There is a school of thought that holds that designing a boat requires making a series of compromises. Veteran Kiwi naval architect Roger Hill, however, would have you believe the key is not so much compromise as it is balance, and he makes a strong case for this approach in his new (and aptly named) Balance 451 performance cruiser.
At first blush, the most striking features of the Balance 451 are its slim hulls, contoured cabintrunk and—above all else—an aggressive pair of wave-piercing bows that serve to both increase waterline length and reduce pitching.
However, closer inspection reveals that the Balance 451’s commitment to performance is much more than skin deep. Although nearly 4ft longer than her predecessor and close cousin, the Balance 421, the 451 comes in at roughly the same displacement, thanks to the fact that not only are her hulls and deck foam cored, but her bulkheads, floors, hardtop bimini, cabinetry and even her dining tables are cored as well. This light weight translates into speed without having to resort to a massive, hard-to-handle sailplan