This article was written by Tom Dove in SAIL Magazine in 1995
Kirie' Feeling 416 DI ………………"for a passage or a shallow cove
The design criteria that make this boat ideal for cruising Europe's Brittany and Normandy coasts also make it an admirable cruiser for shoal waters anywhere. Chesapeake Bay, Intracoastal Waterway, and Bahamas sailors should welcome this concept.
The distinguished feature is the iron ballast/base plate and centerboard. This massive casting, bolted to the heavily reinforced fibreglass hull, creates in one unit external ballast, a centerboard, and a strong pivoting mechanism. The deck is Baltek balsa cored as in the hull above the waterline.
The boat is designed to be beachable; board-up draft is a mere 2.5 feet. Twin rudders with solid stainless steel shafts and sturdy mounts can take the ground with ease; two other vestigial fins hold the boat upright when the tide goes out. A solid skeg protects the propeller. On deck the layout is open and comfortable, with wide, unobstructed side decks and an exceptionally well thought out cockpit. There are perfectly contoured spots to sit, to windward and to leeward, and visibility over the low coachroof is excellent.
All lines are led aft from the mast to the cockpit under cover. The midboom traveler is easy to use, even in a good breeze, and all hardware is good quality and properly sized.
Belowdeck all the cabins are finished with padded vinyl and light elmwood tree for a bright pleasant atmosphere. The curved fiddles and well-placed are a fine defence against boat-bites in rough weather. Ventilation and light from hatches and ports are excellent.
The galley includes a large double sink, conveniently located in a island aft of the centerboard trunk. Large ports in the top of the table let the crew check the centerboard or watch the fish swim under the boat.
The wiring is elegant. All wires are led through conduits that are labeled neatly at both ends, and there are spare messenger lines for adding to the system. The navstation itself is comfortable and spacious, with good stowage for instruments and charts and its own contoured wooden seat.
Under sail on the Chesapeake the boat was a pleasure. In 12 knots of wind and a 1- to 2-foot chop it was well balanced with full sail. The helm was neutral with the centerboard partially or fully down, and the rack-and-pinion link steering was positive. It was even possible to release the wheel, walk around the deck, and return to find the boat still tracking on course at better than 7 knots.
Engine noise at 2000 rpm, a low cruise speed that produced 5 knots, was exceptionally low and rose to a more average level as the boat reached full speed at 2,500 to 2,800 rpm. Control in reverse was not as positive as in forward gear. Crosswind situations call for some use of the centerboard to keep the bow from being pushed around.
The Feeling 416 is strong and fast. The interior is very liveable, and the comfort on deck is excellent. Best of all, this design can make an offshore passage and then sneak into a shallow creek or even slide up on a deserted beach. With a base price of a million French Francs for the lift keel version (A fixed keel version is also available) what more could a cruising skipper want?