Noelex Yacht Association of Australia Inc


Noelex 25
By Pat McGrath

‘She slips through the water without fuss’

The Noelex 25 is a new offering from New Zealand and if it’s success in that country is anything to go by, it is destined to cut well and truly into the trailer-sailer scene in Australia.
Designed two and a half years ago by Alex Tretheway and Steve Marten, the boat was an instant success. More than 140 boats have been sold and they are currently being produced at the rate of one every three days.
The Noelex 25 is marketed in Australia by Tony Barnes Yacht Sales in the Sydney suburb of Brookvale.
For our test we sailed out of Sydney’s Middle Harbor Yacht Club.
The style of the boat disguises the large cabin below – the streamlined cabin top brought well forward and the pointy outline of the cabin windows do much to create this impression.
The sail area is modest and one would be forgiven in thinking that the Noelex was not a performer, but perform it does, having taken many trailer-sailer titles as well as making fast passages along the coast of New Zealand.
The large cockpit can seat eight, with ease, and the decks are completely covered with an excellent moulded nonskid pattern.
A narrow catwalk on either side leads to the foredeck. This is quite sufficient for the crew while allowing increased room below deck.
Up in the bow the pulpit is of larger section than most and connects with a simple life line and stanchion system extending unbroken all around the boat.
The forestay is attached to a chainplate passing through a slot in the deck at the bow.
Upon opening the anchor-well cover it can be seen that the chainplate is attached by a pendant around a bronze pulley to a hyfield lever which is used to tension the forestay after raising the mast. The hyfield lever is adjustable to suit tension requirements, but is set at the factory for normal use.
The large and deep anchor-well has a flat platform in its after part designed as a place to stand while taking in the anchor.,
The lid to the locker is removable. Some owners replace it with a canvas and shockcord cover so that the shallow after portion of the locker can be used as a spinnaker launcher.
There is a hefty anchor cleat aft of this locker, recessed in the deck.,
The relatively small three-quarter rig has a circular-section bendy mast set-up with a simple three-point rigging system and angled spreaders.
The foredeck hatch is large enough for sailbags and hefty crew members, but small enough to give waist-high security when handling foredeck lines and sails in rough water.
In front of the mast is an athwartships traveller track for the self-tacking jib. It has a three-block set-up on the traveller, with a double-ended jibsheet leading back to cam cleats on both sides of the cockpit.
There are no jibsheet winches on the boat.
All the internal mast system controls come out of the base of the mast through exit slots in the cast alloy mast base.
This removes stress concentrations from the mast section and typifies careful design thinking.
Mainsail outhaul, cunningham, boom vans and halyard controls are on the port side of the cabin top. Jib and spinnaker halyards, spinnakerpole kicker and topping-lift are to starboard.
Assorted cam and clam cleats are staggered at the aft end of the cabin top within convenient reach of the cockpit crew.
Slab reefing gear has internal reefing lines in the boom which come out near the gooseneck where there are twin tack hooks.
The large cockpit is divided by the mainsheet track, behind which is the outboard motor well.
There is no cut-out in the transom. The motor well has a removable plate in the bottom so that when the motor is raised, the well is sealed, reducing drag and protecting the motor from immersion by following seas. We found this feature worked well in practice.
The tiller passes through the transom above the motor well to the pivoting outboard rudder and comes equipped with a hiking stick.
On either side of the outboard well are deep storage compartments with the fuel tank to starboard.
Down below, the effect of spaciousness is enhanced by the wide cockpit sole and large plushy-upholstered seats and bunks. Two bunks forward are converted into a double with the aid of the back cushion from the starboard cabin seat.
The toilet, which can be chemical or pump type, is on the port side opposite the hanging locker, the door of which opens to close off the forepeak for privacy.
The backrest of the port seat converts to a double berth end there is a goodsized quarter-berth to starboard. Thus the Noelex 25 can sleep six in comfort.
The centreboard case is in the forward centre of the cabin but is carefully built-in to the galley unit and does not intrude.
The ballasted board is raised and lowered by a hand-crank on top of the
boardcase and has a sight-gauge to reveal the board’s position.
The board locks up and down and is easily accessible for maintenance from the cabin.
The galley has plenty of stowage lockers. The water tank is under the sink and the optional metho stove is to port.
Under the companionway is a large slide-out icebox which can be fitted with an optional electric refrigerator.
Under sail, the Noelex 25 really shows her paces. The hull is sharp forward with smooth run-out to a flatish aft section.
She does not drag her transom or pitch excessively and she slips through the water quietly and without fuss.
The sail controls allow easy sailshaping for any heading and she is a close-winded performer tacking fast and surely.
The self-tacking jib is a delight to experience and will appeal to the family sailor and single-hander alike.
Off the wind she tracks well and shows good control. The shallow skeg must help in this regard.
On the wind the sails can be shaped so they both luff together and in the puffs
the boat can be “scalloped” up to windward without losing speed.
On a reach, she will heel in the gusts without getting out of control and if the tiller is released will round-up steadily through the eye of the wind.
The Noelex has a reputation for being a high-wind sail carrier and of being able to recover from bad knockdowns even with the board raised.
With the roomy, comfortable interior plus the sleek hull end easy-to-use efficient rig, it is no wonder that the Noelex 25 is such a success with family sailors and racers.
Price of the complete boat is $18,600, electric fridge unit is $448 and spinnaker, gear and pole $794. Stove and toilet are optional extras.

Noelex 25
The Best of Both Worlds
‘Modern Boating’, June 1982

It’s seldom that you find a yacht which delivers “the best of both worlds”- a sensible layout for cruising and a competitive turn of speed to satisfy racing inclinations. RIK DOVEY explains why this Kiwi TS comes close.

The Noelex 25 arrived in Australia with a good reputation from New Zealand where about 300 were sold in three years. After six months in NSW 11 had been sold amongst stiff opposition.
The 7.77m (25’6″) LOA trailer sailer can sleep up to six and is designed for both racing and cruising. Construction throughout is of handlaminated GRP with Q-Cel core. Manufacturers are Marten Marine Industries of Auckland, builders of the successful Noelex 22.
The designers of the 25, Alex Trethaway and Steve Marten, said they set out to design a simple, easily rigged boat with excellent performance and one that was easy to tow. They also wanted an interior second to none, a claim ; that is hard to contradict.
The fractional rig features a self-tacking jib, a boon for easy sailing, and a low aspect mainsail set on fine, tapered spars. The only winch on the boat handles the dagger type centreboard. Sail and rig controls are laid out to do away with winches. The hull is designed with the now traditional fine lines forward and a flat run aft to water level at the transom. An addition is a small skeg.
Fully imported from New Zealand, the Noelex 25 has a number of features new to Australia’s trailer sailer scene.
On deck the most obvious is the selftacking jib. Less obvious until underway is a system of completely closing off the outboard well in the cockpit when the motor is not in use.
Below, the main cabin is kept uncramped by the use of a self-contained refrigerator/food storage bin that slides out of the way beneath the cockpit sole. The table is folded and put away when not being used.
Sailaway with mainsail and jib but not outboard motor or trailer, the Noelex 25’s price in NSW in February was $19,995.
Below decks there is accommodation for up to six people, a galley, toilet and generally plenty of space. Topsides there is a roomy cockpit and clean deck layout.
A look at the deck gives the clue to the major reason for the spaciousness down below. The cabin top is particularly wide leaving only narrow sidedecks. Similarly, it takes away foredeck space by tapering slowly down to deck level well forward of the mast step.
As indicated, going below the overwhelming impression is one of uncluttered space, in fact it’s hard to believe the boat is just a 25 footer. Having a dagger type centreboard leaves the main cabin area open and the headroom is 1.65m (5’5″). Interior finish is flow coated fibreglass with woodwork being teak. For’ard the V-berth becomes a double by using the backrest from the starboard side settee in the main cabin as a drop in. It is 1.8m (6’2″) long and up to 1.2m (4ft) wide, but, inevitably in a craft of this size, it would be too narrow towards the bow for two adults to be comfortable. There are ample shelves all around.
Without the inset in place a panel finished in non-skid is exposed. This is the standing area for anyone handling headsails or the anchor while in the aftopening hatch; sound thinking as it provides a secure footing and saves bunk cushions from being trampled. Aft of the bunks there is a toilet (pump or chemical) to port and a hanging locker to starboard. The door to the locker opens aft to close off the bulkhead and give privacy to the for’ard cabin. The main bulkhead not only supports the mast but also provides the backing for the galley on the port side. This fibreglass moulding incorporates a sink, cutlery tray below the support for a twin burner spirit stove (ungimballed), locker, large bottle bin and 45 litre (10 gal) fresh water tank which has an external filler.
A rack along the bulkhead holds bottles with shelves lining the sides of the main cabin for bits and pieces. The bulkhead also supports the leading edge of the centreboard case which in turn becomes the support for the detachable table. The centreboard contains all the lead ballast (272kg/6001b) and is operated by a 20:1 worm gear winch mounted on the top. The case has a perspex inspection hatch to check that the board is fully raised, there is also a
locking pin. A long settee takes up the port side with its back rest removable to make the settee a double bunk. Opposite the starboard settee runs into a quarter berth for children.
The space between the cockpit sole and keelson is taken up by the refrigerator and food bin, one unit which rolls out into the main cabin for access. Above that, in a rack when not in use, is the table which has two leaves. When needed the table is attached to the centreboard case and folded out. It adds bench area for the galley slave. When not needed the fridge unit can be lifted out and off the boat. It’s an impressive arrangement which is sure to be copied.
Topsides there is seating for six in comfort in the roomy cockpit. Most will feel quite secure sailing the Noelex with its teak grabrails, pushpit, pulpit, standard single lifeline and fully enclosed transom. There is a self draining anchor well in the bow and the narrow side decks are still wide enough to walk along carefully. The nimble-footed will go straight over the coachroof. The fractional rig is low aspect and with the small jib area for self tacking the drive is concentrated in the mainsail. Jiffy reefing quickly takes large chunks out of mainsail area with the long foot.
All controls lead aft along the cabin top to the cockpit, and there is not one winch on deck. Three to one purchase on the self tacking jib handles that with the addition of barber haulers for racing. The finely sectioned mast is tapered and supported by single swept back spreaders that do away with a backstay.
A feature of the boat is the clever arrangement for the outboard motor. It is situated in a cockpit well that, in a feature not seen on Australian designs, is filled in when the motor is not in use. A swivel bracket takes the outboard which clears the water when raised. The opening is then filled in with a flanged trapdoor that seals the well.
This eliminates all drag when underway as well as preventing water sloshing around in the cockpit when not moving. Another advantage is that the propeller thrust passes over the rudder, improving steering. Finally it eliminates the need for a more expensive long shaft outboard. The fuel tank is stowed in the starboard cockpit locker along with water containers etc., while the port aft locker can be used for clothing etc.
The Noelex has an impressive racing record in New Zealand and has chalked up a number of wins in trailer sailer events in its first season in NSW. It’s designed as a cruiser/racer and it should handle both well. Our test on and outside Sydney Harbour was held in 12-16 knot winds. With just two on board we had no trouble handling the boat under full rig, including setting, gybing and changing spinnakers.
The helmsman can sit up high on the coaming to keep an eye on jib telltales, supporting himself with one foot on the top of the outboard. For’ard hands need never risk going over the side. Once the sails are hoisted, everything can be handled while standing in the for’ard hatch. The Noelex was easy to steer. Pressing it to round up was difficult, and just easing the traveller and keeping mainsheet tension on to keep the mast bent handled the gusts.
With the IOR influence of having large mainsails and small jibs, it’s surprising that the self-tacking jib has not caught on. They are ideal for shorthanded sailing and one person has no trouble handling the Noelex.
The Noelex 25 has become popular in a short time in New Zealand and there is no real reason why it shouldn’t catch on in Australia as well. Its interior is excellent for a 7.7 metre yacht, it’s fun and reasonably fast to sail as well as being a comfortable cruiser.
Innovations like the closing outboard well and fridge/food storage arrangement are big bonuses in what appeared to be an already well designed trailer sailer. We did not have the opportunity to launch or retrieve the boat, but we can’t see either being difficult. The Noelex 25 measured up very well indeed.