15m is generally regarded as a sweet spot in the market. A centre cockpit of 15m can deliver a level of seakeeping and comfort equal to that of larger yacht but do it within a hull that’s easily managed by a couple. Contest Yachts require no introduction as they enjoy a long and illustrious reputation in the design and build of high quality centre cockpit bluewater cruising yachts. The Contest 50CS is no exception and this example MISS MILLIE, from 2016, benefits from a number of updates on earlier sisterships. She was commissioned by an experienced owner to a very high specification. She lacks for nothing – every aspect of the yacht has utilised the best of materials and equipment available. From her wardrobe of North 3DI sails to her Onan generator – her specification is a roll call of top manufacturers. Having sailed for many years the owner is now stepping back from sailing hence she presents a great opportunity to purchase a young, well-equipped, ocean ready yacht.
MISS MILLIE was specified with two thoughts in mind; to satisfy the demands of my wife for a comfortable yacht to enjoy sailing in the Med and my need for a yacht that was above all safe but also would sail well in all wind conditions. Reliability and quality were foremost.
From the comfort point of view, the first item was to request custom seats across the transom to take in the sun and the view in comfort. Comprehensive custom cockpit cushions for dining al fresco in the sun followed.
In the Saloon, we specified light oak coloured Amtico flooring and fitted carpets. With the upholstery we looked for a fabric that was easy to clean and would keep it’s ‘as new’ looks. We chose Alcantara. In the galley, we specially fitted GN Espace sink and ‘offshore’ cooker because the quality is the tops and the trays transfer to the galley sink (2 bowls), where they are held securely to avoid burns and spills in a seaway. A 1000 W microwave is fitted as well. An extractor hood over the cooker clears the cooking odors. The fridge freezer was improved by specifying a second cooling compressor to make the fridge extra cold, even in hot weather.
For entertainment, we specified a 40 inch TV, Apple TV, radio and ceiling speakers for the sound system. Upgraded LED dimmable lighting gives bright illumination. In the cabins, we chose tailor made cotton/silk duvet covers and custom fitted sheets.
For the heads, we chose electric flush of course but Tecma (reliable and large diameter outflow).
In the forward cabin, a Candy washing machine is just great for washing on board. And finally, air conditioning throughout was a must. The Webasto A/C compressor unit is located in the sound proofed engine room. 4 separate fan coils (1 each in the fore and aft cabins and 2 in the saloon) send cool air all around the boat.
A major upgrade in 2021 was replacement of the house batteries with 3 x Mastervolt 5500 W Lithium batteries. This battery coupled with the 3500 W inverter charger massively increases the pleasure of cruising. There is seldom need to run the generator and the A/C can be run from the batteries for several hours to cool the boat at bedtime.
On deck, low stretch rod rigging was added for strength and reliability. Mast and boom are white AWLgrip painted for smartness and to reflect the heat. Furling the sails is all automated, electric Reckmann genoa furler and in boom furling uses electric winch power. In boom furling of the main (Furlerboom) is a delight giving rapid shortening of sail. Electronics are Raymarine with Bluetooth control from iPad or similar from anywhere on the boat. There is a Thrane and Thrane satellite phone installed (little used as yet).
Sails are genoa and main in North 3Di fabric. The in-boom furling enables the mainsail to have a generous roach maximizing sail area. The flat perfectly shaped low stretch sail fabric keeps the boat sailing flat when others are reefing and sailing when others are motoring. The 3Di is in excellent good condition having gone through a thorough check by Quantum Sails.
A North sails Code 1 (furled on Ubi Maior continuous line reefing) is invaluable for keeping the boat sailing in light winds down to 6-8 knots f breeze (she sails at 5 knots in 8 knots of wind). An asymmetric spinnaker is also on board and occasionally used. Hall Spars carbon spinnaker pole at the mast. The boat is rigged with removable inner forestay and Karver furling drum.
Elsewhere on board are a custom carbon fibre lightweight passerelle, 90m of 10 mm anchor chain, new inflatable dinghy and 2.5 hp Mercury outboard.
Back on board, after much research, we specified a 6 KW Cummins Onan generator. This has proved utterly reliable and a good investment.
Below the waterline, we specified 2 coats of anti-osmosis epoxy barrier coat and a 4 blade folding prop. The Alexseal painted blue hull with white detailing is eye catching and long lasting.