FLORENCE OF DART is a Mark II Discovery 55 and, at #50, is one of the very last of these benchmark bluewater cruising yachts built. She comes with a great bluewater specification as well as all the lovely upgrades offered on the Mark II, including larger hull windows, flush hatches, wrap-around saloon windows, and a rework of the superstructure. Internally, her oak interior with Amtico soles looks great with an open deck saloon and an extending table, as well as a great occasional seat on the centerline.
FLORENCE was built for a most experienced owner, and she has been meticulously maintained and has offered him very high levels of reliability and good sailing. Her flag blue hull was repainted in 2021, and she is in full cruising trim and ready for her new owner.
Sea Trial Video
FLORENCE OF DART is my third bluewater yacht, following a Hallberg-Rassy 42 and an Oyster 49. They have all been very good, but FLORENCE is the most comfortable, especially in bigger seas. It’s not just a question of length. The Discovery 55’s displacement ratio is over 40%, making her a stiff yacht and a great passage maker.
She is a pretty boat, but more importantly, she is a well-thought-out yacht for cruising, especially when sailing short-handed. The cockpit is brilliant when you want to feel safe and comfortable. The rig is flexible and easy to handle, all from the cockpit, and it performs especially well downwind in the Trades. The elevated seating below and easy access from the cockpit, boarding from the tender, a great galley with generous work surfaces, huge tankage, an oversized anchor, and powered winches – these are things that are essential for comfortable and safe cruising. The high-quality joinery is a bit of a bonus.
I had FLORENCE built to cross the Atlantic with the ARC, which I had done 15 years earlier in my Oyster 49. Upon arrival, we cruised the main Caribbean islands until the pandemic arrived, at which point we had her shipped back to Southampton on a freighter. Since then, she has sailed around the Channel, Brittany, and West Scotland. She is an excellent ocean-going yacht. She has covered 10,000 nautical miles, and everyone on board has always felt safe. Happily, the keel has never touched bottom!
I like everything about FLORENCE. It’s unusual that nothing about her irritates me.
She has always been well maintained, most recently at Berthon. The headsails were valeted by Kemp in 2023. The hull was recently repainted by Berthon, who also addressed a problem in the hull drains from the gas locker. Yachts, of course, require maintenance, but currently, everything is working well. The basic build specifications of the Discovery 55 were very high, including items like a washing machine and air conditioning, so I didn’t need to add much. She has excellent Raymarine plotters, radar, Iridium, an extra winch in the cockpit, and a plethora of cruising spares, a secondary anchor, a brand new liferaft, and more. She could set off on a circumnavigation or participate in an ARC at short notice.
My wife and I are on either side of 70 now. We won’t cross another ocean or return to the Mediterranean. We are seeking a smaller yacht for more limited ambitions in terms of time spent and distance travelled. We would be quite comfortable sailing FLORENCE next summer and perhaps beyond, but it’s always better to make these changes before age or infirmity begins to necessitate them.