Monday, February 17, 2020

DUSSELDORF 2020: MORE IS HOLDING ON


I have said on previous posts that More yachts were doing the best quality for the money in what regards the yachts they offered, a 40ft and a 55ft, but at a certain point things didn't look right to me and I stop recommended them to the ones that reach me looking for help in choosing their yacht.

And I was right because they were in trouble, don't know if they went bankrupt but the production was affected and things went downhill. More was previously a charter company, a Swedish Croatian one and it was that company, specialized in offering boats for kind of friendly regatta events among groups or in offering faster and better charter boats to the public.

They used to have Salonas but at a certain point, with Salona already having problems with production, and wanting a 55ft boat without any positive response from Salona, they decided to produce it themselves, to equip their fleet and also sell it to the market and that's how the 55 was born.

Things went well, most of the specialized workers from Salona opted to moved to More, including their main engineer and the boat was built with Salona well known expertise and similar process and materials, using a stainless steel grid for hull structure and epoxy based vinylester resins on a sandwich with a foam core. The bulkheads are made also of GRP, laminated and glued to the hull.

Then a 40ft followed, but things did not went well on the charter company, probably because the brand was not well known and failed to attract the clientele they were hoping for, and ended up to bankrupt leaving the shipyard in very bad situation. The shipyard was then bought by Croatian investors and things seem to be going well, at least for a while since they came to Düsseldorf with a big stand showing both boats with nice black shinning hulls.

The boats looked good on the outside and inside there was some finish problems that I pointed to Abraham Rakuljic (head of development and production). He seemed genuinely surprised and he said that a boat would not be delivered with that kind of problems and if it was, it would be solved rapidly. For sure he has not the experience or technical knowledge of Leo Curin (that has been working for other companies including Bavaria), he is a  young man but he seems to listen to what one has to say, seems eager to solve problems and in some way to customize the boat to clients' needs and that is rare in boats of this price.

The quality of the interior is not bad, I would say average and good if we take into consideration the price, certainly comparable to the one of mass production main market boats in quality even if their design is generally better in small details.

I liked the engineer that seemed honest and competent ( the original engineer that came from Salona and developed the boats, Leo Curin, is not with them anymore having his own firm) but the fact is that I did not like what was visible there regarding the new management, a pretty lady in high heels that seemed not to understand anything about boats or boat business and that refused to give any detailed information about who had bought or invested on the shipyard making impossible to understand the solidity of the company, maintaining all the time a very arrogant atitude one that I did not find on any other stand.

By comparison Contest, Swan or Solaris were very humble, it looked like she was representing the more exclusive yachts on the market with a very solid reputation and a two year waiting list and not one of the cheapest, coming from an almost bankruptcy situation and trying to survive.

Well, she did not give me a good impression regarding management but I would say that at least for some time it will be safe to order More yachts. The investment of capital should allow that boats ordered now to be built without problems so if you want to have a well built fast boat for not much take the opportunity now, because I don't think it is going to last.

Regarding the boats, the basics are solid and light, meaning the hull, keel, rudders, cabin and even the interior. The boats come with six good quality winches and even if the blocks and other sail hardware are not top quality, as in many other boats, that's a thing you can change with time.

The yachts, specially the 55, have been around for some years, several crossed the Atlantic for several times (for doing charter on the Caribbean) one of the 55 has even raced with very reasonable results so I would say that they are a good solid investment, if we can call buying a sailboat an investment LOL.

But inexplicably (or maybe not) the 55 continues to have a layout more adapted to charter than to private ownership and the three cabin version, the version more adapted to private use, continues to have the same longitudinal galley that is a nonsense on a boat of that size, when one wants to give it a cozy and nice comfortable interior for private use.

The good thing is that the engineer from production and development was open and even interested in modifying the interior at the demand of a client. The bulkheads position makes it not easy to do another type of galley but it will be possible to have a proper comfortable saloon with two sofas on the opposite side of the table with a smaller (chart) table in between, at the cost of the smallest of the three heads.

The 40 has a better layout but an inexplicable error on the interior design, I mean one that has nothing to do with functionality but only with looks, but that they are willing to solve: The inserts that work as windows on the saloon are too low and give a disagreeable feeling, like if something was not right (and in fact it is not LOL). That can be easily solved doubling the inserts and putting one over the existing one, like it is done for example on the Azuree 40, or even better, substituting that insert for a much bigger "window" (in height).

Among the  more inexpensive boats of their size the More 55 and 40 are the best offers on the market for one that wants to have a fast solid cruising boat and has no money to buy a much more expensive one.



I would say that without a substancial change on the layout the 40 is a better offer than the 55 where, except for charter use, other luxury is to be expected on the saloon looks and comfort (unless they modify the saloon). The Layout of the 40 is a good one and that problem with the saloon "window" is easy and not expensive to solve. I have some difficulty in understanding why they have not done it already.
https://interestingsailboats.blogspot.com/2018/01/more-40-best-pricequality.html
https://interestingsailboats.blogspot.com/2017/02/more-55-more-40-too-good-to-be-true.html
https://interestingsailboats.blogspot.com/2018/01/more-40-best-quality-price.html


Friday, February 14, 2020

DUSSELDORF 2020 NEWS: FIRST 36


No,the picture above is not the new First 36, about that one, that was initially to be a 39ft, very few things are known except that it will be designed by Sam Manuard, the designer of the Class 40 above and one of the most successful racing boat designers in what regards mini racers and Class 40.

Sam Manuard is also a top solo/duo racer that started his career on the mini racers on the 2001 Transat with a boat made and designed by him, finishing 4th. He did it again in 2003 winning  the the first leg and again in 2007 being 2nd on the first leg. He has won many races, among them the 2003 mini-Fastnet and more recently, in 2011, he won with Yves Le Blevec, the Transat Jacques Vabre in Multi 50 and in 2014, on one of his class40, he was 2nd (with Maxime Sorel) on the Transat Jacques Vabre.

But since the first years of the minis his focus is on boat design, mostly racing boats but also cruising ones. One of his boats sailed by Douguet won the 2005 Mini Transat. His mini-racer designs won  over 33 races and the 40 Class designs won more than 20 times, including Transats.

And now a new chapter and the most important one as a designer, an IMOCA for the next Vendee Globe sailed by Armel Tripon, curiously the sailor that he beat on the first leg of the 2003 Mini Transat but that ended up beating him on the 2nd leg and won that race. The IMOCA has a revolutionary design, narrower than all the others but the one with the more rounded and strangely shaped bow, a bit scow like.

In what regards cruising boats he designed a great classic, the Seascape 27, the even faster Seascape 24, the Seascape 18 (all renamed First today), the Match 45, a fast cruiser-racer (more racer than cruiser) that won several races and designed several fast cruisers most of them for amateur boat building.

Looking at his later designs and knowing the way he thinks I would say that the new First would be a kind of more polyvalent Pogo, meaning a light boat with a simple but functional cruising interior, easy to be sailed fast solo, with the ocean potential of the Pogo but more narrow with a better upwind  and light wind potential and able to do better on IRC racing. 

It is good to remember that the Mach45 won on the CK division the 2015 Fastnet and other IRC races so, without being a specialist, he knows how to design winning boats for IRC offshore races and given his tendency to revolutionize, if they give him a free hand, something spectacular may be on the way.

The bow of the new IMOCA with Tripon on top.
I would not be surprised if the new First featured the type of cabin seen on the last class 40 designs (on the cover and above) with  a relatively rounded bow. His more recent designs leave us eager to know more about one of the most awaited boats this year, one that I hope will be as much a success as the First 53 was a flop.

Monday, February 10, 2020

DUSSELDORF 2020: GRAND SOLEIL 42 LC


I confess that this was one of the boats that has surprised me more positively on the boat show since this was a yacht that previously did not look particularly interesting to me. I mean the boat is on the water for some time and only the Italian magazines have cared to publish sail tests and the Grand Soleil 42 LC was nominated for boat of the year but was beaten by the Amel 60, that I don't think is an interesting sailboat.

The boat design looked mildly nice in a kind of classic way but with nothing new and resembling too much the GS 46 LC an already 5 year-old model. Nothing wrong with that but in the last 5 years yacht design has evolved faster then never and I am nor referring mostly to hull design but especially to aesthetics in what concerns shapes and boat looks and that makes the design of the GS 42 LC a bit deja vu.

The GS LC 42, even if it does not look bad, is nor sexy or trendy like the Solaris 44 and that is particularly remarkable in what concerns shapes of bow and transom. For what I have seen on the Italian boat tests the Grand Soleil 42LC sails remarkably well but Marco Lostuzzi, that certainly knows how to design a fast sailing boat, has been designing yachts with the same basic transom design for more than 10 years, first on the Sly and now on the Grand Soleil, and the same can be said regarding bow design.

That is too long not tho show an evolution on design and the look of the boat suffers with that even if the advantages in performance would be minimal in what regards cruising. I believe that the lack of interest from the main European sailing magazines about the new GS LC 42 has to do with this, a  deja vu sailboat, even if it is a very good one. And I have to confess that the fact I had not made yet a post about this boat had also to do with that.

But a boat is not only about how it looks, it is also about how it is built, about the layout and quality of the interior,  about finish, about safety and stability and last but not least, about how the boat sails. And if the boat can look too "classic" for some in what regards looks, it scores very high on all other points and that makes it a very good sailboat.

Regarding layout and storage for a 42ft sailboat this is one of the best sailboats I have ever seen and my wife, that for many years has accompanied me not only on visiting sailboats but also reviewing the blog  and is specially sensible to that aspect, was absolutely thrilled with the Grand Soleil 42 LC, I mean the two cabin version that was on exhibition.

In what concerns outside storage space, a necessity for all that cruise and live for any considerable time in a sailboat, specially if out of marinas, this boat has a decent one even if it does not have lockers on the cockpit under the main seats (only under the steering wheel seats).

This is more important than what it looks because outside storage space in cruising boat design has been diminished drastically in recent years, with the brands choosing to have an interior as big as possible at the expenses of this space. Even brands that are known to make excellent cruising boats went that way, like for instance Hallberg Rassy.

The GS 42 LC has a deep chain locker and annexed to it under the same hatch, it has a separate sail locker, not properly big but enough to store a gennaker, a storm jib and to store the garbage on top of it. On the aft part of the cockpit under the floor there is a big locker isolated from the steering. The space of the 3rd cabin is smartly used to do a bigger aft cabin, to prolong the galley that has a big vertical refrigerator/ freezer at the end and to create a technical and storage space that is accessed laterally by the aft cabin.

There is the option not to have that big vertical refrigerator and instead to have a door to access that space but that set up for the refrigerator is to good to throw away, instead I think that an access by the cockpit settee and a better detail of the space (between equipment to be installed and storage) could make it a lot more useful and less difficult space to access.

The Cruising version comes with lateral settees for the helmsman on both sides and there are lockers under them. There are also two dedicated lockers on the back of the main settees to have inside all the cables that come from the stoppers or winches and a dedicated space for the liferaft under the cockpit floor and accessed by the stern when the swim platform is down.

As you can see plenty of storage outside, and inside it is the same, the galley is simply huge with lots of storage. The two heads, one near the aft cabin other inside the front cabin are big with separate showers, the saloon is very agreeable with two distinct seating areas and if you have more guests the chart table can be reversed and transformed into another seat.

The interior is of high quality, I would say a bit better in finish than the one of the Solaris 44 (that is already very good) and about the same quality of an Halberg Rassy, even if the design is slightly more modern. Really impressive.
Above, the galley on the 3 cabin, below on the 2 cabin
On the outside the only thing I really don't like is a recess on the front of the boat to accommodate  a big cushion. Sure it looks very well with a cushion there but while sailing there will be lots of water on that area and the cushion will have to be stored inside (where?)...and without it the shape looks a bit odd.

I like the smart use of acrylic glass, on the back of the boat and on the side, on the cockpit seats' backs. Lot's of it that makes the interior a very luminous one but also creates some problems in blocking all that sun when the heat is too much and that will happen during all summers on the Caribbean or on the Med.

I like a lot the huge seats, long and much larger than the usual. They will provide very comfortable "beds" to lay around or for sleeping there on night passages or simply when the interior is too hot. I don't like the size of the cockpit table, too long and too large. I like the winch positions, don't like being only 4 and the lack of a mainsail traveler. 

The position of the winches allow the boat to be easily controlled from the steering wheel and provide a good winch working position.

There are two versions of the boat (besides two and three cabins) but they are pretty much interchangeable on their different components, one that they call Cruising that comes with a carbon arch (it was the one on the boat show) and the boom mainsheet goes from up there to a system with blocks that can give some control on mainsail shape, the other that they call Performance comes with a single point mainsheet block on the cockpit floor, aft, near the wheels and a german sheeting set up and will allow a better control of the mainsail, specially upwind.

Above, aft cabin on the 3 cabin version, below on the 2 cabin
The performance version comes with a bigger mast, more sail area and no seats for the helmsman, except the natural ones on the side of the boat that is where he should be seated anyway. The absence of these seats creates less storage but allows much more space to steer the boat standing, making it much more pleasant and comfortable.

Both versions come with an hydraulic bathing platform but while the one on the standard version is a bit bigger and closes just a bit the transom the other one is smaller and finishes at cockpit floor level allowing an open transom. The performance version has also an hydraulic system for the back-stay. Both have a nice carbon bowsprit with an integrated stand for the anchor.

With a 12.90m hull length and 4.16m beam the 42LC is a relatively beamy boat featuring fine entries for this type of boat. It displaces 9600kg and that makes it a light boat for a medium weight cruiser. 

The Hallberg Rassy 412 displaces 11100kg, the Solaris 42 displaces 8800kg, the XC 42 11400kg and the X4-3 8850kg so this puts it in between the XC 42 / Hallberg Rassy 415 and the X4-3 / Solaris 42, meaning between two true performance cruisers and two relatively fast cruisers.

However it should be said that the B/D of the GS, without being as low as the one of a mass production boat, is considerably smaller than all the other mentioned, for similar drafts. 30%B/D, 2.25m draft for the GS and respectively 36%, 1.99m for the HR, 34%, 2.50m for the Solaris, 44%, 2.10m for the XC 42 and 43%, 2.20m for the X4-3.Would I like the GS 42 LC to have more ballast? Yes, or better, more draft (2.50m) and a  high efficiency torpedo keel instead of the L bulbed keel but given the type of boat and the clients that it points to, more ballast would make more sense. I would say something like 500kg more.

That would give it a 34%B/D and would provide it with a final stability similar to the one of the HR 412, that has a smaller draft but much more ballast.The weight of the boat would be then around 10 100 kg, even so one ton less than the one of the Halberg Rassy.

If we compared a GS version with more ballast with the GS 42 LC, this one  will be faster on lighter conditions but slower on high medium and heavy ones (except downwind), will have a lesser safety stability, a smaller AVS and a bigger inverted stability.

But that safety stability, even if not as good as the one on the other mentioned boats is not as bad as it looks and to put things in perspective. If we compare it with the one of a main market cruiser, for instance the most popular now, the Oceanis 41.1, we will see that the one of the Oceanis is incomparably worst.


The Oceanis 41.1, that is smaller (11.98m), with more beam (4.20m), displacing 8777kg, having a similar keel with almost the same draft (2.19 to 2,25m) has a 26% B/D. And regarding weight, if we put on the Oceanis the same ballast than on the GS (600kg more) that would give it almost the same displacement as the GS (-223kg) and being the Oceanis one meter shorter, that would give both boats a similar displacement in what regards D/L.

Assuming that both boats are properly built and I am pretty sure of that, the GS is much stronger because the different building methods (the GS using Isophthalic instead of orthophthalic resins, infusion cored hull instead of a monolithic one and carbon reinforcements on the hull structure) would have allowed the GS to be much lighter...if they were equally strong.

All in all the Grand Soleil 42 LC is a great boat, certainly much safer than the Oceanis 41.1 as a bluewater boat, ideally suited for cruising on the Mediterranean, Baltic or Caribbean, with an extraordinary interior for living aboard and cruise extensively (2 cabin), with good storage outside and excellent inside, a fast cruising boat, specially with the performance package.

If we look at the numbers we will see that on 42 GS LC they are quite surprising for a cruiser (on its performance version). It has 157.3 Displacement /Length and a Sail Area/Displacement of 24.6 upwind and 48.3 downwind. Those numbers compared with the ones of the other sailboats we compared it to are not bad at all in what regards performance: HR 412 203, 19.1, 26.8; Solaris 42 162.4, 24.1, 45.4; XC42 214, 21.78, 41.7; X4-3 162,25.49,44.17.

Just for the ones that are less used to look at these numbers, the first one, D/L gives a relation between the length of the boat and displacement and a smaller number means that the boat is lighter. The SA/D, upwind or downwind, relates to the smaller or bigger amount of sail a boat can carry in relation with its displacement. Bigger numbers mean more sail area for the same displacement and normally say also that the boat has more power to be able to have more sail area, specially upwind.

Regarding sailboat performance there are more factors that are not being taken into account here, namely boat drag, that has to do with many things, and  wave drag, that can be variable with sea conditions, from boat to boat.

Generally speaking, considering well designed boats, the ones with proportionally less beam or finer entries, have a better performance upwind and less wave drag, needing less sail for the same performance, boats with less ballast (B/D) or smaller draft (for the same D/L)  have normally a worse performance in stronger conditions, beam reaching and upwind specially.

This is only a simplistic approach because the combination of all these factors on a sailboat is a delicate one because when we increase beam we will also increase hull form stability and that means that a beamy boat can carry more sail than a narrow boat with the same ballast and that is why normally narrow boats have more ballast.

It is the balance between drag, wave drag and boat power that defines the potencial performance of a sailboat and can make some better in some conditions and worst on others.

From the numbers we can see that the GS 42 LC  is a light boat for a cruiser D/L (157.3) but it is necessary not to forget that it is obtained partially at the cost of less ballast than any of the others and for instance, the X4-3 that has a not very different D/L and draft (but a more efficient keel), has  900kg more ballast and it is also considerably less beamier (3.95 to 4.16m) and all that would make it probably faster in all conditions.

The Hallberg Rassy 412 is considerably heavier (203 to 157.3) but most of that diference is due to a much bigger B/D, in fact the HR has 1100kg more ballast even if that is also partially due to a smaller draft (1.99 to 2,25). Anyway since the HR beam is similar to the one of the GS 42 LC (4.11 to 4.16) that will mean that only in strong conditions the HR will have the chance of being faster than the GS and downwind the GS will always be faster.

To know more about how the boat sails nothing like to listen to the ones that have sailed it and they only say good things about it. Unfortunately only Italian sail testers from Italian sail magazines tested it and if you don't understand Italian you can easily google translate it:
Above GS 42 LC, below XC 42
I hope you get the picture. In fact the GS 42LC has a good balance between interior space, weight and performance, a balance that will not be favorable only on really strong conditions that you will not probably ever find doing coastal cruising, but that are possible found on long passages specially if you are unlucky, assuming you make them on the right season. Anyway, as I have already mentioned in what regards sailing in strong conditions the GS 42 LC is way better than an Oceanis 46.1.

Regarding building quality there is nothing to say except good things. I saw once cut  parts of a GS 46LC hull , that allowed to see how the boat was built and I was impressed. Contrary to many other brands they also detail how the boat is built, something that is very important but that deserves normally only some brief lines, in fact the description is so explicit that I will quote it:

Above HR 412, below Solaris 44
"1.1 HULL & DECK 1| CONSTRUCTION: Hull and deck are constructed from a feminine mold in sandwich with multiaxial E-glass skins and isophthalic resin. Further reinforcements of biaxial and unidirectional fibers are positioned in areas with greater stress to optimize the resistance of the constructions and weights.

 The hull core in high density closed cell PVC is glued under a vacuum system with single-skin reinforcement in the areas of the keel, rudder, any equipment and seacocks.

The deck core closed cell PVC is glued under a vacuum system with marine plywood and brass reinforcement corresponding to the areas of the deck equipment. 

The hull-deck joint is made by a use of methacrylic bonding (derived from the aerospace industry) and mechanical fixing. Toerail integrated in the hull and deck lamination to ensure greater torsional rigidity. The carbon bowsprit is integrated into the deck lamination to obtain a clean line and made for a gennaker or code zero use. Rollbar is made of carbon.

Above X 4-3, below Oceanis 41.1
1.2 FINISHES: The hull is externally varnished with white neopentyl gelcoat followed by a skin-coat with epoxy vinylester resin against osmosis. Bilges and lockers are varnished with white gelcoat.

There are 3 planned waterlines, one high and two low in black color. The deck is externally varnished with white neopentyl gelcoat and white high sealing microspheres. Antiskid will be applied in the walkway areas and where teak is not present.

1.3 STRUCTURE & BULKHEADS: The internal structure consists of a composite grillage formed by a dense network of longitudinal girders and transverse floor with laminated Glass fabrics and platbands reinforced with unidirectional Carbon fibers, all clamped to the hull.

The structure is particularly reinforced in critical areas to support the loads of the keel, mast and chain plates. In the intersections between transverse floor and longitudinal girder the sides of the laminate are continuous to improve the structural strength. Structural bulkheads are made from marine plywood - thickness of 20 mm - are laminated to the hull.


1.4 KEEL: The keel in “L” shape has a torpedo made of cast lead and antimony while the blade is in spheroidal cast iron with high resistance to increase rigidity and improve the shape reducing the drag. This ensures excellent performance and high righting lowering the center of gravity, the keel shape eliminates snagging of ropes or other. The keel is fixed to the hull by 11 pins in high strength stainless steel of 27 mm with internal backplates directly coupled to the structural grillage. Inside the keel is provided a fiberglass tub to collect bilge water positioned with a suction pump to ensure that the bilges are always dry. The keel is applied with a particular epoxy protection against corrosion and is equipped with a sacrificial anode in zinc...."

More here (download the PDF):



The price is what you would expect for a very well built and finished boat: the price starts at 309000 € at the factory without taxes or extras. A ready to sail boat with 20% European tax will cost between 500000 and 550000€, that is about the same a X4-3 will cost.

But less than the smaller HR 412 or the new HR 40C and this boat is bigger with a better layout, similar quality and finish, faster, better as a coastal cruiser even if not as good as a bluewater boat. However most don't really sail bluewater and even  most of the ones that do, do it rarely using the boat mainly for coastal sailing and cruising.

Friday, February 7, 2020

WOULD'NT IT BE BEAUTIFUL, THE NEW GRAND SOLEIL PERFORMANCE 44?


Unfortunately the design that is proposed is not the one above but this one on the right, with an old looking bow!

The Grand Soleil have been visually handicapped by a designer that has insisted in shaping transoms and bows the way he has been doing for more than 12 years, ignoring all evolution of the past decade, that has been huge.

Now Grand Soleil changed designer for the new 44 Performance and chose Matteo Polli. I thought that they were on the right way since Polli has been designing yachts that are winners on the ORC championship, like the M37 or the racers from Italia Yacht and certainly the hull looks nice, the transom looks effective and modern but the bow.....

Giving just a tad more buoyancy to that bow making it slightly inverted will just result in  adding a little bit more LWL to the boat, it is not going to undermine its performance and it even may help a little in getting the bow out of the water under geenaker at planing speeds and certainly will make the boat look much, much better.