Wednesday, January 17, 2018


After many American brands having delocalized their production to China it was only a matter of time to see Chinese producing high quality boats but it comes as a surprise that the first Chinese brand that is producing high quality boats is one specialized in racing and cruiser-racer sailboats.

It is not a new brand, it has already produced several racers, among them a carbon one, a smaller cruiser racer, the Fareast 26 and even a 36ft cruising cat (a daysailer). The new 37 seems to be the most ambitious project and the first one that points for a true dual purpose monohull.

I have met some of the shipyard top management at Dusseldorf some years ago and they were incredibly young and motivated. I was impressed and if I were an investor I would believe them to be a sound investment. They have the energy, the motivation, the know how, are associated with a good naval cabinet and have some of the world's most inexpensive production costs.

The Fareast 37 will be a very fast sailboat with a good cruising interior. The boat is designed by Simonis & Voogd Yacht Design, built using vacuum infusion techniques, it has a high B/D ratio (2.25m draft) it is light (4400kg), moderately beamy (3.66m) and the hull looks great, not far away from the one of the JPK 1080.

They say that the boat will cost 140 000 USD without VAT, probably in China. Hard to say how much it will cost delivered in US or in Europe. They will be in Dusseldorf. More information later.

This is the smaller brother, the 28R:

Monday, January 15, 2018


Unbelievable!!! Just when they were preparing to cross the start line for an attempt to the absolute circumnavigation sail record (with crew) on Spindrift 2, the maxi trimaran lost the mast. Bad luck for Yann Guichard and the crew , or maybe not, because if it had not broken now probably it would not  have taken them all around the world.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


This rescue shows again how difficult it is the recovering of a man overboard on fast boats: it was in daylight on a calm sea and the boat was not going very fast, even so Scallywag crew took 7 minutes to recover the sailor. This was on warm waters, 7 minutes on the high latitudes could have been too much and on those latitudes the sea is rarely flat like it was here. 

This poses some safety questions since the man on the water was on a black outfit without any fluorescent strips, no whistle or strobe light attached and much less a personal epirb. Something should change in what regards safety stuff that should be used all times. This does not mean really extra weight since a small strobe light and reflective strips weight almost nothing. 

In what regards racing,this leg is the most interesting till now and it has been great. Scallywag's option more to the rhumb line showed to have pay off and even if the option of the ones that took the more Eastern route proved also to be a good one, Scallywag has a bit of advance over those boats (Dongfeng, Vestas and AksoNobel).

I believe that any of them can still win this leg and the finish is going to be great with very strong winds a day ahead. Don't miss this finish, it has been a truly great race and it will be even better at the end.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


More is an intriguing brand: the 40fter is already on the water and besides some miserably bad photos I don't hear or see anything about it, certainly not from sail magazines, nor from the shipyard. It is as if the boat was an uninteresting one or if the boatyard was not really interested in selling boats. All very odd.

I have already posted about the More 55, that is a pretty much ignored boat, with no sail tests from any of the major sail magazines even if it is amazingly inexpensive and very well built. Maybe they should start to buy advertising space on sail magazines LOL.

The shipyard story is as odd as the silence about their boats: They were and still are a Swedish -Croatian charter company specialized in performance cruising that asked Salona, the biggest Croatian sailboat builder, for the deliver of twelve 55ft performance cruisers for their business.

They didn't reach an agreement and More charter company decided to build themselves the boats. As Salona was financially in bad shape many of the workers of Salona went to work for More including top level ones, the best engineers and designers. A true transfer of technology from Salona to More.

And the boats were built, several have already crossed the Atlantic three times, since they charter in the Med and Caribbean, and it seems that the reason that they don't make advertising is because they don't need it, having their full production capacity sold out and keep receiving new orders. Weird!

Regarding financing the boat they propose, as many charter companies, to charter the boat for 6 years offering 2 weeks to the owner, the diference here are the numbers that they present that are quite incredible, maybe because they make their own boats and charter them full year, half on the Caribbean, half on the Med. Just look at this and tell me if it is not unbelievable. 

For the More 40: Price of the boat fully equipped. 200 000 euros, total return over 6 years charter - 148 000 Euros, value of the boat after six years 120 000 euros, total value of the 2 weeks free sailing over the 6 years 47 000 euros!!!!. This means that in 6 years instead of having cost you any money, it will generate you a profit of 115 000 euros, assuming you sell it.

Of course this is pretty much impossible since it gives you an interest rate of 9.5% over your money and the value of those two weeks of sailing a year having a value of 7 833 euros is exaggerated, unless it is a brand new boat and the boat will only be new on the first two years or so, then the price will be slightly lower. Probably the same happens in what regards all those numbers. But even if the numbers are just as off as the ones for the value of the two weeks, it is a very good proposition.

Assuming you keep the boat they say the cost for the owner will be at the end of 6 years 35 000 euros. Even if their values are inflated in 25% it will mean that you will have a boat free of charges for about 44 000 euros, 63 000 euros with VAT paid (in Europe), certainly much less than the value of the boat. They talk about 120 000 euros, I would say that probably 100 000 is a more realistic value for a charter boat with 6 years but even so it represents a gain of 37 000 euros.
So, it is cheap but is it good? Well, there is nothing like that on the market for the basic price of 185 000 euros (standard boat, no VAT paid). This boat has a much superior build than any mass market boat from the main shipyards. The hull is entirely cored using vacuum injection and vinylester resins and the back bone of the hull is a stainless steel grid that supports the keel and takes the efforts from the shrouds. Keel and rig efforts are that way distributed on the hull.

One of the ways you can rapidly see if a boat is built cutting some corners, in what regards boat design, is to look at the B/D numbers. Having a big ballast on a boat at the end of a deep keel increases a lot the efforts on the hull and a more expensive and strong hull and structure is needed. That extra power for more B/D will give the stability needed for more sail area and again  a stronger structure and hull will be needed for taking all those extra sail efforts and distribute them by the boat structure.

Normally main market 40ft mass production boats have, with a similar type of keel, a B/D of about 30% with a draft between 2.0 and 2.1m. The exception is the Hanse that has a good B/D of 32.5%. The More 40 has a 34.9% B/D not with a 2.0 draft but with a 2.35m draft. That will correspond to a much bigger B/D ratio, probably around 39% for a 2.0 m keel. That should be the B/D of a More with a 2.0m draft to have a similar RM of one with 2.35m draft.

Only this makes the More 40 a different boat. The superior B/D will make it not only a more powerful boat but also one with a better reserve (or safety) stability and one with a better AVS. But that is not the only diference because the boat is lighter and as strong (or more) due to the use of a completely cored hull and the use of vacuum infusion techniques and vinylester resins. The More 40 displaces 7000kg and it is about 400kg lighter than a Jeanneau SO 409 and 1800kg lighter than the Hanse 418.

Even if lighter, the More 40 can carry upwind  95m2 of sail while the heavier Hanse 418 can carry 87m2 (both boats with a jib). That will give an idea between the performance of the two boats that will be even bigger (upwind) if we consider that the More has a beam of 4.0m while the Hanse has 4.17m and less finer entries.

Another difference has to do with the number of winches, 6 on the More, 4 on the Hanse. Also in what regards travellers, the Hanse has one for the forward jib the More has one for main sail, near the wheel. More easiness on the Hanse (if one uses a small jib) and better sail control on the More. 

Regarding the Hanse it should be said that a genoa cannot be used or not be used conveniently, because the boat does not have a genoa car so a genoa cannot be conveniently reefed. This is important because while the much lighter More will have no trouble sailing in light winds with the optional genoa, that can be reefed, the Hanse will need a more expensive and less practical code 0.

The boat design is very similar to the one of the Salona 380, just a bit bigger, designed by the same naval architect,  the Italian Maurizio Cossutti that is also the designer of the new C line of Bavaria. It has  a very nice hull, one that will not only perform well while cruising but that will probably allow some good results on handicap racing.

I saw only one very bad photo of the interior that I will not post (too bad). The interior looked simple and funcional but regarding quality I can say nothing except that the one on the bigger boat is good even if the design is a bit uninspired. This will be one of the boats I will be more curious about on the Dusseldorf boat show. More information and maybe some photos of the interior after the boat show.

About the more 55:

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


I thought of making a post about the JPK 1180, the new cruiser racer that will certainly follow the success story of its smaller brother, the JPK 1080, that is winning all major IRC races, but I believe that JPK deserves more. This small shipyard deserves to be much more well known due to the excellency of their boats, not only pointed to racing but also with a line specifically designed for cruising.

JPK 45
JPK stands for Jean Pierre Kelbert, the owner of the shipyard, and on his time a champion windsurfer (European champion in 1988 and 1999). He started to design and build windsurfer boards till he met a Naval Architect that became a friend, Jacques Valer that is going to design all JPK and become also an important part of this success story.

In  2002 Jacques Valer design the JPK 9.6, Jean Pierre built it and the racing results started to appear proving and validating the design and built quality. And not only on inshore regatas but also on offshore races and Transats, namely the Transquadra.

The racing success story was continued with other boats, the 11.10 ( 2005) the 998 (2008), the 10.10 (2011), the 10.80 (2014) and this year with the 1180. These boats won everything that was to be won in all types of races, from Transats to around the cans, Fastnet, Middle Sea race and Sydney Hobart where they won its class on the two last years (1080).

New JPK 1180
When I was looking for a boat, around 2006 I visited JPK shipyard and had a nice talk with Jean Pierre. I was interested in seeing if the JPK 11.10 had the storage I needed for sailing and living on the boat for about six months in the year. I had no doubts that boat would suit very well my sailing needs, storage was the issue.

I was impressed with everything on the shipyard, the quality and the sailing knowledge of Jean Pierre that understood very well my needs while a solo sailor and was making very valid suggestions regarding possible boat modifications. No wonder, Jean Pierre after the windsurf had become a top sailboat sailor, winning many regattas, the Transquadra (in duo) and even the Sydney Hobart.
JPK 38

Unfortunately the boat had not the required storage and the access to the central cockpit locker was difficult through a relatively small hatch.

I don't know if this small talk with a cruiser that wanted a fast boat, one more versatile than Pogo, but well adapted to solo sailing, had any influence on his decision to build a cruising line but the fact is that some years later the boat I wanted from JPK was on the water, the JPK 38. Unfortunately it was too late for me but it is probably still my favorite boat, as a personal one.

The JPK 38 was followed some years later (2016) by the JPK 45, pretty much the perfect fast voyage boat, if that is the size that suits a given sailor. The quality of the boats have been recognized not only on the racing field but by the specialized media that elected the 1080 as the European Yacht of the Year on its category.

This year the JPK 45 was nominated for the contest and I would not be surprised if he won it. It was already elected boat of the year by the french magazine Voile, as it was before  the 38.

A word about the building, that you can see on the movie below (last one): the boats are built the same way many racing boats are, a sandwich hull using vacuum infusion and a 3D process that allows the structure of the hull to be infused with it, forming a unique piece.
JPK 1080

The JPK that started to build just some boats a year, are now building over 20 boats a year and not more because they have not more building capacity, having a waiting list of more than a year and a half. Some of those waiting for boats are very good sailing teams and the news is that they are not only French but also many British.

Not surprisingly since a Russian team won the Middle Sea Race with one. JPK has become a brand with international customers and I bet it will not take long to have to change to bigger installations.

Or maybe not since Jean Pierre does not seem the type of guy that is much worried about making a fortune. He is now preparing himself to sail the second part of the Transquadra, the French Transat for amateurs that he won on the last edition, of course, sailing one of his boats (beating a new SF 3600).

More information about the cruising line (38 and 45) here:

Sunday, January 7, 2018


This is the 3rd leg like this, Dongfeng chooses the way, Mapfre follows. We could say that Dongfeng is always choosing the best route but that is not obviously the case: one day ago "Turn the Tide on Plastics" was at 26nm to Donfeng the leader, they went more to the east and are now at only 18nm and also on the finish of the 2nd leg Mapfre went for another routing, close to the finish and beat Dongfeng.

So why this? Go to the tracker, play it back and see that Mafre, with the exception of the beginning, when Donfeng made a bad start, is following Mafre all the way. The two course lines almost overlap.

 Many think that this race with all the boats the same (one design) is more interesting. I don't think so. When you design the boats to a race box rule the performances are very similar but designers opt for maximizing boats for slightly different conditions and that means that the best course for a boat is not necessarily the best for another and this creates different strategies and routing options.

Sure, the boats are very close this way but I confess I am pissed. I go to the tracker and every day is the same, Dongfeng leading, Mapfre and more boats following it. Am I the only one?

Saturday, January 6, 2018


The Viko 30S offered already an incredible value for the price but this one defies all that I thought possible in what regards price for a cruising 35ft boat: 53900 euros including VAT....and the engine!!!!And the Viko 35S, even if not out of the ordinary is a good looking boat designed by the Italian NA  Segio Lupoli, with great design specifications.

The boat is bigger than the other 35ft mass production boats on the market and with a 10.80m hull length it should in fact be called a 36fter. The Hanse 348, the Oceanis 35 and the Jeanneau SO 349 have all 9.99m and that means 2.7ft less!!!

The Viko 35 is a beamy boat but while comparing beams with other so called 35ft boats those extra 2.7feet in length should be  taken in consideration, in fact the Viko is a bigger boat. It has a  3.74m beam, similar to the one of the Oceanis 35 (3.70) and considerably bigger than the one of the  Jeanneau 349 and Hanse 348 (3.44 and 3.50).

Even if with the same beam the hull is different and while the Oceanis has the max beam pulled aft the Viko has a more traditional hull, not properly old designed but more on the Italian ORC development line. Regarding the hull shape I have to say I do have contradictory information since the 2D layouts do not fit with the 3D drawings. I guess we will have to wait to see which one is right, even if I find more probable the 3D drawings to be correct.

Anyway the boat has a great stability and will be a very powerful  one (for a main market cruiser). It has the bigger hull form stability of the Oceanis 35 and a bigger  B/D than the narrower boats joining the best of the two worlds in what regards producing RM. 

The Oceanis 35 has a 28.2 % B/D (1.85m draft) the Viko 35S has 36.5%!!! (1.95m draft), the Jeanneau 349 29.5% B/D (1.98m draft) the Hanse 349 33.9%BD (draft 1.95m).

The  Viko 35s is also the lighter of all these boats, about 150kg lighter than the Jeanneau, 330kg lighter than the Oceanis and 1100kg!!! lighter than the Hanse. If we consider that this is a bigger boat, than the D/L will be certainly a lot smaller increasing even further that diference regarding weight and D/L.

In what regards sail area from the three comparison boats the Hanse, being by far the heavier is the one that has more sail area, 58sqm but even so, due to the bigger B/D and superior beam, the Viko, 1100kg lighter, has a considerably bigger sail area upwind, 63.6sqm. That will make it a much faster sailboat than the Hanse and all the other considered boats.

This excellent specification makes more intriguing the low price and raises questions regarding the way the boat is built. Viko is not a newcomer and has been making boats for the last 30 years. It is a Polish shipyard and even if not well known the Polish boating industry is one of the biggest in Europe with a large manufacturing experience, being subcontracted by almost all the big brands to produce some of their boats.

For many years,  besides building for other brands, Polish shipyards produced mostly small boats (with the exception of Delphia), reasonably well built boats but with an inferior standard in what regards boat design and quality of finish. In what regards quality of design that certainly has changed with Viko and Sergio Lupoli, even if the finish quality and quality of the interior has to be necessarily lower than the one offered on much more expensive boats.

I am a bit skeptical about the hull built quality and boat structure. It just seems too light to be built without using infusion techniques and better quality resins and I don't think it was the case, at least not on other Viko. Fact is that there are a lot of Viko on the market and there are not any abnormal number of complaints about the strength or building quality.

 I am very curious about this boat, the price, the way the boat is built and Viko will certainly be one of the stands I will be more interested to visit at Dusseldord boat show. I hope they have there some technicians from the factory to give me a better information regarding all these doubts.