Friday, December 6, 2019


Neel 47
The ARC, bigger every year, is now subdivided in three, the ARC+ that stops in Cabo Verde with 66 yachts, the ARC, a direct course to Santa Lucia on the Caribbean with 185 sailboats and a smaller one that also stops in Cabo Verde with only 22 boats.

Only on the the ARC there is a racing division with twenty five monohulls competing but quite
incomprehensibly there is not a racing division for multihulls even if clearly some of the ones that are making the transat are racing.

Stadtship 54ac
The truth is that there is a classification and prizes also on the cruising division and many of them are racing too, in a more kind of relaxed way and the main difference is that while on the racing division the use of the engine for propulsion is not allowed, on the cruising division the engine hours are later transformed in a time penalty.

This is a kind of amateurish and friendly race and even the racing division is not a high profile race.

CNB Bordeaux 60
Every year I look at the boats that are making a faster Transat as a way to gather information, on the principle that a fast boat can be sailed slow but a slow boat cannot be sailed fast and therefore I am only interested on the fastest boats of each type.

I will not look at the smallest of the ARCs, the ARC + St Vincent that has not enough sailboats to provide interesting information.

Catana 50
Starting with the ARC+, where many have already reached their destination in Santa Lucia, the fastest was a relatively new and very interesting trimaran, the Neel 47, fastest than a Catana 65. Impressive!

The Neel proves one more time that their boats are very fast on a Transat. Some years ago they have showed that with a special 45, lighter than the standard model, that managed to be faster than the several bigger Outremer doing the ARC in that year.

Nigel Irens 78
We know that Catana are very fast catamarans and does not surprise that a 65 and a 50 have arrived in 4th and 5th but it comes as a surprise that a Stadtship 54 AC, a fast aluminium voyage boat, arrived  ahead of them as well as a very fast CNB Bordeaux 60 (2nd and 3rd)  and the same can be said of a little Pogo 36 that arrived not far from the two Catanas and just behind a well sailed and fast Jeanneau 51.

The 8th boat to arrive was another Neel trimaran, a  51, but already about 7 hours from the Pogo. All these boats have something in common: they are all contemporary designs.

Looking at the bigger ARC,where the first boats are almost finishing, and particularly to the bigger and faster boats, the 78ft Nigel Irens catamaran will arrive first after making a fast Transat but I would say that I am more impressed by the much smaller TS5 catamaran (51ft) that is very close and the JP54 that are not far and battling with a VOR65! and a 85ft Frers designed fast yacht.

Of course all these boats are extremely well sailed and do a lot high profile of racing but even so their performance is quite impressive as it is the  one of a smaller TS 42, the small sister of the TS5, that is fighting with a Mylius 60 (a very impressive performance for a luxury yacht) and both trying to keep behind a Swan 80!, a Swan 82s!, a Volvo 60 and a 60ft fast catamaran, an Outremer 5x.

Mylius 60
A bit behind a Shipman 63 and a Amel 64 are doing very well  both ahead of all Oysters including three 825 and one 725. Of course we will have to look at the end at how much fuel they wasted and see if that is a significant factor or not.

Also doing well a X55, a "cheap" More 55 and a Jeanneau 57 but most of all an Azuree 40 and a Pogo 12.50, a First 45  and the 48ft Scarlet Oyster and its very good racing crew (they make all great classics on the two sides of the Atlantic). 

Just to understand how fast these boats are sailing it is enough to say that they are sailing side by side with the second TS5 catamaran and a Swiss cat 55, also a performance catamaran.

Not far behind comes a First 40.7, a Grand Soleil 43. A bit behind a Hanse 420, another First 40.7 as well as a Hallberg Rassy 412, all going fast, as fast or faster than the second Outremer 51 and two big catamarans, a Sunreef 60 and a Graiger 60.

Azuree 40
Among the condocats that are going fast deserve mention, besides the ones mentioned above, a Lagoon 52S and a Bali 5.4 that go at about the same pace of the First 40.7 that I have mentioned above.

When they arrive and the fuel consumption is known I will post on the comments about any rectification those numbers will provide and you guys fell free to post any comment regarding any boat that you think that has done a fast Transat.

Pogo 12.50

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Armel Tripon, the skipper, had already said that his IMOCA, designed by the class40 guru, Sam Manuard would be different but I confess I was not expecting it to be so different: with a bow as similar as scow as the rules allow, considerably less beamier than all other IMOCA with a lot of rocker on the bow area, a "strange" transom and huge foils, this boat explores other ways of going fast on the Southern Ocean.

I just hope that it will work and the boat is as competitive as the best because the courage of Sam Manuard deserves it: he finally arrives at the top of racing boat design field and his approach is a completely different one than what the masters are using. This guy has big balls LOL.

Sam Manuard is a designer with racing experience and by that I mean that he is a top solo/duo racer that, as most, started on the minis, designing and sailing his own boat, winning many races. Then he started a successful carrier as a NA designing first minis then class40 racers for others to win. Now and then he still makes some races in duo (class40) always with top results.

Out of the racing world his best known design is the Seascape 27 that was such an innovative and good sailboat that Beneteau bought Seascape to rename them (all designed by Sam) First. There are talks that Sam can be the designer of the very awaited First 39 but that remains to be seen.

An unusual boat to an unusual IMOCA skipper. Tripon, contrary to other new IMOCA sailors does not come directly from the lower solo/duo class40 but from the Multi50.  Neither is he a young sailor but a very diversified top veteran with a racing career full of accomplishments, in the last years almost all on 50ft ocean racing multihulls.

Just to name the main victories and the podium places: won the Mini-Transat in 2003; 2012. 3rd Transat Solidaire du Chocolat (class40); 1st Les Sables-Horta (class40); 2015, 1st Transat Newport-Coves (class40), 1st Grand Prix of the Cannaries (Multi 50); 2017, 3rd Transat Jacques Vabre (Multi 50); 2018, 1st Route du Rhum (Multi 50).

About the boat I could not find the beam or dimensions anywhere but they say:

"The moderate beam reduces deck / hull surfaces and reduces boat weight. It is also a favorable factor to optimize the IMOCA gauge (AVS and 180 ° test). Although the beam is contained, the hull forms are powerful, to keep stability especially when the boat moves at low speed during gybe maneuvers in particular. The skipper must feel comfortable and be able to make maneuvers without difficulty. This scenario may be crucial in the Great South along the forbidden zone.

Large deported foils can generate dynamic RM with little drag. We are getting closer to how a trimaran works. The deported foils work in a clean flow, offset from the wave train of the hull. Our foils can also be lifted to avoid drifting in the water in the light weather when they are useless / harmful, as well as in the heavy weather where the skipper may want to navigate in slower mode for his own safety..."

Without doubt a very interesting boat that can be a flop...or a winner and this odd duo can be very well the big surprise on the next Vendee: if the boat can keep the pace on the strong winds and high speeds of the Southern Ocean then it would have a significant advantage while crossing the doldrums and other areas with light winds and that can make the difference.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


I have already posted about this boat when it was still on the paper and was just a design that looked promising. The 400 marks the renewal of OVNI line. It is more modern than previous boats and more innovative in many aspects.

Nearer the OVNI 400, at distance, the Allures 40.9
On that post I have compared its technical characteristics to the boat that is its obvious aluminium rival, the Allures 39.9. Some months ago Allures released the 40.9 that is a MKII, the same boat with a more modern and nicer interior even if with the same layout.

The French magazine Voile  has recently made a very  good comparative test between the two boats being both on the water sailing side by side and that allowed clear conclusions in what rgards sailing performance. The links for my previous post and the test that can be downloaded (with the magazine) for 6€:
Above OVNI 400, below Allures 40.9

The OVNI 400, having more beam, less finer entries and all the max beam pulled to the transom is unbeatable in what regards interior space and volume and has a very nice luminous interior with a great layout, a big galley and features an unusually big front cabin.

 The cabin is wider at the front because they used the forward part of the hull to install not only a big chain locker but also a sail locker, something very rare on a 40ft boat.

The forward cabin is so big that it can take a head of good dimensions without becoming a bit cramped but space is not elastic and the aft cabin that has about the same width on both boats has a length of less 9cm (1.90) on the OVNI and that can be a problem for big guys. Both boats have a similar standing height, close to 2.00 meters.

Besides personal taste the only point that seems to me better on the Allures is the slightly raised position of the chart table that can be an advantage on crossings with bad weather since it is possible (with the pitch of the boat) to have some forward view while seated. On the contrary you need to stand on the OVNI but then the all around view is much better.

Both boats, assuming two cabins layout, have lots of storage space and dedicated space for watermaker and generator and both have an easy interior access to the rudder mechanism.

On the cockpit both boats have arches at the transom able to serve as davits and that allow the installation of solar panels and wind generators.

Both have big dodgers being the one on the OVNI bigger and having the support of an integrated arch being more solid even if it seems that there is the possibility of Allures having a fixed dodger (look at the photo with the two boats).

The aft winch position on the OVNI is better  than on the Allures allowing a better and easier use, sailing solo or with a crew. The Allures has slightly more outside storage but that is compensated on the OVNI by the outside access to the inside storage compartment.

 Of course that is on the two cabin versions and the two boats can have a three cabin version that does not make any sense on this size and type of boat because the space is needed for storage.

Both boats have nice integrated bowsprits with an anchor stand and the OVNI has a modern slightly inverted bow with lots of buoyancy that contributes actively to diminish pitch and allows a softer passage over small waves and a huge transom that certainly contributes a lot for overall stability and limits roll downwind.

The Allures hull is more conventional having been designed already some 7 years ago but very elegant and with a good performance. In fact on Voiles Magazine test the Allures was always faster than the OVNI and had a much better performance upwind.

They don't give much information about it but they say that with high medium and strong winds the OVNI lacks power upwind and that the small rudders should probably be bigger to give a better control to the boat and I am not surprised with that because when I saw the drawings I was intrigued by how small they were.

On top OVNI 400, over Allures 40.9
The test has taken place with 18k winds and the Allures can  tack with an angle between 95/100º making 6/6.5kt and with the same wind, at a bean reach/downwind, can go easily at 7/7.5kt. 

It does not seam much but remember that these are centerboarders even if the OVNI has 1300kg ballast on the centerboard. With weak winds the performance should be comparatively worse mainly on the OVNI that with small angles of heel has a bigger wet area.

Above and below OVNI 400
It is a pity that the OVNI, already with a 1300 kg swing keel,  has not taken the opportunity to have at least a version with all ballast on the keel. It would allow, with the same ballast or even less, the OVNI to be a much more powerful sailboat, one that would not have problems going upwind and could go faster beam reaching, a boat that on most situations would be faster than the Allures and not slower as it is.

But it is always the same problem: money money and boats made to a budget. All that  the need of a bigger mast to carry more sail  and a beefier keel structure would make the boat more expensive.

 If you are ok with voyaging not on the fast lane, but safely and carrying a lot of stuff, on a boat ideally suited for long range cruising, then one of those two are for you.

 If not and you like to have the pleasures of fast sailing then get an RM that certainly will go much faster or if you really want an aluminium boat of this size just wait 2 or 3 years for the new Allures that will replace this one.

You will not only have the advantages of an updated hull but probably also the option  of having all the ballast on a swing keel allowing for a boat 1500kg lighter and with a much better sailing performance.

Or if you have the extra money buy the Allures 45.9 that has that option already, being the boat with all ballast on the swing keel 2280kg lighter than the centerboarder, with the same sail area.

Saturday, November 9, 2019


The RM 11.80 is much slicker than the first 40ft from RM, the 1200, that was at the time (2003) the biggest  RM to date. The 1200 looks amateurish by comparison, rude, much heavier and slower.

At the time I sailed the RM 1200 and in weak winds and it seemed to me slow and sluggish, but of course that was not what it was designed for, it was already a very good boat on a beam reach or downwind.

RM 1200
The new RM is not only more stylish but also the building techniques are different. The RM 1200, contrary to older models,  had already a cored fiberglass deck, being the hull made from marine plywood, a special grade, that was  later saturated with epoxy but on this one the fiberglass use went further:

To give more complex shapes to the upper part of the hull, on the RM 11.80 the sides  are also made of cored fiberglass. Only the submerged part of the hull is now made of saturated plywood and  mostly due to being easier to fix their traditional keel structure that is made of steel.

So much for the brand publicity about being a more ecological boat LOL. But maybe there are other reasons, out of aesthetics  to these changes?  Have they  allowed to make it lighter? or stronger?

 Surprisingly the RM 11.80 is heavier than the RM1200 (7000kg - 6800kg), smaller (HL: 11.80m - 11.99m) but beamier (4.37m -  4.22m). The RM 1200 was offered exclusively as a twin keel boat (1.80m draft) and while still being the twin keel the more popular version on the RM 11.80, it is also proposed standard with a traditional torpedo keel (two rudders on that version) and also an optional hydraulic swing keel with all ballast on the keel being the drafts respectively 1.95m, 2.25m and 1.3/3.20m.

Regarding ballast and B/D RM entered on the bad wave of not disclosing the ballast of their boats a thing I don't understand because I certainly would not buy a boat without knowing what the B/D is and without looking at the stability curve. 

Sure it is a certified class A boat but that is a minimum and there are huge differences in stability among boats certified on the class and I surely would not want a boat that makes it barely class A in what regards stability in any of the requirements including AVS.

But if they choose to do so, as some other brands, that means that most people that buy boats just don't care about that and trust they are providing very safe boats. The problem is that today for a boat to sail well, with yachts with a huge hull form stability, they don't need to have a good safety stability and that is really a temptation for boat builders (it is cheaper to have a low safety stability) and a problem to buyers.

If you did not read it have a look at this post that I made about the subject:

On the RM 1200 the ballast was 2700kg (B/D 39.7%) and that even with a draft of 1.80m gives a boat a decent final stability with an AVS a bit over 115º. I don't believe the AVS or the final stability of the new boat to be better than the one of the old one. The RM 10.88 is a beamier boat, needs less ballast to sail well and because it has more draft it needs less  ballast to have a similar stability. It has for sure less ballast.

 So we reach the surprising conclusion that the use of the fiberglass on the sides of the hull did in fact make the boat not lighter but heavier because even with less ballast and smaller than the RM 1200 the 11.80 is heavier. Will it be stronger? I doubt very much, I don't see how using two different materials it is possible to make a boat stronger than using  a single one that is already probably stronger than fiberglass.

Is it worth it? Well, that will depend how much you value the looks of the boat and certainly the new boat is gorgeous.

Comparing ratios between the two boats we will see that the older boat has a slightly better D/L (meaning lighter) 132.3 to 133.7 and that regarding SA/D the upwind values are very similar (19.8 to 20) and that downwind the new boat carries more sail (42.8 to 54.8). For the values of the ratios, not knowing the RM 11.88  LWL I had estimated a value of 11.35, a bigger one if compared with the one of the RM 1200 due to the inverted bow.

If we consider that the SA/D with the genoa is practically similar (26.2 to 26.1) and that the loaded weight on cruising mode will be very similar probably the two RM, the older and the new will have a very similar performance while using genoa or jib, being probably the older one a bit faster upwind due to a lesser beam. Only downwind and under geenaker (that is much bigger) the new one will be faster.

The RM 11.88 will be faster on most conditions, specially on a beam reach and downwind than mass production main market cruisers like Jeanneau, Beneteau or Hanse but they are sold as performance cruisers so the question is: will they be faster or comparable in speed with more traditional IRC based performance cruisers? Let´s see what we can find regarding race results (previous models) that are not many because few chose to race them and with good reason.

We can find a RM 1270 that in 2017 made 3 races on  the British two handed IRC championship with not good results. On the Fastnet was more than 13 hours slower than a Sun Fast 3600, more than 6 hours slower than a J109 and more than 2 hours slower than a Salona 380 (all boats two handed).

We can also find a RM 1260 that made the Middle Sea Race in 2016 with even worse results and that is not surprising if we consider that the Fastnet is mostly a beam reach race normally with medium to strong winds while on the Middle Sea Race the conditions are typically Mediterranean with mixed conditions but always with a fair part of upwind sailing and many times, besides medium to strong winds, a lot of weak winds.

The RM 1260, also double handed, did not complete the race but on his last timed passage, at Stromboli, it had already lost about 16 hours for a Solaris 42, more than 7 hours and a half for a Comet 41s and about 7 hours to a J109, all two handed.

They call it a performance cruiser but it is not certainly a cruiser-racer and if you want a boat to cruise and to race occasionally this is not the boat to have. If you want to sail on the med and want a boat with a good sailing performance, again, you can chose a better boat but if you want to voyage on the trade winds this is certainly a very adequate and a fast boat, faster than most other voyage boats on the market and also a very stable boat that will roll very little, sail with a low angle of heel and  that will allow an autopilot to work very efficiently at speeds that on other fast types of hulls you would have to steer manually.

There is one thing that almost all agree regarding this boat: it has a great interior one that was already very good on the RM 1200 and that has been improving along the years. Difficult to make better and nicer even if the quality and finish being good are more on the practical side than on the luxurious side.

The boat is already a success and before having the first one ready they had already 17 sold. Probably there is going to be a waiting list for this one that was also nominated for the European Yacht of the year contest. A very nice boat!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


The Mini Transat is not only a great race for young professionals to show what they are worth but for many amateurs a huge challenge to prove to themselves that they can do it and many times their stories are as interesting or even more than the ones from top sailors. 


The Italian Ambroggio Beccaria stole all protagonism and is the hero of the 2019 mini-transat. Now what we want to know when we look at the race tracker is not who leads the race but for how long can Beccaria, on a Series boat, shadow François Jambou, the leader of the fastest category.

In fact for some hours Beccaria, who has been on the tail of Jambou for the last 24 hours, was the first boat on the race (series and protos mixed) even if his boat is a series boat meaning a GRP boat with aluminium mast that can be bought from a manufacturer, in this case Pogo and sails on a race where there are many protos racing.

Protos (from prototypes) are one off boats that contrary to series boats can be made of carbon and have canting keels and foils.

 So what he have here is a guy that on a slower (about 7%) low tech cheap boat stays on the tail of the first of  a class of expensive full carbon racers with canting keels and foils: what a sailor!

Just to give you an idea of what is a  Mini proto look at this one, that is now well behind his low tech, inexpensive boat.

Of course the Italians have already noticed the huge potential of this sailor and call him the extraterrestrial. I thought they were exaggerating but what he is making here is just unbelievable. I hope the Italians have the good taste to give him quickly a competitive class 40 because on the mini racers he has nothing to prove or to learn anymore and his potential is huge.

You can follow the race here:


The name is Brest Atlantiques and it has already started, making the Jacque Vabre look like a small race, I mean in what regards extension and number of miles to the finish line.

The Ultims have joined the huge fleet that is already racing on the Atlantic. They have left Brest 16 hours ago, with strong winds and huge seas and are already sailing off the Portuguese Coast and probably in two days they will start catching the slower class 40 that are racing the Jacques Vabre.

 For the more distracted the Ultim class are the fastest offshore sailboats, maxi  trimarans. There are not many and the capsize and destruction of Banque Populaire, Armel's boat was a huge loss and these boats with an average cost of 10 million euros are not easily replaceable.

Anyway we have four of them racing here, the best, with the best skippers, legendary sailors: Franck Cammas on Edmond de Rothschild, François Gabart on Macif, Thomas Coville on Sodebo and Yves le Blevec on Actual Leader. Gabart is leading, Cammas is close on the chase. Big race for big sailors.

You can follow here: