Duchy 35 review by Dans Boat life (Part 1)

“The Duchy Difference”

It’s all about the Duchy Difference – This is what Dan discovered on his recent visit to Cockwells who not only build the Duchy Motor Yachts but also Hardy Motor Yachts and custom superyacht tenders for the world’s finest yachts.

Credits: Dan Jones
AUDIO TRANSCRIPT
TEST DRIVE

I’m here in Falmouth on the South Coast of England. That’s not our RNLI lifeboat. That’s actually a pilot boat. I thought it was a lifeboat when it was approaching from afar. I’m on a brand that’s closely associated with that sort of quality and in fact I believe one of the designers is actually heavily involved with the lifeboats. And these guys on their other brands even train in this same style. So what am I trying to do? I’m trying to give you some context for the quality of the vessel that I’m on board right now.

This is a Duchy 35. This is a full-keel gentleman’s cruiser. A picnic-style boat and this is a shaft drive, twin diesel, two-cabin vessel that will take you anywhere you want to go. Take you in incredible style and it’s a kind of boat that you could keep. It’s the sort of boat that you dream of owning. It’s as simple as that. My name’s Dan Jones. Welcome to Dan’s boat life. We’re doing a test drive right now and when we get to our destination, it’s a beautiful destination, there’s a castle on the way, f you haven’t noticed already, I like castles, I’m going to take you for a walkthrough, so watch this video if you’re interested in learning more about the Duchy 35. This is a special piece of kit. So let’s just get moving.

This is a great place to test a boat like this. A lot of my videos are in sunny locations and flat water. I’ve just come from the Mediterranean, where everything’s pretty basic boating. There’s not much challenge in terms of tide and weather conditions. Of course, there are weather conditions, but I feel like where we are today with big tides, lots of navigational hazards, and changeable weather – it feels like New Zealand, actually. That was my first impression when I got here. The weather’s just changing every 10 seconds and the wind is coming from all sorts of directions and the tide just wants to mess up your day. So when you come to places like this, you want a hull that’s going to handle it and you want a boat that’s going to essentially look after you. What do I mean by that? I mean a low centre of gravity, a full keel, simple mechanical setup, shaft drive, nothing too overly complicated that’s going to break down on you on a nasty day. If you stick to some of those conservative principles and then you wrap it up in a beautiful piece of gorgeousness, that is this boat – you’ve got quite a nice package.

I think many of you are going to like this. So let’s just take the boat through her paces. Going downwind right now. We will go upwind on the way home. I’ve got these twin Nanni diesels. They’re 270 horsepower. You can option it with the Yanmar 350s. They’re the V8s and they do have electronic throttles. We have these morse controls on this one.

“She’s got twin Nanni diesels with 270 horsepower. You can option it with the Yanmar 350s.” 

So let’s just get the boat moving to what I feel would be like a regular cruise speed. So we’re at 7.5 knots and 1600 revs. She’s got 650 nautical mile range at 8 knots, with over a thousand litres in two tanks of diesel. So this is a capable thing. I’m thinking of you blokes in Tasmania. Anyone along the South Coast would also appreciate this and some of the other boats that these guys build and anyone in Melbourne or Sydney who’s a fan of this style of boat. You’re maybe not going to do the really long cruising but you are going to love your day boating on this boat because of the amount of space it feels like a 40-footer when you open up these big doors but that’s going to be in the walkthrough just when we get around this corner. So keep watching.

Let’s just bring her up through the rev range. I’m coming up to 2000 revs now. I’ve got the trim tabs halfway down and I’ve got a chop. The wind’s behind me right now coming up through 10. Let’s get it to 12 knots. I brought the revs up a little bit higher than I planned. So that’s 2500. That’s already giving me 14 knots. Just going to do a little bit of trim tabs down, just to flatten the boat out a little bit. I do feel like you will get some benefit from lowering and raising the trim tabs on this boat because of the full keel.

You’re going to expose more of the cutting action of the hull into any chop that you may pass through. This style of the hull is just going to give you a pleasurable experience in choppy water. When they say gentleman’s cruiser, there is a bit more to that, like it’s about having a stable vessel because you can just sit at these speeds of 14 to 15 knots and be incredibly comfortable.

So let’s just wind it up a little bit more. ‘m going to come around the point here and I will have to slow down soon because of the 8 knots zone approaching. But now I’ve just got a leisurely 16 to 17 knots. I think that’s the happy place for this boat. She will go faster but I don’t think it’s about that. I think it’s about just having really comfortable rides at efficient and sensible speeds. Feel that! Lovely!

So I’m just going to come off the plane there and we’re going to come into this beautiful little town here. So after the walkthrough or at some point towards the end of the video, I’m actually going to demonstrate what this boat’s like to manoeuvre in a close-quarters situation just using the throttles and the bow and stern thruster. So keep watching if that is of interest to you.

But what did I learn just by going through the motions there? You’ve got a low centre of gravity. You’ve got lots of the boat in the water rather than on the water. You’ve got a traditional cutting bow.

If it’s going straight to a keel, it will throw some water up and over the bow and that’s to be expected of this style because the trade-off or the benefit that you’re getting is “Rock Solid Stability”.

“the benefit that you’re getting is Rock Solid Stability”

So if your partner doesn’t want to be thrown around on the water and you want to just have that smooth ride and you want to know whatever’s going on around you, you can average that 15 knots or the 17 knots or the 12 knots. You’re going to be able to do it on a style of hull like this because, as you all have seen from the drone, she’s just going to be passing at a flat level attitude and slicing through the waves.

She really doesn’t have a tendency to want to go up and over the waves like a more fuller bow would want to do, because that volume forward – it’s going to want to give you some lift, which then once you lift, you’ve got to land. That’s annoying because that could be uncomfortable and anti-social. So this is great. This is really great! I feel safe. I feel protected. I feel comfortable. I’ve got excellent visibility. Yes, there’s a bit of water going up. We are in rough conditions. It wouldn’t be the case on a calm day but that’s why I’ve got really good windscreen wipers across the front of the boat and just deal with it. So anyway, keep watching. Let’s go and check out this beautiful town and explore this boat in greater detail for you.

WALKTHROUGH

All right.  Welcome to the most epic day trip that you can imagine. I’ve learned a lot today and I’m going to probably use the term “The Duchy Difference”. This is handmade British craftsmanship at work. These guys; their focus or history or specialty is custom luxury super-yacht tenders. So just imagine the detail and the care that goes into that sort of clientele. I can see that taking place in these Duchys and I’m going to show you. My name’s Dan Jones. Welcome to Dan’s boat life. You already knew that because we just came here from the test drive.

EXTERIOR

Come on to the back of the boat and let’s just start out here and walk you through some of these features. Look at the detail on this cleat here with the stainless. Look at what’s going on there. This is just where you put your carbon pole for your sunshade out the back of the boat but I’ll give you a bit more of an overview before we go into the details.

We have a lovely swim platform just here. You can access the swim platform through one of the most gorgeous doors I’ve ever seen and the stainless on this is delightful. So just look at that. Talk about like setting the scene. I do believe first impressions count when it comes to boarding a new boat. Either for you or for your guests and if this is the first thing that people see when they get on your Duchy 35, I was impressed and I think you will be too.

So that’s not the only way to access the boat but just going through some of the details. We have some courtesy lights, four of them across the back and we’ve got this beautiful timber finish on the transom. So just imagine looking back at your boat on an evening like, that’s curb side appeal. That is mooring appeal when you are rowing away from your boat on your dinghy and looking back and you see this picture. You’re definitely going to be proud of that.

So the swim platform for this particular one has got the facility for the tender. So the tender will hook in and come up if you wish. So that is possible. We’ve got the flagpole, that’s removable and we’ve got a shower out the back which just pulls out.

Then you enter your beautiful lunch space. At 35 feet, the layout and the design of this boat is going to feel like some 40-plus footers or boats in this category. Well, it does to me because I’ve already tested some 40 footers of this style because of these doors and we’ll get to that in a second.

What’s going on? The first thing I want to actually point out for the Aussies watching, all of this timber that you are seeing (timber below the table of the lunch space, outside, and around the superstructure) is an option. It is not the standard. This has been upgraded for this particular owner. It’s gorgeous but you don’t need to have that. You can just have your good old fibreglass. I know you’re going to be worried about the maintenance in our sun back home, so what I mean is that this timber here would be a fibreglass finish. This would be raw teak. This would be fibreglass. This would be fibreglass. This would be fibreglass. These doors would be aluminium. They would be full glass doors instead of the higher maintenance like we see here. Then all of this timber wrapped around and then on the outside of the superstructure.

So you’re still going to retain these classic looks. You’re going to have highlights of timber which you could leave natural teak or you could varnish if you choose. But you’re not going to worry about the extra maintenance that we would all be thinking about in our sun. Also, you don’t even have to have the real teak on the decks. You can do the Flexiteek. I know the first Duchy 35 which has already been sold and it’s on its way to Sydney, it has that. So I just want to put your mind at ease, so to speak. If you’re worried about that.

This is gorgeous. This is what a lot of people are going to be looking for if they want to do those luxury lunches. How many people can we accommodate? Six, easily. I’m going to say, eight with director’s chairs and more because we’ve also got facility to utilise, the accommodation, the seats, the saloon as we make our way which I’ll get to in a second because there’s more to talk about.

First thing, these tables have their own special storage area underneath this seat. They come in bags. This one’s been beautifully varnished. They come in, pretty sure it’s natural timber standard but look at the quality. Just look at this. When you look in all the lines everywhere, it’s just been done so well.

“When you look in all the lines everywhere, it’s just been done so well.”

There are timber tables and this one is really special. So there’s one here but there’s another one just here. So this is how much space you would have. So if you’ve got three people seated on the starboard side, you’ve got space for three table settings and same again over there and then you can pull in some director’s chairs. So it’s workable for a lunch scenario.

Now underneath me, is your main lazarette. So this is going to give you access to the steering gear. I’m pretty sure we’ve got a generator under there and then there’s storage for water toys. Then underneath me is access to the motors. We’ll get to that at the end of the video.

So what we might do is start making our way into the boat, but before I get there, just come and have a look at that. That is the track for the bolt rope for your aft cover, which protects the rear of the boat. Like they’re not mucking around just here. Are they? So that’s pretty good.

INTERIOR

Welcome to the main saloon. Like how lovely is this? So what I was talking about – being able to utilise this area for more social and entertainment seating – it’s because this seat moves. So yes, you can set up some director’s chairs there and there, if you wish. But you’ve also got facility to use this. Making your way forward to the bow, you’ve got a couple of options. I’ll just point out this one before we get to the other one through this beautiful little door on the starboard side which again has got the optional timber. You don’t have to have that. So this is how you would go forward if you’re going from the aft deck and we also have an opening helm door which we’re going to get to in a second.

But let’s go back and pay attention to these doors. Most boats of this style are going to have one opening door and then you might have a galley here and you’re lucky if you’ve got some glass that pops up. But just look how this opens up and gives us all of this space. So you could be out in the sun or under the shade if you want out here, but if it gets a little bit too cold, you can move the whole party in here and you all still got views out and over the water.

And I’m just going to sit down on this seat to demonstrate what I can see. So in here, you’re on this lovely leather. You’ve got enough space. One, two, three, four, probably five, or six at a squeeze. And I can see really comfortably. I can appreciate the views from a seated position. So for some boats when you sit down in the saloon setup, you can’t actually see straight out because of the window design. So it is actually important to sit down in boats that you’re interested in and see if you can appreciate the view. Because if you picture yourself enjoying this view, this is what you can appreciate with these big doors for our climate that’s awesome. That’s really, really awesome.

“Because if you picture yourself enjoying this view, this is what you can appreciate with these big doors for our climate that’s awesome. That’s really, really awesome.”

So I’m just going to go through bit by bit on the starboard side and explain what’s going on. So first things first, this hatch here comes out or opens up with a few suction cups that give you access to the gyro and also access to the forward part of the motors. So it’s not really somewhere you would open or go to on a regular basis. On the port side here, we’ve just got a little cooler, some wine bottles in there. Then we’ve got the isotherm fridge just here. This particular boat is galley up. You have the option to do galley down as well. This looks like a bit of a Corian surface to me. Then you’ve got a two-burner electric cooktop because we’ve got a generator stainless steel sink just here. So obviously the sink is behind us there. But then you’ve got the microwave just there and then you’ve got pantry storage here. This one’s cool, check this out.  Can you see that mechanism? So no space wasted. Really well done. So that’s neat. Doesn’t end though. The joinery, I’m just a real fan. This is all handmade stuff here, just talented blokes putting these and women actually. I saw some ladies in there, putting these things together. So that’s your power supply, 240. So you just do that. That’s pretty neat.

Just come in here and have a look at this. I love seeing stuff like this. This is when you know a builder really cares about their work. So just look. Look at all this, Duchy 35 is super neat. This is lined in felt. So you’ve got all your crockery just in there. Beautifully done. It’s not going to rattle and it’s all ready to rock and roll. So that’s just great.

So this table is a high-low table. I assume there’s a cushion that will go on top of that. There is a little drawer underneath here. So that’s, once again another wonderful feature, the little custom Duchy toolbox. That’s fantastic! Multi-use saloon area, just here. So once you get to this part of the boat, you can utilise this as a U-shaped saloon but underway, if your navigators or passengers want to enjoy the ride, it’s as simple as that. That’s really great because you will do long journeys on a boat like this and it’s nice to be able to sit and communicate with the driver and just enjoy the view. But if you need some air, no worries. If you need to wave to your friends, it’s quite possible too. So you’ve got some space to hold, probably some drinks would go happily in there and you can put some wallets and phones and keys and things there. A proper chart table, which is nice to see and I think people looking at this style of boat, would appreciate that and storage, so you can put all your manuals, charts and other bits and pieces underneath there. This would actually also be okay for a laptop and checking your emails as well, to be fair.

Let’s now move to the helm. This particular boat has got this beautifully finished bucket-style seating. Now you don’t have to go for this seating, you can actually have a mirror image of what we just saw on the navigator’s side. So it’s kind of up to you. It’s on this timber structure or base and then in terms of comfort, you can do standing quite easily and then you’ve got the flip-up bolster on this particular chair for a seated position and access to the decks which is all important on a vessel like this. Electric opening sunroof with blinds that pull in from both directions, so you can block out that sunlight.

Let’s now focus on the helm. Once again this is “The Duchy Difference”. So I’ve just come from the factory and these guys go to the nth degree. Is that the right way to pronounce it? They dry fit the motors. They check that everything is perfect. Then they take the motors out just so they can do all the external work around that area and make sure they get it right. Not many builders do this. Then they get the decks. They fit the decks and they make sure everything is perfect. Then they take the decks off and they just do everything properly. These guys really are doing things a little bit differently.

So here we are, at the dash surrounded in stainless. We’ve got a couple of panels. These are just Raymarine flat screens. I’m sure you could option up different ones if you chose. This one’s got the Nanni diesels. I’ve got my revs temp pressure volts just here. This is power, this is phone charging. Same again for the port side. This particular boat has got a bow and a stern thruster. I’m actually going to demonstrate that at the end of the video so keep watching if you’re interested. We do have trim tabs and we also have the spotlight there. This looks like a heater and this particular boat because it’s the Nannis. It’s the Morse Control. You can upgrade it to the Yanmars which is the digital throttles as well and just look at this wheel. That’s great.

So before we go, actually let’s just go around the decks. Let’s not go downstairs straight away. So if you are operating a boat like this, you’re probably going to operate it by yourself a lot of the time and your guests are not going to get too involved because it is a vessel that you would do that. It’s only 30-35 feet. So this, it’s heavy by the way. It’s heavy and solid which is nice to see.

I see these boats more like an investment – almost like a financial store of wealth. That’s the way I see a boat like this. It’s not something that you’re going to buy and then to trade all the time. You would hang on to a boat like this and just keep it in the family and it’s not going to lose value because it’s just such good quality.

“You would hang on to a boat like this…it’s not going to lose value because it’s just such good quality.”

Let’s come out let’s have a look on the decks. Coming forward, we got these beautiful stainless surrounds on the three windscreens. They have been individually wiped. There’s a bit of wind out here so if I got some interruption on the microphone, I do apologise. Once again, just to talk about the timber, if you have the standard Duchy, you’re not going to have the timber here or the timber here. This is going to be natural teak. So that would actually just be your regular fibreglass. Now come and have a look here, you don’t see this. The detail and the care that’s gone into what we’re looking at right now. It really is gorgeous. It puts you in a different mood when you get onto something like this. Like, I could be a bit of a rough bloke at times but when I get on a boat like this, I feel like I have to be a bit more prim and proper because it just puts you in another environment. It’s quite nice. So got the teak here. You can access the port decks quite easily.  I’ll demo it because I don’t see this being a danger at all because of this rail up here and this rail down here. But I probably wouldn’t use this to transit because you’ve got that convenient door. I would only walk down here if I was deploying fenders and you’ve got these custom little fender hooks dotted all the way down the side. I would probably just use it for that purpose. I’ve got a diesel intake just there. You’ve got your beautiful navigation lights. Got your VHF aerial here. Opening sunroof. We can see this particular one’s got a radar horn, nice mast, and a spotlight. But yeah, I probably wouldn’t access the cockpit from that side because it means you’ve got to leap over the seats. It’s designed to do it on the starboard side.

This railing is very safe. You can pull up a mooring over the bow, just so you know, because the anchor is offset to starboard and the bow roller is on the centre line, but you can also set up a bridle or obviously tying up to the dock to these cleats as well.

So let’s come on down. Let’s check out the interior. So this interior, I think it was a European Oak. So this is a European Oak finish with a satin finish, I believe. So we’ve got a couple of essentially reading lights there and then we’ve got downlights and this is all like a leather-stitched headliner.

Now let’s come on down. Smells like a new boat. It’s really nice. I’m just going to pop up here. So this is what you would consider the master. This is a two cabin single-head boat, so it’s okay for families. And this is what we see in the master. A proper double-island berth. We’re wrapped in this beautiful timber finish. What we saw on the 27 Duchy yesterday is repeated but just on a grander scale. So a beautiful anchor locker, really well finished, and accessed from the inside. Then we’ve got these reading lights here. We’ve got light switches for the main cabin. We’ve got running lights or strip lights underneath here, which is going to create a nice ambience of an evening. Then we’ve got Corian on either side with deep storage wells actually. You could utilise these for all sorts of different purposes. Then you’ve got these handy little lockers. I like using these ones when I go boating. I’ll put my swimmers and my boardies in one and my t-shirts in the other one and I kind of separate everything, but then when I’m being active on the weekend, I know where all my stuff is. So another little locker just down here. That’s actually going to be useful. You could even roll up your sailing bags, once you’ve decanted all your stuff into the lockers up here, and just stow the bags in there. And you’re going to have your sailing jackets and things like that. You can actually hang them just in here, because there’s plenty of space to hang items here and there’s even a bit more storage further in towards the hull. So that’s quite useful.

It doesn’t end. So we do have the large opening hatch. It opens facing backwards so I don’t know how much air it’s going to pull down but I’m sure you can air condition the boat as well.

So that’s access to your bow thruster, bow thruster battery. A little bit of storage and another place perhaps to put bags after you’ve decanted them for the weekend and beautiful storage for linen, beach towels – all that sort of stuff would go well under here. A couple of speakers and I do like these double doors because they are a bit more practical from a space-saving perspective. So that works well. I just got a feeling of quality everywhere. It’s just great.

Okay, let’s check out the head. Much larger than what we saw on the 27 yesterday, as you would expect. So this is a full wet head, but a nice stand-up shower area. Pull that tap with its own fitting just there. Look how much space I’ve got in here. This area here would be perfect for your Helly Hansen style toiletries bags. You could put four toiletries bags in there and the boat will accommodate four guests for overnight, so that seems logical. Look at the toilet roll holder. I’ve never seen such a nice toilet roll. That’s great! Someone has put some care into that. This is “the Duchy Difference”. The toilet roll holders, there’s a lot more than that! This is all great. Nice Corian finish. That’s a towel rack just there. I’m not seeing any other hooks for towels. You might want to add something for beach towels, just when you’ve been out. And more storage, nice little mirror there, opening and a fan just there.

Come over here and let’s check out the guest accommodation. So as you enter the guest’s accommodation, you actually have this lovely seat just here which would be useful as somewhere to put your shoes on. Say you were underway in the ocean and it was your turn to come up on watch, this is where you’d sit down. Put your shoes on and head up to the helm. But alternatively, it’s just useful for getting dressed.

The feeling of quality continues. What looks like Corian to me, a mirror, a little storage area, a lovely little hanging locker and some more storage behind the door. All these doors have got stainless steel catches, so they’re not going anywhere as well. So ventilation through this little hatch here and then to enter the bed, I would probably sit down on it. All this timber here is rounded so you’re not going to hurt yourself if you bang your head just there. Then I would swing my legs in like this. I’m just going to give you some perspective on the size of this bed. So I’m five-seven. That’s how big the bed is. It’s pretty long. That’s quite generous and we’ve got this leather padded finishing all the way around. This hatch here opens into this saloon for ventilation as well. And can you sit up in bed? Let’s find out. Yeah, no worries. It’s quite nice actually. Check out the view of this love little town. I’ve got to pull down the blind here for privacy and sun. A couple of downlights which would be good if you wanted to read and you actually do have a reading light just here and you’ll put your books and your phones just in there. So that’s a neat look for a couple or for some kids which is probably designed for. This is quite a nice space.

But it doesn’t end. I talked about “the Duchy Difference” which I’m discovering these last two days. So you pull this out, be careful. How’s this for an equipment room? So holding tank, module box, black water outlet. Hopefully, you can see the quality, that’s going on. Look how everything’s individually marked and easy to access and how beautifully lit it is in there. They’re not hiding anything and it’s like all of the equipment spaces is an extension of their workmanship. A lot of boats don’t do that.

“They’re not hiding anything and it’s like all of the equipment spaces is an extension of their workmanship. A lot of boats don’t do that.”

You get down there, it’s dusty and things aren’t finished; things aren’t flow coated or well prepared but not these blokes. That’s pretty impressive. Okay, so engine access is quite straightforward. Just ensure that you’ve got these doors closed that allows you full access to two. I’ve only got one of them open.

Large deck hatches which give you top-down access to both of the motors. As I mentioned, that other hatch can be removed via some suction cups to give you forward access. It’s just straight shafts. The engines themselves are bolted onto the sub frame, which is attached to the hull. I’m sitting on a battery box just here, so I’d assume, I’m sitting on a mixture of crank and house batteries, power distribution behind me. Very professionally done.

I could see raw water intakes on both sides. I’ve got mufflers going out on either side. Two fuel tanks which are sound insulated as well. Nice access up the centre line of the motors, so you could even without opening that hatch, crawl in there with relative ease and then when you get in front of the motors, you’ve got the hot water tank on starboard, the gyro centre mounted and quite a lot of free space on ports. So if you’re a mechanic or if you’re an owner-operator wanting to fiddle around with the motors yourself – I don’t really see any problems with that. It’s very well-lit down here incredibly well insulated and professionally laid out.

The Duchy 35 is just one of the many impressive models in the Duchy Motor Launches range. Dans Boat Life also did a YouTube review on the Duchy 27, which is part of the Duchy lineup. To see the full list, here’s a complete overview of the Duchy range. If you believe this is the type of boat you’re seeking, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. If you want to know more, check out Part 2 of this review, the walkthrough, and the offshore sea trial articles.


See more details on the Duchy 35 here:

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Where Can I Get My Boat Antifouled on Pittwater?

It’s that time again – over a year has passed since your last out-of-water servicing, and you’re starting to notice some unwanted growth on your boat’s hull. We understand that with a busy schedule, finding the perfect place to get your next antifouling done on Pittwater can be quite a challenge. No need to worry!…