Tuesday, November 14, 2017

THE FRENCH WOODEN VOYAGE BOAT: RM 1370


I have already posted about this boat when it was on project stage. All  relevant information about the boat's design and stability characteristics are here: http://interestingsailboats.blogspot.pt/2017/01/rm-1370.html

This 45ft is the biggest boat produced by the shipyard Fora Marine that has all its models designed by Marc Lombard. The RM (all with the same concept) won several times the European boat of the year award that is attributed by journalists of many European countries, after having tested all the nominated sailboats.

It may seem odd but this shipyard and this concept, including design and building methods, started 28 years ago. Nothing new now and a very tested concept that has resisted time and longevity very well, having used boats on the market a very good resale value.

Besides its building technique (marine plywood saturated with epoxy and an optional kevlar skin for shock resistance) the RM concept longevity has to do with a very early and long association with what was then a very young NA, Marc Lombard, fresh from Southampton University. At the time he had already experience with racing boat's but the RM was his first cruising design.

The RM, 22 years ago, was then a kind of pet project for Marc, a boat designed like he thought cruiser boats should be, a design that was already strongly influenced by offshore solo racers, from the mini to the Open 60's. Marc would later contribute to develop those solo racer's design, with many winning boats in his career (mini, class40, Open 60's). A very talented NA that would become one of the best and more innovative of his generation.

Most cruising designs on his portfolio, those not made under command of a main shipyard (that impose the type of boat they want), have a considerable similitude with the RM line, meaning that Marc thinks that type of design is the best suited in what regards offshore cruising and Marc has not only a huge designing experience, with all types of sailboats, as it is one of the best NA around.

No surprise solo offshore racers hulls have strongly influenced modern cruising boats. Today the vast majority has that influence, making them more stable boats, easier boats to sail, boats that heel less and most of all, easier boats to be sailed on autopilot. No wonder that now they are the main influence on cruising designs but it was not so 22 years ago. Then main design drive on cruising boats used to come from crewed racers, IMS and IRC designs, boats that need a crew to be exploited.

The RM 1370 is the last of a long line of boats, boats that pointed the way to the design of contemporary cruisers, boats that without changing the concept have been continuously improved in what regards hull design and building methods, always by the same NA, taking also into account the information given by the owners, many of them long range cruisers.

The result could not be other than a great offshore sailing boat, one of the best around, one that may not be the best for the Med or the Baltic (due to predominant upwind sailing and steep short period waves) but it is certainly one of the best boats to voyage, far, fast and extensively on the trade winds, while maintaining a decent performance upwind one that can equal or even better  most mass production boats and better the one of most old designs.

The RM 1370 is on the water and this year in the Dusseldorf boat show it had already a 18 month waiting list. That is quite impressive for a boat that is not main market and is pointed clearly to oceanic sailing. It shows the success the RM are having on the sailing community.

They have increased the shipyard and will have to increase it again due to the the high demand. A success history one that is not based on publicity but on the boat and concept reputation built over the years by their owners that on most cases were sailors above the average.

Talking about those owners one of them is Fran├žois Gabart one of the best professional solo sailors on the planet, winner of the Vendee Globe and that is right now alone on a huge Maxi trimaran trying to beat the circum-navigation record time. He has a RM for sailing and cruising with the family.

6 comments:

  1. Great post on M Lombard and RM altogether.
    I had the opportunity to sail a RM1270, invited by Alain Bourrust from Sillage / Port Camargue, France last winter in a 4 hours trial in the Golfe d'Aigues Mortes (which is well protected) by a 30-35 knots SE breeze. It was a short duration but interesting : the perfs of the boat did not seem that much impressive but was the stability of the boat on reaching and the quality of the gear. Only concern is the position at the helm... with heels over the water ; and the bill too...

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  2. Can you clarify that, I mean what you did not like at the helm position? I sail tested a RM1200 many years ago to see if it was the type of boat I wanted. I did not like the performance on light winds neither the helm sensation (but I do like very responsive and fast boats).

    What was the speed on that test sail with 30-35K?

    Regarding the position for steering this type of hull and the rigging the boat has,it works better with a tiller. Many smaller RM have a tiller, some RM 1200 had it too but I don't see them on new boats with 40ft or over. I don't know if the helm is too heavy or if it is a question of fashion.

    The RM, like the solo racers is great on autopilot and that stability that you noticed allow for an excellent control.

    Regarding speed I would say that the boat is faster on most conditions than a mass production cruiser but slower than a performance cruiser, except that the RM can go downwind or on a beam reach on autopilot at a speed that on a performance cruiser you will be able to match and even surpass, but not on autopilot, except if you are sailing a Pogo or similar, that has the same type of hull.

    That's why it is a great voyage boat where most of the time the boat is on autopilot and the sailing is done on the trade winds, meaning mostly downwind sailing.

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  3. Just been to La Rochelle, viewed the whole RM line, and a privately arranged sail in an older 1360. 18-22kn winds, mostly upwind. Held nicely at 7kn upwind, abt 45 degrees, above 9kn when easing to 70/80 degrees. Also sailed JPK45 in same conditions. Noticeable better pointing and stiffer boats upwind. Hull geometry is very similar, but ballast on JPK is much more, and hull slightly lighter. 3t vs 4tn, 2.45m draft vs 2.25m on jpk.
    Another high value point on the RM 1370 is the near perfect installments of technical equipment, their serviceability and maintainance. Every installation is perfectly accessible, tanks, pumps, electrics, even the black water tank can be removed in an instant. While several French/Atlantic boats have similar solutions, the implementation on the larger RMs is just perfect. Superb.
    Quality of deck fittings, ergonemetrics, rigging etc. excellent all the way. Fast cruiser, relatively better performance downwind due to its light displacement and stable hull shape. (More rounded transom than I expected, slightly more narrow transom than beam, more so than on JPK45, but compared to IRC cruisers, holds the width far back, including at the waterline. These are the Halberg Rasseys of the modern age.

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  4. Nice of you to share. I believe also that the JPK 45 has finner entries.
    http://www.jpk.fr/modules/kameleon/upload/1IMG_1983.JPG

    The Tp52 works very well in IRC and ORC races and has the beam pulled aft. Look at one of the most recent: Sled
    http://www.botinpartners.com/tmp/proyectosImages/dbf4cd47353af0c4f3bda874585e8f2f.jpg

    Some IRC cruisers or cruiser-racers have the beam pulled aft, the new Neo 470 is a good example: http://neoyachts.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/470_deck_plan.png

    But they have a smaller beam (the 470 is bigger and has a smaller beam than the RM or the JPK - 4.40) but most of all they have a much more curved transom, one that allows the boat to heel more and that is needed to explore the RM that comes from its superior B/D and its bigger draft.

    Of course that makes it much faster upwind but much more dificult to control downwind and much less suited to be solo sailed.

    Regarding the JPK to be considerably better upwind than the RM one of the main factors is its much superior B/D. Probably the JPK is designed to sail with more heel upwind to explore that. Did you notice that when sailing upwind with strong wind?

    I believe that the JPK has a decent performance upwind even when compared with IRC cruiser-racers but not the RM. It is not bad when compared with a main market boat but not comparable to the one of a cruiser-racer. I have seen that with my own boat when sailing near RMs, meaning catching them and leave them behind.

    You can see also that its performance on mixed races (downwind and upwind) with lots of upwind sailing is not good (compared with cruiser-racers).

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  5. Hi Paolo, amazing few hours sail on the JPK45. JP himself on board, as well as the chief of their infusion, who btw enthusiastically explained the choose of resins, foams, and infusion techniques. The whole boat infused in one shot. Vinlylester. Polyester on deck. Only monolithic around the keel bolts, sandwich everywhere else. (and the boat was surprisingly quiet inside) great front view from saloon (as with RM)
    Sailing: strong afternoon winds, 18-22kn, perhaps a litttle more in way back. Held her at abt 40 degrees, made 7kn easily. Speed dropped off from 40. Significant heel yes. Probably 30 degrees in the gusts, but what was impressive is how solid it felt. Didn’t round up at all. Could let go of the wheel and she was balanced. According to JP, reef only at 25kn, and downwind at 28kn. Makes me wonder about the purpose of carrying staysail at all times. You could argue she is underrigged, but at these speeds, who can complain, and an assymetric or code zero would help in light winds.
    While the geometry seems similar to RM1370, LWL, Beam and transom, I am sure there are underbody differences. Have copy of the underbody drawings of JPK, but not RM. transom seems similar when viewed from the dock, RM perhaps more narrow aft. RMs have this curious bow, that lifts out of water when cockpit is weighted. Probably eases it lifting into planning mode, but not sure how it helps upwind.
    They are not comparable. RM is a beautiful cruiser, perfectly appointed interior, great sailor, but no racer. while JPK is all about sailing. It seems to have managed to combine both upwind and downwind characteristics. Must be faster, and easier to manage downwind than the Arconas or X due to its light displacement. The carbon Arcona can possibly compare, but at a much higher price point, and also very different cockpit/sailhandling layout. JPK cockpit layout has taken the solo-family performance sailing to a new extreme.

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    Replies
    1. You are talking 40 apparent wind or 40 real wind? With reefing at 25 I guess you are talking about apparent?

      Not very impressive 7kt on a fast 45ft with 18/22k, unless the sea was really bad. But the strong point of that boat is not upwind sailing.

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