Braving it

About Brave

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Brave is a Grand Soleil 40, built in 2002 by Cantiere del Pardo in Italy

We have owned Brave since March 2005. We have cruised her to in France, Spain, Holland and Belgium and raced her both fully crewed and two-handed, reaching Ireland and Brittany in the two-handed Triangle Race in 2008. We enjoyed our Round Britain  exploration at a more leisurely pace, and hope to continue combining the delights of cruising with the excitement of racing now and again.
Designed by Duck Design, she is a performance cruiser, with the emphasis on speed and seakeeping qualities, rather than maximum accommodation space.
We have always enjoyed both racing and cruising, and wanted a boat that could fulfil both roles. However, as she is primarily intended for short-handed cruising by a "mature" couple, we chose the cruising, rather than the racing version of this sleek and slippery design.
This means she has a slightly shorter rig and keel than the out and out racing version (though at 2.15m she still has plenty of draft for the shallow East Coast!) and also a lot more creature comforts, as weight is less of a consideration.
These include full teak decks, as well as anchor windlass, fridge, heating, two hot showers (one indoors and one outdoors) and much more besides.

Interior layout
Interior layout

Vital statistics

LOA: 12m
LWL: 10.60m
Beam: 3.80m
Draft: 2.15m
Displacement: 6,800 kg
Ballast: 2,500 kg
Engine: Yanmar 40hp 3-cylinder diesel
Fuel tank: 180 litres
Water tanks: 360 litres
Holding tank: 80 litres


Brave has Raymarine electronics including ST 60 wind, speed and depth instruments, digital radar and two e-7 chart plotters, one at the chart table and one at the binnacle - extremely useful for keeping radar watch on deck. She also has a Class B AIS transponder.
But perhaps most useful of all in the Raymarine 6001+ auto pilot, without which a crew of two would struggle to sail the boat. It is particularly welcome for its unerring grip on the wheel when reefing the main or gybing the spinnaker!
Other essential electronics include a Simrad DSC VHF radio and an ICS Navtex 6+ receiver.
Her ergonomically well thought out cockpit works equally well whether racing fully crewed or sailing short-handed. All control lines lead back to Spinlock jammers and Harken winches on the coachroof. Four large Harken winches on the coamings cope with genoa, spinnaker and main sheets. The mainsheet traveller runs the full width of the cockpit, immediately in front of the wheel, for maximum control.
The large wheel provides balanced "feel" and moves from lock to lock in a single turn. The helmsman's position is particularly well thought out, with comfortable and secure positions whether sitting or standing behind or beside the wheel, to windward or to leeward.


The GS 40 (now replaced in the range by a newer design) was available with a choice of three different interior layouts (one or two aft cabins, one or two heads compartments etc).
Ours is the "owner's version", with a huge double cabin forward and just one double cabin aft on the starboard side. This means that there is space for a generous "bathroom" with separate heads and shower compartments to port, where the other cabin would be, and also an extremely large cockpit locker behind it, essential for all the equipment needed for live-aboard cruising.
The saloon features a longitudinal galley to port, and dining area to starboard, which can convert into a double berth, so the boat can sleep six in total. But she is best suited to cruising with two or four on board.
She has an unusually generously sized chart-table - truly designed for serious cruising.
Brave cruises with a Pentex 2 + 2 radial panel main and cross cut Dacron furling headsail with vertical battens supplied by Parker and Kay at Levington.
She races with Pentex 140 per cent furling genoa and pentex furling heavy weather jib, also by Parker and Kay.
She has a Relling tri-radial all-purpose spinnaker (the last of her original suit of sails) and a smaller, heavier Asymmetric by P and K. Both kites are now installed in P and K snuffers, to encourage us to use them more often while cruising.