Meet an X-Sailor - James Dean

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Monday 23rd September 2019

ARC 2018 – dolphins at the bow

Meet an X-Sailor

A series of interviews, setting focus on the X-Sailor and the yachts behind them.

– James Dean –

James is the happy owner of Xc 45 “Nina”.  He used to work for a large international firm. Now he is a non-executive Director and works part-time. In the last 10 years, James has sailed more nautical miles than an average sailor does a whole life – and has explored large parts of the world from a sea view.

We have asked James a couple of questions about his 10 years ownership with an Xc 45;

The harborless way.
– Technically Nina’s homeport is Southampton, but she has never been there! My sailing is truly nomadic; over a number of seasons I have cruised in the Baltic, UK, Mediterranean, Canaries, Caribbean and the US – I like the freedom of being on board and can go where ever I want. I sail from port to port all season. This lifestyle demands a boat that is capable of sailing in offshore waters, be stable and well made. I have now had my Xc 45 for almost 10 years, and the boat suits my lifestyle perfectly.

You have been to oceans that many sailors only dream of; What have been the highlights of your Xc 45? My Xc 45 continues to be a delight in so many ways. She is fast, and as I discovered during the ARC, she will challenge high-performance boats in any conditions. At the same time, she feels very safe in a big sea and keeps nerves calm with a less experienced crew.

I love the big spacious cockpit and the cool Scandinavian look below decks. She performs well but is fully loaded with a generator, water maker, big tanks, a bike and everything you need for comfortable cruising. Lots of storage space and the bunks are spacious and incredibly comfortable. Plenty of hatches too, for air circulation on a hot night. Great for dodging heavy marina costs in the Med or chilling in the Caribbean where you rarely get on a pontoon.

She was much admired early on when only a few Xc’s had been made, but the admiration continues, and particularly in the US this Summer where the brand is less well known. It is rare to spend an evening aboard without somebody strolling up and asking all about her. Most of all, I love comments from sailing friends, especially the keen racers, when they first come out on her and appreciate just how well a cruiser can sail.

Why did you choose the Xc 45 and X-Yachts as your partner for your sailing dreams?
– I bought her originally because she is so impressive in light winds. One test sail in the Solent had us sailing at 4 or 5 knots in the lightest of conditions while other yachts were stationary, pitching with flapping sails. The low centralized tanks and a design that makes her firstly a sailing boat gives me so many more hours of pleasure. I hate motoring. In my first season, I never had to refuel! Anyone who comes on board and knows about sailing is deeply impressed. Plus I recall sailing into Marseille in almost no wind and a rib came up alongside, they were laying out racing marks for the next day, to find out how on earth we were sailing in 1 knot of wind.

What has been your very best X-Moment?
– I did the ARC in 2018 with my son and 2 friends. Such a fantastic experience. I insisted “we weren’t racing“ to the crew as we left Las Palmas, but some good routing and the amazing sailing capability of an Xc 45 put us well up the fleet one week IN. We started receiving very excited emails from supporters back home explaining how well we were doing. We knew that because most boats we saw were 50 or 60 footers. My claims that “we weren’t racing “ were now greeted with laughter by the crew as I tracked the progress of nearby boats on AIS. It was just infectious for all of us. After squeezing past a few boats in the last 2 days, including an X-46, but you may not wish to advertise that, we came 6th overall including the Racing Section. It was a huge tribute to the boat and a simple sail plan with a poled out genoa. We sailed straight downwind, goose winged while the racing folk sailed the angles flying kites.

James has now been together with his Xc 45 for 10 years and sailed more than 15.000 Nm.

Read more about the Xc 45