The Windy 34 Alizé is the spiritual successor to the sensational 34 (and 35) Khamsin, one of the best models that the Norwegian builder has ever made. No pressure, then.
Windy has given the Alizé every chance to succeed, however, by employing the services of superstar superyacht designer, Espin Øino, to unleash his pencil case and draw a modern interpretation of the classic Windy sportsboat shape. It's certainly a good-looking boat with razor-sharp lines and a traditional open sportscruiser style that is becoming a rare sight these days but can this style of boat compete with the type of modern walkaround sportsboat that has swept that market of late? Read on to find out...
Windy Boats W34 Alizé Key Facts
- LOA 33.793ft
- Model Year 2022
- Cabins 1
- Max Speed 37 knots
- Status In Production
- Yacht Type Sportsboat
- Use Type Weekending
Test & Review Video
Around the Marina
If you opt for the twin-engine version of the 34 then there is the option to have the joystick, which vectors the sterndrives to deliver push and twist control of the boat at slow speed. The latest generation of the Volvo Penta sterndrive joystick is streets ahead of the early system and it works really well these days, so it could be an option to add if you don't feel confident with throttles and thrusters.
Our test boat had the single 440hp Volvo Penta D6 and a bow thruster, and though it may not be as intuitive to handle around a marina as the twins with a joystick, it's still a very easy boat to handle at slow speeds. The power steering is light and easily swings the sterndrive leg from lock-to-lock and a powerful bow thruster makes light work of giving the bow a solid nudge in either direction. The sight lines are superb, too.
The design of the main deck means, if single-handed, it’s not as easy to get off the boat as it is on a walkaround design. The skipper needs to either dash through the windscreen and onto the foredeck to work the lines or down to the bathing platform, which is the easiest spot to step off. On a centre console boat of this size or something like the Saxdor 320 GTO, it’s easy enough to step over the bulwark and be on the pontoon with a line in your hand. This isn’t possible on the Windy.
A wide selection of twin and single petrol or diesel engines is available with the 34 Alizé. There will be some who simply like the perceived comfort of having twin engines, despite the fact that most reliability issues (such as poor fuel or electrical faults) will affect both motors. There are also those who cherish performance and if that’s the case then the twin 440hp version capable of 50 knots will no doubt prove attractive.
For me, the engine in our test boat makes the most sense. The single D6 440hp offers a great balance of performance and efficiency and it will be cheaper to maintain. Not to mention that the single motor has so much space to work around it inside the 34’s immaculately executed engine room. Press a button and the entire aft sun pad lifts up to grant outstanding access to the machinery space.
How does it perform, though? Effortlessly, in a word. I drove the boat during a group press sea trial at the Cannes Boat Show where we had 6 people on board and the 6-cylinder Volvo made easy work of skipping the 34 onto the plane. With this many people on board, we managed a top speed of 37 knots but under normal load conditions you should expect closer to 40 knots flat out. More importantly, a 30-knot cruise is comfortably achieved even with the boat full and it feels very settled at this speed where it will run for a range of around 250-300nm.
Our boat had Humphree’s excellent auto trim system installed which, when teamed with Volvo’s own Trim Assist for the sterndrive leg, makes handling the boat at speed an absolute breeze. If you want to take control yourself, though, the 34 will reward you. The steering is beautifully weighted, the boat a joy to thread through the waves. In the face of a chop, the Windy stands up well. The hull feels solid and slices effortlessly through the worst of the waves and the fast reactions to both the wheel and throttle mean you can get yourself out of trouble in a split second if you need to.
The aforementioned driver aids make the 34 Alizé a really easy boat to drive at high speed. The hull is naturally so well balanced but Trim Assist and the Humphree tabs take all of the stress out of manipulating the boat's controls for the conditions. It has razor-sharp responses but it's also docile and approachable when it needs to be. And in a world of T-tops and fully enclosed sportsboats the Windy delivers such a refreshing wind-in-the-hair experience with nothing between you and the bright blue sky. There is the typical Windy addition of a pop-up bimini, which is more for use at anchor, but on the move, this boat's connection to its surroundings is second to none.
It's a boat that you immediately connect with because of its outstanding driving position. It doesn't matter what shape you are or whether you want to sit or stand because the helm position has the adjustment to suit all shapes and sizes. The bolster position, which I adopted for the bulk of our trial, is superb and gives excellent leg and back support with a perfectly clear view forward. Sit down, though, and such is the depth of the windscreen that barely a whisper of breeze can make its way to the helm seat.
Builder Speed & Range Data
734 nm @ 6.0 knotseco
302 nm @ 26.5 knotscruise
245 nm @ 36.7 knotsmax
Windy Boats W34 Alizé version 2022. *Data supplied by the manufacturer.
View Full Test Results
In a world of sportboats with walkaround decks and hulking T-tops the 34 Alizé cuts a dash. The classic Windy profile is there but it's a thoroughly modern interpretation courtesy of Espin Øino. He first worked with Windy on the 37 Shamal, the bigger sister to the 34, but despite sharing a similar form, the Alizé has a look all of its own. It's a great-looking boat with no line out of place, no superfluous gimmicks and a lean, muscular stance. Windy produces its own line of T-top sportscruisers as part of the SR range but it's great to see it sticking to its guns with this range.
The boat is made using a resin-infused sandwich with a foam core, an efficient process which produces a structure that is strong but relatively light (the 34 weighs just 5.7 tonnes). It's a solid-feeling boat that is peppered with Windy's usual attention to detail. There is, for example, a really useful locker in the deck as you board the boat where all the fenders slide into a bespoke fabric holder. There is a chunky guardrail running around the inside of the windscreen meaning there is always something to grab onto as you move around the cockpit. The windscreen and its built-in door are made of hefty stainless steel that feels solid in the hand and the upholstery is high-quality NIROXX that is water resistant, hard wearing and comfortable to lounge around on. The 34 is not what you'd call cheap (see the Value For Money section below) but its quality and attention to detail are clear to see.
No area exemplifies this better than the engine room, which is underneath the aft sun pad and accessed by pushing a button at the helm. The entire pad lifts up to reveal an immaculately engineered machinery space, which in the single-engine set-up of our test boat has a ridiculous amount of space for the motor to wallow in. Both daily service checks and more in-depth checks would be a piece of cake and even with another engine in there, it would still be plenty spacious enough.
The 34 Alizé isn't necessarily a boat you would buy for its interior accommodation. The headroom is pretty restricted (not quite 6ft (1.83m) in the centre of the cabin), it's open plan and there isn't even a curtain to separate the spaces, so privacy isn't great. There's no dinette so there is plenty of space for a neatly designed separate bathroom, a spacious double forward and two decent crawl-in berths amidships, however. There is also an in-fill cushion that stows under one of the berths that make the twins amidships into a (large) double bed. For a family of four, this arrangement would be fine for short periods of time but the lack of privacy would make sharing with guests a little intimate for anything longer than the odd night.
There isn't a galley as such but there's a sink down here, a fridge and a single burner induction hob. The bespoke storage for Windy branded crockery is a nice touch, though, and this builds into a wider theme of high-quality execution that's on show throughout the interior. It may be compact but there's an easy classiness to the fit and finish below deck. It extends to the bathroom where there is a mirror with built-in lighting, tactile bathroom ware, lashings of timber and a separate shower cubicle with a moulded seat. Overnighting may not be a great concern on this boat but having a proper bathroom - even on something being used as a day boat - is important.
The helm station manages to be functional without distracting from the business of driving. It's draped in a soft, dark material that looks classy and eliminates glare completely so the only thing that pops from the dash is the 16in Raymarine Axiom MFD. An attractive run of toggle switches dominates the lower dash with easily accessed controls for things like lights, pumps and wipers. A raised moulding to the right of the dash puts the throttles just where you need them and there's also a remote panel to control the MFD, which will be very handy when out in bumpy conditions.
Storage is good with a mix of cup holders, which are large enough to hold a phone or pair of sunglasses, and some deeper storage at knee level for larger items. The single MFD and lack of analogue dials mean the single screen will be working quite hard to display all the information needed but this aside, the helm is a driver-focussed masterpiece.
The cockpit design is familiar Windy and, in a way, feels like a scaled-down version of the 37 Shamal. There are no side decks, with access forward via a door in the windscreen, so the cockpit spreads the full 3.15m (10ft 3in) of the Alizé's beam. The aft end is dominated by a double sun pad, with the typical Windy addition of a sliding backrest, which can be locked in place at various stages along its runners to give bias to sunbathing or dining space.
The dinette table, which raises and lowers at the touch of a button as an option, can drop down and with some in-fill cushions become another sun pad. Add that to the one aft and the foredeck cushions and there is plenty of space to stretch out and enjoy the sun on this boat.
The seating is set low, as well, so it's really well protected by the windscreen and shelter from the breeze is good, despite how open the boat is. On that note, though the 34 doesn't have the T-top option of many of its walkaround rivals the bimini works a treat. It pops into place and, when collapsed, stows away so neatly you'd barely notice it's there.
The inherent depth and security of the cockpit make it a very safe space to move around in but crewing isn't as easy as something like a Fjord 36 or Saxdor 320. Though there are rails around the edge of the windscreen that you can hang fenders from - and dedicated stowage in a locker beneath the deck - moving on to the foredeck simply isn't as easy as on a walkaround design. Access up the dash and through the windscreen is safe enough but the foredeck is far more exposed and not as easy to work on. It's a necessary compromise with the design but it does mean the boat isn't as easy to handle alone.
The cockpit is also lacking amenities compared to some rivals. There is a decent fridge built into the deck in front of the companionway hatch but there isn't a proper wet bar (though there may be an option for this in the future) so no sink or grill in the cockpit. So you'd better get used to picnics.
The starting price for a 34 Alizé in the UK is £299,457 ex VAT (correct at the time of writing). It's not often that the base engine is the one to have but in this instance that may will be the case because it's the single D6 440hp diesel engine that our test boat had. I covered its performance and handling at the top of this review but the efficiency of this engine/drive combination shouldn't be overlooked. At a very comfortable 25-knot cruising speed it's sipping just 2.0 l/nm for a range of 302nm and even flat out at 37 knots it will cover nearly 250nm.
It's £75,000 to upgrade to the near 50-knot twin 440hp configuration, though there is the option of the twin four-cylinder D4 320s, which are just over £40,000 extra and good for around 45 knots. There's plenty of choice but unless you really don't feel comfortable without two engines, the single 440hp is the one to go for.
Our Options & Pick
The price may be on the higher end of the scale but the standard specification is generous meaning you don't have to shell out for an endless list of extras. However, with a single engine, the bow thruster (£2,905) is a valuable addition and, even on the twin-engine versions, will mean you don't have to pay £10,000 for Volvo's Aquamatic joystick. The electrically adjustable cockpit table (£3,219) adds versatility to the dinette and allows you to make up another sun pad if needed.
GRP decking is standard so an upgrade to Flexiteek on the platform (£2,287) and in the cockpit (£5,167) will help brighten up the deck spaces. The galley fridge is standard but you can't have enough cooling space so you'll want to add the (£1,677) cockpit fridge for good measure. The generator is just shy of £15,000 and will be a must-have if you're keeping the boat in a warm climate where the £10,000 16,000BTU air-con will be called upon.
There are various upgrades within the Humphree trim system package but at the very least the X-300 Interceptors with auto trim (£2,092) will make running the boat at speed a whole lot easier. Charging £600 for a windscreen washer is a bit naughty but Windy wouldn't be the first to do it.
All of these extras come to a total for a boat to my spec of £342,404 ex VAT (correct at the time of writing).
The 34 Alizé is proof that there is plenty of life in this genre yet. Mixing up the design team was a big call but it's paid off because the 34 is recognisably a Windy sportsboat with a modern edge that loses none of the important factors that make a Windy what it is. The focus on performance, handling, efficiency and the driving environment is still there. It's probably not quite as easy to live with as Fjord 36 or Saxdor 320 GTO and the accommodation isn't the most spacious but when it's on its toes at 30 knots, powering through the crests, most of these concerns will melt away.
Reasons to Buy
- Razor sharp styling
- Quality fit-out
- Excellent dynamics
- Helm position
Things to Consider
- Compromised accommodation
- Lack of amenities on deck
Rivals to Consider
Given the rarity of these pure sportsboats designs these days the 34 Alizé is up against some pretty special stuff and a litany of walkaround sportsboats. Here's a selection of some of them.
The Sea Ray 320 Sundancer is more leisure focussed than the Windy but what it concedes in dynamics and performance it gains in living space both on deck and inside the cabin. The Americans certainly know how to create a sociable deck area and the 320's is a real stand-out feature. With a BBQ grill on the transom, comfortable dinette seating and four-forward facing seats at the helm it's a really well-laid-out space and that's before you walk through the windscreen to find a trio of sumptuous recliners. Below, the 320 is open plan like the Windy but it has a convertible dinette in forward, rather than the fixed berth. The standard engines are twin 300hp petrols but there are diesel options as well.
The Chris-Craft Launch 35 GT, which starts at $563,000 ex VAT (correct at the time of writing), is a glorious retro cruiser that screams modern classic. With just a compact double berth tucked beneath the helm console and a head unit opposite it doesn't have anywhere near the levels accommodation of the Windy but, given how many of these boats are used as day boats, that may not matter. What is certain is that there are few boats out there that look as good on the water as this classy American and it is studded with details to die for. The varnished wood, the quilted upholstery, the sportscar-like dashboard - it's all just gorgeous. It's not quite as sharp to drive as the Windy but with a selection of inboard diesel and petrol engines and outboards it doesn't lack performance.
Talking of performance, the Frauscher 1017 GT, capable of 60 knots with a pair of 430hp V8 petrols, is one of the fastest boats in the sector. Its profile is unmistakable with that upright bow and flat, broad foredeck. It's a sensational-looking machine with a twin-stepped hull that will make mincemeat of a short chop. That muscle boat aesthetic with the long bow and aft sun pad does somewhat compromise deck space and the cockpit is more attuned to travelling than lounging. It's hard to care when it looks this good, though. The 1017 is smaller than the Windy and it only has one berth - a convertible double in the bow - but there's a small galley and separate bathroom, too.
No doubt those in the market for the Windy will be looking at the modern crop of the walkaround sportsboats, too. The Fjord 36 was one of the first designs of this type and it typifies the breed with its wide side decks, well-designed cockpit and protection from a substantial T-top. On deck, there is the option to add a wet bar, which serves the large aft sun pad and neat wrap of seating arranged around the bow. Below, the accommodation is simple but there is a double berth and separate bathroom well suited to the odd overnight stay for a couple. It may not be as handy as the Windy out on the water but it will still crack 40 knots with the largest twin 300hp diesel engines on sterndrives.
Specifications & Performance
Windy Boats W34 Alizé version 2022. *Data supplied by the manufacturer.
- Liters Per Hour
- Liters Per Mile
- Range (nm)
Yacht Load: 100 Litres of water 100 Litres of fuel