When John Taylor returned from his herculean record breaking circumnavigation of New Zealand in 1994, he had one thing in mind…. a bigger boat. So impressed with the success of the Genesis 320 Euro, he had no hesitation in looking to the same builders for his replacement vessel.
Midnight Sun is the first Genesis 400 Targa and although still incorporating the same hull and decks as the flybridge (see LMY March 98), the layout is somewhat different.
Built by Genesis Marine of Auckland, the Genesis 400 follows a well-proven lineage, with over 140 of the smaller Genesis 32’s and early 3100s in the water. More surprising is that they are still selling today in such numbers that even after 15 years are the most popular boat of their size and style on the market.
With such a large client base to call on, designer Chris Pollock has been careful not to depart radically from the successful elements that make up the 320 Euro. More modern and stylish in appearance there is a lot of the 320 Euro in the new boats, something that is certainly going to help with future sales.
In recent years almost every 320 Euro that’s left the factory has had a fixed hardtop, either with clears or solid front and side panels. The 400 Targa is not dissimilar in concept, it’s just that the cabin top is now more a structural part of the vessel, as opposed to the 320 hardtop which was strictly an add-on. In effect, the targa is just a flybridge boat without the top section. Visually the difference between the targa and flybridge are different angles on the side screens, fewer curves in the rear sliding door and the aft bulkhead is moved forward in the targa to give more cockpit space.
It hasn’t been a quick task, with the 400 going through a three-year gestation period before the first boats were unveiled at the New Zealand Boat Show in mid 1998. Since then six have been sold, with Midnight Sun being the only targa version to date.
In deciding on the Genesis 400 Targa, Taylor had a number of factors to consider, not the least being the height restriction imposed by the bridge leading into the Auckland OBC marina at Whakatakataka Bay. Even now however, with only 2.7m from waterline to cabin top entry and exit is restricted to 1 to 2 hours either side of high tide.
Another major consideration was the accommodation requirements, which called for four family berths forward, and two double cabins. This detailed right through to the length of the bunks and height in the cabin to cater for an exceptionally tall son-in-law.
“That’s the beauty of building a semi custom boat”, said Pollock, “It allows you to interact with the client and make changes that are personal to their own requirements”.
“There’s more than just changing a colour scheme and whilst they certainly have that choice, if a bulkhead needs to be moved or a specialist accommodation layout incorporated into the design, then we do everything we can to achieve it.”
Midnight Sun features a four berth arrangement forward as opposed to the island double on the other Genesis 400s. Both the upper and lower berths are over 2m long. Storage is provided in an open unit to port, with a hanging locker opposite, plus space beneath the lower berths is also utilised.
On the starboard side, the owners cabin has been extended well under the internal helm to cater for the extended squab length. Storage areas are provided in a hanging locker and shelf space, plus areas under the berth.
All guests are serviced with common shower and toilet areas, finished with two pot lacquer and vinyl wall coverings for ease of cleaning. Future plans include full fibreglass mouldings for both the shower and toilet compartments. Aluminium extruded doors with PVC infills are used in all the forward area and there’s a nice touch of quality to accentuate the layout. Italian tapware graces the bathroom, with Cantaluppi lighting throughout the boat and Weaver hatches providing extra lighting and ventilation to the forward areas.
The lower level galley in Midnight Sun differs from other Genesis 400’s with the owner requesting more aft storage, a repositioning of the freezer and a larger oven with grill. There’s a fridge below with top loading freezer set into the rear of the vanity, a microwave and both fresh and saltwater plumbed into the sink. Rustic oak adds a nice touch to the galley floor.
The main saloon level with its large internal helm and a seating layout is virtually identical to all Genesis 400s. However without the added extra of the flybridge station, the main cabin takes on a sporty, somewhat big runabout feel. Opening side windows and big sliding overhead hatches ventilate and accentuate the saloons open style. Although you know there’s nothing above you still find yourself looking around for the ladder to go topside. The only option is standing in the hatch, where the wind rushing through your hair can be quite appealing.
Overall the layout is casual and understated, but it is also very functional and well conceived. The heart of Midnight Sun is the helm station which is an identical layout to the flybridge model and has provision for in-built electronics, DC circuit breaker panels and a wide range of instrumentation and controls. Difference in the targa, is the traditional burr walnut steering and dash panels, have been replaced with kevlar for a more modern look.
The seating layout arrangement has a large dinette to port with drop table to enable more accommodation area, plus a single settee opposite. There are ample storage lockers and in the case of Midnight Sun an extra fridge unit has been built in under the port lounge. With an external access hatch, all the fishing rods can be safely stowed under the port settee.
Outside, the cockpit has generous stowage on both sides and around the central bbq area, which forms an island between the two transom doors. This also houses the external shower attachments, large bait board and extra stowage lockers.
Built on the same level as the cockpit sole, the full width boarding platform is arranged with three large wet lockers and a handy ladder for ease of access for divers and swimmers.
Both the internal and external areas of the 400 Targa are well defined and characteristic of Genesis, who make it all look quite simple and straightforward. Construction is conventional grp with no special emphasis placed on weight saving, rather a solid wholesome hull that has the right qualities to perform in adverse sea conditions. Fitted with a pair of Cummins Diamond Series 370B engines through v-drives the weight is right at the stern of the boat.
Top speed is 33 knots in light trim, with a cruise speed of 26 knots at 2600 rpm. Other power options allow for twin or single diesel installations in either V-drive or sterndrive, from 400 hp – 850 hp.
The handling and performance of the new 400 Targa feels a lot like a large ‘fizzboat’ and follows the exceptional performance associated with the 320 Euro. The underwater sections are a development of the 320 Euro and there’s no doubt they have been well proven over the years. John Taylor’s ride around New Zealand proved that!
The owner is absolutely ecstatic about his new boat and is adamant that his boating pleasure is no less an experience for not having an open flybridge. With the trend today towards staying out of the strong UV rays, the Genesis 400 Targa is ideal.
It’s really no more than a hardtop on an open sports boat, albeit an exemplary statement of the targa designs. Taylor regards Midnight Sun as the perfect vessel to cater for the demands of family cruising, but with a sporty attitude that sees the ‘record breaking’ urges come out to play when he feels the need for an adrenaline rush!
- Design Name :Genesis 400 Targa
- Builder: Genesis Marine
- Designer: Chris Pollock
- LOA: 12.1 m
- Beam: 4.0 m
- Draft: 0.8 m
- Displacement: 8 tonnes
- Max Speed: 33 knots
- Cruise: Speed 26 knots
- Construction: GRP / Divinycell
- Fuel Capacity: 1000 litres
- Water Capacity: 450 litres
- Year Launched: 1998
- Power: 2 x Cummins 370B
- Cost Base Boat: $365,000