Thursday, July 6, 2017


I know that many of you, like me, want to really know the differences between the behavior and speed of different types of boats but unfortunately you will not find that on a magazine and in this case nothing like real experience and that's what happened yesterday when I had the opportunity to sail with a brand new Hanse 415 at the same course as my Comet 41s. 

 Note that this is not about the Hanse 415 versus the Comet 41s but much more about two different types of boats, the differences would not be very different if instead of a Hanse it was a Beneteau or a Jeanneau and, instead a Comet, a First 40, a Salona 41, a X40 or a J120.

 It is not also about light wind performance or upwind performance where the differences between the two types of boats would be huge but about sailing with wind on the beam or downwind with 16/18K wind and about not sailing the performance boat with a crew and a Spinnaker (where it would be much faster) but sailing the performance boat under canvassed, with only a genoa versus a fast main market boat sailing with full sails.

 They advertise the Hanse, with its self taking jib as a very easy boat to sail (and it is) and on the other hand people would think a performance boat a more dificult boat to sail and it is, if the boat is sailing exploiting its full speed ability, like racing, but what would you say if I say to you that the Comet 41s only with a Genoa is has fast as a Hanse 415 with full sails? Faster when the wind hit 17 or 18K.

 Do you think that an under powered boat with only a genoa, far from the limit, is more dificult to sail than a full powered boat with full sails near the limit where it needs to reef the main (not a furler main)?

 This experience could only happen because my wife had yesterday a small surgery and asked me to sail only with the genoa for the boat to be more comfortable since I have the autopilot working badly and she could not make any effort. Normally even with a short crew or solo with a working autopilot I would be sailing in these conditions with full genoa and a main on the second reef, with a huge safety margin (the boat would be good for 25k winds with just a bit furled genoa). On those conditions I would be sailing with that wind between 8.6 and 9.6k and no way a main market cruiser could take that pace with only 16 to 18k wind. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Magic is perhaps a strong word LOL and they are not really nice but they were the best buy of the year in what regards yachting. I know that it seems odd but if you are more than 50 years old tel me  how many times you had to take away your sunglasses and get another spectacles to see better some  small detail in your plotter?

That's quite pissing specially for guys with a 100/100 vision and that now have to resource to a glasses with one or two dioptres to see fine details.

That's finished, I mean that stupid game of changing glasses and there is some magic in it. I bought them at a boat show in Croatia half believing that they would not really work in real conditions. They are normal polarized ones but with a small lent with dioptres on the right place and they really work effortlessly. I am so happy with them that I had to share it. They are really usefull, the gadget of the year!!!.

The brand is Australian:
Don't buy the bifocal ones, I mean the ones without the cuts on the middle of the glass. They are nicer but don't work as well as the other ones, not by a long shot.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


On winter and Fall I post, on Spring and Summer I cruise and sail. For the ones that are new on the Blog and would like to have a look at my sailing log (with lots of photos) you can do it here:

 I prefer it that way. This blog is about interesting sailboats, not about my cruising season. Fair winds and nice sailing to all ;-)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Another post out of season and also about Halberg Rassy? what can I say? The mistral is blowing the boat is dancing, I have nothing to do except to hear the wind howling and Halberg Rassy surprisingly are changing fast their fleet of old-designed well built boats by contemporary designs, faster, more seaworthy and with a bigger overall stability. Interesting boats. Cheers to them! 

The Rassy 340 is going to substitute the 342, an already old design with almost 400 boats produced. The new boat will be a lot more powerful due to a much bigger overall stability  not only because of an increase of beam (and mostly the beam brought back) but also by a more modern efficient keel with substantially more ballast (more 300kg) and a bit more draft.

      The B/D ratio is 38% and that for this type of boat keel/draft is a lot. That would make for a very stiff yacht with a very good final stability. The new boat has about the same hull length (10.36 to 10.32) but has a substantially longer waterline (10.10 to 9.09). The LOA is considerably bigger since the new one comes with an integrated bowsprit (10.95m).

 The 340 is beamier (3.47 to 3.42) a small difference that looks much bigger due to the max beam pulled aft. The new one is slightly heavier (5980 to 5300kg) but it is more powerful and has more sail area (upwind), 65.5 to 61.6m2. 

The "old 342"
 The new one should not be faster on the light wind but when the wind picks up it would be a different boat:  stiffer, more powerful and able to carry more sail without reefing.  Also easier to sail downwind fast on autopilot due to the beam pulled aft and the two rudders. 

By the way, this boat is the first HR ever with a two wheel setup, that certainly will contribute to a better steering position (seating on the side) and to a better and easier passage from the wheel station to the cockpit.

Like on the 44, a huge improvement over the precedent model, that was already a good and popular boat. The improvement regards not only the sailing potential but everything from more tankage and more interior volume to bigger storage area and I would say probably a nicer and less heavy interior, if we take into account the one of the new 44. 

If this is what you are looking for, meaning a medium to lightweight 34ft sailboat that will be very easy to sail, that has a good (even if not sparkling) sailing performance, with a big stability (for the boat size), a good build and a cozy interior with a luxury finish with a hint of classical taste, this may be the right boat for you, providing you have the 250 000 euros that a decently equipped boat should cost (including VAT).

A very nice boat and a good looking one too, a great design from Frers, now the son. It seems that the new design of the HR has to do mostly with a change of generation, from the shipyard and from the design cabinet that for decades design HR, both are now run by the sons of the previous owner and designer.


A post out of season, while I am stuck at Limnos by the Mistral (gusting 40k), a complementary one to the one about the Halberg-Rassy 44:

I said on that post : "All this translates in a boat with considerably more overall stability, faster and safer with a better reserve stability and better AVS. HR should be congratulated and this model will be a great successor for one of the benchmarks of HR, the 43."

I was talking about boat design and what the design looked to me. No test had yet been made on the boat but that is not the case now, with several magazines testing it, among them Yachting World, with a two day test performed by a great sailor, Pip Hare, more used to racers than to luxury cruisers like Halberg Rassy and that makes her point of view specially interesting.

Well, she is a great sailor but not very talented in what regards communication skills (she does not talk much) and a thick accent makes a bit difficult to understand all that she says but the bottom point, besides the great cruising interior, is resumed in this phrase "effortless but not joyless".

The images on the movie also give a lot of information about how the boat sails, confirming what I had seen on the design: a contemporary one with more stability, stiff and faster than the previous model. A great boat no doubt with the only drawback of a lack of storage for long time cruising.

Saturday, April 15, 2017


As most of you know British magazines some years ago made a big fuss about brass seacocks on new boats (they still do) and hysteria about that was propagated like wild fire on boat forums.

It seems that the main culprit is the RCD, the ruling body for the conditions needed for boat certification in Europe when they state that the seacocks used should be corrosion free for at least five years. From that to the idea that seacocks will only last 5 years was a quick jump and even worse, some just say that if a new boat does not come with bronze seacocks they should be immediately replaced, as if the boat was in eminent risk.

Brass regular seacock
That of course makes no sense. Almost all production boats come with low quality brass seacoks (CW617N) and the average time they need changing is about 10 years.

That does not mean that a seacock due to some unusual circumstances does not need replacement after only one year or two and because of that seacoks should be thoroughly inspected every year and changed at the smallest sign of corrosion, white powder or small changes in color.
Brass DZR seacock
The problem of brass seacocks has to do mainly with dezincification, a galvanic process that extracts zinc from the brass leaving it fragile. It can happen if the boat zincs are not in a perfect condition or if there are abnormal electric currents on the water. It will probably happen anyway after many years, but it can happen in just some years under abnormal conditions.

It is rare but there are some well known cases where seacocks lasted just one year or two. So does that hysteria about brass seacoks make sense? Well, the truth is that boat builders should be using a higher quality brass, more resistant to dezincification (DZR) and almost all of them are using a lower grade brass but the truth is also that even high quality bronze seacock manufacturers don’t warrant their products for 5 years and I know of some bronze seacocks (of low quality) that lasted only one year or two. All seacocks should be carefully inspected every year even if that does not mean that they all last the same time.

RCD has its share of guilt on this issue because while stating that the seacocks should be made of corrosion resistant material don’t specify the allowed materials and as almost all brass valves will be able to resist the required 5 years (on normal circumstances) boat manufacturers, to save some coins, don’t use proper long term corrosion resistant materials on seacocks. Hopefully there are some talks that it is going to change due to RCD new demands. A good article about the subject:

Should we be very carefully about seacocks and seacocks inspection? Absolutely! 

Should regular brass seacocks be changed after 10 years (no matter what) or changed at the first signal of discoloration, white powder or signs of corrosion? Absolutely! 

Blakes bronze seacock
Should we be worried when we buy a new boat with having seacock problems on the next few years? Nonsense!!! even if that does not dispense seacock inspection each year.

Should you be worried with seacocks when we buy a used boat with 10 years or more? Absolutely! As well as with rigging, rudder and many other parts that are more expensive than seacocks. That does not mean that we should not replace them, if the previous owner has not done that already. The problem here is that many still look at a 10 year old boat as if it was an almost new boat, including the engineer that wrote that article above about corrosion on seacocks.

Should you look at the seacock’ materials when you buy a new boat? Absolutely!... they are a good indicator of the boat building care with the choice of materials but I would not say that they should be more important than keel and boat structure, keel bolts, chainplates linkage, rudder assembly, bulkheads, hull material and building techniques. All are good indicators of boat quality but while seacocks can be easily replaced, all other mentioned parts are not.

Should you mount bronze seacocks when replacing brass ones? Not necessarily, DZR (that is also brass) performs better than some bronze ones and some plastic ones. High grade bronze seacocks like Blakes or high quality plastic ones like the True design may be a better option than DZR Brass but they are justifiable only if you leave the boat full year on the water.

True Design seacocks
Anyway the future seems to point to good quality plastics seacocks, that offer a lesser price than top quality bronze ones and are full corrosion proof. However they need to be of very good quality plastic to assure the needed strength.

Should boats have mandatorily better seacocks (RCD) than the ones that are installed now by almost all boat builders, made of regular brass quality? Absolutely! 

Is there a reason for the hysteria about the ones that are installed now? No, if you have the knowledge to deal with that, after all there are tens of thousands of boats around with less than 10 years on the water and they are not sinking due to defective seacoks, but there is reason to be concerned about seacocks and carefully inspect them every year and change them after 10 years (if made of regular brass) and I bet many don’t do that and that is one of the reasons for this post.

This will be the last post in a long time. I have not been posting because I have been preparing my sailing season that will start in some days. I will come back only in October…so, till then, fair winds to all and have fun sailing.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


A deception, the Caribbean 600, saved by the epic fight between the two Mod 70 trimarans, Maserati and Phaedo 3. Even if on foils, Maserati did not beat Phaedo, but they have put a great fight: the boats have changed 4 times leadership, arriving Phaedo 3 with a 13 minute advantage over Maserati. Maserati had an incident with fish traps holding the boat that took them all chances of victory. The crew had to dive to set the boat free.

On monohulls the big absence was Comanche that left the way to an easy win (in real time) for the 88ft Rambler. The best race was among the two 72fters with Bella Mente beating Proteus and winning on compensated time.  100ft Leopard 3, a 10 year old racer, is not a match for the newer 88ft Rambler and lost almost 4 hours, beating in real time, with some difficulty, the 72ft Bella Mente (also a newer design) that arrived only about an hour after Leopard 3.

Only a bit more of 50 yachts finished the race but the percentage of big and maxi yachts among them was much bigger than on European races. Basically a millionaire's race with some top racing crews and top racing sailboats among them. A pity. This one has the potential to become the America's classic race....if more top racers, professional crews and top amateurs showed up in bigger numbers.

Anyway, some great movies due to excellent sailing conditions, that included a violent squall: