Friday, April 22, 2022


The last post of the season, I mean, the armchair sailing season 😀. Before the end of the month, I will fly to the south of Italy to start the sailing season, and for some months I will have too much fun for having time to continue with the blog.

The last post is for the First 36 because the initial impression I have about the boat has changed a bit. I confess I was a bit pissed with the First 36 lack of ambition and with the price but the truth is that the boat,  without looking innovative, looks better than in the drawings. The interior looks incomparably nicer in the photos.

I don't know why they have made such bad work with the drawings, and such good work with the photos, but it is better to do good work with the real thing than with the drawings. Have a look at a previous article about the First 36 with some comparisons with the competition:

I have not seen the boat yet, but I have seen photos, two boat tests and a video and the First 36 looks definitively better now. The saloon and the cabins look comfortable enough to make life enjoyable while cruising on the fast lane.

Unfortunately, the head is as bad as I thought it was, and having an unpractical foldable washing basin on a boat with these dimensions, a boat that will be more used for cruising than for racing, does not make sense. It would be way better if they had opted for a two-cabin layout (instead of a three-cabin one), with one of the aft cabins transformed into storage space, using the rest of the space for a "normal" head.

And I say it would be used more for cruising than for racing because now, having a better look at the hull design, it is clear that this boat is not going to be competitive in IRC or ORC, being too much downwind maximized, and even in downwind races, like the Transquadra, I don't believe it will be as competitive as the JPK or the Sunfast. Neither will it be competitive with them in races by boat length, like the Silverruder.

The First 36 would make a lot of sense if it had managed to follow the previously announced program intentions. Andraz Mihelin has stated about that: The First 36 would offer almost the same performance as a Pogo 36, for the price of a Dehler 34 (with a price lower than 150,000 euros).

It was not meant as a fast top cruiser-racer (a boat with an overall top performance) like the Sunfast or JPK, but as a very fast performance cruiser, that would offer great cruising potential and fun, for a lower price. The target was the Pogo 36.

But the lack of a decent head diminishes the First 36 cruising potential, as much as the price, which is nowhere near "less than 150 000 €", neither near the one of the Dehler, but very close to 200 000 € (198 000) and I bet that after the first boats, that price will rise, while a Pogo 36 costs 172 473 € and a Dehler 34, a bit slower but with a better cruising interior, costs 168 900 € (all prices at the shipyard without taxes).

It seems to me that they missed completely the price target (by 33%) and that will make the First 36 a boat difficult to sell. On the "" sail test, they said that the First 36 sailed "amazingly" but they would have said the same if they were testing the Pogo 36 (that is probably faster), and all that follow racing know that, overall, the Sunfast 3600 and the JPK 10.80 are faster than the Pogo, except in downwind races.

The First 36 costs much more than the Dehler 34, costs even more than the Pogo 36, and it is very near in price of faster and better racing boats, like the Sunfast 3600 or the JPK 10.80. It has also to compete with the J112e which, like the JPK, has a great racing record (the J112e is a bit more expensive).

First 36 head, with foldable washing basin
The JPK 10.80 has a good cruising interior, with a worse galley than the First but a better head; the J112e, being faster than the Dehler, has an excellent cruising interior (as good as the one of the Dehler) and only the Sunfast 3600 has a more naked and less comfortable cruising interior (but with a bigger and better head). You can see photos and the layout of those boats here:

And the interior of the Dehler 34 is here:

We will see how the First 36 sells, but one thing is for sure, it would sell much better if they had managed to keep its price similar to the one of the Dehler 34 😉.

Saturday, April 16, 2022


Some days ago, I posted an article with a comparison between the E6, the Dehler 46, and the Salona 46, and I said that the SQ version of the Dehler should come soon, but I was not expecting they would announce it just some days after the article, that you can read here:

Dehler went further than on the SQ version of the  38SQ proposing a completely new designed interior, and those are great news because the previous interior was a very particular one, did not please everybody, and most of all, those rounded cabinets were fragile and not easy to use with the boat sailing, especially with heel.

The new interior is more luminous due to the use of lighter wood and bigger hull ports, the saloon cabinets look more usable and with a more consensual design, but over the galley, they save money by proposing an open space with some shelves, instead of a cabinet. The shelves don't have a protection bar and would be unusable with the boat sailing. I hope they modify the design till production, but I don't have many hopes.

The layout is the same but I am sure the Dehler with the new interior will look like a completely different sailboat, at least inside. Outside the only change was an integrated bowsprit, that looks very similar to the one that was already available on the race version, and that probably could already be mounted on the cruising version.

Anyway, the Dehler was already a great performance cruiser, and the only explanation I can find for its moderate success is the not very popular interior design.

I hope that with the new interior this boat becomes more popular unless sailors who like performance cruisers are definitively captured in their tastes by very beamy sailboats, like the Elan E6, a thing that happened previously with the ones that buy main-market cruising sailboats.

There is another new option, an arch over the forward part of the cockpit that will allow having the boom control over it, at a single point (without a traveler). It will work less efficiently than in the standard version (with a big traveler forward to the steering wheels) allowing less control over the mainsail but it will allow the use of a bigger bimini that can be up while sailing (not also a thing that a sailor that likes performance would want). It will also give support for a bigger and higher sprayhood.

This option, even if of no interest to the ones that want a performance sailing boat, will allow a more extended market and without taking anything from the ones who want a better sailing boat. Those, just will not have that option.

This type of option, an arch for boom control, is already common in main market sailboats and Oceanis has offered it already for many years, as well as other brands, including Grand Soleil 46 LC, that will be competing with the Dehler, for the ones that want the boat in that configuration.

The bad news, that was already expected due to the increase in the cost of all materials is that this boat is more expensive than the previous Dehler 46. magazine talks about 70 000 euros more, but I don't understand what they are talking about. 

The new Dehler will cost at the shipyard standard 371 223 €, about 42 500 € more than the previous model, an increase of about 13%, that I would say was expected. I would be surprised if the price does not rise again till the end of the year. 

There are materials that went up 30% and there is now about 5% inflation that will also contribute to the price increase, all due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its consequences. The Dehler has now a price much closer to the one of the E6, which costs 388 500 € and leaving the Salona 46 (295 000€) as a much less expensive option....but I would say, not for long.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022


Elan E6
I have been postponing this post for some weeks, waiting for more detailed information about the E6, but it seems the shipyard is not interested in providing it, so I will proceed with the available information.  

Salona 46
The Salona 46 and the Dehler 46 are the two other performance cruisers that have an approximate size and price and the ones I will compare it to. The Dehler 46 is a boat that has been on the market for already some years and that should receive in the next months an SQ version, similar to the one that has "modernized" the Dehler 38, and the Salona 46 is a relatively new model.

There is another yacht that could be in this comparison, the Azzuree 46, if I did not suspect that it went out of production. And I say this because of the lack of reply dates already for some years,  the last information regarding news on their site dates back from 2017, and I cannot find any new boats for sale. I assume they have stopped manufacturing it or are having trouble. The mother company, Sirena Marine produces mostly big motor yachts and probably they don't find this market niche to be worth the trouble.

Dehler 46
The Elan E6 has been launched recently, has been tested already by, and that makes their lack of reply (not even a price list) more intriguing. The hull is the one of the more sedate Elan GT6 and maybe due to that it has a huge freeboard that contradicts the overall sportive look. Anyway, it is a beamy performance cruiser, a boat that by their options regarding running rigging we could call a cruiser-racer, allowing for good control over sail shape.

Salona 46
However, it may be noticed that in regard to racing, Elan is not known for having obtained good results in any of the big classic regattas, with the exception of the smaller Elan 350. The same can be said regarding Dehler, with Salona having better results with several models.

The Elan E6 with a 14.10m HL (46.3ft) and the Dehler 46, with 13.95m (45.8ft) are truly 46ft boats, the Salona is really a 44ft boat, with a 13.50 HL (44.3ft). In what concerns LWL the differences are bigger, the Elan having 13.68m, the Dehler 12.90m and the Salona 12.23m.

Elan E6
Regarding beam and L/B (length/beam), the Elan is the beamier with 4.49m  and with a 3.14 L/B, the Dehler has a 4.35m beam and a 3.21 L/B and the Salona, the narrower, with a 4.20m beam and 3.21 L/B. As you know, the bigger the L/B, the narrower the boat, and that means that taking into account boat lengths, the Dehler and the Salona have a similar beam while the Elan is a beamier boat, comparable in L/B with the Grand Soleil 44 (3.12), that is slightly beamier. 

Dehler 46
The Solaris 44, the XP44, the Italia 14.98 have respectively a 3.19 L/B, a 3.27 L/B and 3.34 L/B and are less beamier sailboats. The X4.6 (3.16 L/B) while being beamier than the last ones is narrower than the Elan 3.14) and GS (3.12) but in regard to all the others, it is the beamier among them.

In recent articles, I have been insisting on the loss of overall sail performance due to excessive beam, a modern tendency to allow for huge interiors, however, if the Elan E6 and the Grand Soleil 44 can be considered beamy boats while being performance cruisers, it would not be the case if we compared them to slower main market cruisers. The Hanse 460 has 2.9 L/B, and the Oceanis 46.1  has a 3.0 L/B, being much beamier sailboats.

Salona 46
If you want to know more about the sail performance and beam you have more information in this article:

Regarding displacement and D/L the Elan displaces 11250kg for a 121.8 D/L and a 29% ballast/ displacement with the ballast in a torpedo keel with a 2.8m draft. The Salona 46 displaces 9500kg for a 148.7 D/L and a 29.3% B/D, with the ballast in a torpedo keel with a 2.44m draft. 

Elan E6
The Dehler 46 has, on the slower version,  11500kg displacement, a 149.2 D/L, and a 30.4% B/D with the ballast on an L bulbed keel with a 2.25m draft. The Dehler's faster version (called Race?!) has a 11200kg displacement for a 145.2 D/L and a 28.1%B/D with the ballast on a 2.58m torpedo keel.

We can see by these numbers and ratios that the proportionally lighter boat is the Elan E6, but the bigger D/L is due in part to a type of hull that maximizes LWL, while the hulls of Salona and Dehler have a much bigger difference between HL and LWL than the Elan. 

But on the Salona and Dehler the LWL will increase with heel a lot more than the one of the Elan, due to a very different transom design. We can see that while on the Elan the difference between HL and LWL is  42cm, on the Salona that difference is 127cm, and on the Dehler 105cm and that has a lot of importance in what regards D/L.

First Delher 46 then Salona 46
We can see that the yacht with bigger overall stability (also being the bigger sailboat) is the Elan E6, not only due to the bigger displacement but also due to the bigger form stability (more beam, beam pulled all aft) and due to a bigger RM coming from the keel. The Elan E6 does not have the bigger B/D, but the type of keel and the much bigger draft (2.85m) than the one on the Salona or Dehler, and a small B/D difference warrants a comparatively bigger RM from the keel.

Elan E6

However, a 2.85m draft will be too much for most cruisers, and even if the Elan E6 has an optional lower draft (2.40m) they don't disclose the ballast of that keel, and things can be different (or not) depending on that keel being substantially heavier (or not).

The Elan E6 will be the one that has more stability but also the one that will develop more drag (beamier with all beam pulled back) and in what regards power/drag, that is what really counts for performance, I would say that the three boats should be very close, considering the Dehler race version.

Dehler 46
The Dehler standard version, with a bigger D/L and being the one with less RM coming from the keel, is handicapped by a small draft (2.25m) on a lower performance L keel, and a difference in B/D does not compensate for that handicap. It is the less powerful sailboat and this is confirmed by the smaller  SA/D (22.8).

Salona 46
The upwind SA/D of the other yachts is very similar, confirming what I said previously regarding comparative performance, with the Elan having 24.8 SA/D, the Salona 24.2 and the Dehler race 24.6. It is good to remember that the Elan is what develops more drag and that means that its slightly superior SA/D may not compensate for the difference in drag. Probably while the Elan can be slightly faster downwind, with stronger winds, the Salona and the Dehler should be as fast beam reaching and faster upwind as well as with light winds in all points of sail.

Elan E6
The Elan offers the cruising advantage of sailing with less heel and probably will be easier to sail fast downwind, while the Salona and Dehler will sail upwind with more heel but with a more comfortable motion, slamming less. In the end, the preference in what regards sailing has to do with personal preferences and with the type of sailing one does more, more frequent winds and wind strength. 

The Salona and the Dehler race offer an additional vantage regarding Elan,  the standard draft that is 2.44m on the Salona and 2.58m on the Dehler race, a draft that is not excessive for most cruisers. 

Dehler 46
The same cannot be said regarding the standard 2.85m Elan draft. That means not only that you have to pay more for an optional heavier 2.40m keel, but also that you will end up losing performance to the Salona and Dehler, having a heavier boat and decreasing the SA/D.

Saying all this they are not very different yachts, neither in price, nor in performance (even if they have different strong points), neither in overall quality, or building materials and building methods. They offer better quality, performance, and seaworthiness than mass-produced big brands sailboats, offering also necessarily a slightly smaller interior, even if one with better quality.

Salona 46
The Salona is the only one that uses a stell grid (like x-yachts or Arcona) like structure, offering additional confidence in regards to the way keel and shrouds are fixed to the hull. Elan and Dehler offer also stronger and better hull structures (than what you find in mass production sailboats) with Dehler using what they call a carbon box structure.

If compared to big brands' mass-produced boats these sailboats offer also better and more expensive building methods and materials: they all offer vacuum infused techniques using vinylester epoxy-based resins on a sandwich hull, with a closed foam core, while cheaper yachts use polyester resins, hand-laid fiberglass, and a boat structure that is a "contre-moule", and in most cases a single skin hull, that offers incomparably less rigidity.

Choosing one over the other of these three performance cruisers will be a question of personal taste regarding the way one likes to sail, interior layout, style and eventually the comparative price of a fully equipped sailboat. We can say that the Elan and the Salona have a more modern look (in very different styles) while the Dehler 46 has its charms due to a more classical nice look and an interior that is not like any other and that you will love or hate.

More about the Salona 46:

Anyway, if you buy one of these you will have a far better sailing boat than if you buy a Hanse, Oceanis, Dufour, Jeanneau, or Bavaria. These performance cruisers are necessarily more expensive and it is up to you to decide if they deserve the extra money and I would say that it will be dependent on you having the extra money, or not, on the amount of sailing versus motoring you do and if you sail most of the time with nice weather or if you really need a stronger and more seaworthy sailboat.

More about the Dehler 46:

These sailboats sell much less than the same size above-mentioned big brands mass-produced boats and that tells a lot about what most look for when they buy a boat: the bigger one, with the bigger interior for the money, is the prevailing rule. If that is what you want, then these are the wrong boats, also not the right boats if what you want is a prestige sailboat from a top brand with a luxurious finish, one that can really impress your friends by all accounts. 

These ones are about the best compromise between seaworthiness/sailing performance and price. There are better boats but they cost much more, more than the difference in price that separates these ones from the main brands' mass-produced boats.

The Elan E6 costs about 388 500€, the Salona 46 - 295 000€ and the Dehler 46 about 328 900 € all boats without tax at the shipyard. The bigger Elan E6 price has certainly to do with being the biggest of the three, a 46.3ft boat while the Dehler has 45.8ft and the less expensive Salona is a 44.3ft sailboat.

However, if the smaller Salona offers you the interior space you need, then the difference in price is substantial, considering that the Dehler price is the one of the standard version and you need the race version to have the same performance as a standard Salona. 

Friday, March 11, 2022


Two or three decades ago 40ft footers were the main size in most brands, the bestsellers, and the size most wanted, the yachts most dreamed about. Now all those dreams moved to bigger sizes, as well as the sizes of boats that sell more, and to a point that today (mostly in Europe) a 40ft cruiser is considered a modestly sized cruiser yacht, and I can tell you that while I am cruising, most yachts I see cruising are way bigger, and very rarely smaller.

Maybe that explains why it took so long for Grand Soleil to substitute the old 39 (2011), from the performance line. On the sizes over, the previous 43 was from 2012 and was replaced for a 44 in 2020. The 47 that was from 2015 was replaced in 2018 by the 48. This shows what are the shipyard priorities that have to do with demand and it is especially meaningful because the yacht this one substitutes, the 39, designed by Maletto was never a very successful boat, neither as a cruiser nor a racer and didn't sell well.

The Previous mode, Grand Soleil 39

The GS 39 is a nice design even if I never quite liked the transom, but as a cruiser, for the size, it offered a smallish interior due to a beam smaller than average (3.70m) and it was reported to be a bit nervous on the steering wheel (for cruising), maybe due to the transom design that did not offer a gradual increase in hull form stability with heel. 

Regarding racing, despite a 3rd place in the 2014 European ORC championship, the GS39 was not a popular boat, and the offshore racing performance was not as good as the inshore one, in traditional around the cans regattas and they never raced any of the classic big offshore regattas.

The Grand Soleil 40 has a very different transom design

This one, like all the new generation Grand Soleils  has one thing in common if compared with the previous models: they are all beamier boats. The 39 had a 3.70m beam, now the 40 has 4.07m, the 43 had 4.25m, now the 44 has 4.30m, the 47 had 4.25m, the 48 has 4,50m. 

It is not by accident but follows the modern tendency for always beamier boats with bigger interiors, a tendency that is not so marked in performance cruisers, but that is noticeable even there.

In all of them, it is on the 40 that the increase in beam is more noticeable, partly because the 39 was less beamy than the average, but the fact is that a 4.07m beam on an 11.90m hull length, makes for a beamy performance cruiser. For instance, the Italia 11.98 has a 3.98m beam, the Salona 41 3.84m, the Arcona 415 3.90m, the JPK 11.80 3.93m, the X4.0 3.81m, the J122 3.63m, the Elan E5 3.87m, and even the JPK 39, that is not a cruiser-racer, has less beam, with 3.98m.

Among cruiser-racers with more or less overall good performance, only the Solaris 40 has more beam, with 4.10m, but the Solaris is not really a cruiser-racer and besides even if most boats are supposedly  40ft boats (by the name), the Solaris is, in fact, a 40.6ft boat while the GS is a 39.0ft boat. 

Of course, I am talking about performance yachts with a balanced performance (upwind, beam reaching, and downwind) because if we look at fast boats maximized for downwind and beam reaching, like the Pogo 12.50 (40.0ft), we can see they are beamier, the Pogo with a huge 4.5m beam,  the Pogo 44 comparatively less beamy with the same beam for a bigger yacht (42ft length).

If we look at slower mass production boats, like the Oceanis 40.1 (39.3ft), we will see that not only the Oceanis ( 4.18m beam) but most of about the same length, are considerable beamier (Hanse, Dufour, Bavaria) for offering a bigger interior space (at the cost of upwind and light wind performance).

First Gs39, above, GS40

Comparing the GS 40 model with the previous model, we will see that curiously the old 39 (12.20 m) is longer than the new 40 (11.90 m), and that is quite odd and says a lot about the confusion with misleading names based on boat sizes that do not correspond to the hull length. And it is not only Grand Soleil, but most brands, with for instance X-Yachts calling X4-0 to a 37.7ft boat or Pogo calling 44 to a 42.0ft boat. RCD should stipulate that when a length is used to name a boat the name should have correspondence to a big disparity between the length the name indicates, and the real yacht size.

Regarding beam, the 39 is a much narrower boat, with a 3.70m beam, to 4.07m on the 40. Regarding B/D, the 39 has 33.3% on an L bulbed keel with a 2.40m draft. The new 40 has the same 33.3% B/D, with the same draft (2.40m), but probably on a T torpedo keel. Both boats have a very close displacement, 7350kg for the 39 and 7500kg for the new 40.

This means that the new 40 is a more powerful boat, stiffer and that will be fast while beam reaching and downwind sailing, out of very light winds. Probably the 39 will be faster upwind and in light wind but overall, in a balanced track with varied winds from all directions, the 40 will be faster.

First the GS39, then the GS40

Sure, the 40 will develop more drag, but the extra stiffness allows it to carry considerably more sail area upwind (82m2 to 95m2) and that will be enough to more than compensate for the extra drag. 

However, those 95m2 are optional, and the standard sail area is only 84m2. With only 2m2 of sail area (in the standard version) I doubt the 40, in low medium winds will be faster. Only with stronger winds, when the 39 needs to reef, and the 40 can continue with full sail area, the 40 will be faster.

Above GS39, below GS40
It may be pointed out that the 40, notwithstanding being much beamier, has fine entries and that the transom, even if with almost all beam aft, has a  design that does not increase drag significantly at a medium heeling angle, being the chine high and weak. 

It will offer a progressive increase in hull form stability with heeling, which will more than compensate for drag increase.

But sailing, especially in what regards cruising is not only about speed, and I have no doubt that the 40 will be an easier and more comfortable boat to sail than the GS39, heeling less, with more directional stability, and easier to sail fast downwind, with strong winds, at planning speeds.

In regards to racing, being the 40 designed by Matteo Polli, a specialist in ORC with several world titles, I have few doubts that it will be competitive, if with all options that contribute to making it faster. They call it race version, but in fact, only with all those extras, the 40 will be a cruiser-racer.

Faster, easier to sail and with a bigger cruising interior, the 40 is a better design than the 39, even if I would like it to be even faster, losing some beam and weight and a biggerB/D, I would say 6500kg for a 3.90 beam and a 40-45%B/D. But of course, that would make it more expensive and with a smaller interior and that would mean a faster boat, but one that would sell less and one that in handicap racing could be less competitive.

This boat, like all the others from the GS performance series, has the advantage to upgrade from the standard simplified standing rigging to a more complex one (4 to 6 winches) that will allow a better sail control, a thing that starts to be impossible in several performances cruisers from other brands, because the standard rigging cannot be modified.

We can complain that in the basic and cheaper version the standing rigging is too simplified and besides 4 winches (instead of 6) it has no boom traveler, no genoa traveler, but if you don't want to spend time tuning correctly the sails, you can enjoy a fast hull, with an easy and very simplified running rigging, without paying for more expensive sail hardware.

The cruising layout explores well the increase in interior volume, the anchor locker is big and will have space for some fenders and that allows for a good forward cabin, with a head, two relatively big aft cabins, served by another head, leaving enough space in the aft part of the hull for a large storage compartment accessed by the cockpit.

But for the ones that want more storage space, it seems there is not a two-cabin version and what is proposed is a three-cabin version with the forward head turned into a storage space, a space that will not be very useful due to the location and shape, except to carry a gennaker.

I don't like the saloon and galley interior design, not so much in what regards functionality, but in what concerns style. But maybe the real thing looks better than the drawings. When it is on the water we will look at it better, and compare it to the available options. For now, not even the price has been released.

When it is on the water and after a visit, I will make a comparison with the X4-0 and the Solaris 40, which seem to be the two main market competitors.

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