A voyage of rediscovery
Sailing Today|July 2021
The Discovery 58 has long been recognized as a superlative blue water cruiser. Toby Heppell steps aboard the latest model to examine how it has developed
Toby Heppell

I’d been provided a berth number ahead of our test of the new Discovery 58C, but arriving at Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour up the Beaulieu river I really didn’t need anyone to point me in the right direction. All Time High’s mast towered over every other boat on the pontoons and swinging moorings, looking for all the world a beacon of calm in the blustery, crisp, autumn morning air.

It is clear from the off, the 58C is a big boat. A very big boat. At just shy of 60ftthat might not come as a surprise, but up close, her high topsides, wide stern and deck saloon all point to a yacht with a great deal going on below, and she practically towers over the pontoon as a result. She follows the successful, earlier Discovery 55, also designed by Ron Holland, and features the same standard keel, and cutting edge build techniques include a resin infused kevlar reinforced hull.

There will be those that take one look at the Discovery 58C’s lines, her electric winches and furlers, and scoff at the thought of this modern bluewater business. This is, no doubt, exacerbated by the not insignificant cost of a boat like this. To be clear, the vast majority of us will never have the money to own one. But the question is, if we did, would we want to?

Below

The work below on Discovery Yachts is noted for being incredibly impressive, and you could well argue that it is here the Discovery 58C has been designed to excel. Before we get into the specifics, it is worth noting that the C in 58C stands for custom, and thus the test boat we were sailing on - All Time High – has been designed alongside the owners and their wishes. This is not an all-out custom build from scratch, but within the basic confines of the moulds from which the hull and deck are made, the bulkheads etc. the world is very much your oyster (or rather, Discovery…)

Stepping down into the main saloon area what first strikes is how light it is. Large windows forward spill light into the area as do equally large portlights to port and starboard. The focal centre of the room is the seating and table area. The table is one of the first custom touches to draw the eye, with an octopus motif inlayed into its centre in what looks to be some really impressive veneer inlay skills. These themes both continue throughout – that of the octopus and truly skilful joinery. The octopus motif continues subtly through the textured drawer and cupboard handles - I ask the cost of these and the sum is eye-watering, having been designed and brought in specifically for this purpose. But it is the joinery that dazzles, the grain matching throughout the cabinetry is truly second to none.

To starboard of the steps into the saloon is a navigation table and seat, complete with all the electronic gizmos you might want. With the view forward from those two large windows, it is easy to imagine keeping watch in the dry and warm and adjusting the pilot while the rain and wind batter away outside.

Down further and forward you have a study/ guest cabin, with a heads to starboard. Typically this study area would be a bunk crew cabin with a small door leading to the double forward, but that has been eschewed here in favour of the study option. Where there would have been walls operating the bunk cabin, the corridor next to them and the double forward, there is now open space, with a curtain to separate the double from the study. This curtain is to offer some privacy from the heads, which are closest to the saloon, but now act as an effective en suite, though will be used by guests should you have more than two couples onboard. The benefit here is the large double with study but of course the drawback is that slightly awkward heads/curtain situation. These are some of the difficulties that can crop up when you are looking at a semi-customisable yacht. You will always be limited by bulkheads and hull lines, so change without compromise is somewhat limited.

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