Sunday, May 11, 2014


Just to wish to all that follow this blog a great sailing season!!!
 Maine is going to start, so no more time for desk sailing  ;-) I will be back in October. If some wish to post something  just send it to and give me some time to post it. I really miss all this:

Thursday, May 8, 2014


The big crash happen on the Qingdao leg of the Extreme series championship and I say the same I had said on the previous accident: they have to take measures before someone  gets really hurt. The problem here is that downwind under a big gust they lose control of the boat and have no steering at all. The possibility of having an uncontrolled boat at over 20k on a crowded race track is madness and it had already happened many times. Are they waiting for a fatality?

On the Qingdao races: The Swiss dominated, 1st and 2nd  (Alinghy and Realstone) on 3rd the NZ team. On the overall classification 1st Alinghy, 2nd Muscat, 3rd Emirates/NZ.
 Here you can see a good resume:

On the other side of the world the women's dream sailing team keep on training on their pink VOR 65, this time with a Transat at very good speed. If they will not be competitive it will not be for lack of training :-) but I really think that the men's teams should take care with these ladies. I love SCA for what they are doing for sailing and to women sailors in particular. I hope it will pay off in advertising for them. They deserve it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


The Bavaria 50 MKII, now denominated 51, is on the water. The boat looks nicer on the outside with a more modern and good looking cabin but the hull is the same. It is not properly old but the Farr hull was already on the "classic" side back in 2010, now it looks slightly outdated mainly on the transom area and  on the keel design.
On the presentation video, with 3D drawings, the interior looked better with a lighter wood. they tested the boat on and it had a dark mahogany  interior.  It does not look very interesting, not better than the one from the Hanse 505 and I don't like very much the Hanse interior. The boat sails well, but that can be said regarding all main mass market boats, that today are designed by the best NA. Have a look at the video:

The only thing I really like on the boat (more than on the competition) is the possibility of having 6 winches, 4 on the cockpit and two near the steering wheel. Bottom point, if you want a Bavaria have the smaller, but better designed and more modern Vision 46 (also a Farr design):
If you want a boat more classic and not on the spirit of what is today called "deck salon" and want a boat along the hull lines of the Bavaria 51, a boat less based on solo racers (beamier and with all the beam pulled  back), have the  Jeanneau 509. It is a better design, nicer, with a more modern hull/keel and  an incomparably better interior (Philippe Briand design):
And then if you want the advantages of a hull strongly influenced by Open racers, you have the four other European mass market 50fters. They sail with less heel, less roll downwind, easier on the autopilot at a possible cost of a very slight worse performance upwind (and an eventual slightly more uncomfortable motion). The advantages are real for a cruiser and the disadvantages are disputable and will vary from boat to boat since other factors have influence on upwind performance and boat motion upwind other than a bigger beam. Let's have a look at them, the Hanse 505, the Sense 50, the Oceanis 48 and the dufour 500GL.
The new Hanse 505, a Judel-Vrolijk design is one of the nicest looking Hanse, on a more virile tone than the Jeanneau, with a nice nice hull/keel. I find the interior a bit better than on the other Hanse, specially if a right combination of colors/woods is chosen and those big port hulls give to that interior a much more open feeling. I prefer this interior to the one from Bavaria, with its tiny port hulls and kind of functional but indifferent outlook.
The the Sense 50, a bit more expensive and also slightly slower but with characteristics that will make it a very interesting boat for living aboard extensively, with lots of space for two couples, big storage space and an unmatched  outside living space. A very Innovative boat, the first of a series and a bright design by Berret / Racoupeau. Like the Bavaria 50 this is also a 2010 design but contrary to the Farr design, the Sense 50 still looks like a brand new design.
The Oceanis 48, also designed by Berret / Racoupeau share some of the characteristic from the Sense 50 but on a more conventional interior layout, with less good finish and a nicer price. A comfortable and easy to sail boat but not as fast as some of the others, specially upwind. The interior is not as nice as the one from Jeanneau or Duffour, but it is a functional one.
And finally the one I like more (among these) the Dufour 500GL, a Felci design. The boat has a hull from the same family but I find it particularly nicely designed and that includes the interior with a very elegant galley solution and a great saloon. A beautiful boat that manages to disguise the high freeboard all these boats have to the point of looking a bit like a performance cruiser.

There is lots of interesting solutions on this boat: One of them, particularly important in what regards solo or short handed sailed, is the position of the winches. While all the others have one winch at each side at easy reach of the wheel men (and other two away on the cockpit) the Dufour has two on each side at easy reach, one slightly forward the wheel and the other aft. Take a look at the very interesting and functional galley, at the very nice saloon at details like places for storing the lines, the big sail locker, the outside cooler and most of all the one that makes me envious, the integrated barbecue :-)
Of course, personally I would change any of these by the smaller but more sportive Azuree 46. Sure it has not the same amount of interior space but it would have plenty for my needs and it is a more enjoyable boat, faster and more fun, able to sail with very light winds.
 The final cost would not be much different from the one of a Bavaria 51 but off course, that would not be fair because the Azuree 46 is not a main mass market cruiser but a performance cruiser and does not target the same type of sailors that would prefer one of the others.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


When I saw Beneteau experimenting with wing sail I thought  it would take a  long while to have it ready for the market...if ever. I was underestimating Beneteau. Some few months ago they offered to the testers of the main sail magazines a boat equipped with one for testing. The results were positive. Now they  offered to the same  magazines a comparative with two Sense 43, one equipped  with the standard rig, the other with the wing sail. They could not be more serious about it and I was very interested in the results.

I read the test made by voile and  voiliers and they have made a superb job. This time they make sure the two boats were in absolutely the same conditions, same tankage, same propeller, same load and organized a true regatta with an  Olympic triangle to make sure the boats were sailed on equal distances in the different points of sail.  The results were surprising, at least for me: The wing sail won the 4 races even if not for a big difference. Both boats were using sails made with the same material (dracon) and the results were this:

1st race -  8/10K wind, 25m race, the wing sail won by 20s.
2nd race - 10/12K wind, 20m race, the wing won by 30s.
3rd race - 12/14K wind, 18m race, the wing won by 14s.
4th race - 13/15K wind, 17m race, the wing won by 60s.

I bet you did not expect such a clear domination :-), I didn't. But looking things in detail that is not all good for the wing sail. They also tested extensively in what regards the differences in different points of sail:

Upwind: Quite surprisingly the wing is clearly beaten by the conventional rig. The bigger difference happens with light winds. The wing also gives little feedback and they all experimented difficulties finding the better sail trim. To give you an idea of the difference in performances they measure the performance with 13K (where the wing sail works better) on a two tack course for 24m, the wing sail lost 1m 30s.

Beam reach: with 13K for 20m, the same result:  ex aequo

Downwind:  With the the marconi rig doing butterfly sailing, the wing sail smoke it and by a large margin. About 10% with the boat doing 5K. That's huge and explains the overall better performance of the wing sail.

The main disadvantage of the wingsail is that it cannot take any other sail. They tried downwind with the conventional boat using a (small) asymmetric spinnaker and the difference was big, this time the conventional boat was way faster. But on big boats with a solo or a couple a spinnaker is not always easy to use and most cruisers just don't use it and in that case it is a clear advantage for the wing sail. Again, very smart from Beneteau and right on the spot, starting using the system on a 43ft boat, a size were the use of spy is already not easy solo or duo.

Another difference regards heel. The boat with the wing sail heels less but rolls more. The conventional rig accelerates faster.

Excellent work by the Voile and Voiliers team even if they had a lot of help. Among the test crew was the responsible for the development of the Beneteau First line, the boat NA (Olivier Racopeau) and a guy from the Jeanneau development team. They promised to complete this very extensive comparative rig test  by sailing the boats in strong wind conditions to see how easy it is to reef and how they behave reefed. I cannot wait for that one.

A word in what concerns the surprisingly fast development of the new rig on this boat. That was only possible because it was carried by Guy Beaup that developed one  for his boat (it took him 20 years) and have circumnavigated with it. Some experience!!!.  Beaup had also the help of Mick Kermarec (Oracle team) Marc Guillemot and Michel Desjoyeaux in what regards sail trim and development.

Have a look at Guy Beaup boat, a very interesting one too and to his blog:

And about the First? Would they be using this sail? Remember that I had said (on the old site) that I was impressed with the results with the wing sail that was being developed by One sails and the Seascape 18? It seems I was not the only one because on Beneteau First they will be testing those sails too, a Omer wing sail type, different from this one,  more complex but with probably a better performance. They are using First 20  for testing and for taking all doubts out one will be equipped with a wing sail similar to the one used on the  Sense 43, other with a Omer type and one with a conventional rig, for comparison purposes. They don't leave much to chance on Beneteau ;-).

The test sail on the Seascape 18 I mentioned above:


These guys with apparently small means have been developing a very interesting project based on a small trimaran on foils driven by a kite. The control problems should be huge since the forces and speed involved are big but they seem to have done a great work on taming those forces: The maneuverability seems great, not mentioning the speed that is awesome (35K).

They are working on new foils and looking for an experienced specialized carbon worker. Based in S. Francisco they are working on this project since 1997....that's a long time. They seem persistent and solid to me: 

Their goal is :
".... to evolve waterborne transportation to use kites as propulsion. To date, kite propulsion has primarily been used for kitesurÔ¨Āng and in single-person traction kiting. In small-scale kiting, the force of the kite can be controlled by an individual holding on to the kite directly, but as the kite gets larger, harnessing its power becomes more difficult. The challenge is to develop winches, controls, and launch and recovery systems for larger kites, boat-specific kites for different conditions, and kite-specific boats and foil systems. Our mission is to design a purpose-built vessel that is specifically designed to harness kite power and to advance kite design and kite controls to the point that power-assisted or autonomously controlled kites can be used by a broad audience."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

videos: SMILE :-)

Some videos have just that effect:: They make you smile and I bet that even if the ones involved did not find it too much fun at the time, later, looking at them they will be smiling too. Two of those:

Justus Schmidt - Max Boehme Flying 49er from Valencia Sailing on Vimeo.

Kostas Trigkonis - Sofia Bekatorou - Nacra 17 swim - Feb 2014 from Valencia Sailing on Vimeo.