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.

2 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...

    ReplyDelete
  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.

    ReplyDelete