A Peek at Two Small-ish Deck Saloons

"The brain size of people who see big dreams is the same as yours."
-Vineet Raj Kapoor

It's not the size of your brain, but rather how you choose to use it.  To put that quote in simple boat terms, not all boats of the same length are created the same.  Length on deck is one thing, but interior volume and clever design are another altogether.

It wasn't so long ago that deck saloon designs were almost exclusively reserved for large cruising boats and even when they weren't, the proportions often looked off on anything smaller than 45 feet in length.  But what's the appeal of a deck saloon anyway?  Probably the most obvious is a flood of natural light to the cabin because of the raised saloon wrapped in windows that provides 360 degrees of viewing pleasure. There's also a nice single level flow from the cockpit into the cabin (Moody calls this "living on one level") like you'd find on most cruising catamarans. The deck saloon structure itself provides nice protection in the cockpit from wind and spray as well as some shade overhead from the coach roof, but it's not like you'll need it since DS's also often include an inside helm station for piloting in snotty weather.  To my eyes and senses, today's deck saloons feel like a hybrid between a monohull and a catamaran.

So with that, welcome to sailing in the 2020's and a pair of really well-proportioned and designed small-ish deck saloons from two European builders - the Sirius 310 DS and the Moody Decksaloon 41.  While both the 41 from Moody and the 310 from Sirius are each builder's current smallest offering, Sirius does offer a more direct competitor to Moody's 41 in the Sirius 40 DS, but I'm really intrigued by the little 310, so I'll focus there in this post.  But first, let's start with the Moody.

Moody Decksaloon 41: If you're a fan of Yachting World's YouTube channel and their great walk-throughs by Toby Hodges, you may have heard that Bill Dixon (Moody's designer) and Moody wanted to include many of the features and feel of the Moody 54 and 45 into a smaller package, thus the Decksaloon 41.  Bill once told me in an interview I did with him that the 45DS is one of his personal favorite designs. "It is the result of my many years of family cruising and living aboard. Why live in a cave? Instead, have a sailing yacht with great interior visibility and a deep, safe cockpit. All this in a boat that really sails fast."  While Bill was referring to the 45 with those comments, I'm guessing much of that applies to the new 41 too.

Moody Decksaloon 41 (Photo: HanseYachts AG)

With the sliding door on the Moody 41, you can easily open the cockpit to the saloon and create one large entertaining and living space, which seems like a really good idea while at anchor.  She also features a deep protected cockpit with twin wheels and side decks with tall bulwarks to make transits to the foredeck safe.  Speaking of the foredeck, check out the built-in sun pad and lounge seat above the large port that pours light into the master cabin below.  I haven't been aboard the Moody Decksaloon 41, but if it sails as well as it appears to coddle its' crew while docked/anchored, Moody will have a winner.

Notice the beam is carried all the way aft. (Photo: HanseYachts AG)

Siruis 310 DS: If you want a deck saloon cruiser that's on the small side but still has plenty of space for a cruising couple and occasional guests, there aren't many options.  However, Sirius offers the 310 DS to meet your needs and with 14 layouts available, you don't have to compromise on customizing the boat just the way you want it.  Each of the 14 layouts features a raised saloon and the bright, airy interior that DS's are known for.  The biggest decision you’ll have to make when considering which layout is best for you is what to do with the space beneath the saloon.  You can choose a second double cabin or dedicate the space to a work/storage area and a large head compartment instead. After that, you can choose forward cabin accommodations. There is the option of a V-berth, offset berth, and island or staggered berths.  Lastly, you can decide if you want a separate shower room.  That's a staggering amount of choices for any sailboat, let alone a 31-footer.

Twin keels and low tides are meant to be together. The Sirius 310DS has options
for twin keels, a lifting keel, or a fin keel.

I hope you're not dizzy from all the layout choices, because there are other choices to consider.  For example, what keel type do you prefer?  Sirius offers the 310DS with a twin keel, lifting keel, and shallow or deep fin keel. I'm not aware of any other new twin keel cruisers available for sale in the United States, so if you're itching to take advantage of free bottom cleanings during low tide, here's your ticket.

Normally a cruiser in the 31-foot range can feel like a compromise, like you're giving up space for more room in the budget or accommodations for something small and easily manageable, but the 310 DS seems to be much bigger than the sum of its' parts.

Living large with just 31 feet

I'm hoping to check out these unique sailboats sometime soon now that both are available for sale here in the United States.  What about you?  Have you been aboard either yet and what are your thoughts on DS's?  Leave your thoughts below in the comments.

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