Thursday, December 14, 2017


Yves Le Blevec the solo skipper that was attempting to beat the only circumnavigation record that still belongs to a monohull, the one against winds and currents, is well and inside the boat waiting for a rescue.

The boat capsized at the Horn under not unusual weather conditions for this time of the year, wind from 30 to 50K with 70k gusts, 5 to 6 meter waves. Probably it was on one of those gusts that the arm that holds the amas broke leading to a capsize. The boat was on autopilot with the skipper trying to sleep. It happened at 4:21 am.

As I have said before, for beating the record all he had to do was to keep the huge trimaran in one piece...and that included not to capsize. He was very ahead of the old monohull record but going the wrong way around has nothing to do with a circumnavigation on the other direction. Only for trying Yves Le Blevec has already earned the respect of all other multihull ocean racers.

Yves Le Blevec was rescued by the Chilean navy using an helicopter. Nice to know thatb they are there for the rescue and that they are great professionals. Thanks to them!

It is not a first time for Le Blevec neither for Actual (another trimaran with half the size). Some years ago, on a Transat Jacques Vabre he capsized off
the Portuguese coast (movie below).

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Well, that's a way of saying because if the Spanish boat has mostly a Spanish crew the Chinese boat has only a Chinese  on the crew, being the others mostly French. Anyway it seems that I got it right before the beginning saying that this edition would be dominated by the Chinese and the Spanish team.

DongFeng after leading most of the 2nd leg was beaten by Mapfre that had been 2nd on the first leg. Only the bad Dongfeng result on the first short leg (where it was 3rd) and the weird way this year the classification is attributed explains why Dongfeng is 3rd, even if it has been the boat that led the race for more time. 

Regarding the classification it seems to me that in port races not having any weight at all on the classification makes no sense as it makes no sense that extra point attributed to the winner of a leg, or even worse, the Newport to Cardiff leg to score double points. It would make sense the longer legs to be awarded more points and the shorter ones less, but Newport to Cardiff is way shorter than Lisboa to Cape Town so why the first has double points and the last single ones? And why the very short leg between Alicante and Lisboa has the same points as much longer legs like Lisboa to Cape Town? What is the logic of all this in what regards racing performance and sport achievement?

Dongfeng is leading again and it has one more French solo sailor on the crew, Fabien Delahaye, a Figaro and 40class champion that substitutes Daryl Wislang. I don't think they will be slower with the change. Now the Chinese boat has five French sailors out of nine...and one Chinese. The Spanish boat, Mapfre has also 5 Spanish sailors, among them the Skipper. I hope they change the rules regarding this because it makes no sense at all, I mean, the nationality of the boats and the nationality of the crews. Vestas, the Danish boat that is on 2nd place overall ( 5th on this leg), has also a single Dane on the crew while the two Dutch boats have on Brunel two and on AksoNobel just one Dutch!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


I know, it was back in November and I covered it on the blog, but this movie is just great, one of the best from "Spirit of Yacht" and it deserves a post by itself. The Middle sea race is really a fantastic race, probably the one that deserves the title of Med Classic, even more than the Giraglia and this edition was really very interesting. If you missed the coverage almost in direct have a look here:

One of the reasons I love this race is because it provides a huge number of great sailing videos. In what regards that the only one that compares is the Sydney Hobart, where everybody knows the conditions are strong. Many think that the med is a lake but there is a reason for having so many great sailing movies on this race and that has to do with many editions raced with very muscular conditions. I could post many great sailing videos from this race but I will post only three more, one from the 2014 edition, one from 2008 and one from 2007. Enjoy!

Friday, December 8, 2017


After the post on the Wauquiez 42PS I cannot resist to make a comparison with the Elan GT5, a deck saloon that is just some cm smaller than the Wauquiez (12.41 to 12.99), has a not very different waterline length (11.58 to 11.79m), a boat that costs a lot less (230 000 to 385 000 euro without tax).

As it would be expected the interior of the Wauquiez has a better overall quality and also a better design even if the one from the Elan is far away from being bad. It is also a nice and a comfortable one. Apart from the superior quality the diference goes for the different  interior concepts: while the Wauquiez is a true deck saloon, with a great view to the outside the Elan follows the same concept as the Jeanneau 41DS,  Bavaria Vision, Gunfleet 43 or Oyster 475, the one of a false deck saloon.

In what regards a deck saloon they only retain the raised cabin typical of those boats. The interior is not raised and what they get is not a lesser height from the saloon to the deck but a bigger interior overall height, a more luminous interior and a great sensation of spaciousness. This is today by far the most common tendency in what regards the so called DS boats.

The big surprise regarding the Elan is, that contrary to what would be expected, the hull is better built than the one of the Wauquiez. Both boats use infusion techniques, being the one of Elan a Vacuum assisted technology but, contrary to Wauquiez, Elan uses exclusively epoxy based vinylester resins. Both boats have cored hulls. Elan uses a closed cell foam while Wauquiez uses a balsa core, one that can give problems if any water makes it to the inside of the sandwich.

But most of all the big difference in quality and better building techniques regards the boat structure: while Wauquiez uses a prefabricated structure that is then glued and glassed to the hull (like Hanse or Bavaria) Elan has the boat structure infused with the hull, becoming a part of it, a solution that is used on race boats or very expensive boats.

It has also the three main bulkheads not made, as usual, in plywood but on GRP sandwich and fully laminated to hull and deck being an integrated part of the hull structure. That is also very unusual on boats with this price tag. All this allows the Elan to be lighter and at least as strong as the Wauquiez (8650 to 10700kg). For this difference in weight contributes also the smaller Elan beam and the slightly smaller length.

In what regards seaworthiness, stability (including safety stability) power and speed the Wauquiez is not a match for the Elan. Both boats have hulls with all the beam pulled back and the Wauquiez has more beam (4.34 to 3.91). But the superior form stability due to the bigger beam is not enough to compensate the lower CG that is given by a deeper draft (2.4 to 2.1), a more efficient torpedo keel and most of all by a much bigger B/D with those drafts (31% to 28%).

This means that B/D diference is much bigger than the considerable one those numbers show due to the difference of draft. The Elan can be delivered also with 2.25 or 1.95m draft but in those cases the ballast as well as the B/D would be superior. As I said that big difference is partially compensated in stability by the bigger beam of the Wauquiez but in what regards safety stability, the one over 40º of heel and that is not used for sailing, the Elan will have a much better performance, specially in what regards recovering from a knock down of 90º or over.

The Elan superior stability translates in more power that will be very useful to sail upwind with strong winds and seas, where the lesser beam and finer entries will be very handy too. It translates also on a bigger SA/D, 21.3 to 18.7 (both boats with a small overlapping genoa), making it a faster boat in all conditions.

Maxi 1200 smoke exaustor
Both boats offer a very comfortable interior having the one from Elan only a major defect: lack of appropriated exhaust of fumes from the stove. There is not an opening over the stove but that would not be an impediment if they agree to mount a small smoke exaustor, like the ones that are used on other yachts, like the one on the left picture.

In what regards storage space, considering both boats with two cabins, it is hugely superior on the Elan GT5, not only the interior one, with a dedicated storage space (also accessed from the outside) but the one outside, with a locker under the seat, and a big central one (bigger than the Wauquiez). It offers two removable lockers more, on the back of the boat, on the transom that I would gladly dispense to have more space behind the steering wheel and a better looking boat. Ok, I am sure my wife would not let me since they house an outside refrigerator and a barbecue, but that is another story LOL.

If you have the money to pay for the substancial difference and if a clearly better overall look and a slightly nicer and better interior as well as bigger cabins is paramount to you, than the Wauquiez is a better choice. 

If you really enjoy sailing pleasure and want a better and more seaworthy sailboat, if you need more storage space than the Wauquiez very reduced one (for long range cruising),  find the GT5 interior space comfortable enough, then the Elan is the right choice and you would save enough money to buy a car.

More important and usefull information on the Wauquier 42PS and on the Elan GT5 here:

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Well, not a pilot saloon but a deck saloon... but if we look at the Jeanneau 41DS (deck saloon) we will find out that the Jeanneau is not a deck saloon at all. It seems the French have a tendency to name their type of boats in quite an odd way LOL.

Anyway, on the production market the small true deck saloon are so rare that is halfway to make the Wauquiez 42 an interesting sailboat and if we join to that particularity a nice look, one difficult to get on a deck saloon of that size, the typically impeccable finish of Wauquiez and a modern efficient new hull designed by Berret & Racoupeau, we have all the ingredients that are needed for having it posted here.

The hull is described by the designers this way: "The new Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 42 has a high-performance hull shape.The straight bow stretches the waterline to the absolute maximum length resulting in better performances and higher speeds. The powerful bow and soft hull chines provide a high shape stability, very important for offering a sailing yacht behaving well in all conditions.

The Pilot Saloon 42 has a powerful stern suited for a double rudder configuration making the boat easy to helm downwind and at the same time reducing the wet surface which improves the sailing performances in light winds. The Pilot Saloon 42 is fitted with double rudders offering optimal control at all points and conditions of sail.

It has a length of 12.99m, a beamy boat with 4.43m beam and all of it pulled back to a large transom. The standard version has only 1.65m draft but a version with a 2.15 is available. That one  has a 3000kg ballast and that for a 10700kg  displacement gives a reasonable 28% B/D. A 18.7 SA/D does not make it a fast cruiser but will give it an honorable performance and the possibility of having a 80hp engine gives it a motorsailor ability.

As in all Wauquiez there is a huge aft cabin with a private head at the cost of a reduced outside stowage space. The boat is announced as a blue water cruiser but for long range cruising the Wauquiez 42 PS lacks storage space. I would say that it makes more sense as coastal cruiser where its very agreeable interior would make a great live aboard boat.

This boat is going to be presented at Dusseldorf in January. Last year I had a look at the 48 and the interior work and finish as well as the design and functionality were truly first rate. Unfortunately the 48, contrary to the 42, has an old designed hull, probably the one from the 47, an 11 year old one and it shows, on the looks and certainly on the water too.

The Wauquiez is built a bit better than mass production boats. It has a sandwish hull with a balsa core. It uses an infusion process. The boat structure is a grid that is glued and glassed to the hull. Some steps better than Jeanneau and Beneteau but not very different from what Bavaria and Hanse are doing even if I hope that the considerable difference in price goes not only for the better quality interior but also to the care on the building process.

I don't like balsa core that offers good physical properties but is vulnerable if for some reason water comes on the sandwich. Most brands are changing, or have already changed, for different types of closed cell PVC, but besides that the impression you get from visiting the boat (48) is one of very good quality overall.

The price is considerable and a basic boat without tax costs 385 000 euros. With vat and some extras would cost over half a million euros. Not so expensive as a Halberg Rassy 412 (and a bit bigger) but not very far.

I am very curious to see if the boat interior is as nicely finished and as good as the one on the 48. The interior drawings are very nice and if they have the quality of the ones from the bigger boat, it would not be worse than the one of the HR, offering on top of it a great sense of space and a very nice exterior view. Of course you pay for those big "windows" on hot climates, like the med, with the need to have everything covered, not to let the sun and the heat come in.

Monday, December 4, 2017


The same naval architect, Guillaume Verdier. He is the one that is designing the new foiling VOR and the one that is mostly responsible for the new monohull concept for the new America's Cup Monohull. He was also a prominent member of the NZ America's Cup catamaran design team and probably had a significant role on NZ beating so clearly the American boat (Oracle), even if the budget from Oracle was vastly superior.

When that incredible type of America's cup monohull was announced I was surprised with the concept, but most of all surprised that the practicality of such a radical concept could have been studied in such a short time. I confess that I had some doubts about that, it seemed impossible to me.

What I did not know was that Guillaume Verdier, that is one of the leading members on the NZ america's cup design team, had already made, for a NZ client, a design of a 39ft sailing boat that worked in a similar way. The boat was never built but all the studies and simulations regarding stability were already done. That explains how it was possible to propose such a radical working concept so fast. That will give NZ team a good head start in what regards the design of the America's cup monohull.

It is strange Guillaume Verdier to remain unknown to many sailors to whom the names of Farr, Finot or Marc Lombard are very familiar, specially American sailors.

On the contrary he is very well known to those that are familiarized with top offshore racing, where his designs dominate, monohulls and multihulls alike.  

He studied naval architecture at the University of Southampton, the most renowned school of yacht design and they awarded him last year the honorary degree of Doctor of Technology. That is something, specially considering that this type of  honors come normally late in the life, as a premium for excepcional work on the field, however Verdier is only 47 and probably his best achievements are yet to come.

Not meaning that he has not yet made a huge contribution to sailing development, quite the contrary. He started his carrier, as a young NA, more than 20 years ago, working with some of the best, namely Finot/Conq. On their cabinet he contributed to the design of several winning IMOCA racers, two of them won the Vendee Globe, namely Christophe Auguin's Geodis (won the the 1996/1997 edition) and on PRB 3 the only IMOCA that has managed to win twice the Vendee Globe, the first in 2000/2001 with Michel Desjoyeaux  and the second in 2004/2005 with Vincent Riou.

More recently he has collaborated with VPLD (since  2006) and he continued designing winning IMOCA boats to a point that all top racers wanted their boats designed by him, leaving on the shadow names like Farr, Finot/Conq, Marc Lombard or JK. All the boats that finished on the top places on the last Vendee Globe were designed by him, in collaboration with VPLP.

He is the designer of the fastest mono-hull, Comanche and also some of the fastest multihulls, including Gitana 17 and Banque Populaire 9. But his talent was not only used to design big or very expensive racers: Remember some time ago a post about the mini transat and the incredible performance of Erwan and Clarisse that with production boats arrived with the first prototypes, hugely more expensive boats, made of carbon, with canting keels and foils? It was really a great performance but the boat that both were sailing gave a help, both had a Pogo 3, a Verdier design.

On the video below you can see him at the rudder of Maserati that he turned into a flying trimaran. He is trying to understand some problems that the skipper complains about, regarding flying ability.

Guillaume Verdier is the NA that is leading sailing developments to new frontiers and it's a name that all that like sailing and sailingboats should know. This post is my modest contribution to that. I am sure that he will continue to develop sail flying boats and winning boats to all offshore racing classes, I just hope  some day he applies his talent on the problem of designing better and faster performance cruisers.

Seven years ago he designed a performance cruiser for Jean-Pierre Dick, a very nice hull based on IMOCA but the interior, that was not designed by him, was an odd one, a science fiction space ship interior, that I would say would not please 99% cruisers, me included. What a waste for a beautiful boat!

To finish, an interesting interview with Verdier about the problems of flying big trimarans and on the last video the big Gitana 17 flying, an impressive view:

Saturday, December 2, 2017


This one is even more elegant than the C45!!!.The hull is slim, with fine entries and no doubt a fast one. Absolutely incredible this turn face from Bavaria. This is without doubt the best looking top of the game among all the big production yachts.

Suddenly Bavaria passed from bland looking yachts to the nicest looking boats among big production builders. Big changes on Bavaria!!! and for the better. Will the Germans follow up? They are known for a conservative taste, well, not so much as the English, but way more conservative than the Italians or French. Maybe they are changing too LOL.

Regarding the new 65 only the boat's transom looks a bit heavy, if compared to the most beautiful yachts around and that's because they chose to locate there an outside galley with a barbecue and a wash basin. At least the looks were lost for practicability and functionality in what regards cruising. 

The interior looks great and funcional too. They even feature two big holding bars on the saloon ceiling, a very unusual feature these days, and a big galley in U that offers a very good working support while sailing, with a very big cooler opening to the saloon.

How they come up with such a great  looking Bavaria out of the blue and so fast? Well, the new Bavaria C65 looks to be a remake of the Salona 60. Nothing wrong with that, the Salona 60 was a beautiful performance cruiser that had never the success that it deserved. Having a hull of a performance cruiser on a big production yacht is just a great idea and Salona is in trouble and not making the big yacht anymore.
Above Salona 60, below Bavaria C65

The Hull was designed by Jason Ker, the IRC magician, the one with more success designing very fast cruiser-racers. This was his first attempt to a true production boat and a very good one. Bavaria seem to have used the hull (even the port hulls are identical) and modified partially the cabin, that maintain the same hatches as on the Salona.

The redesign is very good and the Bavaria, with the exception of the transom, looks even better than the Salona. Maybe we have here a Ker/Cossutti design? or did they ask Ker to revise the design?

The interior has a similar saloon and a similar galley but now more closed and with the big cooler facing the saloon. I would say that it looks even better and that on a boat of this size a more closed galley is justifiable.

They maintained the dinghy garage, closed the transom with an outside galley, modified the cockpit with a very nice two table arrangement, changed the Salona very nice carbon wheel pedestals for a less nicer and massive arrangement, changed the position of the winches to a more comfortable cruising arrangement, with easy access from the steering wheel, and took forward the boom control set up, from the cockpit to over the cabin, using the traditional Bavaria system. Not so efficient but certainly gives the cockpit a much better functionality in what regards cruising and passage.
On top, Salona 60, below B C65

I hope they maintain the building method used by Salona, that was superior to what Bavaria uses, with a galvanized steel frame and a Vacuum infused epoxy based vinylester  completely cored GRP hull reinforced with carbon. Bavaria announced that they will use the Bavaria vacuum infusion technology (VacuTec) and they say "carbon fiber was used here" in a vague way.

Probably it means that the hull has some carbon reinforcements but they don't say if the hull is a completely cored one or if they will use core only above waterline (like on other Bavarias), they don't say that epoxy resins or  epoxy based vinylester resins will be used exclusively and nothing is said about the boat structure.

Salona 60
The Salona displaced 25T with a 8 to 8.5T ballast (depending on keel draft) the Bavaria C65 will displace the same but will only have 6.5 to 7T ballast and since the drafts and keel design are similar that means that the Salona 60 was a more powerful sailboat with a better stability. That is normal since the Salona was designed as a performance cruiser while the C65 is pointed to a less performance oriented clientele.

The lesser stiffness has implications on the sail area that is smaller on the Bavaria. With a self tacking jib on both boats, the sail area upwind is 220 to 195 m2 and obviously that reflects on the sail performance, that will be not as great on the Bavaria, but even so better than the one of all other big production top of the line yachts.
Just to give a comparative example the new Dufour 63 weights 24167 kg it has 6.5T ballast (to a smaller draft - 2.8 to 3.5m) and has 175m2 sail area upwind with a genoa (108%) while the Bavaria with a jib has 195, a considerable diference on boats with about the same hull design and beam. The Bavaria is more powerful, it has more sail area and will be faster...and Dufour is known for making fast cruisers.

Who would say: the Bavaria not only the more elegant but also the fastest among its peers! A revolution going on there and one for a good cause: better sailboats. I wish them success on this new approach and may they keep the revolution going on.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


Bavaria yachts are in my opinion among the best mass production sailboats, sure, like all the others built for a low price, but I believe their building process is a bit better than the one that is used by all French mass production builders, having about the same built quality as Hanse, the other German yacht mass producer.

Many people associate  Bavaria with charter boat and it makes some sense because Bavarias are probably the most used boats on the charter business but curiously they retain only the negative connotation and they don't associate Bavarias with the reason why they are preferred by charter operators and that is a very positive one: they offer one of the best value on the market and the boats give less problems than some others.

But Bavarias always had a "defect": they looked like Bavarias. "Look like a Bavaria" became an expression to denominate yachts that not being necessarily ugly had a bland deja vu look. Things went better when they changed to Farr as a designer, but not much better. With the exception of the Vision line, that are better looking, the main line continued to look uninteresting and old looking.

Then, for the C57, their top of the line, they started a collaboration with an Italian NA, Maurizio Cossutti and the C57 looks not like a Bavaria anymore, it looks elegant. I thought that collaboration was only for the top of the line, that the shipyard wanted to look like a "real" yacht, but surprise surprise, they liked so much the design that Cossutti is going to design more Bavarias and Bavarias will not look like "Bavaria" anymore, they will look more beautiful and elegant.

Thanks to a Croatian friend you can look at the first elegant one (after the C57), the C45 (cover photo). I don't know if it will replace the 46, that has already a nice interior but, as usual, look like a "Bavaria" on the outside, or if they will start a new parallel C line. But that seems improbable to me and commercially does not seem to make sense.

The C45 has been maintained secret and no technical documentation has been released. The boat looks quite nice (except in what regards the giant middle port hull) and I am very curious about the technical specifications. Probably it is going to be a very interesting sailboat. Cossutti is known by designing very fast ORC racers namely the NM38 (that won the World's championship) and also for designing some fast performance cruisers like Salona 380, More 55 and the line of Italia Yachts. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


The black beauty, the fastest of all IMOCA is for sale and now we understand why Alex Thompson did not make the last Transat, the Jacques Vabre, a race that he would have big chances of winning. The Hugo Boss, besides being the fastest is an almost new boat, built only two years ago for competing on the 2016/2017 Vendee Globe.

Contrary to what one could think these are not bad news for Alex Thompson but great news: he is going to have a faster and even better boat built next year to compete on the 2020 Vendee Globe. Crazy stuff?

No, the IMOCA class are from all the offshore racing boats the ones whose development is faster and with all information that was received from the use of foils on the last Vendee Globe it is already possible to build a better and faster IMOCA. Hugo Boss is the best on the water and after having been proved, not only faster solo on the trade winds but also fast with a crew, in conventional offshore races, has a high market value and Alex Thompson wants to take advantage of that to subsidize the new racer.

The asking price is three and a half million euro. If you have the money and want to have a winning boat go for it LOL. Seriously I don't know if that will be the selling price, probably not, but I am sure that the boat will have many interested buyers, not only rich billionaires but most of all major sponsors that want a competitive boat to win some major races, with the right sailor or the right crew.

Alex Thompson has made the best possible publicity to the boat, arriving 2nd on the Vendee Globe with a crippled boat (a broken foil) and even so fighting hard for the race leadership, leaving behind several boats from the same generation in perfect conditions. And even more surprising than that, he has proved that the Hugo Boss, with medium to strong wind, was able to be incredibly competitive on the great offshore classic races.

On the last Middle Sea Race, a month ago, the Hugo Boss was able to clearly beat not only all VOR boats racing but also one of the Maxi racers, the CQS, a yacht that was completely rebuilt last year. He crossed the line in real time in 3rd place. I hope somebody will buy it in time for the Sydney Hobart where the conditions are often strong and if not with too much upwind sailing, suitable to this boat. Curiously he showed on the Middle Sea Race that with strong winds he was not as bad upwind, as most including me would think, even if compared with CQS that is a upwind maximized boat.

As a cherry on top of the cake, Alex Thompson with the feeling all, including Hugo Boss, recognize in him for business, has managed to obtain recently the most incredible sailing images of his Imoca sailing well over 30k and flying sometimes the boat completely out of the water!!!(the first movie).

Hugo Boss, the Sponsor, has maintained with sailing and with Alex Thompson one of the  longest associations on the sport: 18 years and 6 racing boats. Chapeau and a big thanks to Hugo Boss to believe in sailing as advertising.

The new Hugo Boss will be the VII. The two last ones were designed by VPLP and Guillaume Verdier. Now that they parted ways he has yet to chose between them who is going to design the new boat. I would say it would be Guillaume Verdier, that I believe is the best designer of offshore open racing boats today.

He is designing the new VOR racer and he can join all the information obtained on the last Vendee Globe, where the leading boats were all designed with his collaboration, with the new research on foils for the VOR, that is estimated at half a million euro and that will come as a bonus to the new design.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


It looks like a different planet!!! On the South, the Antarctic continent, on the Northwest, New Zealand and all around the big Austral desert, the South Pacific Ocean. Soon the nearest guys from François Gabart will be the ones on the space station.

Ahead, he has heavy weather and strong winds. Better take care and not have an accident there because the help is going to take several days to arrive. The record attempt goes well, he has an advance of more than 700nm and he keeps smiling like a kid, as if it was not unusual to sail that monster at speed, alone for several months, doing repairs outside with temperatures below 0 and dodging Icebergs. Truly incredible François Gabart. You can follow the attempt on the tracker:

And what to say about Yves le Blevec, the one that is doing an attempt that even his fellow profissional solo racers considere incredibly difficult, one that was never been attempted by a multihull and the only absolute big sail record that still belongs to a monohull?

That is his second attempt to break the circumnavigation record the wrong way around, meaning against the dominant winds. The first one finished a month ago with breakage on the boat. I hope he has better luck this time. His team think that it is going to be possible to do it in 3 months. So far so good and the distance to the monohull is already big (the little blue boat) on the image above.

You can follow the attempt on the tracker:

Friday, November 24, 2017


There was a big fight till the finish on the Transat Jacques Vabre among the leading Class40. By far the most interesting race on this Transat. Only 23 minutes separated 1st and 2nd  after more than 17 days of racing!!! The victory went to Sorel/Carpentier on V and B. They were only 4th when they crossed the doldrums, some days ago, but their final part of the race was fantastic.

They left behind Sharp/Santurde (that lead the race till the doldrums) and went on close pursuit to Chappellier/Vaillant that put on a big fight, leading till very near the finish line.  We can see their disappointment when they arrived almost not celebrating. Certainly it is hard to lose almost over the finish line after a titanic effort for many days. They can be proud regarding the way they battled till the end.

You can see what I am talking about pulling back the orange button on the lower right corner of the cartography, on the link behind. Amazing fight till the finish!

But there is another winner on this race, a big one, the NA that designed all the boats that arrived on the 3 first places, Sam Manuard. The class 40 is a kind of battleground for boat designers, almost all that are meaningful in what regards designing racing boats, have designed one, from Ker to Farr, passing by Marc Lombard, Finot/Conq, Verdier, Humphreys, Owen and Clark and many others.

With this kind of competition having a full podium is just incredible and says much about Sam Manuard's ability as a designer. Sam was a solo racer coming from the minis and even if he never had a chance in what regards a big commission by a main production shipyard (and that's unfair) he is responsible for some of the more interesting fast small cruisers on the market, the Seascape. You can read (link below) a very interesting interview he gave about boat design, one that is very important to understand the diference between new and old designs in what regards sailing downwind (explained with videos).

On the Volvo Ocean race, after a domination by the French/New Zealand crew of the Chinese boat, that lasted almost all the race, on the final part Mapfre, the Spanish boat, this time with mostly a Spanish crew, managed to overtake them and finished with a small lead. I guess that these two teams will be dominating the race from now on. In my opinion they are the strongest. My bet goes to Dongfeng, even if they lost this one to Mapfre.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


I had already posted about the J112e when it was on the project stage, I have visited the boat at the Dusseldorf boat show and it is all that it promised on the project: a very nice interior, well finished in a kind of modest way and I am not meaning anything negative quite the contrary. While most cruising boats nowadays have a flashy interior with average quality the J112 remains very sober and funcional featuring good quality everywhere. The J112e is made by Jcomposites in France and comes to substitute what was one of the most successful Jboats in what regards sales, the J109.

The J112 is a better and more modern design improving on the J109 in everything, from interior space to stability and performance. It has more length (36.00 to 35.25ft) more beam (11.75 to 11.50ft) a bigger SA/D (22.3 to 20.4) it is lighter (D/L-157 to 172) it has more stability (Max RM - 833 to 940 ft/lb) and all this allows not only a bigger interior but a remarkably faster boat (IRC - 1.015 to 1.060).

The interest on the boat by European magazines has not been big and though it has been tested by many sail magazines for the 2017 yacht of the year few have published the sail test but when they have the comments are very positive and everybody loves to sail the J112e. Curiously  magazines in the US, where the interest for this type of boats is way smaller, have published more sail tests and even have made it boat of the year in an odd category: the crossover yacht.

But all this is not enough to make it a big sales success: the demand of this type of performance cruiser is very small on the US and it is diminishing in Europe not only due to the competition of other successful brands like JPK, Pogo, Italia Yachts (and now even Grand Soleil) among others but because unfortunately here we see also a decrease on the number of cruisers that want this type of sail boat.

Comparing the J112e with what seems to me to be the best performance cruiser of this size, the JPK 1080, I would say that the J112e is much more typed as an upwind sailboat while the JPK remains with a more balanced performance, one that has been giving it an incredible racing performance, from the Sydney Hobart to the Middle Sea Race, Fastnet and on the duo Transats.

In what regards hull diferences the JPK 1080 is just slightly beamier being the main diference on the transom design. The J112e, that is comparatively the beamier of all J's, has the max beam at the middle while the JPK has it pulled aft, giving it a big transom.

We can say this is a sailor's boat in a sense that the interior space has not come at the cost of a decreased sailing performance and that the sail hardware is not just a simplified one that only allows a basic sail trim. Many cruisers (or their wives) that buy the boats on boat shows are not able to understand at what cost comes that little bit of extra interior space or why even with a smaller interior these boats are more expensive than main mass produced boats.

The hulls seem similar on the way they are built even if that is not clearly the case and they are not aware of the differences that allow not only for a lighter boat but also a stronger boat. An then there is the misconception that seaworthiness has something to do with an open transom or higher freeboards, that are clearly visible while the very superior stability is dismissed because they cannot see it.

Even so, on these days that Beneteau stopped to make the First (because the market is not enough for a mass production boat to be truly profitable), the 30 boats already sold are a remarkable figure. Also very interesting to notice that from those only 5 were sold with the more racing specification indicating that the J112e is more bought by cruisers that want a fast boat (and eventually want to make a race now and then) than by racers that will just cruise eventually.

The J112e is a quality boat and therefore not a cheap one, it costs over 200 000 euros, a price that is not far from the ones of other fast quality cruiser-racers like XP yachts or JPK. A boat for the ones that like sailing, particularly upwind sailing and like to cruise in style and comfort but on a modest way and have a small family, a couple or a couple with two kids. A very nice boat specially adapted for Mediterranean sailing where the upwind performance is a must.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Incredible is just the word! The boat is nothing like it was expected to be. It is a truly new concept, one that leaves me wondering. They say it will be faster than the America’s cup multihulls!!!!

If it works it will be fantastic but I have some doubts regarding taming such a beast without electronic help. I really hope they have studied well this extreme design that changes all the concepts of a monohull. It seems a short period to develop such an extreme concept in terms of practicability and even more without having associated with it a complete team of experts. Or maybe they have and in that case they are already way ahead of all other teams.

There is no keel anymore, the foils work not only as foils but as canting keels and they will carry the ballast. The engineering problems seem huge since for controlling the boat the foil movements have to be fast. The boat will have the ability to re-right itself if capsized.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Hanse 548
It may seem odd, a Hanse is typically a main market cruising boat, the Solaris (above) it is more of a performance cruising boat but if we look at the two boats we will find similarities in what regards design intention: both boats assume the pretension of looking like a bigger yacht, a yacht with clean lines, a small cabin height over the deck allowing a huge unobstructed area that provides a great view forward from the steering wheel.

Many would think that the Hanse is a more practical cruising boat being the Solaris more of a looker and a fast sailer, less adapted to cruising but it is the Hanse that does not have a dodger not even a place to mount one while the Solaris has one that can fold and be hidden behind a teak cover.

It is true that the Hanse has a version with a large fixed cover (kind of a bimini) but I saw it only on drawings and the thing is so ugly that I doubt very much anybody is going to have it. It is a kind of anti-statement regarding the boat design intention.

Both boats have a dinghy garage and an interior with similar dimensions with several possible options, a very nice cruising interior with all the space and storage needed for cruising (depending on the selection of the interior layout).

Both boats have a good tankage being the standard one a bit bigger on the Hanse and a similar hull with the beam pulled back and not a very different one, 4.85 meter on Solaris, 5.05 on Hanse even if the Solaris has considerably finer entries. Both boats have similarly big sized engines with around 110hp.

The Solaris is much nicer due to a smaller freeboard, a much cleaner design and due to much smaller port hulls, that on the Hanse are really huge and have a very negative effect on the  way the boat looks.

The Solaris has a better stability due to a bigger B/D. Considering, among the different options, approximated drafts (2.70 for the Solaris and 2.80 for the Hanse) and similar torpedo keels, the Hanse has 30.5% and the Solaris 36.9%. note that the Hanse B/D for this type of hull is a good one, the Solaris one is a very good one.

The Solaris is much faster. It his lighter (17600kg to 19 000kg) and due to the superior stability can carry more sail area (176 m2 to 138). The Solaris has also a considerable bigger LWL (15.78 meter to 14.90). Due to better building techniques and materials (vacuum infused hull and cabin, airex sandwich, carbon reinforcements, structural bulkheads) the Solaris is stronger. The interior material and quality of finish are also clearly superior.

Not intending to say that the Hanse 548 is not well built, that it is slow (in fact it has a very decent 19.7 SA/D), that it has a bad stability, that the interior is not of good quality and nicely designed or even that the boat is ugly, with the exception of that incredibly shade that comes as an option.

Far from that, it is good looking, with a good stability and with a rigging that allows for easy sailing. What I mean is that the Solaris 55 is  just superior, sometimes a lot, in what regards all these points.

The only point in what the Hanse is clearly better is on the price and it is not just a small difference, the Hanse is announced with a basic price of 415 310 euro while the Solaris 55 is announced at 821 000 Euros. Even considering that the Hanse is really a 53fter and the Solaris is a 55fter and that the Solaris for the same price has more equipment the difference in price is huge. Even the Solaris 50 is more expensive than de Hanse 548 even if now the difference is not very substantial.

I guess that some that will dream of a Solaris 55 will end up buying an Hanse 548 and even if the differences are remarkable and not only in price, at least they will be comforted with what the press and the brand says about the Hanse: "luxurious...the crème de la crème"..."the new Hanse 548 ... is a demonstration of what luxury means"..."luxury living on 55 feet"..."the new Hanse 548 is every bit the mini superyacht designed for luxury"...European luxury"..."luxury yacht".

No I am not making up, all these qualifications were used as high lines not only by the brand but by many sellers and sailing magazines including American ones. In comparison the high lines used for describing the Solaris 55 are quite modest: "Solaris 55 has been designed to satisfy the most demanding customers requiring performance sailing even with reduced crew."..."breathtaking beauty sets the trends".

Funny that contrary to Hanse we don't find the word luxury used neither by the shipyard neither by boat magazines referring to the Solaris. Guess what this means regarding the target customers, the ones that will buy one or another. Not hard to figure that out 😊