Tuesday, February 6, 2018

BENTE24, FOCUS750, VIKO26 - THE LESS EXPENSIVE


For what I can sense this comparative will interest many: the ones that want a boat that sails well, has the ability to do some coastal cruising with a cruising interior suited for weekend or week cruising and don't really want a top performance boat (too expensive) even if some will be interested in doing some low key racing. The best 24/26ft cruiser for the money.

Focus750
And certainly these three ones are interesting boats for what they can offer for the price.

The Viko hull length is 7.80m, the Focus has 7.50, on the Bente it is hard to say since they only give the LOA (7.55) and the LWL (7.15). The hull size should be between the two.

Regarding beam the Viko has 2.80m, the Focus 2.50 and the Bente 2.75m. More hull form stability for the Bente and the Viko at the cost of some problems in what regards using a trailer on the road since most countries have 2.55m as maximum normal trailer width. A boat with a 2.8m width can still be transported on a trailer but on most countries more requirements are needed.

Viko 26S
It is worth to point out that beam, beam pulled aft and very clear hard chines are important  on these boats not only because they increase stability but also because they diminish roll. As these boats are small and light they have to have a bigger B/D than bigger boats to be seaworthy and a bigger B/D on a narrow beam will increase roll when the wind is light or non existent or when the boat is motoring.

All these boats can have a fixed keel or a retractable keel but almost all owners will want it as a trailerable boat and that excludes the fixed keel.

Viko 26s
Here starts the problems since most builders offer less ballast  on the lifting keel versions than on the fixed keel ones making those versions more adapted for lake sailing or sheltered waters than for coastal cruising. To make things worse they are not very clear regarding the ballast on the lifting keels.

The available data on the Viko is vague. They say that the boat weight can go from 1650 to 1950kg, the minimum draft varies  from 0.35 to 0.5m, that the max draft goes from 1.45 to  1,65m and the ballast goes from 600 to 800 kg, not saying what part is inside the boat (if any) and what part is on the keel.

If we assume that they are talking about two lifting keels, one with 1.45m draft other with 1.65m and that the different ballasts corresponds to each one, having the boats a similar stability curve, then we will have for the version with 1.65m draft a 36.4% B/D  that is not a bad number if all ballast is on the keel but I doubt it since on the movie we can see that the Viko is not able to transform gusts of wind in speed, heeling and forcing the skipper to spill wind from the sails.

The Viko has a nice design a bit spoiled by the huge freeboard specially on the transom and it offers a very god interior for the price. That huge freeboard allows for a surprisingly big interior with standing height of 1.80m on the highest part of the cabin. The best interior at the cost of  the worst sailing performance.



The Viko, made in Poland, is the less expensive of the three boats and not surprisingly the one with a lower tech building, with a monolithic  hull, being for that reason considerably heavier than the other two. The Viko 26 costs at the factory 19 000 euro without tax or extras, but the boat comes already with sails.
http://vikoyachts.de/viko-yachten/viko16.html#technischeDaten

The Focus 750 is a good looking boat that has three versions, all with the same draft (1.50m) but with different keel configuration and all with the same ballast, 600kg but with varying CG and able to generate substantially different RM.

The stiffest boat is the one with the fixed keel that has 100kg ballast inside the boat and 500 on a lead torpedo keel. Then there is a version with a lifting keel with a lead torpedo, having 250kg inside the boat and 350 on the keel and finally a version with a foiled keel without bulb with 300kg inside the boat and 300kg on the keel.

The last one has considerable less stability and I would not recommend its use for offshore sailing. Surprisingly, if we consider the boat price, the hull is a cored one (foam) and they use infusion vacuum technology. This allows them to lower the weight of the boat to 1300kg. The Focus has a 46.2% B/D but the stiffness of the boat will be very different on the three versions depending where the ballast CG is located.

On this movie that I assume is made with the lifting keel with a torpedo keel we can see that the boat sails much better than the Viko 26. With the version with the fixed keel it should be even better specially upwind and on a beam reach.


Not surprisingly due to the smaller freeboard and smaller beam the Focus compared with the Viko offers a not so good interior, with simpler furniture and having as main disadvantage the standing height and not having a separate head compartment ( a chemical head is under the cockpit stairs).

The Focus 750 is built in Poland and it costs in its standard version 24 000 euros, at the factory without tax. But this price regards the non bulbed lifting keel and does not include several interior equipment that is standard on the Viko 26S. Even so a very good price.                                http://yacht-focus.pl/en/focus-750-brochure-en/#folder-en/page8

The Bente 24 is the most distinctive of the three, with a fixed spraywood and an inverted bow, looks decidedly modern and different. Regarding interior space it has more than the Focus 750 (due to more beam and more freeboard ) and less than the Viko 26s (due to less freeboard) but most of all it is a different space that does not try to be similar to the one on a bigger yacht (like on the Viko) but that is assumingly a camping boat but a very good one as that.

Contrary to the Focus 750 it offers a head with privacy even if not a completely closed compartment, it offers a big social ample saloon from where a basic galley can be pushed, using as water basin the same that is used on the head, that also slides into position. obviously a lot of thought being put on that boat and the accessories.

Like on the Focus the hull is a cored one using vacuum infusion and that allows it to be lighter, weighting 1400kg on the standard version. The Bente has three different keel options: two of identical design, with a torpedo, but with different drafts (standard 1.45m and 1,80m) and a lifting one also with torpedo and 1.45m. The boat can be 200kg lighter  with the bigger draft and even lighter if a superior quality resin is used.

On the standard version with a 1,45m draft,  the boat has 600kg ballast, all on the keel  (42.9% B/D) and that added to the bigger hull form stability, due to more beam and a larger transom (compared with the Focus), makes it the boat with more stability and the best offshore boat.

It is also a fast sailingboat as we can see from the images on these movies made by two Yacht magazines:



The Bente 24 is made in Germany and has a surprising low price for the quality: 27 500 euros for a standard boat ready to sail, at the factory (without VAT). The standard boat is the one with a fixed keel and a lifting keel will cost 5210 euros. A full extras interior 11 260 euro more  and a carbon bowsprit 2857 euros. With all those items the boat would cost 46 827 euros without VAT.

That's the problem with the boats, they rarely include extras but the good thing regarding this one is that you can just buy a bare boat and with time add the extras since they are not things that have to be mounted  while the boat is built.

All those extra items cost almost as much as the boat itself, sails and all, but you don't really need them to do coastal sailing. I have done it for years with a boat of that size with an empty interior with camping stuff inside. You can do the same or even develop a boat "interior" by yourself, little by little. 

To be road trailerable this boat, with a 2.70m beam, poses some problems that they creatively resolved with a trailer that can cant the boat thus diminishing the width to legal dimensions.

And talking about creativity just look at this amazing cockpit cover:

http://www.bente24.com/wp/24ben/

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