Regarding Arcona versus X-Yacht as boat builders, I have heard some complaints about the quality of X-Yachts, but to be honest I don’t know if it is just one or two random cases, or, if like somebody has said to me, their quality is not what it used to be, due to a much larger production and the need to maximize manufacturing speed and to minimize costs. What cannot be denied is that they have a very clear difference regarding shipyard size and boats and the number of produced yachts.
Above Arcona 50, below, X4-9 (MKI)
If I had to choose between an Arcona 50 and a similar-sized X-yacht, I would take that into consideration, because being built in much smaller numbers by a reputable and experienced boat builder, basically the same way as X-Yachts, the chances are that Arconas are built with bigger attention to details and better quality control.
Arcona cannot get it wrong with this one while for X-Yacht it would be just one more yacht among the considerable number they build.
Arcona 50 natural competitor is the new MKII version of the 2018 X4-9, which is basically the old boat with some small modifications: the same hull, bigger bowsprit, redesigned single rudder, revised small winch relocation, and some small cosmetic touches to make it look more like the new X5-6 (that looks like the Arcona 50, just a bit bigger).
The bigger differences between the Arcona and the X4-9 regards the hull, with the Arcona 50 having the beam slightly more brought aft (being more similar to the X5-9), having two rudders instead of one, being a foot longer (HL 14.99 to 14.65m) and most of all, considerably more beamier (4.60 to 4.49m).
Above Arcona 50, below the X4-9 (MKI)
By modern standards, the Arcona 50 is not very beamy and its 4.60m beam is a lot smaller than the one of the smaller Hanse 460 (4.79m beam), it is smaller than the one of the new Solaris 50 (4.78m beam) and much smaller than the one of the Hallberg Rassy 50 (4.99 beam), the one than the new Contest 50 (4.90m) or even smaller than the Pegasus 50 beam ( 4.83m).
Curiously it has the same beam as the X-yacht C50 (that has a very different hull), and it is bigger than the sportier and much faster XP 50 (4.43m beam).
If we want to look at really fast all-around performance cruisers or cruiser racers, the Mylius 50 has a 4.48m beam, the Swan 50 has a 4.20m and the Shogun 50 has 3.88m, being the only one that can be considered to have a narrow hull. A very beamy fast performance cruiser maximized for downwind sailing, like the Pogo 50, has a 5.15m beam.
|Above, the two Arcona 50 layouts, below,
the two X4-9 layouts. They are very similar.
Arcona 50 and X4-9 have similar lead torpedo keels and while the B/D is big on both boats, it is way bigger on the X4-9 (42.5% to 35.8%) even if we have to give some compensation to Arcona due to having more 10cm draft.
If on the Arcona that B/D will give good safety stability and AVS, on the X4-9 it will give much better values. In regards to sailing power (stiffness), the bigger Arcona 50 compensates for the much bigger X4-9 B/D with a bigger hull form stability and the performances should not be very different, except upwind with waves, where the X4-9 will have a better performance.
The B/D was calculated with the X4-9 standard (2.40m) draft and the Arcona with the optional 2.50m draft. As standard, the Arcona 50 has a 2.95m draft with 600kg less ballast. With these configurations the X4-9 displaces in light condition 12900kg and the Arcona 14500kg.
Regarding SA/D both the X4-9 and the Arcona 50 have very similar very high SA/D. Both boats have standard jib on a self-tacking rail and can optionally have instead a small genoa.
Both with jib, the X4-9 has a SA/D of 22.3 and the Arcona 24.3. Both with a small genoa, the X4-9 has 23.9 and the Arcona 25.8. The smaller X4-9 SA/D has to do with the X-yacht being less beamy. Less beamy sailboats generally need less sail area to sail upwind and less sail area to sail in weak wind.
They do not only look very similar, as they have very similar performances, with the X4-9 being just a bit better upwind (and probably in light wind) and the Arcona 50 sailing with a bit less heel and probably being just a bit faster beam reaching with medium-strong to strong winds and just a bit easier downwind with strong winds.
|Both boats offer excellent space for whelming the boat, the cabin seats
are about the same length, but the Arcona cockpit is much wider,
allowing for a passage between the two tables, but keeping people apart.
However, let me point out that in regards to transom design (and sailing with more or less heel) the two transom designs are different but not necessarily one better than the other.
The beam is much more brought back on the Arcona, but it is not one of those transoms that limit heel at a relatively low angle, quite the contrary, it allows progressively high angles of heel, increasing RM and trying to limit the increase in drag. It is a design more centered on allowing a very good performance than on making it easier to sail the yacht, and I see it as a positive thing on a performance cruiser.
The one on the X4-9 is less progressive and it is designed to increase RM at a given heel angle, minimizing drag, partially compensating the smaller hull form stability (due to the smaller X4-9 beam) and giving a better performance at the angle the designer considered that the hull works better, taking into account the increase in drag and the more substantial B/D, that demands heel, to be fully exploited.
The sail hardware, the running rigging, the winches location, and even the optional genoa tracks are very similar being the main difference a single-point attachment for the main line control (boom) on the X-yacht, versus an electric-operated traveler, a very expensive piece of equipment, on the Arcona.
|Arcona longitudinal galley is not as in the layouts. It is better.
Regarding layout, both boats are very similar and you can even tell that they were designed by the same designer, both have a good space aft the engine for technical equipment, both have a good sail locker at the bow and a dinghy garage, being the one of the Arcona wider due to the extra beam.
But the dinghy garage, when is not complemented with a decent storage space in the cockpit has its own problems because it is a wet storage space, and it is impossible to maintain it dry.
|Above and below, Arcona 50 interior is nice, with lots of
storage, even if a bit cold for my taste.
Besides it is not subdivided and that means that anything you put there will be moving around, and will stay wet. It is not a suitable space to mount any electronic equipment not designed to be in wet places, and most of them are not.
Arcona, being much wider should have much more storage space than the X4-9, especially aft, but while the X4-9 has storage space under both cockpit seats (one of them for the liferaft), Arcona, besides the garage, has only a small cockpit central locker for the liferaft.
Arcona’s garage is wider but does not have dedicated storage spaces at the sides (subdivided), nor a way to access that lateral space from the cockpit (only central hatch access), and that makes that extra space of little use, in what regards storage. It allows only a slightly bigger dinghy, even so, too small for a boat of this size.
The absence of practical storage in the cockpit can make a big difference in regards to cruising, with Arcona lacking the space to store all that stuff that all that cruise know needs to be at hand. Not having an easy storage dry space, with easy access on the cockpit makes no sense because such space is needed for cruising, and even for sailing, to store equipment frequently used.
Anyway, those two garages will be of little use in regards to storing a dinghy while cruising a cruising ground, which implies using it almost every day. The dinghy has to be a small one, for a boat this size, and due to the need to store cruising material in the garage, and the small height of the compartment, it will give a lot of work to put it in and out, much more than if it is stored on davits or over the deck.
Above and below X4-9 interior. The Arcona 50 galley in
the layout with the longitudinal galley is bigger than the
one of the X4-9. On the layout with the L galley, the one
from Arcona is slightly bigger due to the bigger beam.
For an oceangoing cruiser, it makes sense to have a storage space where a dinghy could be stored, even half deflated, on a several days ocean passage, but for that, the best design would be to reserve the central part for storage of a folded dinghy, while reserving the two lateral parts for two dry storage compartments, accessed from the cockpit. But of course, that would diminish the space of the aft cabins and these days interior space is the most valuable commodity in cruising sailboats.
The interior layout is very similar but due to the bigger beam, the interior volume is bigger on the Arcona, with special relevance for the two aft cabins that are not only wider but higher because they include the space under the cockpit seats.
The X4-9 interior is less imposing, with a smaller height but also
with lots of storage. I find it more cozy and with enough space:
a boat-like interior versus a more house-like interior.
The Arcona 50 interior is also a bit higher due to higher freeboards.
The standard engines are similar with around 60hp (both with an option for 80hp), the diesel tankage is bigger on the Arcona (375L to 265L) as well as the water tankage (375L to 310L). Both can have optionally more tankage.
The Arcona 50 costs standard at the shipyard, without VAT, 844240 €, and the X4-9 MKII costs 696000 euros, as announced by Yacht.de, even if the price seems too low, if compared to Arcona.
Of course, it all depends on the standard equipment that comes with each boat, but traditionally both brands include standard much material that is optional on other brands.
I bet some of you will be asking what would be the one I would prefer. I would have to say I don’t know exactly, there are things I prefer on the X-yacht and others on the Arcona.
On the X-yacht, I like the smaller beam, the smaller freeboard, the bigger B/D, the cozier, and warmer interior, the cockpit storage space, and being built with epoxy resin.
|Above, Arcona 50, below X4-9
On the Arcona I like more the transom design, the electric mainsheet traveller and the idea of being built in smaller numbers, presumably with more attention to finish and detail.
I don´t like the aluminum rudder stocks on X-yacht, but being the designer the same, I don’t know if the new Arcona has them (I hope not).
I prefer the twin rudders of the Arcona, not because they are more effective, but because they pose fewer problems while docking in the med.