Why my motorboat will be the perfect boat for cruises to Corsica

Another Windy upgrade! Tim Innes swaps his 32 Grand Zonda for the all-new twin-engined Windy 34 Alizé

Another new Windy. That’s the third in four years! Even though nobody else could quite understand my logic, I convinced myself it made perfect sense. After all, when we downsized from a 59ft boat to a 29ft Windy Coho GT, we probably went one size too small for our needs.

Then Covid supply shortages enabled me to get my money back on the Coho and trade up to a Windy 32 Grand Zonda, which would give me what I had missed most – twin engines.

But after we sold the Coho, supply challenges again took the lead. Windy said they could only supply the new boat with a single D6. I really wanted a twin rig but the Zonda was great and ticked every other box on the list.

Then along came the Windy 34 Alizé, with a twin engine option. Don’t you just hate it when they bring out a new model that ticks ALL the boxes?! A deal was struck with the new Windy dealer for France and Monaco, Merveille Nautic, who have been amazing.

At 34ft it feels like a major step up from the Zonda

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The deal was contingent on my boat being the display model at the Cannes Boat Show, and also dependent on selling the Zonda at a sensible price.

The used boat market, certainly for this size and price range, is much more similar to how it used to be. Depreciation is back but happily,
a Windy does seem to hold its value better than pretty much any other marque. Merveille Nautic worked really hard to broker the Zonda and my new Alize arrived just a few days before the Cannes Boat Show. In fact, the first time I saw it was at the show itself!

Personalising my Alizé

So how did I spec the 34 Alizé? Well to start with, it had to be twin engines. The D6s were more than I needed but the twin D4 320s seemed just right. The boat was signed off by the local Volvo engineer at 44 knots, which is plenty for me. The turbo lag can sometimes feel significant, but they are certainly very quiet and smooth.

Difficulties sourcing sustainable teak mean that Flexiteek is now the only option, but I actually prefer it, as it’s easier to maintain. I also specified a fixed VHF radio, AIS and autopilot, as this is a boat I would definitely want to take to Corsica.

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I also ticked the box for the Humphree comfort upgrade with auto-list function, which most of the time does a better job than I could do. Windy is also very good at allowing you to customise the cockpit fabrics, so I really was able to make it feel like my own personal boat.

Next-level performance

The Alizé is wonderfully proportioned. It really feels like a boat from the next level up. At 6ft tall, I can stand up in the cabin, the toilet and the separate shower. And the second ‘cabin’ has two berths, which I could easily sleep in.

The cockpit with the high-low table and adjustable sun pad backrest is very flexible and spacious. And that Windy quality and engineering is there in everything you touch. However, I’m still doing battle with the bimini, which doesn’t seem very user-friendly. Pins have to be inserted and it’s not as rigid as I would expect.

Tim’s Alizé starred in a photo shoot alongside the new 40 Camira RS

Maybe I have to tighten the support ties even more? Also, the bimini extension, which covers the whole boat in shade, requires you to bend two carbon fibre support poles. I haven’t yet achieved that for fear of snapping them but I know that’s why they’ve been built from carbon fibre and I’m sure it will all become second nature with more practice.

The only minor glitch is that Windy didn’t fit an anchor switch in the cockpit. Maybe it got mixed up with a Swedish spec, where they tend not to have a bow anchor. However, they have agreed to fix this at their own cost so overall, I find the Alizé very impressive. In fact, I would agree with the recent MBY test, especially in terms of the build quality and seakeeping. Its ability to carve through swells and chop really is as good as you might expect of a much bigger boat.

Superstar for a day!

The icing on the cake was that after the Cannes Boat Show, Windy arranged a full photographic team of helicopter, drones, professional crew and models. It was mainly for the new 40 Camira RS but they were also happy to get my Alizé involved. There was a moment when I thought I might have to hide in the cabin while a younger, better-looking model drove my new boat, but fortunately, he didn’t show up, so I was at the helm for the entire helicopter shoot!

You have to concentrate with a chopper on the bow bow

I didn’t find it that easy. Holding the boat side-by-side with the 40 RS at 30 knots on a lumpy sea with the helicopter perched just off your bow, requires a lot of concentration. That said, I have immense admiration for the helicopter pilot, who hovered off the nose and then flew in reverse down the side of the boat to get that perfect shot.

I then acted as the support boat, enabling the team to take brochure shots of the new 40 RS. It gave me the chance to really understand the close manoeuvrability of the Alizé. I was asked to come alongside, go left, go right and I was able to do so with great precision in quite an aggravated sea. With those twin engines making close-quarters manoeuvring so much easier, my decision to go for the Alizé already felt like exactly the right choice.


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