Saturday, January 25, 2020

SWAN 48 - DUSSELDORF 2020


Is it as good looking and well finished as it looks on the pictures? Well, yes and yes, in fact I could not find any visible difference regarding the quality of the Swan 65, that I saw in Dusseldorf last year and that is amazing not only because the finish of the 65 was truly top but also because this is a much cheaper boat.

Cheaper probably is not really the right word, let's say less expensive, but the truth is that this boat has a "very competitive price" even with boats like Solaris, X-yachts or Grand Soleil, I mean it is still a bit more expensive but not as much as it used to be, maybe a difference of about 150 000 euros for these ones and even less for an Hallberg Rassy of the same size.

Of course, 150 000 euros is a lot of money for almost all but if we say that the Swan 48 costs only about 15% more than similar sized boats of the brands above mentioned then you get my drift and it will explain why they have already made many boats and have many more on order, if I recall correctly above 40. The last one was sold for 935 000 euros, European taxes included (19 to 23%).

I believe this is already the sailboat of this price that has sold more, or at least that has more orders and this seems just the beginning.

 I would not be surprised if this became the more successful Swan ever and for good reason: all who sailed the boat mentioned that is a sweet boat to sail with a nice sea motion and a very good feel at the wheel.

It is the slowest of all the boats that it competes with, I mean performance cruisers, but it is far from being a slow boat, the layout is very good, the overall quality is top including the interior finish.

 A boat that everybody would be proud to own and a boat that would be at ease doing coastal cruising or ocean passages, even with a couple, a great sailing boat and a less exclusive Swan, one that will be affordable for a bigger number of sailors, if we compare with other recent Swans.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

DUSSELDORF 2020 - HALLBERG RASSY 40C


The HR40c had already deserved a post on the blog even before I had the opportunity to visit it. Now that I have done so I can add some more information, some positive, some negative.

The Hallberg Rassy 40c has more storage space than what I have thought looking at the designs and reading the information provided by the site and boat tests. In fact one of the the places on the boat

that provides more outside storage is not mentioned anywhere: all the space under the cockpit floor forward to the wheel provides a huge storage space about 60 cm deep. The space is covered with a teak grid, kind of the ones we can find in the heads, to let the water go down and disappear by a thru-hull passage (with a seacock).

Of course if it rains or a wave comes inside the boat everything there will get wet and the hole from where the water disappear should be provided with a protection (inexistent) to prevent an object to obstruct it but that would not be difficult to find and you can find them on the accessories  for roof gutters. Anyway a good place to have all the fenders and ropes or even the liferaft, if well fixed.

Also the two lockers on the aft part of the deck floor are a bit bigger than what they look like being their space inside bigger than the opening. That plus a smallish locker under one of the cockpit seats plus the larger space at the bow annex to the sail locker gives it a proportionally bigger outside storage than the HR 44 but even so much smaller than the one of the HR 412.

As I had referred previously the engine access is made laterally in the aft cabin by a small door that gives entrance to the engine compartment that on the visited model, the one with a bigger galley, is on the small size but even so much bigger than in some other boats.

 The problem is that to work on the engine you have to go inside and to access the water pump you have to unscrew a panel in the room. Not as bad as it seemed but even so not a comfortable place to work and you better not be very big and hope you will not have any problem at sea on anything than calm weather.

The boat interior finish is in accordance to HR quality standard, meaning a very good one, the design is nice, the saloon with the two sofas is great, the extended galley is awesome, there is on the passage for the aft cabin a very nice cabinet for wet sea coats and the only really nagging feature are the light switches that are of an horrible plastic with a bad chrome treatment.

Regarding negative points, the forward cabin is small, the only head, near the front cabin, is surprisingly small for a 40ft boat with only one head (one of the two heads of the 412 is much bigger) and also very surprisingly the standing height in the big aft cabin is also small, smaller than the one on the saloon that is not big, but sufficient for most.

A beautiful sailing boat but not a perfect one, with strong and weak points, being the bigger downsides the only head far away from the main cabin, the low standing weight on the main cabin (maybe 1.8m), the small forward cabin and the relatively small storage.

As strong points, besides being a very good looking sailboat, it has a great saloon, a great galley, specially on the version on the photos, with the extended one, a very good wet locker. an extra refrigerator or freezer on the opposite side of the galley anda quite a big aft cabin.

Besides all that it has a dedicated space for a generator and even finds space in the (small) head to have a washing machine even if I find that today it becomes more and more a bad idea with some marinas objecting to its use (for the foam on the water) and resulting in one case on a huge fine in Turkey on an boat that was using one while on anchor.

          

Sunday, January 12, 2020

DRAGONFLY 40: THE IRRATIONAL LOVE


But who says love is rational? They have been releasing very little about their new boat, the quality of the 3D drawings is bad and not appealing but on the photos the real thing looks awesome. The new Dragonfly will be presented at Dusseldorf and will be one of the boats I am more curious to see.

The Dragonfly 32 and the 40
Even with 40ft the interiors are small because Dragongly did not lose its focus on performance therefore the main hull is narrow but at least it will allow a decent galley and a comfortable small saloon even if the sizes seem more compatible with a 34ft boat than with a 40fter.

The same happens with the tankage, with 200L of water (100L of diesel) I could never convince my wife to cruise on it but it is really a shame because I would love to sail this boat.
We waste less fresh water than most couples and my boat's 400L water tankage lasts for 13/15 days max. If we lived with 200L of water it would just last 6/7 days and if we cruised with an extra couple, as sometimes we do, that would probably last for a few days. Fine if you like to go to ports or marinas but not good if you like to go where you want when you want and stay on anchor.

 That small tankage will considerably diminish freedom of cruising and would demand a careful cruising plan and that, the small living space and the even smaller storage space is what you would pay for the fun of sailing a very fast and I am sure, rewarding boat.

Regarding storage It seems the boat will have some space on both sides of the engine, it will all depend on how it will be accessed and compartmentalized.

 The Dragonfly 40 has a reasonable 60L holding tank but will have a problem in what regards carrying a dinghy even if folded and taking it on tow would slow down the boat a lot but the fact is that I know smaller Dragonfly do long range cruising, crossing the Atlantic and sailing on both sides of the pond.

It all depends on how much you value speed even if I remember quite well that the one that crossed the Atlantic on the ARC was surprisingly slow (probably due to a big load).  Cruising at speed is what these boats are about and this one has a maximum previewed speed of 24kt. I have no doubt that if the boats are maintained light double digit speeds will be the norm.

Even the upwind performance should be better than on most multihulls because the Dragonfly hides under the saloon table a central centerboard with generous dimensions that will increase their draft from 0.7m to 1.9m.

All the boat looks very well designed in what concerns speed, from the shape of the central hull to the amas design passing by the sail area. 

The sail area will be different on two versions, one with a carbon bigger mast and 99m2  (with jib) the other with 77m2 but on a boat with a fixed bowsprit that can mount two front sails, the jib and a furling code 0 with 80/65m2 or a Geenaker with 135/110m2. This on a boat with a displacement of 5500kg  will give you an idea of the stellar performance, providing the sea is not too rough.

A word for the available engines, one of 40hp and another one with 80 hp.!!! If the one with 40 is already more than enough for a 5500kg boat the one with 80 will give it a motoring double digit speed, way better than any motorsailer of the same size. Pity that the 100L tankage would allow in this case only a relatively small autonomy.

This is a boat for lovers, a passionate boat that has one of its few rational points on the way it folds itself reducing its beam from  8.40m to 4 m, increasing curiously its length from 12.40 to 13.99m. This will allow it to find places on most ports and marinas and paying as a monohull and not 2 times the price of one due to excessive beam and the same in what regards winter storage.

The price is 425 000€ for a standard boat at the factory with  no taxes and that would make it considerably more expensive than a 40ft Hallberg Rassy showing that speed is a lot more expensive than luxury.

A price for lovers and rich ones too. This video with the 32 gives you an idea of what to expect regarding sailing and about the interior that has good quality and design.


Monday, January 6, 2020

AEGEAN 600, A CLASSIC ON THE MAKING


I call your attention for some of the biggest and more interesting offshore sail races around. I don't want you to miss all the fun following them. This post is not about any of them, meaning not one of the biggest, but certainly about an interesting one with the potential to become a classic.

Here the objective is different. This is the 1st edition of the Aegean 600, a 600nm non stop race across the Aegean and I find in it the potential for this to become a great race. The itinerary is not only beautiful but also the time of the year and sea conditions are perfect (14 to 20 of June).

The temperature at this time of the year is very nice, the winds are still variable with the Meltemi not yet blowing at full force, creating here a set of very nice sailing conditions  where one is expected to get all kinds of winds, from strong to weak (but not much) from several directions, a balanced setting for sailing in all points of sail, upwind, downwind and beam reaching.

The course goes around many islands from the west coast to the east coast, starting on the mythical cape of Sounion, not far from Athens. The Start will be given by Homer’s sanctuary, in front of the columns of Poseidon’s temple, then it goes to Milos, that is circled by the west, then to Santorini, passing over the big submerged crater between the islands (incredible scenery), leaves Crete to the west, turns around Kásos and Karpathos, goes around Rhodes, leaves Simi to the east, passes between Tilos and Nisiros, goes between Kos and Turkey, between Gaidaros and Samos, crosses to the other side passing Mikonos to the west, going between Siros and Tinos, circles Kea and finishes were it started, in Sounion.

The logistics are based on the big Olympic marina, that is not far from Sounion and the entries are open till 31 of Mars. One of the things that makes this location great, besides the beauty of the scenery and the wind and sea conditions, is the possibility to find in the region, Italy comprised, many charter boats for racing it.

There are already 22 entries, they are growing fast and some that are racing are followers of this blog, so if you are going to race it and are a follower please let me know. The race has a division for duo racing but take care, this is not an easy race and in duo it should be one of the toughest races around.



The seas here with wind on the nose over F6 are nasty and very uncomfortable and I bet that at some point it will blow well over F6. It all depends on the year but I remember quite well that last year the Meltemi came late but when it came it was in force.
http://aegean600.com/


Saturday, January 4, 2020

NEW HALLBERG RASSY 40C VERSUS HR 412


A new Hallberg Rassy is always good news and a small one, on the more affordable side, is even better news. I bet some of you are thinking that 40ft is not small and on HR line they have a 31, a 34 and a 37ft boat but that is a unique case in the "luxury" yachts industry and I am very curious about how they manage that.
I don't know how many small boats they are selling but unless Sweden is a very particular market I would say they are selling a lot more 412 and 44 and making much more money on each boat than on the smaller ones and that is why they are really a rarity on the market, specially in what concerns expensive boats.

The truth is that 30 or 40 years ago a 40ft boat was a big cruising boat while today they are below average size in what regards cruising. The average size of boats, like the one of the houses, have been increasing with time and today most people, if they could, would buy boats between 44 and 50 ft for cruising.

So, in what regards size, 40ft is already on the "spartan" size for many cruisers and I am not talking about interior quality, just size, neither am I not talking about my particular tastes. Personally I would not have anything much bigger than 40ft, but I guess I am an exception.

In fact a 40ft boat has many advantages in what concerns marina prices and maintenance even if neither of the 40fters from HR, this one and the 415, are as good as they could be in what regards economy because their hulls are bigger than 12.00 and for some extra cm, in many places, the prices increase a lot. That's why most mass production 40ft boats have a hull length of 11.99m.

Probably the biggest difference on price, that will make those extra 31cm very expensive , regards the monthly tax for sailing in Greece that is 3 times more expensive if a boat is just some cm bigger than 11.99m. But even so many marines and shipyards calculate the price in square meters multiplying the length by the beam and in this case why pay more if one finds that the space on the boat  is enough to live comfortably?
Above 40C, Below 412
Available space  is not the same as comfort or coziness and the HR40c looks as nice and comfortable as its bigger sisters. Talking about space let's first compare the 40C one with the other 40fter on HR,  line, the 412. Why have two? Because the new one is a central cockpit boat while the 412 is an aft cockpit boat.

For many years Hallberg Rassy was known by their center cockpit boats and all boats bigger than 34ft had that configuration. When they made the first 37 aft cockpit, the 372 (2010), the first of the modern Hallberg Rassy, they maintained on their line the older designed 37 Center Cockpit (2005) saying that the 37CC was more of a bluewater boat. They had done the same when they introduced in 2012 the HR 412, maintaining on their line the old 40ft center cockpit (2002) and it is that boat, that had a MKII in 2007, that this boat substitutes.
Above 40C, Below 412

All that story about the CC line to be more seaworthy does not make much sense, in fact the 372 had a more modern hull, a slightly beamier one but the weight of the two boats was the same and even if the 37 had a bit more ballast the one on the 372 was enough for the two models having a very similar seaworthiness. 

The real problem to HR here, and the one that the company have been addressing quite carefully, is the perception clients have that older boats, CC cockpit boats that made the brand image, are more seaworthy than aft cockpit ones.

And that's why the company continues to make them even in what is a small size for a modern CC. That's because clients not only want that huge aft cabin but because they have the idea that they are more seaworthy than aft cockpit boats. Nothing wrong with clients preferring this configuration but contrary to what most believe that has nothing to do with seaworthiness or even to be more adapted for long range cruising.
Above 40C, Below 412


If we compare the layout of the 412 with the one of the new 40C the differences, advantages and disadvantages, are evident: basically the center cockpit version offers a huge aft king size cabin and a bigger galley but at the cost of a head for the king size cabin and that does not seem to make much sense even if it was also the case with the older 40MKII, that was a very successful boat, but I would say that times are changing and people that buy this type of boat demand more and more comfort.

I don't know if it is possible a very small head on the king size cabin, that does not appear in any of the layouts, but for it to be possible  some changes will be needed on the technical compartment that will practically disappear and implies the smaller galley that it is about the size of the one on the 412, with the disadvantage of  having only space for one person working. On the opposite side there is space for an optional freezer, a good option for long range cruising but that will need the use of a generator.

Above 40C, Below 412
And the generator location is one of the 40C disadvantages if we compare it with the 415. On the 40C, contrary to the aft cabin model, the generator is situated ahead of the engine making the access to the engine more difficult particularly on the layout with the bigger galley or if a head is installed adjacent to the main cabin.

Considering both boats with two cabins the three big advantages of the 412 over the 40C are a head for each of the two cabins, much more outside storage space and a much bigger cockpit, one where it will be possible to lie down and even sleep outside during night passages with good weather.

If one has no problem living with a much smaller cockpit, only one head for two cabins, being the head not adjacent to the main cabin, then the 40C can offer a bigger galley with considerable more storage space (including an optional freezer) and a huge main cabin.
Above 40C, Below 412

 I will leave you to chose the one that fits you better but one thing is certain, the 40C much smaller outside storage space for things like fenders, ropes, secondary anchor, sails, spars, covers, even for a deflated dinghy on an ocean passage, as well as all other stuff that the ones that cruise extensively know that is needed, makes it less suitable for living on a boat for  extended periods, unless one lives on a marina or sailing from marina to marina.

I have to confess that I find the new 40C better designed and even more beautiful and Frers made an amazing job hiding the extra volume that is apparent only when we look at the boat from behind. It should be said that I don't like the transom design of the 412 that looks dated.

Above 40C, Below 412
But what about sailing and seaworthiness? In what it regards the two boats are much more alike than what their different shapes may indicate. The hulls have many things in common being the one of the 40C slighter more modern with the beam pulled aft, a more vertical bow and just a bit less rocker due mostly to the new design of the hull bow and transom.

The 40C has a slightly smaller hull length (12.30, 12.61m) but a bigger LWL (11.74,11.50) the 40c is beamier (4.11, 4.18m) the 40C displacing 11 000kg is just 100kg lighter and it has slightly less ballast on a shorter identical design keel (3650, 4000kg), (1.99, 1.92m) The 40C B/D is 33%, the 412 has 36%.

The hulls of the HR have become beamy ones precisely with the 412, now with the one of the 40C they become even beamier nonetheless the boat relatively fine entries. In what regards beam the HR40C is comparable to the beamier mass production designs, like Hanse 418 (less 1cm) or to the Oceanis 41.1 (more 2cm).
With this kind of beam it makes all sense to use twin rudders and that is what they have opted for, having the twin rudders also advantages in what regards reliability and protection (they are less deep) it is a good choice that will also provide a good boat control. The major disadvantage regards marina maneuvers but as most boats will be equipped with a bow thruster that is not relevant.

Main cabins, above 40C, below 412
Regarding the keels I would lie if I said that I like them, they are old designed stub keels that connect with a massive lead bulbed part but, as almost all design options on a boat, they have advantages and disadvantages. Regarding advantages the stub interior space can be, and is, used for tankage helping to lower the CG, but that is more important on big boats where the volume available there is big.

As disadvantage we will have a more expensive system, a keel that will be less efficient and will need more ballast, a more difficult one to have the bolts inspected due to having the tanks over them. I guess the real reason they use them in small yachts has to do with the same reason they used to have for many years skeg rudders on their boats: the client's perception that they are safer  even if that is not true, as we could see recently on that case of the Oyster that lost its keel. It all depends on how they are designed and built.

On the HR site they have posted the stability curves and even if they are not directly comparable in detail (because RCD changed the way they were calculated in what regards the boat displacement) we can see that both have an AVS between 120 and 130º, that the 412, due to its bigger displacement, ballast and draft has just a bit more overall stability and that both boats have a much bigger positive stability than a negative one.

Above 40C, Below 412
I guess some of you will be asking how it is possible that the AVS values and the inverted stability not to be very different between the two boats, that have similar keels but having the 412 more draft and a bigger B/D. Well, bigger freeboards and higher cabins are bad for sailing (more windage) but have a positive effect in what regards diminishing inverted stability and sometimes even give the boat a better AVS and that is what is happening here.

So,  the bigger B/D and more draft on the 412 don't give it a better reserve stability? Yes, the 412 has a better reserve stability even if the AVS is not very different and besides that extra B/D and draft will give it more power.  There is one safety factor that is considerably better on the 412, the RM the boat is making to right itself up at big angles of heel after a knock.down.

If we consider the RM values given by the two stability curves (on boats with about the same displacement) and considering the 40C light ship one (that is not far in the way the one of the 412 is calculated) we can see that in what regards sailing upwind the 412 will be a more powerful boat making at 30º more power (to less drag). Its RM at 30º will be7391kgm and the 40C will be doing 6400kgm.
We can see also that for a heel of 90º those values are for the two boats 7000 to 6200kgm, for 100º they are 5500 to 4500kgm and that at 110º they are 3500 to 2850kgm.

Above 40C, Below 412
I am not saying that the 40C is not a very seaworthy boat, just saying that the stability values for the 412 are better in what regards stability at 30º, Max RM (9829 to 8500kgm), final stability even if both boats have similar AVS values and about the same proportion between positive and negative stability, a good one.

Regarding seaworthiness it is quite the contrary, if we compare the 40C with the typical mass production boat, of the same length, we will see that the 40C overall stability, safety stability, AVS and inverted stability are way better. But the ones that are used to look at center cockpit boats and consider them safer boats are, at least in what regards stability, wrong on this case and they should assume that each case is a case and not all are the same.

Center cockpit boats offer a more protected cockpit but also provide a bigger lateral area to a capsizing wave and because they are further from the CG, sailors on the cockpit will have a motion with more amplitude, specially in what regards rolling motion and that can be more uncomfortable, specially to the ones more prone to seasickness.

Aft cockpits are more exposed to waves, more wet and because the cockpit is much larger special attention should be given to holding points and points or lines to secure an harness in case of bad weather. One thing that is much better on aft cockpits is that on a 40ft boat there is space to lie there, not only for a siesta LOL, but for lying at night while sailing with an occasional look around, from time to time, to see if the seas are clear.

The 40C has a nice beamy hull
The sail area it is not very different on the two boats having the 40C just a bit more sail area, depending on the optimization of the main,  between 90.1 to 96.1 sqm  and the 412 from 90.1 to 96.1 sqm, both boats with a 100% fore triangle. Of course, on both boats it will only make sense to have this sail forward option if it is supplemented by a code 0, otherwise a 135% genoa would make more sense for almost all conditions.

Both boats will have a close performance providing they sail with a similar sail area. The 412 will be faster with light wind and with medium to strong conditions upwind and  the 40C will be faster downwind and possibly on a beam reach with medium to strong winds and will probably be easier on the autopilot.

Optional fixed sprayhood
Yes I saw the polars from the two boats and we can conclude from them that the 40C will be faster upwind with medium to strong winds but I don't buy it. I have seen plenty of very beamy boats with that kind of  good figures on the paper, for instance the X-41 versus the Pogo 12.50 and I am sure the numbers will ring true  if the boats sail upwind in 13k to 30k  wind on a sea without waves.

As this is not the case 99% of the times you have to count with wave drag and the extra power it demands to overcome its resistance. The 40C with more beam and that full transom will develop considerable more wave drag than the 412 (it will be more uncomfortable too: remember that on the forward sections there is more rocker on the 412) and that drag is not considered on those polar speeds.



Both boats are well built with good quality interiors having the ones of the 40C a more modern style, or if you prefer, being the ones of the 415 more conservative in taste. Regarding building methods and materials they are among the few quality boats that still use hand lay up instead of vacuum infusion (and I don't see the advantage) but seem to have abandoned another oddity that was having only sandwich above the water line. Now it is only monolithic on the keel area as most of the other quality yachts. They use PVC foam as core and vinylester resins.



In what regards tankage both boats have a big one, quite remarkable for boats of this size, 520 L of water and 400 L of diesel for the 40C while the 412 has respectively 530 and 340 L. The 412 has also two relatively big holding tanks (2x70L), a thing that is already very important if you sail in countries like Turkey and that certainly will be more important in the future. Curiously they do not specify the capacity of the single holding tank (only one head) on the 40C but if it has not at least 140L (very rare) it will be a disadvantage regarding the 412.



Both boats have powerful Volvo-Penta engines but it seems that the 40C has no option but only a 60hp engine while the 412 can have the 75hp or the 55 (60?). Anyway, they should provide more than adequate power and the 75hp one will give the HR a true motorsailor capacity and that explains also the need of the big diesel tanks.



Knowing the price with Hallberg Rassy is always complicated since they don't publish prices and you have to ask but it seems that the 40C will cost 370 000 without VAT, at least for the first boats and if that is so it will be less expensive than the 412, unless they take the opportunity to lower the 412 price.