Tuesday, June 2, 2020

NEO 430, THE FASTEST PERFORMANCE CRUISER?


I know Paolo Semeraro personally, a passionate man who loves to build fast sailboats, and I truly believe that doing that is more important for him than making a big profit out of boatbuilding business. I am amazed he manages to stay in business because, contrary to all, he does not cut in anything, material or design, for making less expensive boats and to offer the best product at the best price. No, Paolo makes the best sailboats, no matter the price.

Once I  suggested to him that it would make sense not to go so high in quality, to offer a less expensive product, but still a great boat, at a better price, but he was not interested, and curiously that instead of diminishing my respect for him has increased it.

His boats are expensive if compared to less performant and cheaply built alternatives but that's the cost of high quality and if compared with similar products (that are very rare) the value is high.  We are talking about a full carbon boat with a huge B/D. Carbon boat building is expensive and a boat with a big B/D and a moderate beam is much more expensive to build than a very beamy boat with a smaller B/D, even a fast one like Pogo.

The efforts are much bigger everywhere and everything needs to be stronger and more expensive, for a gain in speed that is not big downwind but remarkable on all other points of sail, especially upwind. Of course, I am only talking about Pogo regarding hull and B/D comparison, because otherwise, this is a much more expensive boat but also a faster one.

Another difference is the type of keel. While Pogo uses a swing keel that is a great alternative for cruising, this one, on the performance cruiser version, uses a much more expensive lifting keel that allows a true torpedo on a foil, that is not only much more efficient in what regards lowering the CG (with the same weight) as it offers lesser drag.

In handicap racing the use of carbon can have disadvantages and in what regards the other Neo, the 350 and the 400, they have limited success as winning boats at a high level, even if on strong conditions, on the 2014 Middle Race, the Neo 400 won the IRC Class 2 and came 3rd overall, being  4 hours faster than the J122 that won the race (in compensated) and 4 hours and a half faster than the 2nd, a XP44.

The Neo 350 made 5th on the last ORC World Championship and that is a good result taking into account the number and quality of participants. But the fact is that there are very few Neo racing at top-level and it is impossible to know if they are not winning due to that (and the quality of the crews) or because they are not competitive on handicap racing as other boats, like for instance JPK or Sunfast.

But certainly, they have already proved that with a top crew they can do very well, even winning in compensated, while being among the first in real-time, leaving behind much bigger boats. In what regards performance cruising they are rockets and probably they are, size for size, the fastest production cruiser-racers.

For cruising they offer a very light functional interior with carbon furniture integrated on the boat structure, but here resides one of the few divergences I have with Paolo, unless you enjoy living on an interior that looks like the one of a space ship.

Ok, it can be a question of personal taste, but I believe that many that are potential clients are not Italians, that typically use the boat from marina to marina and live not for long periods on the boat, but North Europeans and Americans that will sail the boat extensively and live aboard for many months in a year.

For those, I believe that the interior should be less stark and cold, kind of industrial-like. In what that regards Pogo has a nicer looking interior even if that does not mean necessarily a more functional one.

I believe an interior designer could create a much more appealing interior and that has nothing with being heavier, at least not significantly heavier, but warmer and cozier. Polished black carbon or white surfaces can have an interesting decorative effect, if used sparsely, but having it all in white and black it is just too strong for creating a relaxed and comfortable ambiance to live aboard. The interior can be customized but that is not the same thing as to have the interior designed and conceived by a good interior designer, unless the client wants to find one to do the job, and that would be expensive and time-consuming.

In what regards all the rest I can only say very nice things: this is the best size for a high-performance cruiser, one that offers all the interior space and storage needed, a size that can be handled conservatively by a solo sailor, the seaworthiness to go anywhere and the torpedo lifting keel (3.0/1.6m) that offers the best of two worlds, the best performance with the ability to enter the smallest ports and to look for shelter on anchorages very near the coast.

The yacht is designed by a very good NA cabinet, Ceccarelli Yacht Design, with experience in designing fast cruiser-racers like the Grand Soleil 80, the Azuree 33 and the Azuree 40 among others.

The Neo 430 has 13.06 LOA, 4.06 Beam, 5700kg Displacement, 47% B/D being the 2700kg ballast on a torpedo lifting keel with a 3.0/1.6m draft. The huge stability, given by a moderately beamy hull and a 47% B/D on a 3 m draft torpedo keel, explains the big sail area upwind for a 5.7T boat: 106m2 with a Jib,  180m2 with a Code 0 (for light wind) and 240m2 as downwind sail area.

The LWL is not given but if we compare the sail area with the one of a Pogo 12.50, that is smaller but has about the same displacement (5500kg), we can see that the total area upwind is similar (107 to 106m2) but that the downwind sail area is smaller on the Pogo (218 to 240m2) and that indicates that the overall stability is bigger on the Neo 430, even if the Pogo is much beamier (4.50m to 4.06).

Considering the Pogo with the fixed keel version, the one that has also a comparable torpedo keel, the Neo has a much bigger ballast, 2700kg to 2000kg. But the difference is much bigger than what those 700kg may suggest because the draft difference, is huge: 3.00 to 2.20m.

That makes the two boats very different: one taking more of its RM moment from the beam, the other more from the ballast and if downwind performance will not be much different, upwind, especially out of flatwater and in lighter winds, the Neo will be much faster.

There is a good reason for Pogo to be designed and built as it is, that's the way to have the best compromise between performance and price, but the Neo is not about compromises, it is about max performance and in what regards that and the materials and way it is built, it has a reasonable price, about 500 000 euro (without VAT), for a very light and well built full carbon/epoxi yacht and with a very expensive Cariboni lifting keel. Without the lifting keel and the two-rudder set up, the racing version is not as expensive.

The Pogo 12.50, half a meter smaller, with a carbon mast but with a less efficient swing keel and built with fiberglass and polyester resins, costs 234 538 euros, a very good price. Of course they are not comparable. The Pogo aims to offer the best performance at the best price, the other wants to offer the best performance no matter the price, and as it always happens, the difference in price is not proportional to the difference in performance, but it is like that in every field where performance is the aim and you can find similar examples on racing or sports cars.

The bigger difference is that as a cruiser-racer the Pogo 12.50 will not be competitive in handicap racing and will only be comparatively fast with other performance boats of similar price on beam reaching or downwind races like for instance Transats or the Caribbean 600, while the Neo 430 will be not only competitive in handicap racing as it will be among the fastest boats of its size, no matter the race and conditions, except maybe with very light winds.

The Neo 430 can be ordered in two versions, one more oriented for racing with a fixed keel and a slightly better performance very deep single rudder, instead of the two-rudder set up of the performance version. The lifting keel would not allow a deep single rudder and anyway the twin setup offers many other advantages regarding cruising.

The interior is also different due to the need of a vertical box for the lifting keel system, that is relatively small and serves as post for the deck stepped mast. I don't like the galley on the performance cruising version that is subdivided between the two sides of the boat and that doesn't offer any body support while sailing.

The head is very small on the "racing" version but very good on the cruising one, with a separate shower. On the cruising version the storage space is very good, and if offers two relatively spacious cabins and an interior big storage space.

The racing version, due to the need of big crews in several days offshore races, has 3 cabins being the frontal one smaller due to the head and the layout has much less storage space.

For having a comparable boat I would have to compare it with one-off yachts made by some specialized shipyards like Knierim or McConaghy that cost much more, so expensive that very rarely they built cruiser-racers of this size, starting with 50 ft boats.

Italian sailors love speed and there are other Italian shipyards building carbon cruiser-racers (some optionally) brands like Mylius, Ice or Vismara but none of them built boats smaller than 50ft. The only brand that offers a production full carbon performance cruiser-racer of comparable size is the Arcona.

The Arcona 465 is a full carbon boat and the 435 can be built optionally in Carbon but they are not built in Carbon-Epoxy, but Carbon-Vinylester, being epoxy stronger and more expensive. They have not a lifting keel, are heavier and slower sailboats, but have also a much nicer interior, even if not a very light carbon one as on the Neo 430. A full Carbon Arcona 435 costs 401 602 euros (without VAT).

The Neo 430 is a boat built by an enthusiastic builder for enthusiastic sailors that want to have the fastest performance cruiser around or for racers that want not only to win IRC/ORC races but to finish among the first boats of the same size, even in top races.

And of course, for sailors that have the money this type of boats necessarily cost, but even if not many can afford it it is great to have such a boat on the market and on the water and the boat is already a success, with 4 boats sold, a performance cruiser in Italy and racer-cruisers in USA (ORC), Australia (IRC) and Hong-Kong (IRC).

Even less have the money for beautiful Maxi-sailing yachts but they make the world a more beautiful and interesting place and the same can be said of this boat one that even if relatively small will not pass unnoticed and will arouse admiring looks from anybody that likes sailing.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A NICE LITTLE CRUISER AT A GREAT PRICE: VIKO S21


Believe it or not, I started this post two years ago when I first visited the boat, that looks amazing for the price and for what it offers. It looked too good to be true and I wanted to be more sure about the boat quality of this Polish-made boat.

No, don't take me wrong, this boat has the size of a 6.50 mini racer but if you dream of crossing oceans that's not a boat for you. It has neither the seaworthiness, nor the structural built quality, not to mention the speed of a series mini racer, that can be certified as a Class A sailboat.

But for doing some coastal sailing in fair weather and enjoy some weekend cruising or longer camping cruising with a girlfriend or a young small family and are short of money and need a trailerable boat, then the Viko 21s will probably interest you.

If sailing performance is your main objective, forget about it, something like an Elan E1 will be the right boat, but the Viko 21s offers much more space, much better cruising amenities, at a lesser price.


The interior space is amazing due to a very high freeboard that is well disguised on the shape of the boat, based on the Viko S22, designed by Sergio Lupoli.

This is not a high-quality boat and there are limitations to what is to be expected but the interior is good for the price and can feature a closed compartment that can take a chemical or even a proper marine toilet.

Regarding GRP solidity I have seen some complaints but even if there are dissatisfied clients most enjoy their little Viko and find the building quality acceptable.

The Viko S21 boat has better performance with the lifting keel version but it seems that it creaks and makes small noises that can be unpleasant at night. The keel weights 300 kg, most of it on a torpedo, and it has a variable draft from 0.5m to 1.4m. That gives to the Viko a 30% B/D that allows it to be certified as Class B.

That means, for the version with a lifting keel  a final stability that should be enough to raise the boat from a knock-down and the 30% B/D seems to substantiate that assumption, even if it has nothing to do with the one of a 6.50 mini racer.

The one with a centerboard and even less ballast is only certifiable in Class C and I would not recommend its use for anything than lake sailing or protected waters. Besides it sails not as well as the one with the lifting keel.

From what test sailors and owners said the boat sails well in light winds, can be fast downwind but upwind is a bit handicapped by the big windage of the high freeboard hull and with medium winds it can be a bit nervous needing to reef early.

That is due to the large sail area needed to the good performance in light winds and to the limited stability that a hull limited to a 2.5m beam can offer (to be trailerable).

The small draft (1.4m) and the 30% ballast does not help either. It is a pity because with  100kg more ballast the sail performance upwind and beam reaching would be greatly improved.

As it is, it offers a decent sail performance that will allow those that are start sailing or have not the means to buy a bigger or better boat to enjoy themselves and the family on a boat that is not expensive and it is trailerable.

However, I would not recommend taking seriously what they say about this sailboat on the Viko site: "Suitable ..for sailing.. on the open waters the V21 ..handles the most challenging conditions gamely."

The boat was tested by Yacht.de and Voile et Moteur and globally they said quite well about the little Viko, as you can see on the links and movie below.
https://www.voileetmoteur.com/essai/voiliers/essai-du-viko-s21-le-petit-deriveur-blanc/89502
https://www.delius-klasing.de/viko-s21-19515?number=ZD-19515



The best is the price, 12 990 euros for a standard boat without taxes. However, that is pretty much a boat with a naked interior and a well-equipped boat will cost you 50% over and even more if it includes a dedicated trailer and a mast with an easy system to deploy. Anyway one of the best offers on the market for a boat that looks cute and disguises its big freeboard very well.

Friday, May 22, 2020

HELPING CHOOSE YOUR BOAT


For many years I have helped sailors choosing their boats, trough information posted here and by personal emails. For some friends I went even further and made a better deal for them negotiating directly with the brand dealers or directly with the shipyard.

With the bigger popularity of this blog the number of sailors that have reached me for help choosing their boat has increased, as well as the invitations for dinner or for a beer during the week of the Dusseldorf boat show, that end up with me not only giving personal advice but with showing the boats I thought were more adequate to them, and in some cases even helping directly with dealers to get the best possible deal.

Many have become friends, others I did not like so much and in some cases money or commissions have been offered, that I have always refused because I was not making this professionally.

Well, from now on I will do it that way, not only because the increasing number was interfering with my personal life but also because I can do it better if I make it professionally and in fact I am already doing that with a "client" that I hope will become a friend too.

The service will cost nothing to the ones I provide it because I will be able to have a commission from the boat dealer or brand I will be dealing with. That commission will be a 2% fixed one over the total cost of the boat (official boat price). All other discounts I can manage over that will be for the client.

That implies that I will be the one contacting the different brands and the one doing the deal on the client's behalf. If that is wished the client can be present, but that is a bad strategy because dealers are used to "read" clients and will understand if that is really the boat he wants instead of an alternative one.

That will make it much more difficult to negotiate a good discount.

The service includes preliminary email exchanges to understand better client's tastes and needs, the guided visit to the relevant boats at Dusseldorf boat show or to any boat show in Europe (out of the sailing season) advice regarding cruising and sailing, particularly regarding the Med and about the best places to have the boat delivered.

If the boat visit is made out of Dusseldorf boat show, to another boat show, to a location where a particular boat can be visited or to a shipyard, a payment regarding travel costs will be demanded and be later reimbursed, if the deal with any boat is finalized.

Eventually, this service can be extended also to used sailboats if they are not more than 10 years old but the commission has to be higher and it will include a selection of interesting boats and the payment to a good local surveyor to see if the boat is in good conditions, to prevent the need to make time-consuming and expensive dislocations to different countries and also my presence to accompany a visit with the client.

Of course, the number of sailors I will be able to help at the same time is small and I will not let this limit my personal or cruising life, so if I cannot help you effectively at a given time I will let you know from the beginning.

Nothing of this excludes that you keep emailing me asking my opinion about a given boat, or even what boat suits you more. It is just an upgrade for the ones that desire a more complete service in what regards choosing a boat and one that can have advantages for both sides.

Wishing all a great sailing season that this year is going be a shorter one. Maybe the cruising grounds have less sailboats. One can only hope LOL. Fair winds!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

BENETEAU, JEANNEAU, DUFOUR, BAVARIA, HANSE: BUILDING AND DESIGN


Cover and above, Jeanneau 440
On the blog I don't talk much about mass production boats and there are not many posts about them. That's because most don't fit on what I consider interesting sailboats, mainly because, even if they can be interesting inexpensive cruising boats, they are not particularly interesting in what regards sailing, seaworthiness or building quality.

All main shipyards have pretty much followed the same tendency in what regards spending most of the money on the interior while saving money in simplifying sail systems and building methods, using on the hull cheaper materials and bonding agents, avoiding anything that is time-consuming in order to offer boats with a very nice interior at the best possible price.

Bavaria C45
In what regards design criteria they all have opted for very beamy hulls to allow a bigger interior and to maximize sail performance downwind and beam reaching, at the cost of upwind performance, hulls that can sail relatively well with a low B/D.

They all maximize light and low medium wind sail performance at the cost of medium-high and strong wind performance as well as seaworthiness in strong and extreme weather.

Jeanneau is from them the one that consistently chose to have less beamy models, generally with a better performance in light wind and upwind in fair weather. Upwind with strong weather they are almost as bad as the others because the B/D is as low as on the other brands, not allowing power to cope with stronger upwind conditions.

Regarding this particular, Hanse is the brand whose models have generally a bigger B/D and due to that, they have a slightly better performance in bad weather, especially upwind. Their models average a better final stability, even if that has to be seen model by model.

Hanse 458
It is not by accident that Hanse is from these manufacturers the only one that sometimes presents the stability curves of their boats on the public technical papers and brochures.

Contrary to what many think there is sound logic in all these decisions about where the money should be spent on a cruising sailboat. In fact mass production brands produce and sell to cruisers the boats most need and want and that is why they sell so many boats and are profitable.

Note that I said cruisers, not sailors because for most cruisers sailing is just a way to cruise less expensively and not, by far, the most important factor in what regards choosing a cruising sailboat. Price and a better, more spacious, nicer and more comfortable cruising interior are the main factors.

And face to an ideal cruising sailboat, one that has not only a great cruising interior and a low price, but has also a great sail performance, a very good seaworthiness, strong built, mass production brands have to cut somewhere to save money, to be able to offer boats at a much lower price than "perfect" cruising sailboats.

Dufour 430
And they cut on the things that are less important for most and that cost more money: less B/D (that dispenses a stronger interior structure), simplified and less strong building methods using plywood bonded bulkheads, single skin hulls, less strong interior structures, the use of less expensive polyester resins and simplified sail hardware.

The typical final product is a yacht that is remarkable for what if offers for the money, normally with a nice and great cruising interior, even if obviously it is not expected the same finish as a much more expensive boat, and a sailboat perfectly adapted to the needs of most, that will never sail in bad weather and will give more importance to cruising than sailing.

Even so in what regards sailing these very well-designed cruisers have a very good performance downwind, a satisfactory one beam reaching, a good one upwind in light or medium winds, if there are no significant waves.

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1
The safety stability could be much better but it is up to Class A standards, the performance in bad weather or upwind in strong conditions leaves much to be desired, as well as the hull rigidity on those conditions, but the point is that most of the ones that will buy these boats are not going to use them on these conditions, so why pay much more for things one does not need or use?

After all, most do coastal cruising, never sail in really bad weather and motor upwind, so the boats that are offered make very good sense, as well as the powerful engines they come with and even the more powerful ones, offered always as an option.

For what I said it is obvious that these boats are not as well built and resistant to bad weather as others much more expensive and if they are to be taken to situations where they can be exposed in a storm for several days, the changes are that breakage will occur more easily on these boats and also that their safety stability is typically not as good as the ones of more expensive boats, neither their ability to sail and cope with strong conditions.

But it is also true that if one is careful in choosing the right time to make passages and sail out of high latitudes, the chances are that they will not experience any trouble, neither really bad weather doing that or even circumnavigating. Many have done that and only relatively few experienced serious problems.

But even if mass-produced brands have much in common the truth is that not all these brands build the boats the same way and make the same choices in what regards building techniques and because many are not aware of that I think it would be interesting to make a post about it, making those differences clear.

Hanse sandwish hull in some yachts
If you try to look at or understand those differences, you will have a hard time because contrary to what it is done by more expensive brands, these ones tell you very little or nothing about the way the boats are built, and in what regards that, the worst are French brands.

Beneteau, Jeanneau and Dufour all use a single skin hull having on the bottom a "contre moule" bonded to the bottom that works as the boat structure. Basically, it is a huge piece of GRP, a giant liner that occupies all the bottom of the boat and that is made industrially. The bulkheads are plywood and bonded to the hull and the furniture goes over that liner.

Hanse and Bavaria use in many models a vacuum infused sandwich hull (check for each model) and on the Hanse sometimes sandwich bulkheads, bonded and laminated, that offer advantages over plywood bulkheads. 

For boat structure they use a frame that is bonded and laminated to the hull. Bavaria uses as core, on the sandwich, a closed-cell foam while Hanse uses balsa.

Bavaria used already a sandwich hull before the new C line but on these  the boat structure was modified and it has become more solid. With the C line many things were altered in the production chain and some finish and youth problems happened on the first models, but I have not heard about recent complaints and I hope they are on the right track now.

Hanse
All brands use a sandwich deck, infused or injected, with a  foam core or balsa core. A high-quality foam core is preferable to a balsa core due to less problems if there is a water intrusion while a balsa core can offer very good mechanical qualities at a good price. In the last years almost all expensive brands changed for high-quality foam cores, even the ones that previously used balsa.

That is the Dehler case, that is also made by Hanse, and that changed from balsa to a foam core. By the way, the ones that want a better-built boat at a slightly more expensive price can opt for Dehler or Azuree, that offer not only better sailboats but better-built ones, even if they don't invest so much in updating constantly their interiors.

Bavaria. Below, the C-line structure is similar to IT 13.98. 
 All mass production brands use deck steeped masts with compression posts, that have the advantage of allowing a lesser intrusion on the interior and limiting water ingress through the mast. Typically masts that rest over the keel have a superior performance in what regards resisting breakage but today even some race boats use steeped masts, especially smaller ones, so it is a sound solution.

I bet some of you would be saying, fine, but what does all this mean? What is the best choice for me?

 First of all I would like to say that there is nothing wrong with choosing a boat by its interior,  especially if the boat is to be used lightly or almost always in fair weather conditions, and choosing by the interior is a thing you can do by yourself on a boat show.

Saying that, I would like to give you some hints about what all those different techniques and materials mean in what regards quality and regarding that, let me say that all more expensive brands use vacuum infusion sandwich hulls, most of them using a closed-cell sandwich core and vynilester or epoxy resins.

This type of hulls offer a much bigger resistance to torsion, several times more than a monolithic hull with the same weight and allow much more rigid boats, lighter boats. Many think that a sandwich hull has a lesser resistance to impact and that is not true, for the same weight, because resin enters the foam and makes it solid and what you get is a solid sandwich, several times thicker than a monolithic hull, with an inside GRP layer, a solid foam layer and an outside GRP layer.

Dufour: structural contre moule.
So, for the same weight of fiberglass, you have a middle layer of rigid foam with a natural absorbing shock capacity. The first skin would be breached more easily but the foam and the second one will resist better. You will have a hull in need of repair but not a breached one.

The vacuum infusion technique will provide a better and more controlled fiber and foam saturation without wasting more resin than what is optimal (excess resin makes GRP more brittle and the boat heavier).

 That will result in a better composite and a lighter one, meaning that for the same weight a vacuum infused sandwich hull is stronger than a monolithic hull.

So, if you have two boats with about the same size and weight, one with a sandwich hull and infusion techniques and the other using a hand-laid monolithic hull, probably the one with the sandwich hull is stronger, because the other would need to be heavier, to be as strong or flex as little.

However, a sandwich hull has several places that are built using a thick monolithic skin, and that happens in all parts that have through-the-hull passages (to prevent water intrusion) and on the parts where maximum strength is needed and a foam sandwich is not the best solution, namely on the floor where the keel is bolted, where a thick monolithic performs better.

Beneteau an Jeanneau
Another important point is the quality of resins that are used and in this case all use basically polyester resins and only Hanse says that it uses vinylester resin on the outer hull layer (for better osmosis protection). All the others use better polyester resins on the outer layer namely Isophthalic acid resins.

Of course, more expensive brands use vinylester on the hull outside layer, some use only vinylester (that are epoxy-based resins) and a few only epoxy resin, which are better but much more expensive, allowing for lighter and stronger boats.

More expensive brands often use carbon reinforcements on the boat structure or steel frames.

If you have any doubts that sandwich hulls are an improvement over monolithic hulls you should know that not only more expensive brands, but also that the biggest and more expensive yachts from these mass-production brands, use them, like on the Dufours 63, the Beneteau Oceanis 62, the Jeanneau 54.

They all use not the monolithic hulls used on cheaper and smaller boats but, like smaller Bavarias and Hanses, cored hulls, some of them using vinylester resins too. 

The same happens with the proportionally more expensive and better-built racers from Jeanneau and Beneteau like the Figaro 3 or the Sunfast 3300 or 3600. Some of the First have also a sandwich hull, like the First 27 and the First 53.

Let's talk now about boat structures and about the advantages or disadvantages of the structural huge contre-moules (liners) that cover the bottom of the Dufours, Beneteaus and Jeanneaus versus the grid solution that is used by Hanse and Bavaria and also on more expensive brands.

Hull with a superior built (Solaris)
The biggest advantage of the contre-moule is that it provides an inexpensive and safe way to distribute all the charges from the keel by a large portion of the hull, contributing to rigidify it.

The disadvantage is that it does not allow an easy way to inspect if all the liner remains effectively bonded to the hull and in case of a grounding makes inspection very hard and reparation very, very expensive.

It seems that Jeanneau has been working to better verify structure damage in a grounding, but all is relative. Typically a small repair on these systems will cost several ten thousands euros because the boat has to be taken apart for doing it.

Hanse has sandwich bulkheads in some yachts
The grid system that is also the one used by more expensive brands, is a more expensive way to obtain the same results but will allow a much easier inspection and will make a repair much cheaper and that is very important not only in new boats but in used boats where it is impossible to know if the boat has been grounded.

Bavaria and Hanse really use a kind of mixed system, a more substantial grid structure that is also a liner, but a much smaller one. Bavaria has improved the type of structure on the C-line, using one that has some similitudes with the one used on the better built and more expensive Italia Yachts (same designer), which allows also the integration of the bulkheads and furniture, increasing rigidity.
Hanse 418 one of the smallest MP with a SW hull
Note that I am not saying that although when basically made the same way, more expensive yachts have not a stronger keel structure. It has to be stronger because they have a bigger B/D. 

A good way to have an idea about the boat strength in this area is to look at the boat structure and at the size and number of bolts on each boat as well as the size of the steel backing plates.

But good luck with that on a boat show. Most
more expensive brands will be happy and proud to show that to you but from my experience  it is very difficult to manage that someone will show that to you on a mass-production brand. 

That's for the same reason why you will find photos and descriptions about the way hulls are built on the sites of more expensive brands and nothing about it or very little on mass-production brands and nothing in what concerns French brands.

The photos we can find showing how the hulls are built and the different boat structures are incredibly few and I apologize for the lack of visual information on this post but you can believe me, it is very difficult to find any.

Even if a lack of public information suggests otherwise, it is important to know how boats are built, especially because they are not all built the same way. All this information should be easily obtained on the boat sites and brochures but in what concerns mass-production boats the only one that publishes more significant information is Hanse, which in some cases even publishes the stability curve.
https://www.hanseyachtsag.com/gb/hanse/hanse-world/hanse/engineering.html

Bavaria also says something about it but in a very limited way and to find more about that you have to search on the pages of the boat designer:
https://www.bavariayachts.com/sailing-yachts
https://www.cossutti.it/en/portfolio-item/bavaria-c42/

The Dehler 38 has a sandwich hull
The French brands will not tell you how the boats are built, neither on the site nor on the brochures. Independent of generic statements regarding all boats the only real way to know how a given boat is built is to look at what the standard specifications document says about that.

That's the only document that has a  contractual bond to the buyer. But be sure to see if it is updated because sometimes it changes from year to year. Unfortunately those documents are very specific about all things the boat includes but vague in the way the hull and boat are built, many not even referring the material the bulkheads are made of.

Special attention should be given to the way the hull is built, namely with a more expensive sandwich-hull or with a single skin hull, to the material bulkheads are made and if they are just bonded or laminated too, and if they are also laminated to the deck.

Hanse and Bavaria should be checked model by model. Smaller Hanse models are now built with single skin (monolithic skin), the 418 is the first with a sandwich-hull but the new 458 comes with a single skin hull and only bigger boats have a sandwich-hull. 

On Jeanneau, Dufour or Beneteau only the top and more expensive yachts use a sandwich hull.

Some examples of specification files:
https://app.jeanneau.com/static/media/document/37b99b2ac2ac9369328cf57caf690f2d.pdf?_ga=2.182605542.1955771137.1589478788-1767961721.1586864074 https://www.beneteau.com/sites/default/files/public/Produit/PDF/V12621_OCEANIS_41-1_EN_light_en_0.pdf
http://performancecruising.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/412_Tech_Specs.pdf
http://www.bavaria-yachts.ru/C45/Pricelist_C45_01-2019_181001_english.pdf
https://www.hanseyachts.co.uk/files/Hanse_418_Standard_Specification.pdf

Elan and Salona have a vacuum infused sw hull
When the price and quality of the interior are what counts most, it is hard to justify better and more expensive building techniques, when very few care about the way the boat is built and the majority just assumes they are all the same in what regards building quality.

Now you know they are not built the same way, not even among mass-produced boats and it may help you to understand why apparently similar boats can have so dissimilar prices and that, contrary to what boat magazines may lead you to believe, it is not about luxury, it is about better sailboats.

Most advertising on boat magazines is from mass production brands so it is not unexpected that they choose to have as categories, on the European Yacht of the Year contest, Luxury cruising sailboats versus Family cruisers, for differentiating between better cruising sailboats, from the ones that are not so good even if the differences have nothing to do with family and certainly not with luxury.