Galeon 400 Fly: The Mini Transformer
Now in Asia, the new Galeon 400 Fly is the yard’s smallest model offering its iconic folding balconies, opening a new chapter for outdoor living on a 41-footer.
It takes all of five minutes aboard the 400 Fly to banish the notion that its balconies are just a gimmick, designed to lure people in at boat shows. The balconies are half of the story when it comes to creating the best cockpit in class, because it’s how the designers have used the spaces around the balcony to really make the most of them.
The way the saloon opens to the outside spaces is very intelligent. The doors slide all the way across to port and expose the aft end of the saloon dinette, which has a two-way backrest so two people can sit facing aft and join in with those sitting around the cockpit table.
Better yet, this double bench pivots and locks in place to straddle the threshold between cockpit and saloon to create a more sociable seating arrangement.
Two other key options that improve the aft deck are the hydraulic bathing platform and the transom wet bar. The platform includes built-in steps that open as the platform descends into the water, so you don’t have an awkward scramble between the main deck and lowered platform.
The transom bar features a barbecue grill, chopping board, sink and drained cooler, and these two additions in tandem with the balconies create a genuinely outstanding outdoor living space that quickly become the social hub of the boat.
The balconies can either be left open and used to drop into the water from either side of the cockpit or set up with the poles, ropes, a table and chairs so you can have a drink overlooking the water.
FOREDECK AND FLYBRIDGE
With all this trickery on the main deck, it’s easy to forget that there’s also a flybridge to make use of. It’s a good one, too, sensibly laid out and deep enough that you feel well protected even with the bimini down.
All the seating is mounted at a good height, with short bases and tall backrests, so it’s comfortable to sit for long periods around the table. There isn’t a sunpad on the top deck, but there is space for a compact wet bar with a grill, sink and fridge.
There is space to sunbathe between either the convertible cockpit dinette or foredeck sunpad. The latter also features a flip-up bench at its forward end, creating a lovely spot to retire to on anchor or when the boat is pushing along at displacement speed.
In the saloon, it’s the helm door, of all things, that steals the show due to the sheer size of it. It essentially opens half of the starboard side of the saloon to the side deck but also locks in three different positions.
The ventilation benefits are obvious, but most impressive is the way it links the saloon and decks, providing a connection to the outside that you simply don’t expect from a smallish flybridge cruiser.
The saloon (above) has large windows, seating on both sides and an adjustable table; the L-shaped galley (below) is forward to port, beside the helm station
It feeds into the clever layout of the aft deck and works in synergy with the balconies and sliding doors aft to create easy circulation around the boat that means you don’t have to rely solely on the cockpit doors to move into the saloon.
TWO ENSUITE CABINS
Few flybridge cruisers with these dimensions are without compromise and on the Galeon it’s found in the midships cabin, which unlike rivals from Sealine and Prestige, has crouching room only.
The lower deck features a full-beam double midships
The rest of the cabin is actually pretty good, the fit-out is smart and, being full beam, there’s a decent amount of room around the bed, although there’s no avoiding the fact the cabin is quite difficult to move around inside.
The ensuite doesn’t suffer from such issues and features classy fittings in the separate shower cubicle, where there’s over 6ft of headroom, with both a pull-out showerhead and rainfall fixture overhead.
The ensuite bathroom for the midships cabin is to starboard
Owners will most likely opt for the forward cabin purely because it has full standing headroom and is also ensuite. Yes, the midships cabin has its flaws, but you can’t grumble too much about a sub-42ft boat that has two double cabins and a bathroom each.
If you have guests on board who aren’t a couple, the scissor-action berths in the forward cabin transform into a pair of singles, which is a useful option and adds to the flexibility of the sleeping spaces.
The scissor-action berths in the forward cabin can transform into a pair of singles
As with the rest of the interior, the cabins and bathrooms are finished to a high standard, with doors that shut with an engineered clunk and classy indirect lighting that emits a homely glow in the evening. It’s pleasing to see that even with one of its smaller models, Galeon isn’t cutting corners when it comes to fit and finish.
FUN FROM THE HELM
From either helm, the 400 is a good boat to drive but, unusually for a flybridge, it’s the lower helm that impresses most. Again, it’s the side door that makes all the difference, allowing the helmsman, in good weather, to romp along with the breeze in their face and the sound of the water streaming past the hull.
It’s brilliant when berthing, too, both for communication with crew and because the skipper can see easily and get out on to the side deck to help with lines.
It does, from the lower helm especially, need quite a bit of trim tab to keep the bow level and maintain a clear view forward. The balconies, hi-lo platform, transom wet bar and the likes of a tender or jetski add weight at the stern of the boat, so it’s likely the trim tabs would be employed a lot of the time to find the optimum running attitude when cruising.
This weight is another reason why the highest-powered engines are the most sensible choice. We achieved a two-way top speed of 29.4 knots with no cruising gear, less than half fuel, and no fresh water on board, so you can imagine that smaller powerplants might struggle to shift the boat, especially if there is some growth on the hull and props.
As it is, the 400 feels comfortable cruising at 22-25 knots, with 23 knots proving most efficient once you’re past displacement speeds. It’s no sportsboat, but it handles well and feels solidly planted in the water, with no creaks or groans emanating from the interior. I can’t speak for the IPS or sterndrives versions, but in shaft-drive guise, the 400 performs very tidily.
The first Galeon 400 in Asia was recently delivered to Hong Kong by local dealer Asiamarine, which has been busy organising viewings for prospects interested in the new ‘mini transformer’. There may be better options out there if cabin space is top of the priority list, but if you cherish life on deck above all else, no other small flybridge cruiser comes anywhere close.
– Mike Ellis
For a man representing Galeon, one of the world's hottest motor yacht brands, and Fraser, one of the world's leading superyacht brokerage houses, Eric Noyel carries a calm yet cautious air. Eric Noyel (middle), founder & CEO of Asiamarine, with (left-right) Hamish Pope, Kenny Chan, Sum Lo, Adam Blackmore, Laura Verbrugge and Sacha Chouraqu i The Frenchman has good reason to feel assured.