Every inch a trawler, the Selene 40 is an impressive boat.
Story by Bill Parlatore – Editor Passagemaker magazine
Quality, Capability & Value Find Harmony
Five years ago when Bill Parlatore first saw the then just-launched Selene 36 trawler he felt that while it was a good looking boat with a traditional layout, it seemed to need a few more centimetres here and there to really work as a live-aboard cruising vessel. Now with the release of the Selene 40 all that has been addressed.
With overall production now at approximately 50 boats a year, Jet-Tern has really cranked up the creation of a model line-up from 11m to 22m LOA. Howard Chen continues his ever-present refinement, and the quality of today’s boats is first class. I have been amazed at how quickly the Chinese boatbuilding industry has gone from zero to light speed, with quality continuing to increase, as many world-class builders find “The Central Kingdom” a prime source of workers who are able to craft fine cruising yachts through training and hard work.
When I first stepped aboard the Selene 40, I immediately noticed a beefy rub rail 350mm off the water that runs from the swim platform to just aft of the flared bow, which stands proud of the rail. Two opening-out side doors are located amidships, each 430mm wide and 400mm high. The doors’ latches lock cleverly to prevent accidental opening.
The swim platform is integral to the hull, and a stainless-steel trim piece protects it and continues on to shield the rub rail as well. 800mm deep and full beam, the swim platform offers a solid surface for getting into or out of the dinghy or spreading out dive gear. A swim ladder slides out of the platform.
One step up from the platform through a transom door and we’re in the small aft cockpit, 1090mm deep with a built-in bench seat (1905mm long) that has storage under it. A starboard lazarette hatch opens to reveal a large storage area as wide and deep as the cockpit and 1070mm high.
The space contains steering gear, house batteries, and the stern thruster, with its switches and battery. I found that it took some gymnastics to get into the lazarette, but I’m sure with practice I could learn to slither into it nicely (although a removable set of steps would make it much easier).
The deck hardware on the boat is recessed into the 430mm-high bulwarks, which have a stainless-steel rail on top for a minimum of 890mm of protection. Side decks are at least 400mm wide. A massive Samson post takes centre stage on the foredeck, with matching chain lockers on each side of the Muir gypsy/capstan windlass.
The boat deck is up several steps from the aft cockpit and is where the boat’s dinghy will be stored. While the standard boat does not come with a dinghy or cradle, it is clear this setup will work well, as the boat’s mast and boom can lift a 3.5m dinghy and motor with ease. (The boom has electric winches mounted on it.) The flybridge is large, with two helm chairs and a centreline helm console. Visibility from the helm is outstanding in all directions, and, with a bimini to protect the crew from the sun, it is a wonderful place to watch the world go by. An L-shaped settee with storage underneath is on the port side of the flybridge, complete with table. There is terrific storage under the helm console as well. This spot was intended as a place for a LP gas tank, but the tank was moved to a stand-alone locker near the mast.
My impression of the exterior of this boat is one of lasting construction, first-rate stainless-steel work that feels good to the touch, a minimal amount of brightwork to maintain, and excellent fibreglass work.
The Selene feels like it will stay solid for a very long time, and I suspect that notion stems from the lack of visibly caulked seams, which usually indicate panels assembled to create a structure. I really like that sturdiness.
A Very Liveable Interior
Access to the interior of the Selene 40 is through two side doors: a 20-inch-wide sliding door by the lower helm and a 24-inch-wide door on the port side that affords access just aft of the galley up. Once inside, the visual transition from white fibreglass and highly polished stainless steel to fine furniture is stunning. Jet-Tern’s interior treatment is absolutely first class.
The double-stateroom design puts guest accommodations forward and the master cabin at the aft end of the boat. A large saloon, 3.6m by 3.0m, separates the two private cabins in classic fashion. The saloon has a large, 2.84m-long galley on the port side, with a beautiful granite counter running the full length.
The refrigerator is at the aft end of the galley, and a Force 10 oven/stove is on the forward end of the counter. The placement of the double stainless-steel sink offers good utility while allowing visibility and interaction with crew lounging on the U-shaped settee opposite the galley. The settee is raised enough off the sole to give everyone a clear outside view. Seating is relaxed, and the adjustable saloon table doesn’t force that “suck in the gut” manoeuvre while sliding around the settee. This is a much appreciated feature, as so many boats try to maximise table size at the expense of comfort.
Jet-Tern’s answer is a table that opens almost magically into a larger one through a built-in leaf. It may be a small detail, but it points to the general comfort level and focus of the boat. This is a trawler to relax in and really enjoy, not just look at with shoes off.
Headroom exceeds 1.98m throughout the boat. Tinted, opening windows provide excellent light, ventilation, and visibility. I also noted plenty of handholds for moving safely around the boat.
Forward of the settee on the starboard side is the lower helm, which has a built-in double helm bench with storage underneath. Storage is everywhere on the Selene: in lockers, drawers, and bins and on shelves. It is difficult to imagine running out of space with the normal amount of cruising and living “stuff” we bring aboard.
The helm console has enough room for a full suite of integrated electronics, as well as controls for the engine, bow and stern thrusters, and Exalto windshield wipers. The helm’s overhead panel houses engine instrumentation, a searchlight, and a VHF radio. I was impressed with the visibility from the lower helm; two 18-inch ports on the aft bulkhead allow a view behind the boat. An opening chart table lies forward of the galley, opposite the helm.
Standing in the saloon, taking it all in, I thought about the quality of the countless bits and pieces that make up all boats. The Selene 40 has Cantalupi lighting fixtures, overhead cabinets in the galley (including a wine glass rack), leather settee cushions, positive-latching hardware for drawers and lockers…there is a lot to like. Many of these elements might be missed on a casual boat show walk-through, but they make the ownership experience special. Quality just feels good. It’s three steps down to the forward guest stateroom, complete with en-suite head and shower. The steps have storage underneath, and a clever pocket door closes off the cabin for privacy.
The V-berth, with a seat in the middle, has drawers and lockers beneath, and there’s a 400mm-long cedar- lined hanging locker on the starboard side. Two opening ports and a third in the head complement the overhead Manship hatch, and all bring in lots of light and ventilation, although there is a separate register for air conditioning in the guest cabin.
The head features a Tecma head, shower and faucet fixtures by Grohe, and three mirrored medicine cabinets to hold all of one’s toiletries as well as visually open up the space.
Walking back through the saloon, three steps lead down to the master stateroom, which measures roughly 2.75m by 2.75m. Drawers and lockers surround the island queen berth, and several opening ports make for a bright and cheery interior. The master head is on the port side, and there’s a huge stand-up shower on the starboard side of the stateroom. The shower has a dogged door for engine room access, with a viewing port so one can see into the machinery space before opening the door.
Two hanging lockers complete the master accommodations. Visibility from this stateroom offers as much or as little privacy as one might want; one can close the curtains and the pocket door to create a truly private cabin away from the rest of the boat.
A nice master stateroom is expected on a 12.2m passagemaker, but having two nice staterooms is even better. I can’t imagine how to improve much on this layout and its proportions if one desires a classic two-stateroom boat.
Quality Engine Room
Several large sole hatches lift for access into the engine room, and one is hinged to provide easy entry down to the Northern Lights 8kW genset. But the main engine room entrance is through the dogged door in the master shower.
Open this door and you are in for a treat. The Selene 40’s engine room, almost 3.4m long, is simply superb, and I have been in a lot of engine rooms. Well lined with sound-deadening insulation and trimmed in teak to cover those nasty sharp corners, the space is relatively huge. Between the two outboard fuel tanks, I measured 2.13m of easily reached space around the centreline 230hp Cummins QSB diesel engine. Headroom is 1.75m just inside the engine room access door. I could live in this engine room!
The Selene of today is a hugely improved boat when compared with the initial models introduced in 1999. The workforce has grown, the yards have expanded, and collectively the Jet-Tern team is able to produce quality boats that represent excellent value. If you haven’t checked out a Selene recently, I think you will be impressed.