Looking for something virtually no-one else in the world has? Then this might be the boat for you. Alex Smith drives the J Craft Torpedo RS…
Having enjoyed a breakfast of tar-strong coffee and pains au chocolat, I’m sitting next to Radenko Milakovic on a boat built by the company he owns. We’re slipping quietly through the waters off Port Grimaud, as the King of Sweden glides past in his original J Craft 38 Cabrio Cruiser.
As the first boat to emerge from the Gotland factory in 1999, it’s an easy boat to spot, but having built just 27 more in the 23 years since, each and every J Craft is intimately known to the craftsmen responsible for conjuring it into existence.
It’s little wonder then that we’ve been attracting such attention this morning. Whether from passing superyachts or prestigious Riviera docksides, people have been craning their necks to check us out. Some have asked for information on the boat.
Others have gone as far as to request a formal meeting with Radenko. But no one seems capable of ignoring us, and that fully validates Radenko’s contention that, for a boat like the J Craft Torpedo RS in a place like the French Riviera, even a casual trip from A to B feels like a public appearance on the world’s most attentive custom boating catwalk.
When you witness the Torpedo from everyone else’s vantage point, it’s easy to see the appeal. With its classically fulsome midships swelling, its finely tapering aft end and its impeccable eggshell-blue finish, it really couldn’t look prettier.
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The richly curved mahogany of that tumblehome transom, glistening in the Côte d’Azur sun, is a joy to behold. The low-slung leather-lined cockpit, nestling Riva-style beneath a wraparound glass screen, is equally evocative.
And then there’s the classically flared foredeck, inlaid with richly polished timber and topped with a dramatic stainless steel flag holder that looks more like a proud Victorian hunting trophy than a bracket.
But of course, arresting though this boat might look, a major part of the Torpedo’s appeal (and of any unapologetically high-end product) is embedded as much in its story as in its physical attributes.
J Craft’s tight-knit team builds its boats in the north of Gotland, between the east coast of Sweden and the west coast of Latvia. The company’s in-house craftsmen are all seafarers in their own right.
They’re well accustomed to long, exposed passages in the Baltic, so as much as the J Craft Torpedo RS might look like a premium pastiche of the classical Med runabout, building solid, seaworthy boats is very much a matter of ingrained principle at J Craft.
Read Alex’s full review of the J Craft Torpedo RS in the February 2022 issue of MBY, out January 5.
J Craft Torpedo RS specifications
LOA: 41ft 6in (12.63m)
Beam: 11ft 9in (3.63m)
Draft: 3ft 1in (0.95m)
Displacement: 10 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 800 litres
Water capacity: 200 litres
Design: J Craft Boats
Starting price: €1,335,000 (ex. VAT)
Price as tested: €1,535,000 (ex. VAT)