Monday, January 14, 2019

VIKO S35 - A BEAUTY FOR LESS THAN 54 000 EUROS


It looks great on the design and on the specifications and the price is incredible, lower than most main market 30ft cruisers. 

It is designed by a good NA, the Italian Segio Lupoli and contrary to what would be expected it has a bigger B/D than the much more expensive main market mass production competition. It is made in Poland, as most small Beneteaus and Jeanneaus. Poland yacht industry is becoming bigger and bigger and will probably increase even more now that Beneteau group bought Delphia.

The boat will be presented in a few days at the Dusseldorf boat show (Hall 16 - Stand D19) and the price for the first 20 orders will be under 54000 euros, including a 15 hp Yanmar engine (that probably can be upgraded) sails but no electronics, a basic equipment and no taxes.

It is expected a considerable raise in the price after the first 20 having been sold. I have already talked this boat here:
 But because this price will not last and the boat can be seen (and bought) in a few days at the Dusseldorf boat show, I thought it was a good idea to remind you all.



Saturday, January 12, 2019

THE NEW OCEANIS 30.1 VERSUS HANSE 315


This blog is not about all sailboats only about boats that I find interesting. I don’t post about all new boats that come to the market and I was not going to post about the new Oceanis 30.1 but the way this pretty boat has been received on the social media and on some magazines made me change my mind. There are some huge misconceptions over there.

I have seen people saying that this is a lot like a Pogo 30, same designer and all; Beneteau states on their site that the boat “ promises new experiences and thrills (a) robust little smart cruiser....for......coastal sailing and high sea adventures” and a lot of interest and expectations have been raised and more will be when the price is made public, because it is going to be an inexpensive boat.

Then the boat is going to be offered for testing on a sunny day with light winds and the boat  sail magazine testers are going to conclude how good this boat is to sail, easy, pointing well and fast (on the light wind) and all that will be true

Besides the boat is beautiful, not like those little boats with disproportionally huge sterns but in an almost classic way, with not only a very well designed hull but a very well designed interior, with light colors and lots of light…and offered at an unbeatable price: wow!

If Beneteau had said only that this boat “is easy to sail but lively to helm … is small enough to trail, opening up endless possibilities for sailing on lakes and rivers, as well as coastal sailing” with fair weather, skipping those “endless possibilities for …high sea adventures” that would be a fair advertising.

As it is, it is just misguiding and that is why I have decided to talk about this boat, comparing it to the Hanse 315, a boat that is not transportable but that is hugely more seaworthy than the Oceanis 30.1 and that contrary to the Oceanis 30.1 is suited to be sailed on high seas on the right season of the year.

The Oceanis 30.1 is a relatively narrow boat, narrower than any other main market cruiser of this size and the reason is obvious, they want a boat able to be road transportable and asked the designer (Finot/Conq) to limit beam to 3.0m. The boat being narrow has nothing to do with a better boat performance but only with that.

I am quite sure that if there was not a limit imposed by Beneteau, Conq would have made it beamier, increasing hull form stability and boat power, not to mention interior space. On the previous Oceanis 31, also designed by Finot/Conq the beam is 3.4 and on the much more sportive Pogo 30 (also designed by them) 3.7m.

Conq himself explains in an interview what influence the beam limit has on the boat design (translated from French): “That beam limits form stability and therefore the righting moment, the boat power (stiffness), sail area and so on. Everything comes from there.”

Note, that it is perfectly possible to make stiff and powerful a “narrow” boat, like the Oceanis 30.1. For that the boat has to have substantially more ballast than a considerably beamier boat. Traditionally this is not the way Finot-Conq designs are developed but this concept was used for many years on the J boats designed by Rod Johnstone, even if today they have become beamier.

On top Oceanis 30.1, below Hanse 315

So the question is: has the Oceanis 30.1 a considerably bigger B/D or more draft complemented with a high efficient torpedo keel than more beamier boats of approximately the same size?

Comparing it to the beamier Oceanis 31(same designer), the 31 has a similar type of keel with about the same draft (8cm less) and has 21% B/D while the new boat has 24%. As it was to be expected there is a small difference and that probably is enough to give to Oceanis 30.1, that surely has a very well designed hull, a similar performance or even better in light to 13 or 14kt winds even if I doubt that would be the case in stronger winds.

But the ones that know something about boat design will notice that both the Oceanis 31 and the new 30.1 have low values of B/D, considering draft and type of keel. Those will know also that smaller yachts, for being certified as Class A sailboats have to have better stability curves and a better AVS than on bigger yachts, and that is why their B/D is normally bigger.
On top Oceanis 30.1, below Hanse 315

That is so because it is rightly assumed that a smaller boat will be easier to knock down by wind on in more extreme cases to be rolled by a wave and so they should have a proportionally better safety stability and a better AVS to help them to right quickly after a knock down or to diminish the time the boat will be inverted.

Those low B/D numbers would make impossible any of the two boats to be certified as class A, they just don’t have the needed stability, namely safety stability. That would not be a problem if Beneteau did not claim that the Oceanis 30.1 is suited for “high sea adventures”.

Just to understand all this better let’s compare, looking at the B/D, keel and hull form stability the stability of the Oceanis 30.1 with the one of the Hanse 315, a Class A certified boat, but near the limit to have that certification:
On top Oceanis 30.1, below Hanse 315
The Hanse 315, with 4700kg is a heavier boat and only that will give it an overall bigger stability (RM is GZ X Weight). The Oceanis 30.1 lightness has been referred on some magazines and sailboats should be light, but if we compare the weight of the Hanse 315 without ballast with the weight of the Oceanis 30.1, on the same condition, we will see that the difference in weight is only 178kg.

If we take into consideration that the Hanse is slightly longer (+ 2 cm) but much more beamier (+ 35 cm) we will see that the difference in weight is not only due to a bigger boat but mainly to a much bigger ballast (+ 527 kg) and the need of a more reinforced hull and boat structure to deal with the extra RM efforts.

The Hanse, that has already a considerably bigger stability, due to the bigger hull form stability and the superior weight, increases substantially that difference by having more 54% ballast than the Oceanis, on a keel of similar design and with about the same draft (3 cm less).

All this makes it a much more powerful and stiff boat with a considerably bigger overall stability. These differences will be translated not only in power but in safety, having the Hanse a much better final stability and a better AVS, making it harder to knock out and much faster to recover from one, more difficult to be capsized and if inverted, much faster to get back on its feet.
This and all photos below, Hanse 315

And what about sailing? The Oceanis and Hanse SA/D are respectively 19 or 17.1 and 17.0. The D/L is respectively 170.8 and 198. Those two SA/D regard the use of a jib (like the Hanse) or a 105% genoa.

Why not comparing simply the boats with a similar sail, the jib? Because on the drawings the Oceanis 30.1 is presented with a 105 genoa and a small genoa traveler, while the Hanse comes standard with a jib and a self taking traveler, without a genoa traveler. Of course, it will be possible to mount a genoa traveler on the Hanse but it will be expensive and very few owners use it preferring a code 0 and a geenaker.

Given these numbers and the type of hulls I would say that the Oceanis will sail faster on light winds, for sure, with the standard sails. But using a code 0 or a geenaker that difference will not last much and will be inverted as soon as the wind increases a bit, because the Hanse with a much bigger stiffness will be able to fly the code 0 or the geenaker with much more wind than the Oceanis, going then faster.

Downwind with a true spinnaker the Oceanis will be able to sail faster than the Hanse into stronger winds providing it has a very good crew, I would say one with racing experience, trimming the sails and having their weight on the right place. The Oceanis is lighter with a considerably smaller D/L but it is also less beamier and that will make going fast downwind much more trickier than on the Hanse, I would say very difficult or impossible with autopilot.

Of course all these is assuming that the boats are equipped with a code 0 and a geenaker because out of that, especially downwind and on a beam reach on low medium winds the Oceanis can have an advantage with the standard sails, before one needs to reef them and that should happen probably with about 14k of real wind, going upwind.

In fact I believe it makes more sense a 105% genoa on small boats than a self tacking jib and I would say in what regards that, the Oceanis is better thought for general use and cruising.

On stronger winds, mid medium winds and above the Hanse would not only be faster but also a much easier and safer boat to sail. The bigger difference will be upwind with waves where the Oceanis simply will not have the power and stiffness to make way, having to open a lot the course to continue sailing.

The Oceanis 31 has a nicer and slightly longer bowsprit, the Hanse has an anchor stand that serves also as bowsprit. Both have a two wheels set-up but the bigger beam of the Hanse makes that solution much more acceptable than on the Oceanis where the wheels have to be small to allow a decent passage between them.

The Oceanis has an apparently more logical version with a rudder but then the main winches are too much aft because their position was designed for using with the wheels, not with the rudder. The Hanse has a real boom traveler near the wheels, the Oceanis has no traveler and has the usual set-up used on the Oceanis line, over the cabin.

Bottom point: is the Oceanis 30.1 a bad sailing boat? I am sure it is not and will do very well what it was designed to do: sailing in light winds to mid medium winds and not demanding conditions, a boat that on its swing keel version will be great to be transported between lakes or to be transported to a given location with more or less sheltered waters or even to be sailed coastally if the conditions are good. 

Certainly it will not be a boat to be sailed on high seas (as Beneteau says) unless you make of it an adventure that can have some nasty results.

The Hanse 315 does not have the Oceanis versatility in what regards being transportable neither has it an option with a swinging keel but will offer a seaworthiness very far from the Oceanis’ one, being able to be sailed coastally in much stronger conditions, even able to do some high seas sailing and, on the right season, some Ocean Crossings.

The Oceanis interior, designed by Nauta, has a nicer design including a hull portlight and probably it will be of similar quality than the one on the Hanse  but that will be easily checked by you on any boat show. The interior layout of the Oceanis is so well designed that the considerably bigger interior space of the Hanse doesn't seem to be turned in an advantage. I would say that it is time for Hanse to redesign that interior and stop doing it on the house, but have it designed by a top boat design cabinet.

Choosing one or another depends where you want to sail and how you like to sail but one thing is certain, if the program of the Oceanis 31 is enough for you it would be a waste of money having the Hanse 315.

Having a stronger hull and boat structure, needed due to the bigger efforts that the Hanse much bigger ballast creates, makes the boat substantially more expensive and that’s the main reason the Oceanis has much less ballast, to be able to be cheaper.

The Hanse 315 costs €74,900 without electronics, transport or taxes but with sails. The price of the Oceanis 30.1 is not available yet but I do expect it to be considerably lower except on the swing keel version where probably it will be close.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

THE RM890 BECAME RM890+




On a boat that is still very contemporary and was one of the most advanced cruising designs when it was launched, nothing big was changed, only small things were bettered.

The hull and the rig remain unchanged with just a better traveler for the genoa and an optimized mainsheet system.The interior was revised with more two hull ports for a better outside view and more light. More storage was added and small furniture alterations were introduced making it a tad more practical and beautiful.

A great little cruiser that has become an even better yacht.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

AN EXTRAORDINARY JEANNEAU: SUN FAST 3300


It could have been a better and faster racer if Jeanneau had not insisted in having it adapted for all sorts of racing and therefore compromising absolute performance, to make it competitive in handicap racing. 

The program they asked was about everything in what regards racing: Solo and duo transats, short crew offshore races, crewed offshore races, inshore regattas with short and complete crew. Only cruising seems to have been left out of the package and it will be expected a racing interior very similar to the one of the Sunfast 3600.

For managing all this they had the boat designed by two NAs, Andrieu, the designer of the previous SF, a specialist in IRC, and Guillaume Verdier, one of the best, if not the best designer of Open boats, for absolute performance.

Obviously the result is a compromise between pure performance and IRC performance (and that’s a shame). The design does not have any foil probably to make it able to enter the boat contest for the new Olympic class of offshore duo racing.

Even so the SF 3300 has some very interesting design features like two parts of the hull, one frontal other aft, forming a double concave. Andrieu explains that these shapes are used in some bigger racing designs but, to his knowledge, it is the first time it is used on a small design. The objective is to adapt the hull to a wave shape and therefore provide a better distribution of dynamic pressure increasing the buoyancy and reducing wet surface.

The other really new feature is on the rigging that has cars for the genoa that instead of being longitudinal are transversal, allowing for a more precise trimming, downwind and upwind.

All the rest we have already seen even if they are cutting edge features like the slightly rounded very voluminous bow, the two deep rudders on a single tiller (for facilitating crewed racing), the main sail with a huge square top with twin backstays, a big traveler, the mast more carried aft, like on open boats, integrated big bowsprit, an IRC studied keel without bulb or torpedo and two “windows” to have a good forward view from inside the boat.

A yacht that could easily be faster and lighter (with a torpedo keel, more draft, more RM, a slightly beamier hull) but that is designed this way to have a low IRC rating (around 1.055) and to be competitive in handicap racing.

Length: 9,99 m; Max beam: 3,40 m; Draft: 1,95 m; Displacement: env. 3500 kg; Ballast: ?; CE category (in progress): A6 - B7 - C10; Sail area upwind: 60 m² / 646 Sq ft; Sail area downwind (symmetrical spi.): 128 m² / 1378 Sq ft; Engine: 15 CV / 15 HP; Water capacity: 100 L / 26 US gal; Fuel capacity: 50 L / 13 US gal; Battery capacity: 120 Ah (+ 120 Ah opt.).

The projected price seems interesting, between 100 and 110 000 euro without tax or sails.



Tuesday, January 1, 2019

THE INADEQUACY OF IRC FOR MAJOR OFFSHORE RACES


The below comment by Cherylle raises questions in what regards handicap and women in sail racing and because the subject is important I will take the opportunity to introduce, through my reply, the theme for discussion. You are invited to express your opinion and above all if you are not a sail racer but a sailor or someone that likes sailing and sail racing, meaning part of the public that watch and like sail races. 

Cherylle: All nonsense. 
The sexism inherent in the author’s non-acceptance of the capabilities of the crew on WO X is illustrative of why there are so few women actively participating in racing. 
The author needs to get a grip on the fundamental differences between an offshore self governing race and an inshore regatta with judges on course.  The author has a very limited grasp of handicapping. 
I was very surprised BJ thought he could have the Committee do his protesting for him or that he could believe it would get him where he wanted to be. 

Paulo: Normally I don’t publish rude or insulting comments and I find yours rude and borderline in what regards insulting but I will open an exception in your case just to show how inadequate and wrong your comments are. 

The ones that follow this blog, and there are many, know that I rejoice with women’s achievements on sailing particularly when they sail in equal terms against men. In what regards top sailing I don’t miss to report any of those occasions on this blog. 

Women in most sportive disciplines are disadvantaged towards men and that’s why they compete in different categories, separated by sex. Sailing, particularly ocean short crew or solo racing, is one of the few disciplines where women have actually showed they can beat men and occasionally they have done so. The last time was in 2018 on a professional race for top class IMOCA, where a woman duo beat all men’s duos. And also why on races where it is not mandatory a duo to be constituted by a man and a woman we see many times top women sailors making team with top sailor men. 

Because that is so I have said that it is ridiculous, that is a nonsense, the new Olympic category for Ocean duo racing to be raced by a couple, a man and a woman, an approach that assumes that women are less competitive than men on a discipline where it has been proved that it is not necessarily so. 
In what regards crewed ocean racing things are a bit different and I don’t know if women can be as competitive as men, at least on the actual format that allows for big teams and systems that make the handling of sails very dependent on physical strength. 

On Top Ocean crewed racing it has never happened and as it is known that when a women’s team raced a VOR they were advantaged by the rules that allowed for a bigger crew. The same happened on the last VOR where the teams that included women could be bigger making the choice to have women as members of a team, a choice not based on efficiency of a particular sailor (man or woman) but one based on profiting of an advantage related with the crew number allowed. 

That shows that there is an assumption that women in what regards Oceanic crewed racing are not as competitive as men and the fact is that I don’t know of any victory of a women’s team on a top offshore crewed sailing race. The best result was a victory on a Port Race on a VOR, but again, they were not racing in equal terms because their team was bigger. 

Regarding race regulation, on offshore races, the self-regulating race system is still used in top handicap races and show at what point they still are at an amateur stage, notwithstanding the importance of some of them. 

Major oceanic and offshore races, out of the handicap world are not auto-regulated anymore; you can have as example the Vendee Globe, IMOCA races, Route du Rhum and many others. Auto-regulation is a first stage in all sports before they have become big, important and professional. The fact that auto-regulation is used in sailing in some major offshore races shows how offshore sailing, as a sport, still is a very amateur affair. 

In fact it allowed the winner of the Sydney Hobart to violate the race rules, with knowledge of the organization, escaping any investigation or penalty, a fact that would be impossible in any professionally managed top race. The situation was dealt by a very incompetent and amateur race committee that filed a protest, that by the race rules, they should have known was invalid even if they had verified first the veracity of the information. 

The correct procedure was to communicate the situation to the protest committee that after having received information from any source that an irregularity had been committed should open an hearing and verified if the rules have been breached or not. 

Regarding my limited grasp of handicap racing it seems to me that it is quite the contrary. It is you who doesn’t understand that on an offshore long race, bigger boats and smaller boats don’t race under the same meteorological conditions being either one necessarily negatively affected by those different conditions, influencing in a decisive way the handicap results, in what regards measuring in equal terms all teams’ performance.
Just this would be enough to make any competition in handicap among boats with very different handicaps unfair, like on the Sydney Hobbart, but there is more: anybody who knows anything about boat design and handicap racing knows that some hulls are advantaged by light conditions, others by strong downwind sailing and others by strong upwind sailing and as IRC rating does not take any of this into account and does not change the handicap of each boat according to the meteorological conditions on a given race (and those are very different from race to race), therefore it cannot serve as a reliable indicator of comparative absolute crew efficiency, which is what it is supposed to do. 

Everybody who knows something about handicap racing knows all this and also knows that some hull shapes have a very bad global IRC rating, meaning that even if the boats are able to win the race in real time, they would never win it in handicap, no matter the crew efficiency and that is also a clear indicator that handicap racing is flawed in what regards a reliable measure of crew performance (and that is what it is supposed to do). 

A good example of a type of hull with a bad IRC rating is Comanche, that “won” the Sydney Hobart in 2017 and 2015, but being only 19th and 13th in compensated. No one doubts that Comanche (as any of the other top contenders) has a top professional crew with some of the best sailors on the planet and that is not credible that they would be 19th or 13th on the Sydney Hobart if the sailing performance of the crew was correctly measured by the IRC handicap, the one that serves to determine the “winner” of the Sydney Hobart and many other top races. 

Handicap racing is adequate to amateur racing and to club racing but not to major professional offshore races and that’s why in all those races the winner that is celebrated by the public and mentioned on the press is the real time winner, the one that arrives first. Unfortunately that happens only in what regards the overall winner when it could and should happen also in what regards several divisions based on boat length and also raced in real time. 

Any sort of racing based not on real time performance and where the winner is not necessarily the one that is the first to cut the line is voted to public failure, even if it was possible to measure accurately the crew absolute performance (and it is not). Public interest is absolutely necessary to the growth of any sport and more so on one like offshore racing where top racing machines cost many millions. 

Public interest is necessary to bring offshore racing out of the hands of billionaires, to have more competitive top sailboats and to have the best sailors sailing those sailboats, independently of how wealthy they are. This can only be possible through big sponsorship and for that it is needed publicity revenues, meaning that offshore sail racing has to have a large audience and a vast public. Only this way will it be self sustained, escape the association with billionaires and able to create many professionals making a good living out of their passion, as it happens on all major sports.

And I will take the opportunity to wish all an happy new year wind fair winds and lots of sailing.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

THE SYDNEY HOBART MESS


The race rules say clearly that on all yachts a transponder should be receiving and emitting an AIS signal during the entire race, a thing that can be easily controlled by the race committee. The first yacht to arrive, Wild Oats XI had not complied with that rule.

The race committee was informed that had happened, has verified independently the fact through the AIS public register and filed a protest. The protest was not considered because: "for the protest to be valid under racing rules of sailing, a competitor with the information about a potential rule breach must lodge a protest". 



If this is true it is simply ridiculous and it shows the incredible amateurism of a race that is among the biggest worldwide by the quality of the boats and crews. The organization, through the racing committee, had sure knowledge that a boat had not complied with the rules and even so no penalty was attributed? Who is responsible to enforce the rules? 

Regarding the race itself, on the changing light winds that were experienced on the final part of the race, Wild Oats XI was lucky to have chosen the best route on approaching the river Derwent, but the inexistence of an AIS signal blinded the other nearby yachts to that change of course and prevented them to eventually cover that move. 



Also on the light and changing winds that demand a lot of maneuvering Wild Oats automatic winches (that are illegal everywhere except here) allowed for an unfair advantage. For the ones that don’t know, some call the Wild Oats XI a power boat, due to the need of having his engines running permanently to power the systems, including sail systems. 

So, the victory on the Sydney Hobart went to Alive, an "old" Reichel Pugh 66 followed by an also “old” Wild Oates X, the ladies’ boat, with an entire feminine crew, who curiously spent much of the race fighting against Alive. 



Of course everyone knows that who really won the race, despite having broken the rules, was the much faster and more modern Wild Oates XI. What many don’t know is that formally it was not the case because the winner of Sydney Hobart is not the one that arrives first but the one who wins in IRC, one of three handicap formulas used in the race. 

The situation is odd. It is given much more importance to the classification at the arrival, which euphemistically is called, "line honors", than to the classification on one of the used handicaps, where old boats can be benefited by an inadequate handicap or by different meteorological conditions that can be experienced by slower boats.


The handicap classification was created to ensure that what counted was the performance of the crew, not the performance of the boat but everyone knows that it does not work. Of course, no matter how good the women's race has been, no one believes they could have been much better than the best teams, namely Comanche and Wild Oates XI, but they finished in 2nd place while Wild Oates XI was 11th and Comanche 20th. 

Maintaining this type of classifications, based on handicap, makes sense in club racing but not on top races and I believe that on major races it is a question of time till they become obsolete. In fact they are already obsolete.


In some sail races instead of considering divisions by handicap they are considering divisions by the length of the boat. It makes sense since the best and most professional crews already have the fastest boats and therefore it does not make sense to attribute false advantages to less efficient crews in slower boats, not to speak of the nonsense of the boats being designed not to be as efficient and as fast as possible but to better adapt to a given set of rules.