Friday, November 16, 2018

DEHLER 30 OD


The Dehler 30 OD is a nice design but I really don’t know what to think about it. Not that the boat is not interesting, it is certainly a looker and it will be surely very fast and a lot of fun to sail. But what puzzles me is the market to which the boat is pointed, that seems to be an nonexistent one. 

It is meant to be a One Design offshore solo or duo boat and that implies the existence of a class for racing, but will this boat manage to create such a class on a country where solo and duo racing is not very big? And with a boat that due to the liquid ballasts cannot be an inexpensive boat? 

And even if they manage to sell enough boats to create a One design class and a championship of offshore solo or duo races how will the boat be transported to the races? The big beam makes it non trailerable and the absence of an engine with small autonomy and power (electric 4hp) makes the transport by sea difficult at least in what regards respecting a timetable. 
Regarding other type of races it is difficult to know how the boat will perform. For IRC or ORC duo class, 30ft is a bit on the limit in what regards offshore races. Yes, of course, there are mini-racers, that are even smaller but the truth is that on the offshore IRC/ORC races that include a duo class the chosen boats are rarely smaller than 35ft. 

There are two big amateur races for solo sailors, one coastal, the SilverRudder, other offshore, the Transquadra (transat). On the Transquadra there are some 30ft boats racing but most will chose a boat that will allow them to be among the first in real time and boats like the Sunfast 3600 or the JPK 10.80 were designed thinking about that race. 

The Dehler 30 OD is just too small to be able to win that race in real time and less adapted than a Pogo 30 and besides the electric engine does not allow the production of electrical energy through an alternator (as with a diesel engine) and on longer races they need to produce energy for the instruments and autopilot. 

Regarding this boat they talk specifically about the Silver Rudder, even if that one is a coastal and not an offshore race, but the SilverRudder is a relatively short race where there is no need of an interior since the sailors are full time at the wheel or rudder. It is not a handicap race but a race by boat length. This boat will be racing on the class Small (25.01 - 30.00 feet) against boats like the Farr 280 or the Soto 30 and I don’t think it has any chance to win. 

The Dehler 30 OD is not a dual boat, a cruiser-racer, it has no conditions to suit for more than a spartan weekend cruise while other boats like the Pogo 30 can do long range cruising and boats like the JPK 9.60 can coastal cruise comfortably. 

That’s true that it will be faster than any of these two but slower than true race boats like the Farr 280, Soto 30 or similar boats and almost for sure not as good in handicap racing as JPK or other top fast cruiser-racers designed specifically for IRC or ORC racing. And slower than the Pogo on a transat. 

Some say that this could be the perfect boat for the new Olympic class of duo offshore racing but that is really a long shot and there are talks that the boat has already been chosen, the L30, certainly a less adapted boat for solo racing but having a huge advantage of having a smaller beam that makes it trailerable, having a lifting keel and a better cruising interior, with a true head. 

With the Dehler it shares an electric engine, but more powerful, on a boat that is lighter with the advantage of including a hydrogenerator that will charge the batteries while sailing. It has also solar panels as an option. 

Maybe I am wrong and there is a market for this boat, much will depend on the price but I do not believe that Dehler can make that boat cheaper than the L30 (75 000 euros), probably not even close. 
L30

Now, if they chose to put a nice and comfortable light interior on the Dehler 30 OC, if they mount a small diesel engine and offer an option for decent tankage as well as a stand for an anchor on that bowsprit, then we are talking about a different ball game, about a dual boat that can be very interesting as a fast cruiser and a small offshore racer, a boat that I believe will interest a much bigger number of sailors.



Thursday, November 1, 2018

HALLBERG RASSY 57: BEAUTIFUL AND FAST


Hallberg Rassy’s big design revolution, that started 8 years ago with the 372, has finally reached their bigger yachts. From a brand that built conservative and relatively slow yachts they turned into a brand that produces well built, relatively fast, contemporary cruising boats and they have managed to do so without losing their conservative clientele and adding a new clientele that prefers contemporary fast cruisers.

The only point that remains conservative are the interiors but who can blame them? They are beautifully finished, cozy and tend to age better than new trendy more modern interiors.

The new 57 is their first new big yacht that is truly contemporary in what regards hull design. The 64 from 2011 pointed already on that direction but the hull is much more conservative as well as the keel and rudder. The 57 has dual rudders that have many advantages in a cruising boat.

The 57 and the 64 have completely different hulls, with just a small difference in beam (5.11 to 5.17m) the 57, maintaining narrow entries, is a much more beamier boat and contrary to the 64 has all the beam pulled back to the transom.

The draft is not very different (2.43 to 2.50m) the B/D is the same (35%) but the 57 keel is less wide and probably with more ballast on the bulb. In what regards stability the 57 is a stiffer boat due to a much bigger hull form stability and that gives it proportionally a much bigger stability at small heel angles and a proportionally bigger stability on heel angles used for sailing. It also allows it to roll less downwind and make the work of the autopilot easier.

That difference in stability (versus weight) allows the 57 to be a faster boat on almost all points of sail (with the probable exception of close upwind with medium and strong winds). The difference in proportional stability between the two boats is translated in the difference on the standard SA/D, that is considerably bigger on the 57 (18.1 to 16.1).

With a performance mainsail the 57 has a SA/D of 20. This is a very respectable number and that with a D/WL of 165.6 will put it on the lower step of performance cruisers while the 64 with a D/WL of 186.7 and a SA/D of 16.1, far from being a slow boat (due to its narrower hull) is a completely different sailboat, a medium weight cruiser.
The HR57 interior is well designed, having a big sail locker at the bow and a huge galley very well suited for cooking while sailing, even upwind on any of the tacks.

On the interior the only thing I don’t like is the relatively small transom locker that has no space to store an inflated dinghy. There is no justification for a 57ft cruiser not having a garage for a dinghy. Much smaller boats, 50/52ft boats, have already a dinghy garage.

If they had chosen not to offer a dinghy garage, then the 57 should come standard with davits. On a luxury boat that is suited to be sailed by a small crew, even a couple, it does not make any sense to have the need to pull a heavy dinghy to the deck.

Another thing I don’t like is the absence of a traveler for the mainsail. Yes, it makes sailing simpler, but the fact is that a traveler is useful in many situations, to someone who knows how to sail and HR has them on their smaller models, including the 44, so why not use it on the 57 (and 64)?

As a final point I would like to refer a very positive one: Hallberg Rassy, contrary to what Amel has done on its newer models, has resisted the temptation to diminish the B/D of their boats even if on a boat with the 57 type of hull (not very different from the Amel ones) the ballast can be diminished without affecting greatly the sail performance, with exception of upwind with stronger winds and specially with bad weather.

Yes, most will not be able to tell the difference unless the boat is sailed exhaustively, not even test sailors from magazines, since it is very unlikely that they will face bad weather on the test day, as it is even more unlikely that the boat will face survival conditions where that superior B/D (on similar keels and drafts) will make the difference making one boat considerably safer than the other due to a better reserve stability and superior AVS.
Many will be asking themselves why, if that is so. Why most boats with similar hulls and keels as the 57 have a B/D of 26 or 27% , like the Amel 55, as well as almost all main market inexpensive cruisers? The answer is easy: price. It is not so much the price of the extra material to make a heavier keel it is the cost of making a stronger boat structure and hull to be able to cope with the bigger forces that a heavier keel will imply.

And contrary to the money spent on the interior nobody will notice the improvements that money spent on making the boat safer brought. Not the test sailors when they sail the boat, not the ones that are looking for a sailboat on that market segment.



Sail magazine stopped publishing stability curves of the boats they are testing and even before that the few that published them never commented them, I don’t know if by ignorance or as magazine policy, so, be aware that no matter what test sailors say there is always a chapter that will remain hidden and that is not tested nor verified, the one that regards safety on extreme conditions and final stability.

Sure, if the boat is bigger than 32 ft the chances are that they are all Class A certified, but do you really think they are all the same in what regards safety stability?


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

BENTE 39: FAST, INEXPENSIVE AND LOOKING GOOD


The Bente 39 is on the water, on schedule, and it is a very interesting boat. I had already talked about it on a previous post but I have to confess that I did not expect it to be so well finished and to have such a good looking interior.
https://interestingsailboats.blogspot.com/2018/01/bent39-interesting-inexpensive-fast.html

I am judging by the photos, I hope to see it at Dusseldorf to confirm that. The elevated chart table and the inside steering position seem to be very interesting for the ones that sail in cold climates, out of season or for long passages even if all that “glass” area would turn to be a disadvantage for the ones that sail on the med or on the Caribbean.

On those regions (where most sail) the owners of boats with large “glass” surfaces have them covered for preventing the sun coming in for lowering the interior temperature. However there are several boats with lots of “glass”, like the RM, and this one has the advantage of having two small dedicated hatches for the aeration of the superior part of the cabin.

The data that has been provided regarding the boat weight and ballast, is scarce and strange. I tried for two times to contact the shipyard to have correct information but they didn't reply. Yacht.de refers that the ballast on the 2.65m keel version is 2500kg for a weight of 6575 kg. That gives a B/D of 38%, a high ratio for a boat with a big draft and a torpedo keel. A racing boat ratio.

Contrary to what would be expected the Bente 39 is not a very light boat if compared with fast performance cruisers of the same type. For instance the bigger Pogo 12.50 weights 1075kg less, the slightly smaller JPK 38 1175kg less Even if compared with tradicional performance cruisers we will see that the Salona 380 has 390kg less and the Comet 38s has 175kg less. Note that the Comet and the Salona have a much smaller draft (2.0 and 2.1m) and have less ballast (2300kg and 2200kg)

In fact the Bente 39, assuming that the 2500kg refered by Yacht. de are correct has an excellent B/D. With considerable more ballast than the Comet and the Salona with a much bigger draft and a hull with more form stability, the Bente 39 will be a very powerful boat.

However that is on the 2.65m draft version. On their site the version with a 1.95m draft weights only more 15kg??? (6590kg). This does not make sense unless the two versions have a very different RM. That huge difference in draft (70cm), considering the same type of keel, would need, on the boat with a smaller draft, about 400kg more ballast to maintain a similar RM curve.

With a difference of only 15 kg in ballast the two boats would be very different in what regards sailing. That is not a normal situation and probably one that  would demand two different RCD certifications and would make this boat a very strange one in what regards that. There is also the possibility of the 2500kg to be the ballast of the 1.95m version and not the one on the 2.65 m draft, I would say that it would seem more probable to me.

Unfortunately not a clear situation and one that casts a shadow over the shipyard in what regards transparency on the Bente 39 characteristics. It is impossible to make a correct boat assessment without knowing the ballast and weight of the two versions and that is specially important in what regards a performance boat. http://www.bente24.com/wp/39ben/

The designers (Judel&Vrolijk) say that the Bente 39 is inspired on a class 40 but if it has the same type of hull it has a more moderate beam, almost the same as a smaller Pogo 36 (4.05 to 4.00). That should make it less typified downwind even if broad reach and beam reach should be where its performance will shine.

The Bente 39 has a huge sail area, 96 m2 and that should make it a very fast sailboat, at least on lighter winds, even on the heavier version with the shallower draft (89m2). They offer it also with a swing keel version with 1.20/2.80m draft, that seems to me the most interesting and the interior layout seems to be designed just for that.

The price is quite good, they talk about a ready to sail boat for 145000 euros and a completely equipped boat for 210 000 euros (no taxes). I cannot wait to see it at Dusseldorf and for the first tests on the water.


Friday, October 26, 2018

TOP SAIL RACING AND TOP RACERS


On the Middle Sea Race we have a great winner, the JPK 11.80 skippered by Trentesaux Gery. They have made a fantastic race finishing on a 39ft cruiser-racer ahead of boats like Farr 45, Eliott 44 or XP44 and I mean also very well sailed boats.

However I  have not changed my opinion that it does not make any sense to have an overall winner on a race with several days because the weather and sea conditions are not the same for bigger and faster boats and smaller and slower ones.

Courrier Recommandé was racing in 28th position in IRC, on the North coast of Sicily, and I knew already that if they maintained the pace they were probably going to win. And if it was not them, it would be another small boat because the strong wind along the West coast of Sicily and all the way till the finish (on the beam and downwind) would favor the boats that would catch it. The big ones had already passed with medium winds and it would be the smaller boats that would get it.

Last year on the Sydney Hobart happened the other way around. So, what sense have these arbitrary victories on handicap on several days’ races? Shouldn't it make more sense to transform that stupid notion of line honors in overall winner of the race? And give full credit to each winner on different categories? They exist already but on the shade of that arbitrary notion of overall winner on handicap.

And what to say about the ridicule thing of having a IRC and ORC classification that, in some cases, give different winners? Everybody has already understood that, even if IRC is more widespread, ORC gives a better boat assessment in what regards performance under different circumstances. There are talks about reuniting the two systems in a single one, for years, and notwithstanding, things remain the same. I don’t understand why World Sailing does not take a hard stance on this subject.

Or better, I think I understand why: even if races like Sydney Hobart, Middle Sea race, Fastnet and some others promote some of the best sailing on the planet, in what regards spectacle, boats and crews, they are almost ignored by world sailing.

If you look at the site and at the different sail race categories, these are Fleet Races and World Sailing says about them: “Fleet racing is the most common form of competitive sailing that involves boats racing around a course.”

So, if it is the more common it is clear that they should gather special attention. They are subdivided in two sub categories, 'one-design' and 'handicap'. Regarding one design the WS have an incredible number of championships, some world ones. But listed under handicap there is not a single championship, much less a world championship and the races mentioned above are not mentioned, even if they are major sailing events and very popular in what regards public and sailors, they are treated by World Sailing like minor events.
The same happens in what regards handicap rules, as if most races were not handicap races or if World Sailing should not be the authority in what regards handicap system and rules. As if they had not the responsibility to provide a universal single comprehensive, fair and effective handicap rule.

To increase the confusion there is now an Offshore Sailing World Championship. It started to be an ORC championship but this year integrates IRC and ORC. I cannot find anything about it on the WS site.

With this denomination we would think that it would be a major championship that would integrate all major handicap races, but it is not, it is a Championship realized each year in a different location, this year was Hague, with a relatively low number of boats racing and with a public and sailor attention much smaller than some individual big handicap races, like the Fastnet or the Sydney Hobart.

What a mess! One of the objectives of world sailing is: “To provide a professional and valued service to our members that enables the sport to grow in relevance and influence.” For a sport to grow it is necessary to provide a clear and comprehensive line of gradual sportive achievement that would allow to identify the best sailors in the world and of course a small number of world sailing championships for the best to race and to prove that they are really the best.

If we look at car racing and FIA we will see that they have only 4 world championships, F1, World Rally, Endurance and Rally Cross.

There are plenty of other championships, some of world dimension (they call them World Cups) but it means that those 4 are the main ones on the sport and the ones where we will find the best pilots. And among those main championships everybody knows that the best of the best are on F1 and WRC, being the other two championships supplied with pilots that are not anymore competitive on the two first categories. Clear and effective.

Compare with World Sailing where they have a multitude of disciplines, mostly dinghy racing as world championships plus a world match championship and what they call the Sail Events, and Oceanic Major Events. Sydney Hobart, the Fastnet, Transpac or Middle Sea race are not considered among those events. The site is utterly confusing as it is confusing and impossible any correlation between the different events and the world’s best sailors, unless we consider that all in each category and event are the best.

If we compare to car racing it was as if a kart world champion was at the same level as a world F1 champion. Compared with other major sports, that are highly professionalized, sailing continues to have a Corinthian very amateur approach.

If we want sail as a sport to grow we need a professional approach one that does not forget amateur sailing but also one that creates a very small number of top professional sail racing world championships for top professional sailors.

The professional racing sailors are already there, and they are many, some of them highly skilled but racing in many different events when they should be reunited around some few meaningful ones to compete to be the best of the best.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

2018 MIDDLE SEA RACE: UPDATE


Terrible conditions, very difficult light winds along the East coast of Sicily and on the Messina strait. When I say light it is almost no wind at all sometimes 2 or 3 kts winds.
HH66 and 84ft Allegra

The big fleet spent all night without being able to pass the strait and its opposing current. The only exception were the two racing trimarans (Multi 70) that have showed a remarkably good performance upwind with weak winds. Soldini and Maserati (Mod70) are doing a great race, have left behind the other Mod70 and have already passed Stromboli.

Curiously the two other big multihulls racing are not doing so well against monohulls and on that private battle Allegra, a very fast 78ft cruiser racer is beating the HH66, another very fast cruiser racer cat, about which the builder says that “we've created a cruising cat that outperforms anything of equivalent size and class – anywhere” 

Comet 50c aand Mylius 50
Actually the HH66 (and the bigger Allegra), on these conditions, are being beaten by smaller cruiser racer monohulls like a 50ft Mylius, a Mylius 60, a Comet 52C and a Swan 50. 

Looking at other cruiser racers doing well, another Mylius 50ft is going very fast chasing the HH66 and not very far an old Swan 651 shows that on these conditions it is still a match for more modern boats. Not very far, just entering the strait come two surprisingly Swan 42. 

The first 40 ft cruiser racer is a Neo 400, the first one with less than 40 ft is a JPK 11.80 that is battling with several J122 that are doing good on the race as well as a Sydney 39CR. The first 36ft boats are JPK 10.80 and the first of the two crew category is a Comet 45s that is going strong even if compared with fully crewed boats, followed by a very fast and well sailed JPK 10.80. 
Swan 50
As expected the several Pogos (12.50 and 36) racing are not doing well and the 40class racers have finally understood that med conditions doesn’t suit them and even if there is a class for them on the race and they have been racing here on the past, not a single one showed up this time. 
http://rolexmiddlesearace.com/tracker/

Saturday, October 20, 2018

FOLLOW THE BEST MED RACE : NOW!


I am talking about the Rolex Middle Sea Race and obviously being the best or not it is a matter of opinion but it is certainly a big classic that is celebrating its 50th edition with a big fleet racing: 131 boats most of them modern cruiser-racers but also many top racing sailboats.



It is also my favorite med race and one that provides very interesting information about different type of hulls performance on the med typical conditions.
Don't miss it! The tracker: http://rolexmiddlesearace.com/tracker/
The start:

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

BENETEAU OCEANIS 46.1: WHAT A PITY!


The hull looks beautiful and the boat is very nice, specially on the performance version (First Line) where it is offered a carbon mast, flat deck genoa furler, German mainsheet system, better sails, adjustable backstay and genoa cars, bowsprit, upgraded performance winches, upgraded halyards and sheets, carbon wheels, lead bulb extra deep keel (2.60m) bigger mast, more 28% sail area and of course single line reefing on a main sail with full battens. Some of the above items standard, most as options. 

They even say that this version “will guarantee unique cruising sensations”. Will that be true, will this boat satisfy the ones that “like fast cruising”, as they say?

If a car manufacturer decides to offer a model with a more sportive version they will have one with more horsepower, lighter and stiffer, with a better suspension and everything that contributes to a more precise and fast car control. A car is not a boat but less weight, more power and more control are three items that will be common when offering a more sportive version, being it a boat or a car.
Is the 46.1 First Line more powerful? No, it is not. One may say that it has a bigger mast and considerably more sail area but that makes it only a boat with more sail area, faster in light wind, but that is not what it is called power in a sailboat.

The amount of sail area on a sailing boat depends on the size of the sails, that can be variable, the power of a sailing boat is the righting moment (that it offers to oppose the force of the wind on the sails) versus the boat weight and shape of the hull (drag).

Well, to be absolutely correct it is probably just a little bit more powerful since the boat will weigh less 159 kg (due to the difference in draft from the standard version) and will have a bit less drag due to a torpedo keel and lead bulb but the RM will be practically the same. They increased the draft and decreased the keel weight and Less weight means also less RM.

Of course, this very small increase in RM (if any) is not proportional to the 28% increase of sail area so what you get is a boat that is faster on light winds (the standard version can also be faster if you use a code 0 or a Geenaker) but that on stronger winds will not be faster and will need to reef much sooner. In fact if you look at the picture below you will see that the boat going upwind in light winds is already at the heeling limit and in need of reefing.
And even if this is a boat with a big form stability it is also one with a small B/D ratio that on the standard version (2.35m) is just 26% (less on the performance version). That means that the boat will sail well upwind and downwind but upwind will not be able to take advantage of the extra power given by bigger ballast, will have to reef sooner and will have a safety stability that probably will not go much further than the minimums required by the RCD.

Regarding boat control the First Line comes without the arch that on the other versions is where the boom control lines are situated. On the “performance” version the control lines are over the cockpit but without a traveler that would allow a better control. I have doubts that if the arch system is well built and well regulated the one over the cockpit will be more efficient due to the much bigger distance between the boom and the pulling point.

They offer a german sheet system, a system that is great for boom control because when the boat is heeled you can work in any of the two winches, the one up or down, but on this case with only 4 winches and no option or possibility of mounting another two, that system will be probably a disadvantage because you will have two winches occupied with the mainsheet another one with the genoa and that means that on one of the tacks the reefing line will not be possible to be handled by a winch at least without taking one of the lines from a winch. Most of the reefing is done by hand but for the final trimming a winch is needed.

And even worse than that, there is the possibility (depending on the tack) that you cannot use a winch to lower the main sail. Yes, for letting it down you will not need a winch but some turns of the halyard around the winch is the way to let it down progressively and in a controllable way. Also, at the end of the reefing process the sail should be tuned pulling the halyard up or pulling the boom down or both.

So quite a mess and much more complicated than with the standard version from wich this running rigging was designed: for the jib on the self tacking system you only have a line, only need a winch and with a furling main you also have only a line for reefing (furling) the main.

On the “performance” version for reefing you will have at least two lines, one for each reef and if you want to have 3 reefs, four lines and it would be impossible to have them all on the same side of the boat. You need more winches to work in an effective way.

I have many doubts regarding stiffness, not in the sense of boat power, but as opposed to bendy, a boat that is rigid while sailing on difficult conditions. The Oceanis 46.1 is built like the other Oceanis: they use a non cored hull with a structural counter mould bonded to the hull, a system that offers a reasonable hull stiffness but weight for weight not one comparable to the one that can be obtained with cored hulls.

And I have doubts due to the boat weight. Looking at it, without ballast, the 46.1 weights 7862 kg. If we compare it with the weight of a main market boat built with better resins (less weight) and  a cored hull using a top infusion technique (less weight) like the much more expensive Grand Soleil 46LC we will see that the weight without ballast is similar (7800kg).

If we compare its weight (without keel) with boats of similar price but with cored hulls, like the Bavaria C45 or the Hanse 458, we will see that they are considerably heavier (8870kg and 8320kg. I do like light boats but I do believe that you can only obtain lighter boats with a similar strength if you use better resins, better building materials or better building techniques or all things put together. It is not the case with the Oceanis 46.1.

The interior looks uninspired and the standard tankage (370L water, 200L diesel) is insufficient (they offer more as option) but what makes me say that it is a pity, is that everybody that sailed the boat have said that it was a well balanced boat and that it sailed well. It could have been a beautiful and great performance sailing boat if many things were different: It has the looks and a good hull.