Which boat should Nick buy next? Tempting options from Princess, Fairline, Windy and Cranchi

MBY columnist, used boat expert and Jeanneau 805 Leader owner Nick Burnham reveals what he’d like to buy next…

Being MBY’s technical contributor and owner of a rather well-known boating YouTube channel, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the question I get asked the most is ‘what will your next boat be?’

To which the answer is always a well practised explanation of how happy we are with our 26ft Jeanneau 805 Leader, the cost benefits of its single engine and compact size and its general manageability.

All of which is completely true, but it’s also true that if a house renovation wasn’t consuming cash at a great rate of knots (finally, something more expensive than boating. Hooray!), I’d probably be getting itchy feet by now.

And just like everyone else, I have my favourites, those boats you always pause to look at when you pass them in a marina with a wistful “one day”.

So what would I go for? I’d stick with the sportscruiser concept but I would like a longer and heavier boat for even better seakeeping, twin engines for greater offshore reassurance, a larger sleeping cabin and a proper shower.

Cranchi 39 Endurance

Built: 2000
Price: £94,950

The fact that this is the oldest boat here only partly explains why it is also by far the cheapest because at any age from 1994, when the 39 launched, through to 2009 when it ceased production, these are consistently remarkable value for money.

In fact this is one of the last 39s as in 2001 it morphed into the Cranchi Endurance 41 via a gentle facelift which extended the bathing platform and reversed the radar arch to slope forward.


The reason for the comparatively low market values is because this was Cranchi’s sporty model, so it’s about a foot narrower than a current Princess V40 for example.

That ‘pointy’ shape means that unlike almost every other 40ft sportscruiser, it doesn’t have a separate forward owner’s cabin. Instead, it has an open-plan saloon with a convertible horse-shoe dinette extending all the way to the bow and a separate owner’s cabin amidships.

For us, this is not an issue as there’s only ever the two of us aboard overnight; indeed it’s arguably a bonus, giving us a far larger saloon area.

Without a forward owner’s cabin the dinette seating is big enough for a relaxing siesta


It’s a sporty boat on the outside too, from the heavily bolstered triple seats at the helm through to the large sunbed aft that hides a tender garage that can swallow a 2.4-metre inflatable.

Inevitably there’s a degree of compromise in that the cockpit dinette squeezed between helm seats and sunpad is a little tight, but that would only be a minor problem on our Brixham fish ’n chip nights with friends, and the garage is a nice thing to have. It’s a great looking boat too.


Cranchi put a variety of engines into the 39/41, some of the last ones with D6 370hp motors are good for 40 knots! The 39 models all got the KAD engines, the KAD 44 EDC motors fitted to this boat giving 260hp each side for a mid 30-knot top end – entirely sufficient.

Comfortable seating makes up for the slightly cramped layout behind the commanding helm


That narrow beam and low profile don’t just look sporty, they pay dividends on the water too. A Cranchi 39 Endurance is a fast, capable offshore boat.


Length: 40ft 8in (12.4m)
Beam: 11ft 5in (3.5m)
Draft: 2ft 11in (0.9m)
Displacement: 7 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 780 litres
Engines: Twin Volvo Penta KAD 44 EDC 260hp diesels
Lying: Portland
Contact: JD Yachts

Article continues below…

Windy 31 Zonda

Built: 2014
Price: £197,950

I have always fancied a Windy, I looked at a Windy 25 Mirage before buying the current Smuggler’s Blues but it was simply too small for my needs.

The Zonda is still the smallest of this month’s quartet, and far from the cheapest, but it might perhaps be described as ‘reassuringly expensive’, and Windy has been quite cunning with how it has configured that limited space.


The best way to view the interior is simply as a sleeping cabin, and as that, it’s actually reasonably generous. The central double bed allows access from either side and has storage underneath. There’s also a heads down here with a shower. The only other thing the lower deck has is a compact galley.

Headroom is a little tight, this is a circa 30ft sportsboat after all, and there’s no separate seating, but otherwise it works well.

The lower deck is dominated by the double bed but it’s fine for two with a compact galley


The logic behind giving over the majority of the cabin to the bed is that the cockpit becomes the saloon. To facilitate that, Windy installed a very clever canopy system.

When not in use, the canopy stows around its stainless steel frame and drops into a specially made recess beneath the aft bench. Lift the seat, erect the canopy and you have a fully protected cockpit you can use whenever it’s too cold or wet for open boating.

The cockpit layout includes a sunpad aft, although it’s too small to allow a tender garage beneath it, and there’s plenty of social seating and a great helm position.


Windy offered the Zonda with single or twin engines, the single being a big D6 unit in a variety of outputs up to 400hp. The twin diesel option was a pair of D3 220hp diesels (now discontinued) which give over 40 knots at the top end and a comfortable mid 30-knot cruise, which would extend our horizons wonderfully.

There’s an ingenious canopy system in the cockpit which transforms it into a saloon


At launch, Windy claimed the Zonda was one of the best boats it had ever made. On test in the magazine we described it at the time as “the best hull we’ve ever tested”. It’s fair to say that the really big news with this boat is the way that it handles.


Length: 31ft 9in (9.7m)
Beam: 9ft 8in (2.9m)
Draft: 3ft 3in (1.0m)
Displacement: 3.9 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 517 litres
Engines: Twin Volvo Penta D3-220 diesel engines
Lying: Lymington
Contact: Berthon International

Princess V40

Built: 2021
Price: £548,000

With one small exception, this is probably the closest to my perfect boat that exists on the market right now. Quality build, practical layout, decent performance, good looks; there is barely a box left unticked.


A classic 40ft sportscruiser layout, the V40 features a proper owner’s cabin in the bow, complete with centreline double berth and masses of storage, and a very decent mid cabin for guests with infill cushions to create a double berth.

Splitting them is a comfortable saloon opposite a well-equipped galley. The heads is forward, and large enough to offer a proper separate shower stall. Jack and Jill doors make it a day heads or an ensuite.

Whilst we don’t need that mid cabin, it’s nice to have the option to bring guests, or brilliant as a junk room. Silver oak on this example is a modern interior finish that makes a nice change from the usual shades of brown.

Below decks there is a comfortable saloon with the well-equipped galley opposite


All current model Princess V40s (there was a previous and completely different model called a V40 about 25 years ago) have an open-backed hardtop fitted as standard with a powered fabric opening section above.

It makes for a very sheltered cockpit and means that the only canopies to deal with are the relatively small ones back aft. My only minor concern is that there is no way to rig a bimini, so the only way to get shade at the helm is to run with the entire roof shut, and I do like a properly open boat.

This boat has the optional small sunpad aft which cleverly extends over the (optional high/low) bathing platform rather than encroaching on cockpit space.


Twin Volvo Penta D6-340 engines give a strong mid 30-knot top end which should equate to a fast 30-knot cruise. Not as quick as the Windy, but perfectly sufficient.

Plenty of shelter in the stylish cockpit thanks to its open-backed hardtop design


Seakeeping is not ‘Windy good’ but it’s not ‘Windy compromised’ inside either; the V40 strikes a great balance between interior volume and offshore capability. It caps an almost perfect blend of space, pace and practicality, leaving only the half-million pound price tag as a slight sticking point.


Length: 43ft 7in (13.0m)
Beam: 12ft 4in (3.8m)
Draft: 3ft 4in (1.0m)
Displacement: 10.1 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 730 litres
Engines: Twin Volvo Penta D6-340, 340hp diesel engines
Lying: Southampton
Contact: Princess Motor Yacht Sales

Fairline Targa 38

Built: 2011
Price: £229,950

It’s important to point out that a Fairline Targa 38 is not half the price of a Princess V40 when comparing like for like – the only reason this boat is (less than) half the price of the V40 is because this one is over a decade old whereas the V40 is as good as new.

That said, the Targa 38 was launched back in 2006, the V40 in 2017 (its predecessor, the V39, in 2013) so the fact remains that we’ve got far more chance of finding a cheaper Targa 38.


Like the V40 but a little smaller best sums up the Targa 38. There are some neat details though; for example, rather than needing to store infill cushions to convert the mid cabin to a double, the two single beds cleverly ‘scissor’ together to create a double when needed.

Owner’s cabin is more than ample in terms of space and there is good storage here too


Although Fairline offered an open-backed hardtop later in the Targa 38’s life (the 38GT, launched in 2011), this is the traditional open cockpit with canopies model which, on a near 40ft boat, does mean a lot of canvas to fight with, but does also mean my coveted properly open cockpit when stowed, plus the ability to rig a full-length bimini top for shade.

The single (rather than twin) helm seat is a demerit, the neat fold-away cockpit table a bonus. They’re all a compromise!


While Princess only ever offered one engine option in the V40, the Targa 38 (partly because of its longer production run) was available with quite a range. All twins, the D4-260 four-cylinder engines were the smallest, D6-400 six-cylinder the largest.

Initially, the mid-range D6-310s were very popular but when Volvo introduced an upgraded 300hp D4, it provided almost the same power as the D6-310 in a lighter, more compact, more fuel efficient package, and gave a top speed of about 35 knots.

Seating is generous in the aft cockpit with a good-sized table and plenty of fresh air


Like the V40, the Targa 38 offers a great blend of competent offshore handling combined with excellent interior volume. All things considered – and were building work at home not a financial vacuum – the V40 would probably be the most desirable but the Targa 38 would probably be the closest fit.


Length: 36ft 3in (11.1m)
Beam: 11ft 11in (3.6m)
Draft: 3ft 4in (1.0m)
Displacement: 7.7 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 636 litres
Engines: Twin Volvo Penta D4-300, 300hp diesel engines
Location: Essex
Contact: boats.co.uk

First published in the May 2023 issue of MBY.

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