Wednesday, March 8, 2017

CARIBBEAN 600: MASERATI VERSUS PHAEDO 3


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

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

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

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


Thursday, February 23, 2017

SAILING A J CLASS CLASSICAL RACER: ENDEAVOUR


Some guys get lucky and this time it happened to Toby Hodges, the main tester from Yachting world magazine, that was given the opportunity to sail Endeavour, one of the surviving J Class yachts. I am sure many will know what a J Class yacht is but this blog is followed also by many that have not a deep knowledge about yachting and will not know exactly what a J class is, so some explanation is in order.

The J class rule was used for the America's cup from 1914 to 1937 and was created in 1903 by one of the greatest Naval Architects ever, Nathanael Herreshoff, that called it the Universal Rule. It allowed slightly different boats having similar performances, providing the rating was the same. There were made 17 J class yachts ( 119 to 135ft) most of them for the America's cup and surprisingly 3 of them survived. They still sail and race proudly and Endeavour is one of them.

The fact that these yachts are a kind of paradigma of classic beauty helped a lot to preserve them and already in this century there was a true revival of the class. It has become fashionable to own a JClass yacht, a prestige status on the yacht top community and soon yachts started to be recovered to their former glory and replicas to be built. That is the case with Ranger's replica, with Hanuman (Endeavour replica), Rainbow's replica and even with two boats that were designed but not built at the time, Topaz and Svea.

And of course, races were organized for the J class, now with more boats on the water than ever. Why this revival? Are these boats fast? As racing boats, by modern standards, not bad upwind, lousy downwind or on a beam reach, since they cannot plane...but they have plenty of style, they are beautiful and anyway with a 85ft LWL, even if limited by hull speed, they have a decent turnover of speed as a cruising boat (a thing they are too, since they have gorgeous interiors ).

Sailing pleasure is not only about speed, it is also about sensations and I am quite sure these boats offer lots of good vibes and Toby Hodges looks like he is in heaven while sailing Endeavour LOL. Of course, for sailing one of these beauties it is not enough to have the yacht but to pay for a big crew to sail it. Anyway the owner is now a true Captain of a big crew and it is better he knows what he is doing otherwise he would have to pay for a captain too, since these babies are not properly easy to sail.


If you want to own one, Endeavour is for sale for something like 20 million euros. They offer now a 2.5 million discount so it is better to take advantage of that LOL. I wonder how much would cost to pay a full crew for this boat plus maintenance a year? Certainly way over a million a year, maybe two. There is a reason for the status given by owning one on the millionaire's world and it is not only about beauty. I am grateful to the ones that own them, otherwise we would not have the opportunity to see these beauties sailing. Well spent money!!!


Saturday, February 18, 2017

C YACHTS 47 AND 42: TWO GREAT CRUISING BOATS


C yacht is a small Dutch brand that used to make quality sailboats at an interesting price but with an uninteresting design. But that has changed!!! It seems that finally Dutch shipyards are improving dramatically the quality of their designs and after Contest, it is C Yachts that has a main Yacht cabinet designing the new boats. The C 42 and C47 designs are already the work of Dykstra Naval Architects and as usually Dykstra designs are beautiful.
C47
C yachts have a conservative clientele and certainly they asked Dykstra for a slightly conservative design and Dykstra obliged, specially on the 42 but on the 47 he put a lot more creativity. While the 42 is a good looking boat the 47 is absolutely gorgeous.

Both boats have modern hulls, relatively beamy with almost all beam pulled aft, a spade rudder and a modern bulbed keel with lead ballast, an elegant design with fine entries and narrow forward sections.
C47

C yachst are already built with top building methods using an all sandwich hull with a closed cell foam core, vinylester resins, sandwich bulkheads bonded and glassed to the hull and a stainless steel main structure that is connected to the keel. This allows the C 42 not to be heavy, specially considering that they have a B/D ratio of 40%, on an effective keel with 1.90/2.20m  draft.

The C42 displaces 11500 kg, has  4.10m beam and a SA/D of 19.6. The C47 is more interesting, being proportionally lighter, displacing 13200 kg, having  4.40m beam and a SA/D of 20.6. Not bad for main market boats, similar to the dimensions of the Contest 42CS. The two boats should have very similar performances, good performances for main market sailing boats.

C42
The rigging seems specially adapted to solo easy sailing, with a central winch that takes directly the main halyard, a solution that is used also on the Contest 42CS and on the Maxi 1200 with good results. The other two winches near the wheels receive the lines from the jib or genoa and only for reefing  will it be needed to go forward, on the cockpit.

The C47 will have proportionally a better performance being a very fast boat, for the type. Gorgeous and fast this one will only need an interior as good and nice, as the ones on the already existing Cyachts, to be one of the most interesting offers on this market segment. 

They are obviously not "cheap" boats but even so the 47 price seems interesting, at around 625 000 euros including 19% VAT, but with no sails. The 42 will cost, on the same conditions, 425 000 euros and that should make it a bit less expensive (but not much) than the Contest 42CS.


More here:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

WILL THE AMERICA'S CUP BE RACED BY ROBOTS ONE DAY?


Contrary to many I don't see anything wrong with the America's cup to be raced on flying cats, even if I had some doubts in what regards it being raced on sheltered waters and on controllable limited conditions, but those doubts, not to say disagreement, were even more present when they were raced on the last monohulls class, that could not sail with more than 15k wind, or about it.

Last edition I hated to see the NZ team  be beaten by Oracle, not because Oracle was American, but because they had managed that using some kind of mechanical/electronic gadget, that they introduced in the middle of the races, when they were losing for the NZ team, that helped them to control the boat better and that gave them an unfair advantage over the other team. They had lost all races till they started using the gadget, they won all after that.

The gadget was considered legal, even if I have some doubts about that, but none regarding the principles that use or the unfairness of making victory depending on gadgets that come in between the sailor and the hydrodynamic sail/boat controls.

Sailing is one of the mechanized sports where the relation between man and nature is more present. The body that regulates sailing sport had forbidden the use of engines to power sail systems to maintain that relation as simple as possible and it should forbid, for the same reason, the use of electronic/mechanical devices that help boat control, otherwise in some few years top sail racers like the AC racers, will be only controllable through a computer and the one with the best computer/program will be the winner.

Do you think I am exaggerating? Do you know that an interceptor fighter airplane can only fly with a flight computer/program that is in between human commands and airplane aerodynamic controls? That those interfaces are extensively used on comercial airplanes? 

Nothing wrong with that or the use of those type of computer managed commands on a sailboat, providing that they are not used on sailing sport, otherwise we will not be measuring sailing skill, neither boat/sail performance, but mostly the quality of the electronic management of a sailboat, if we want, how a sailboat is sailed by a robot. That's what we want for the sailing sport? Do you think that it is far from happening?Well....



"The 50-page design guidelines demand every boat be identical, save a few key elements, including the hydrofoil shape and control systems. So that’s where Airbus engineers focused their aerodynamics expertise. “What is amazing for an aeronautical engineer like me is that the technology used to design these flying boats is very similar to the ones we’re using to develop and test aircraft,” says Pierre Marie Belleau, Airbus’ head of business development....

....The defending champions, not wanting to leave anything to chance, also worked with BMW to integrate a steering system derived from touring car racing. Applying the semi-automated systems designed for automotive applications, the engineers made a yacht that responds to a turn of the wheel nearly instantaneously—instead of taking two seconds...

Aaron Perry, Oracle Team USA designer says..."You just have this little hokey stick foil section cutting through the water...the boats are completing practice races without coming off the foils, the hulls are now almost irrelevant.”

What will control that little hockey stick in real time, adjusting it in milliseconds to each new sea/sail configuration, keeping the boat steady and flying, will be what will make a boat win. That was what that gadget used by Oracle on the last edition has done and I bet that it was just the start. Humans don't react in milliseconds, computers do. That's what we want for the future of sail racing?

Monday, February 13, 2017

THE PERFECT MIDDLE WEIGHT CRUISER: CONTEST 42CS


The Contest 42CS was the 2014 European yacht on  the luxury class, but I never posted about it here (the blog started about that time) neither  have I visited the boat. I did so this year, at Dusseldorf, and I was truly impressed. Sure it costs a lot of money, equipped about 600 000 euros, but in this case we can see where the money was spent.

And it is not only the interior, that  is impeccable (looks the one of a bigger boat), but every aspect, from the rigging to the build quality and design. Regarding design, this yacht has  a hull different from the other yachts on the Contest line, more updated, lighter, featuring a modern keel and rudder. The others are a bit outdated, old fashioned, as it was to be expected on luxury boats pointing to a very conservative clientele. Not so with the 42CS, that  the ones on the shipyard call a performance cruiser.

Certainly it is not so, at least by general standards, but it is a very stiff and fast boat, for a medium weight boat, specially when the wind is up. It weights 11T but 4.6T of that weight are ballast, that is on a nice lead bulb at the end of the keel with 2.20m draft.  The 42% B/D ratio is a big one considering the keel and draft, generating a lot of RM  that adds to the one that comes from a big hull form stability, due to a lot of beam (4.15m) and a large transom. A powerful sailboat with lots of stability and a very good reserve stability.

The AVS is a good one (about 125º) but the RM at 100º is proportionally much better. To give you an idea, the boat with the mast in the water is making as much force to right itself up as about the force it is opposing to the wind when heeled at 30º, the max heel the boat is designed to sail with and as you can imagine, that is a lot of force.

The hull is built in sandwich using vacuum infusion, vinylester resins and balsa as a core, the same with the deck. Bulkheads are in sandwich laminated to the hull and deck. The structural floors are also in sandwich. The rudder is made by JEFA as well as all rudder system.

The Contest 42CS can be made in many configurations but the one at the Dusseldorf boat show is the most interesting one, with a very clever winch arrangement (with a central winch) making easy for a solo sailor to control the boat without never leaving the two steering wheels. 

That layout features two cabins, a big aft locker, accessible from the exterior and from the interior, that joins the other big cockpit locker on the cockpit floor.

Inside there is a huge storage space, smarted with lots of cabinets for everything a boat needs including clothes. It also comes with a big space for a generator, that sits aft the engine and is easily accessed by the sides.

The type of boat that makes my wife happy (the first thing she looks on a sailboat are the storage spaces) and one that looks to be much bigger than the 42ft it has, with a great interior for a couple that receive occasionally another couple as guests.

 This is the perfect type of bluewater boat for the ones that like the more sedate movement of a middle weight boat and can dispense the sailing fun and speed of a performance cruiser, a less amusing sailboat to sail, but a more easy and comfortable one.  Personally not my type of cruiser but the one that will make  most sailors.happy...for a price. But if money is no problem and what you want is a very safe, comfortable and reasonably fast 42ft sailboat with one of  the best interiors I have seen, you cannot go wrong with this one.😉

Thursday, February 9, 2017

2017 EUROPEAN MULTIHULL: OUTREMER 4X


Another great boat winning this year's award. I had already made a post about it and it was without surprise that the Outremer 4X won this year's contest. Only the price of this beauty is not to like and they know it, since it is impossible to find it on line. It should cost over 750 000 euros, a huge price for a cruising boat.
http://interestingsailboats.blogspot.pt/2016/11/outremer-4x-what-not-to-like.html

Sure, the interior space of this extended 45ft (2ft more on the swim platform than the 45ft), about the same as a Lagoon 42, would be too much for most couples, the problem here is that a smaller performance cruising cat, with less than 45ft, would have not the right size for offering an adequate seaworthiness offshore, so in what regards performance cats, it is this size or bigger, while condo cats, due to the much bigger weight can offer the same seaworthiness in smaller sizes.

A great performance cruiser, not at reach of many, but that can be a very interesting choice for the ones that are looking for a 55/60ft performance monohull cruiser, a boat with a similar price, probably a not very different performance and certainly not more difficult to sail.

Here's what the boat testers of 11 European sail magazines said about the Outremer 4X and why they had chosen it as the 2017 European multihull:

Bert Bosman. Waterkampioen, Netherlands: The 4X can reach speeds of 20 knots in a pleasant and safe way, without heeling. Although the fine hulls do not provide the maximum interior volume, there is still a lot. 

Joakim Hermansson. Båtnytt, Sweden: The Outremer 4X moves faster than the wind in light wind conditions and sails even better when a good breeze fills the sails. With a tiller and ergonomically designed seats you can stay for hours at the helm and the living spaces on deck and bow are as pleasant as the interior ones. Also people who do not like to sail can enjoy going out at sea on it, since the 4X offers a new level of comfort.
 Roland Duller. YachtRevue, Austria: Surely the best of a new era in cruising catamarans of this size. It showed a good speed and  a capacity to offer sailing fun while providing many well thought out solutions, both on deck and in the interior. 

Pancho Pi-Suner Oses, Boats & Yachts, Spain:  It aims to be a comfortable boat to circumnavigate in a  fast and fun way and succeeds its objectives outstandingly. It provides all the comforts one expects to find on a catamaran but offers also very high performance. The interior and exterior spaces are integrated on one level leaving the two wheels or carbon chairs of the cane on a superior level for better visibility and that allow a more sporty steering. You really get what you pay for. 

Loïc Madeline. Voiles et Voiliers, France: The Outremer 4X is not only the European multihull of the year, but also a luxury yacht, fast and elegant. What makes it winner is the builder's decision to make it pleasant at the helm. This means having a light displacement boat, with a carbon tiller and a large sail area. It is certainly not as spacious as other catamarans of this size but it has a wide cockpit and offers a wide platform to enjoy anchorages. It is more expensive, certainly, but if you have the money, go for it.

Axel Nissen-Lie. Seilas, Norway: Outremer has what it takes to convince a monohull sailing cruiser to go over to multihull. The builder manages to solve the delicate balance between space / comfort and sailing performance. The reverse is the cost.

Jochen Rieker. Yacht, Germany: This has been a difficult category with many potential winners, but in the end the Outremer won in its class simply because it offered the best combination of space, comfort and performance while sailing. Even with the lazy wind in front of Cannes it was the boat that sailed more far away, always moving without effort. We will hardly find a better option to cross the Atlantic and spend the winter in the Caribbean.

Alberto Mariotti. Vela e Motore, Italy: With little wind, 4X Outremer was the boat that sailed more miles in Cannes and not only because Loyck Peyron was on board as ambassador. This catamaran is a real missile, built with carbon reinforcements and is half a ton lighter than the Outremer 45. Its undoubted sailing qualities are  opposed to a lesser living space in the hulls and to a bigger price. Interesting the option of having two steering positions with tiller, for sailors with a regata soul. 

Troels Lykke. BadNyt, Denmark: The 4X is expensive compared to other cruising catamarans of the same size, but the carbon fiber construction and modern design make it more fun to sail than others, being noticeably faster and with a much better acceleration. The Outremer 4X is a catamaran for real sailors. 

Lori Schüpbach. Marina.ch, Switzerland: This catamaran is just perfect in every way: the steering is ideal, the sheets and halyards are located exactly where they should be and sailing performance is impressive. And nothing more and nothing less than the renowned sailor Loïck Peyron was on board as a shipyard consultant. The Frenchman was fully satisfied: "The boat is light and fast. And although it offers no more comfort than a home, it offers practically the same ". 

Toby Hodges. Yachting World, UK: The boat that was always sailing. That an 8T, 48ft cruising cat could sail at all in the 3–4 knot zephyrs was impressive. That we subsequently sailed steadily at 11–13 knots in 12–15 knots wind and that she could hit the mid 20s when pushed, indicates the 4X has the legs to perform. But getting that balance between speed, controllability and safety right is key for a distance cruising machine – and the 4X achieves that handsomely. This boat is not about outright speed, more a smooth, fast enjoyable ride – easy, stable flight. Outremer’s employment of Loïck Peyron in a godfather role is a clever way to ensure the ergonomics of the boat and the line handling is practically set up. The Outremer 4X is well-built to last, enjoyable to helm and the ideal size to go distance cruising at a good pace. I want one!


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

DUSSELDORF BOAT SHOW: THREE PRODUCTS THAT CONVINCED ME


Three very different products related with cruising or boat maintenance: A sailing dinghy, a small scuba dive and a mast climber. Why are they  important? The Mast climber importance is self evident. A small scuba diver importance will be evident the first time you have a real problem with the chain or anchor stuck on rocks and a sailing dinghy, even if not indispensable, will add to the cruising fun. Who wants to go around an anchorage, exploring the coast, disturbing everybody with noise? Sure, there were several interesting  products around, but these ones seemed very good to me, for several reasons, being price and usefulness among them.

1 - Mast climber:

I have tried several products, even bought one, but with the age and weight going up I cannot go up the mast anymore with the one I got. Even younger and in a perfect fit it was difficult going up on a flexible ladder that was pulled up by a halyard. On the boat show there was a French guy demonstrating the American ATN system, that his firm imports to Europe, a system that is used by several solo racing sailors.



I was convinced and I am going to get one. The price of the mast climber kit is 280 euros. With the bosun's chair and with the bag, that doubles as tool bag, it costs 420 euros (VAT included). The bosun's chair is a wood rigid one and if you don't have one of those, but a more usually flexible one, get the rigid one since it is much more comfortable.
http://croixdusudmarine.com/99-atn-mastclimber-et-patin-d-amure

2 - Small basic diving gear:

I knew that Beuchat had a basic kit for boat use and I wanted to have a look at it and eventually buy it, but even if they said to me that Beuchat was at the boat show I could not find them at the huge pavilion full of diving equipment. Instead I saw what I wanted on a big German diving shop (SF-1) and after a talk with a very friendly and knowledgeable dealer (Thomas), I got convinced that they offered a better kit than the one offered by Beuchat and got one, delivered in Portugal without extra costs (it arrived today). Bought also an extra bottle, to have two on the boat.

Beuchat kit: 565 Euros, VAT included
.http://www.accastillage-diffusion.com/catalog/Kit-Plaisance,392369.html
SF - 1 kit: 435 + 39 Euros, VAT included.
http://www.sf-1.eu/sf-1-onlineshop/bootsf%C3%BChrer-tauchger%C3%A4t/

3- Sailing dinghy:

That was a long time dream, to have a dinghy that would supplement the normal dinghy work with some sailing fun, to explore the coast around anchorages without the noise of the engine and with sailing pleasure.

I had not seen anything that had convinced me till now, not in size, weight and practicability. I found a Dutch one (DinghyGo) that probably had already seen on other occasions, but with a much superior weight.

The difference in weight makes all the difference in what regards practicability. They come in two sizes, weighting the bigger one (275 cm - 26kg)) less than the smaller one (220 cm - 28kg). A similar loss of weight is going to happen on the little one that will be considerably lighter than it is now.

Both dinghies look well built, strong, have a relatively narrow beam (both 145 cm) and a big payload (500 / 350kg). They can accept reasonably big engines (8hp / 3.5hp). The sail rig weights 15kg. When folded in bags both boats and rigs have a small dimension, the bigger one (dinghy and rig) : 112 - 72 - 32cm / 120 - 72 - 32cm. The smaller one: 112- 59 - 32  / 125 - 45 - 18cm. The bigger one costs  2899 Euros the smaller one 2398 Euros, VAT included.

http://dinghygo.com/#prettyPhoto
http://dinghygo.com/resources/DinghyGo_brochure_UK_jan2017.pdf