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Shaula4 is a Légende 1040, an aluminium-hulled lifting keel boat, built in the mid-80's by Grardel et Fils,a small yard in Dunkirk; a total of 36 were built, not bad for such a specialised boat.

This type of boat is very popular in France, where many ports and harbours dry out completely with the low-tide, making life difficult for conventional keeled sailing boats, while a lifting-keeler can easily rest on the bottom.

Several French yards build this kind of boat, typically with multi-chined hulls to reduce costs; the Légende 1040 follows a slightly different approach, with the topsides which are rounded to achieve a more conventional look.

Comparison between the chined-hull of Shaula3 and the rounded one of Shaula4

The build is extremely strong, with the bottom plates which are 8-mm thick (to allow resting over a potentially uneven sea-floor) through 5mm on the sides and 3 mm in the less stressed areas.
The result is a one-piece shell, strong and light.

It is exactly in light of the great robustness, and of the capability to reduce draft by lifting the keel and rudder, that this kind of boat has become very popular with long-distance sailors who appreciate a boat which can shrug-off small impacts that sooner or later will happen, and which allow access to shallow, uncharted anchorages.

Obviously, there are negative aspects as well: the main drawback of this type of yacht is that, due to the keel's limited size, the windward performance is not exactly impressive (a limitation that is not too worrisome for trade-wind sailors, but may be important in different contexts).
Furthermore, the build from metal plates forces to adopt simple, essential lines: compared to modern GRP hulls, an aluminium boat looks somewhat boring.

Finally, another important aspect is cost: aluminium boats are expensive to build, so much so that there is no longer on the market any production model under 11 meters, if you want one you have to look at custom builders or at the second-hand market.


When we purchased it in 2013, the boat was in a very low maintenance status, and all systems were rudimentary and outdated, if at all working; electronics were almost non-existent or not working.

During the next 3 years, we made a lot of refurbishing work, such as: replacement of all deck hardware (winches, stoppers, sheet cars), replacement of the standing rigging, engine total overhaul, replacement of stern gland, prop-shaft and propeller, replacement of main anchor and chain, replacement of most running rigging, replacement of the gas and water systems, new oven, rearrangement of the refrigerator, new electrical distribution system and a new set of electronic instruments, including autopilot, radar and two chartplotter displays, new WC with addition of a black-waters tank.

It's not all done yet: there are some further things to do, like replacing the settees' covers (the inside foam has been replaced already), replace the glass of the hatches, which have become foggy, and above all replace the genoa and the mainsail (the existing ones are usable, but definitely past their best time).

Furthermore, if the purpose is long-distance sailing, there are some additions to be considered, such as a windvane, solar panels (perhaps installed over a stern arch), an MF receiver or better a transceiver, possibly a watermaker and an engine-water-heated calorifier.


- Designer: Philippe Subrero (studio "Mer et Design")

- Built by Chantiers Grardel et Fils, Dunkerque (France), february 1985, serial no. 003

- Flag: Belgium

- "Deriveur Integral" version (fully retractable keel) with long deck-house
- Hull material: Aluminium AG4MC (5086)
- Hull Length overall: 10.40 m
- Hull Length: 9.75 m
- Waterline length: 8.67 m
- Beam: 3.5 m
- Draught: 0.55 m (keel up) / 2.10 m (keel down)
- Displacement: 4.300 Kg
- Ballast: 2.000 Kg
- Gross Tonnage: 10,3 tons
- Sail Area: Main 21 sqm, Genoa 39 sqm
- Water tanks: 2 x 200 lt
- Fuel tank: 100 lt
- Engine: diesel NANNI 3.75HE 21 HP
- Propeller: fixed, 3 blades, MICHIGAN MARINE 13" R 08"
- Conventional prop-shaft with Pack-less sealing system
- DELTA 16-Kg main anchor with 100m of 8mm chain
- LOFRAN's electric anchor windlass
- Aft cabin with double berth
- 2 bunks in the main cabin
- Forward double "V"-shaped bunk ("breton bunk")
- Toilet compartment with sink, water, WC with black-waters tank

- Type Approval: 1st Category (offshore)



Aluminium-alloy hull (5086 series), chined in the submerged part and rounded above the waterline.   Thickness varies from 3 to 8 mm.
The keel and the lower part of the rudder can rotate backwards, allowing to reduce the draught when maneuvering in shallow waters or to rest the boat on the bottom at low tide.


Anti-skid panels on the deck, while the cabin top is treated with anti-skid paint.
3 hatches and 2 venting cowls ensure ventilation under deck.

An electric windlass is installed forward, over the chain-locker.

Two bow-rollers and 4 cleats are available.

In the cockpit, 2 course-compasses, the radar/chartplotter display, the engine panel and the 2 multi-function displays for speed/depth/wind and the autopilot control.   The autopilot can also be controlled via a wireless remote.

The pushpit carries the outboard motor, the Navtex, GPS and TV aerials, the stern 50-meter mooring line and the horse-shoe lifebuoy with floating line and automatic light.

Also the gas-tight locker for the gas bottle can be seen.

The capacious cockpit locker.


The main cabin: the keelboard box can be seen in the middle, and the "breton bunk" forwards is also visible.

Under the bunks, the water tanks an plenti of storage space.

Under the floorboards, 2 tons of ballast.

The aft part of the main cabin, with the chart table and the galley areas; the two doors lead to the stern cabin and to the toilet compartment.

The galley compartment, with a gas-fed double-burner plus oven (new in 2013), double sink with sea-water tap, storage space and a foldable work area.

The charting area, with the 12V and 220V switch panes, battery monitor, the radar/chartplotter display, 2 fixed VHF radios, hand-held GPS, spare GPS receiver, Navtex receiver, radio receiver, stowage spaces for charts and pilot books.

Detail of the instrument area and of the cabling behind the switch panel.

The stern cabin incorporates a stowage area where also the fridge's coolbox is located.   The refrigerating unit is located under the bunk, together with the batteries and a limited stowage space.




The toilet compartment, with sink and manual WC, with discharge directly to the sea or alternatively to the black-waters tank.

A small hanging locker accomodates some oilskins.

The engine compartment, with separate bilges.    The engine cooling is indirect with fresh water via a heat exchanger (possibility to add a water calorifier).   The engine was totally refurbished in 2014, while prop-shaft, stern gland and propeller were replaced in 2016.



Webmaster: Gianfranco Balducci - email: gfbalduc@tin.it

Last Update: 07/09/2017

The Shaula4 website (text and images) by Gianfranco Balducci is licensed under a
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