacht’s impressive race record established during the recent Round the Island race. It will be interesting to see how well she performs during Cowes Week and the Fastnet Race.