Friday, March 9, 2018


Grand Soleil 48
It doesn't make sense does it? Well, about the same sense as buying or being interested in a cruiser racer without knowing the ballast or having a good look at the the underbody.

This talk would not seem odd if you knew that recently two Italian brands, Italia Yachts and Grand Soleil, presented to the press two new cruiser racers without revealing the ballast or showing the underbody.

And it was not by accident because I asked them about the ballast and I did not get any answer. Of course they sent a lot of talk regarding what they wanted sailing magazines to say about the boats and sail magazines just published that. Well I am not a sail magazine LOL and I refuse to post about things I don't have enough information.

So, what can I tell you about the new Grand Soleil 48 and the new Italia 11.98? Very little except that they look well, the IT 11.98 on an updated line of ORC development style the GS more in a  conservative IRC/ORC line of development, very similar to past models of both brands.

That the Italia 11.98 belongs to the more sportive line of Italia yachts and the same happens with Grand Soleil. Both boats will have two versions, one with better performance than the other. 

On the IT 11.98 the version developed for ORC racing will have a tiller and a bigger cockpit working area, with less seating space, the one more pointed for a dual use will have  a two wheel system and a bigger seat, but I am sure that if one prefers a tiller on the more dual version that would not be a problem.

IT 11.98

The Grand Soleil 48 on its faster version (one ton less) is not pointed as much to racing as the IT 11.98 and even if the more expensive version is called "Race", it is just a  better boat than the cheaper version. The"Race" has a more technological built and it is pointed to those who can afford it.

Sure the "race" version will have a bigger racing potential but while on the IT 11.98 we are talking about top racing on a very naked boat on the GS we are talking about "gentleman" racing in a luxury boat with a very good interior.

On the GS "cruising" version the winch set-up is more appropriate to short crew sailing but I am sure that could be interchangeable between the two versions. The IT 11.98  version more adapted to cruising is presented with a fixed bowsprit with an anchor stand while the ORC optimized version has none.

Of course, both boats will have a long list of options including a lot of carbon options: spars, wheels and rudder included. Both are relatively light weight boats, the 11.98 weighting 6.2t, the GS 40 10.5 or 11.5t. The IT has a  28.0 SA/D, the GS 27.5 SA/D. Both will be very fast performance cruising boats, the IT 11.98 aims to be a top ORC racing boat, the GS aims to be more of a dual boat with good performance on the race course.

If you are so pissed as me with this new trend of presenting boats without disclosing some of the things that matter more, namely the underbody and the ballast, please post about that on the comments and I will be happy to send them to the brands in question: maybe that will help to change that.


  1. Good looking out Paulo. No serious sailor would even consider buying a boat without knowing that information. It's hard to even think objectively about a boat as an option without that data. If they're offering performance components like a carbon rig, but withholding more important design information it makes me question if these boats are really going to be performers after all. Maybe just pot-belly hulls that can't stand up to their rigs.

  2. I wrote to Italia Yachts regarding the ORC rating of the new 11.98, it is rated with a CDL of 9,65 - which puts in ORC class C together with much smaller boats.

    1. From Italia's website:
      "In the ORC regulation Italia 11.98 is optimized to be the largest boat in Group C"
      It's a bit strange they would play the new 11.98 in class C against the already successful 9.98. Class B has similar sized competition for the 11.98, including the Grand Soleil 39, which is obviously a comparable yacht. Italia Yachts would appear to have deliberately limited the outright performance characteristics of the 11.98 to achieve a ratings "dumb-down". Furthermore, if the 11.98 performs well in regattas, that may come at the expense of the 9.98's results and crowding their own market. Choices are good, but I don't really follow their strategy with this one. Having said that, the 11.98 is a lovely looking yacht.

    2. That's the problem with handicap racing: that results on a boat not being as fast as it can be but with one that is maximized for a given rating.

      Look at the keels for ORC and IRC racing without bulb because too much stability is penalized and one different than the other.

      Sailing is the only racing sport that come out with this nonsense solution regarding handicap. Look at motorsports, motos and cars all of them have multiple divisions but inside each division each car can be developed to the limit and the slowest inside a division has not a more favorable handicap than the fastest.

      The one on that division that arrives first wins it. That's simple, effective and leads to the development of any machine to the limits.

      I guess that regarding the IT 11.98 they are still calculating what will be the ballast and the keel design, not to make the boat as fast as it can be (that was easy) but, being slowly, to be able to have the better handicap and win races. Ridiculous!!!

  3. I absolutely agree with you Paulo. And doesn't make you feel much confident with those designs. Thanks for this great blog.

  4. Paulo keep going and pressing for the full information package. There are enough 4KSB around on the water.

  5. Very sad a time where the knowledge about the complex interaction of all forces and moments on a sailing yacht has never been more evolved and could call this regression or ignorance! Let’s hope that in the long run intransparency will harm the business and people still want to know what they get for their money!

  6. Really annoying! It seems they are still calculating how many layers of GRP will make the hull of... to save money but satisfy the certificate! Not nice to hide that data, seems they are not serious boatyards!