Theo Stocker takes out the Django 7.70 and finds out if this modern twin keeler lives up to expectations
Coffee and croissant in hand, we wandered along the old quay in Concarneau, past the imposing fortified old town and down onto the pontoons to put the modern, diminutive Django 7.70 through its paces over 24 hours, on the water and out of it as we dried out overnight.
Out in the Baie de la Forêt with full sail set, the Django chomped at the bit, sailing effortlessly at speeds in the high single figures on a reach, and nudging over 6 knots close-hauled.
Not bad for a boat of under 26ft. Her wide hull revealed her Breton heritage; she is after all a not-too-distant cousin of the of the Mini Transat pocket rockets.
Heeling onto her stern chine to 20º, she felt stiff and able to withstand the gusts.
Twin rudders helped maintain grip even when heeled further, but beyond 25-30º the helm loaded up to let you know she was overpowered.
With jib sheets adjusted via low-friction rings on tweakers, rather than jib car tracks, it was easy to play with the sail setting, getting her to point just above 35º to the wind, though backing off a few degrees was faster.
The 7.70 really showed her metal once the code zero gennaker was set from the removable bow sprit, speeding along at an effortless 7 or 8 knots.
From the cockpit, the boat feels like a pleasing mix of solid cruising boat and sporty dinghy.
The main, sheeted through a ratchet block ahead of the tiller and fine-tuned with a traveler is easily to hand for the helm, as are the Harken 20ST genoa winches, located comfortably inboard.
Other lines are all led aft to the coach roof, served again by a pair of Harken ST winches, all fitting snuggly beneath a decent-sized spray hood, should the weather demand it.
On a boat this size, she was never going to be palatial below decks. She is, however, sensibly laid out. Her U-shaped saloon seating is raised by a foot or so to create locker space and to give those seated a view through the coachroof windows.
What you do lose is privacy. This boat had no separate cabins, or doors on either the forward double V-berth or the port aft rectangular double berth. You could add some canvas screens.
While she would sleep six at a push, you’d have to be very good friends.
To maximise space at the bottom of the companionway, there are no sole boards and you stand on the inside of the hull, giving 1.70m of headroom.
There’s a standing chart table to port though most navigation will be done on deck. To starboard there is a minimalist galley with a sink and a two-burner gas hob – work surface space is restricted to the saloon table.
The utility of the boat is continued with the stowage room starboard aft, in place of a deep cockpit locker, which provides plenty of space, as well as access to the fuel tank and rear of the engine. The heads is rather cramped, and also lacked a door.
Finally, there are two lazarette lockers on deck, which also house the liferaft.
This is a boat that can be easily single-handed, or managed without stress by two.
It was a while before I remembered I was sailing a twin-keeled yacht — even pushed hard, the windward keel rarely broke the surface though she has a relatively deep draught.
With her modern L-shaped keel profile, it was hard to find any loss in upwind performance.
She’s not the cheapest boat given her size, but she’s much less expensive than other larger cruising yachts that are no more capable than this one, and your running costs can be much reduced by her ability to dry out.
This hull had already been sold to a young French couple about to take her on an Atlantic circuit.
The cramped heads and lack of privacy could be an issue for some, and I would have liked larger genoa winches, and the open transom and low freeboard felt exposed initially, though you get used to it.
What’s more, it’s a boat that will take the ground in just over a metre of water, so you’ll be able to sneak into numerous little anchorages that will be beyond the reach of most larger cruising boats
FACTS AND FIGURES
Basic price: €54,826 ex VAT
Price as tested: €83,100 ex VAT
Hull length: 7.70m (25.2ft)
Beam: 2.99m (9.8ft)
Draught: Fin keel 1.6m or 2.0m
Lifting keel: 0.9m-1.9m
Twin keels: 1.2m
Displacement: Fin keel 1,600kg
Lifting keel: 1,600kg
Twin keel: 1,850kg
Sail area: 42m2
Diesel: 35 litres ( gal)
Water: 50 litres ( gal)
Engine: 13hp Volvo
RCD Category: A
Designer: Pierre Roland
Builder: Marée Haute
Website: www.mareehaute.fr Tel 0033 298 565603