Sunday, November 27, 2022


I have to apologize to the ones that tried to have a look at my cruising blog, and could not find it on the provided link, in the previous post.

Due to the existence of a blog with the same link (sailingalma) I had to change it to cruisingalma, but forget to update the link. This is the right one:

I also changed a bit the blog scope, and besides making it a photo log of our journeys, have made it also a photo pilot book for the central and oriental med, where we have been sailing for the last 10 years, sailing and cruising for more than 20 000nm.

Regarding the photo pilot book, I covered already on the blog part of the Ionian, the South Peloponnese, the Peloponnese East coast, and the Argolic Gulf.

The pilot-book is a particular one and is pointed to the ones that like me, prefer to be at anchor in quiet, not crowded places, and dislike mass tourism.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bavaria C46

Beamier, is it better? It is not only Bavaria but all main market brands and even most performance cruisers: the new model is always beamier than the previous one, and I wonder how long this tendency, that lasts already for some years, will be possible to maintain.

Bavaria C46
Do beamier sailboats sail better? No, they don't, at least, when the previous boat was already a boat with a big beam. Is the difference significant? Well, while motoring not much (it is easier to put a bigger engine) and while sailing the bigger hull stability will allow bigger sails, but they do not only need bigger sails, as they will always sail slower in light wind conditions and upwind, due to a much bigger wave drag.

Obviously, they design boats this way because cruisers prefer them this way and manufacturers design them to suit the bigger number of customers: most, if they have no money for a catamaran, will buy a monohull as beamier as possible, to have the biggest interior possible.

Bavaria C46
The question is: how much more you can increase the beam on a monohull and still give it a reasonable sail performance? I mean, reasonable for the majority of cruisers because as it is, it's not already reasonable for some.

The C46 is about a foot longer than the C45 (13.95 to 13.60m) but it has a much bigger beam (4.70 to 4.49m). Just to illustrate how this increase in beam has been overwhelming over the last decade, let me remind you that the Bavaria 46 Vision, a good sailboat and a good cruiser, that Bavaria launched a bit more than 10 years ago, had a 4.19m beam.

Bavaria Vision 46
It would be unfair to give you the idea that this increase in the beam in recent boats happens only with Bavaria. If you look at the competition you will see that the same has happened in all recent models.

The Beneteau Oceanis 46.1, which is a bit smaller (13.65 HL) has a 4.5m beam, the Hanse 460 is even beamier with a 4.79m beam, and the Dufour 470 (that has about the same lenght)  has a 4.74 beam.

Jeanneau, among big boat builders, is the brand that increased less the beam of their sailboats:  the SO 490 (that has about the same hull length as the Bavaria C46) has a 4.49m beam, less 29cm, the same beam that had the previous Bavaria C45.

Bavaria Vision 46
Beam and narrow entries are far from being the only factors in what regards sailboat performance, but excessive beam is detrimental to overall sail performance.

Regarding the ideal beam for overall sail performance,  and also, what is the reasonable trade-off in beam increase to allow for a bigger cruiser interior, without losing too much sailing performance, nothing better than to look at the typical beam of racers, and performance cruisers, I mean, not racers or cruisers strongly optimized for a given point of sail (upwind or downwind), but all around good performers.

Among racers, we can look, as a reference, to a bigger TP52 that has a 15.85m HL and a 4.43m beam or to a bigger Swan 50 club racer that has a 4.20m beam. If we look at performance cruisers, we can take as a reference the Dehler 46SQ, with about the same size as the New Bavaria C46, and a 4.38m beam, the smaller Salona 46 (13.50 HL) with a 4.20m beam, or the new J45 with 4.25 beam.

Bavaria did not release much data about the new C46, but they said both boats would have the same standard sail area (115m2). The C46 is considerably beamier, just a bit longer, and probably heavier and both boats are designed by Cossutti, so if you want a boat with a bigger interior, wait for the new C46; if you want a boat that sails better, take the opportunity to buy one of the last C45, because they usually lower the price for the last boats of a given model.

The C45 had some youth problems, that are already solved, and it is a good boat with an innovative structure, that makes it one of the stiffer (if not the stiffest) among the competition.

I don´t know if they will maintain that structure on the C46 because they didn´t use it on the newer C42. The truth is that it makes the boat better, but is more expensive and when that is the choice, money is almost always more important, especially in parts of the boat you don't see. I doubt they will maintain that structure on the C46. Unfortunately, the rule in mass-produced boats is always to adopt the less costly solution.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022


Bente is a small German shipyard that was led by the son of Rolf Vrolijk, the famous Naval Architect (Judel & Vrolijk). The company had a very successful start with the Bente 24 (120 boats sold) but instead of going on with the Bente 28, chose to turn out all its resources to the Bente 39 production.

On the net the success of the project was huge, they announced a very low price for a boat that was deemed to be incredibly fast and able to perform extremely well while racing. 

At the time I expressed my doubts about many of those claims and in the end, the Bente 39 turned out to be an interesting sailboat, with several interesting characteristics, and some shortcomings in regard to interior design and interior quality, that was never able to fulfill their claims regarding racing performance and price.

A very naked and simple boat (in regards to rigging) could be bought for a relatively low price but a fully equipped boat cost as much as the others that competed with him, sometimes more and furthermore they could not maintain the announced prices without losing money.

The result was a quick bankruptcy (2020) with very few Bente 39 (2 or 3) produced. Somehow, under judicial protection, they were able to find new investors and were able to launch the Bente 28, a boat that was in development when they were bankrupted, and that should have been the logical choice to produce after the Bente 24's success.

The Bente 28 looks nice and innovative. It was already tested by and they said very positive things about everything. To me what looks particularly interesting in this sailboat is the interior volume, without a noticeable loss of performance, namely the height and luminosity that are provided by a transparent acrylic structure, with an unusual "door" as the boat entrance.

Great if you sail in cold places but on the Med the sun on all those transparent surfaces will make it unbearably hot and you will have to cover them all, and it does not look easy to do that.

The Bente 28 starts where the Bente 24 finishes and while the 24 (certificated as Class C) is an inshore cruiser and daysailer the Bente 28 is an offshore cruiser (certified as Class B). While the Bente 24 offers conditions for camping cruising the 28 offers all the space that is needed for cruising in relative comfort for extended periods.

The difference of only four feet between the two boats doesn't really give the right idea about the huge difference between them. The displacement and the price give a better indication: while the 24 displaces 1500kg the 28 displaces 3200kg and while the more basic 24 version costs 47.520,00 €, the 28 more basic version costs 109.159,66 €, both prices excluding VAT.

With a 2.99m beam, the Bente 28 is a moderately beamy sailboat, taking inspiration from the mini racers (even if those are beamier), a light sailboat, displacing about 3200kg and a powerful one that adds to a big hull form stability, righting moment provided by 995kg of ballast in a cast iron torpedo keel with a 1.60m draft (31.1%B/D). 

Probably the lighter (800kg) and deeper keel (1.95m)  with a lead torpedo offer even more stability (26.6 B/D). The Bente is a 28.4ft (8.65m HL) sailing boat and offers an optional big bowsprit (1.38m). It comes with two winches (in both versions) a tiller that operates a twin rudder, an optional refrigerator and an optional induction cooker. The rig does not have a backstay.

Regarding the induction cooker, I wonder why the hell they put an induction cooker on a boat that has only a small service battery. The thing can only be used at the marina and provided that there is electricity. An offshore cruising boat where it is not possible to cook while sailing or at anchor? I don't get it.

It has a 55L water tank, a 60L diesel tank, and a 50L black water tank. No doubt the black water tank is big compared to the freshwater tank, which is a flexible one. An offshore boat deserved better. The First 30.1 is not much bigger (8.99 to 8.65m) and it offers standard 160L water tankage.

The engine is a 13hp Volvo with the option for a less powerful electric motor.

It offers an upwind sail area of 55,2 m2, a lot for a boat with this displacement, and the two different versions, one with very little equipment and the other with better sail hardware and better cruising equipment cost 109.160 € and 138.571 €, excluding VAT.

I have no doubt that the Bente 28 is a very nice sailing boat, that sails very well, it is well built, using a sandwich hull, that is infused as an option ( standard on the more expensive version) but as a cruising boat it seems to have some basic flaws in what regards equipment, that is very insufficient on the standard version and leaves much to be desired on the more expensive version.

Kind of a disappointment to see a boat that has great potential as a cruising boat, have that potential wasted due to the lack of appropriate equipment. Not enough water tankage and a cooker that can only be used on a marina, are big limitations. 

As a daysailer or a weekend cruiser, it will face huge competition and I have some doubts that the kind of sailor that has the money for this kind of sailboat would not prefer something less extreme and more elegant like a Saffier, a Black Pepper, or even a much cheaper First 27.

As a cruising boat, something like a bigger Hanse 315 will make more sense: less expensive, with more cruising ability. Not as fast but with a bigger overall stability and a similar B/D, curiously designed by Judel&Vrolijk as the Bente 28.

 I hope they can find the right market niche for the Bente 28, but I am a bit skeptical about it. I hope to be wrong, and if you have the money for it and this is the kind of boat you want, go for it. It will not disappoint you in regard sail performance, I mean, the more expensive version because the other, with simplified rigging, will not allow perfect sail trimming.

Saturday, October 22, 2022


This a new kind of post about this great race that started some minutes ago, a post that will be actualized frequently, till the end of the race, and where you are invited to comment.

Besides having many interesting cruiser-racers racing (many new models that I have posted about) this race gives partial results in real and compensated time, in seven different locations, allowing us to see the performance of each boat in different wind conditions.

The race started at different times for different classes so in the beginning of the race these differences will have huge importance regarding boat position, and will be less important at later stages. The race started with weak downwind conditions.

Here is the participant's list and the tracker:


For intermediate and final results look here:

Thursday, October 20, 2022


Nothing new or very exciting about the new GrandSoleil 40, but a yacht does not need to be exciting to be a great and fast cruiser. The design looks well-balanced and clean. The search for interior space is responsible for a beamy boat, considerably beamier than the previous GS 39 ( HL 38.10 ft, 3.70m beam), that even if smaller is a much narrower boat. But the GS 44 is also a beamy boat and is fast and performed well in handicap racing.

The GS40 has a 39.04 feet HL and a 4.09m beam and it is not only beamy, as it features topsides a bit too high for my taste (considering a cruiser-racer) but they are very well disguised in the overall design. 

The design is from Matteo Polli, who designed also the GS44. 

I love his designs, but he has to design what the shipyard wants, and in this case, Cantiere del Pardo is clearly trying to conquer a share of the main market, offering a faster and better-built boat, with almost as much interior space as the offers from the big brands.

For the success of this approach, the final price (that is not known yet), will be fundamental and it is evident that the Cantiere is trying to keep it down as much as possible, offering a standard boat with a minimum of sail hardware.

The standard GS40 comes without a mainsail traveler, without a genoa traveler, with a jib in a self-tacking rail. This allows for a very simplified rigging that only needs two winches on each side and allows you to save a lot of money.

But the stability (sail-power) is there, provided by a big hull form stability and a 33.3%B/D, on a 2.40m torpedo keel and probably a cast iron one with a lead torpedo.

 That will make it uncomparably more powerful than big brands boats that typically have a B/D between 24 and 27%. 

Also, the more advanced building techniques and better materials allow for a 7500kg displacement, which is about 500kg lighter than the lightest among big brand yachts and with superior resistance to torsion and flexion. All that will make for a better and much faster cruising boat, better built, offering about the same interior volume, with a better interior finish.

And the GS40 has considerably finer entries than big brand boats and a transom with the beam not all pushed back, allowing for a different hull that will allow more heel without increasing substantially drag and better performance in lighter winds due also to a lesser drag, being easier to sail with strong winds over hull speed.

It has a deep single rudder that I am sure will be very efficient. Has it has been explained here many times, a well-designed deep single rudder has advantages and disadvantages over a two-rudder setup. 

The GS40 is also offered in a race version, which will be much more expensive, and will have top sailing hardware that will include 6 winches, travelers for the main and genoa, sophisticated and efficient running rigging, and even carbon spars, as an option. 

The cruising GS40 comes standard with a 1.0m fixed bowsprit. The race version comes with a huge one, 1.70m. The smaller one includes an anchor stand, as well as the bigger one, and that is quite rare. 10 years ago, Grand Soleil was offering all this (except carbon spars) on the standard version. Times are changing, and fewer people want a top sailing boat.

That makes sense because the majority of cruisers use the engine more than the sails and, when they use them, they don't bother with fine regulations. So, they don't need the more complex sail hardware that was offered as standard some years ago, which is now optional and can get that way to a less expensive cruising boat.

The good news for the ones that like sailing is that all equipment is interchangeable and you can order the boat with the equipment you want. That will also make a better-equipped boat a much more expensive sailboat. The sail area upwind can vary between 84 and 95m2, and that is a big difference.

The interior, designed by Nauta Design seems very nice and practical. Standard, it comes with only one good-sized head,  but most will opt for the two-head version because the space of the extra head will be maintained as a cabinet, in a place a cabinet with that dimension will not make much sense (except for racing and to store sails).

The galley is a big one and the saloon looks well and spacious including a decently sized chart table, even if without a dedicated chair.

With a 300L water tankage and a 170L diesel, the GS40 is well suited for cruising, and even for the ones that like to motor, it is offered an optional 50hp engine that will give it a motor-sailor ability. The standard engine has only 30hp and it will work well as an auxiliary engine.

More information about the GS40 here:

I am very curious to know the price and to see if the boat will succeed in attracting a bigger clientele. Probably it will be exhibited in Dusseldorf and I will get back to it later when I have seen it, and after the first sail tests.

Then I will make a bigger post comparing it with the Italia 11.98 (also a Matteo Polli design). In fact that comparison will be very curious because these two boats, designed by the same NA, apparently with the same purpose, have different hulls, being the Italia Yacht a bit narrower and with a relatively different transom.

The boat is already on the water and you can see it here at Cannes boat show. The one that is showing the boat didn't say it but the boat presented in the video is a mix between a the race and cruising version, with the sail hardware from the racing version and many extras from the cruising version and therefore a much more expensive boat than the standard cruising version.

The lack of a microwave, an option, that is seen in the drawings, makes the galley look unfinished. Like on the 44 probably there are optional cabinets that will fit in the space over the salon "widows" that is left unused.

Thursday, October 13, 2022


After so many years of waiting for the First 36, the First 44 came sooner than I would expect. The First 44 is a good-looking boat, elegant and nicely designed although, like the First 36, with nothing new and a deja vu look, but that is not necessarily bad, even if it does not contribute to creating a brand's image, a distinctive look for the Firsts.

First 44
In fact, it looks a bit like a GrandSoleil and like the GrandSoleil GS 44, the First is offered in two versions, one pointed to cruising, with a simplified rigging, and the other for racing, or for the ones that like to trim perfectly their sails while cruising.

The "racing" version comes with 6 winches and a smallish mainsail traveler, the cruising version comes without a mainsail traveler and only four winches. The "racing" version comes with a bigger bowsprit but contrary to the cruising version it has not an anchor stand and that makes it pretty useless for cruising unless you decide to mount the smaller cruising bowsprit.

Following the modern tendency of sailboats maximized for beam reaching and downwind sailing the First 44 is a beamy boat with a 4.25m beam (GS44 - 4.30) and unlike the GS44 has all beam brought aft. LOA is 14.15m or 14.65 depending on the bowsprit size (GS 44 - 14.32 or 15.01) and 13.15 HL (GS 44 - 13.40).

While the GrandSoleil 44 is truly a 44ft boat, the First 44 is a 43ft sailboat. Depending on the version and keel the First 44 displaces 10300kg or 9800. For the GS they give the same weight for the two versions, 9500kg. It is a mistake or it means that the racing version, with more draft and the same ballast, is much more powerful.

First 44
Regarding draft and ballast, the First 44 has a standard T cast iron keel with 3400kg ballast and 2.15m draft, an optional one with 2.60m draft (cast iron/ lead) with 3000kg ballast. 
The standard GS keel is already a cast iron/ lead keel with 2,60m draft, it has an optional 2.80m draft keel and an optimized ORC keel. The given ballast is 3000kg and they don't say if it is the same in all the keels. 

Comparing both standard versions we can see that the GS is a more powerful sailboat. For similar hull stability, the First has a bigger B/D (33.0%), compared to the GS 31.6%, but if we consider that the First keel is a cast iron one with a 2.15m draft and the GS's is  2.60m with a lead torpedo, the gain in efficiency will clearly surpass the difference in B/D.

And we can see that in what regards sail area, that is about the same for the two boats, although the GS is lighter. The standard First has 106m2 (race version 121) and the standard GS has standard 106m2 and optionally 123m2. if we consider the standard versions this will give the First a 22.8 SA/D and the GS a 24.0 SA/D. On the racing versions, the First has a 26.9 SA/D and the GS a 27.7 SA/D displacement.

GS44, two consecutive times World ORC champion
In what concerns racing the First 44 will be an interesting club racer but at a high level, I doubt the First has a fair chance against the GS44 (with similar quality crews). The GS 44 won this year the second consecutive World ORC championship and has lots of victories in smaller events. hard to beat that.

Probably due to the transom design, the GS is faster upwind and with weak winds. Maybe the First will be easier downwind with stronger winds, with a small crew, but this is assuming both hulls have maximized their potential with those hull characteristics and that is impossible to know. If so the First 44 can have an interesting performance in offshore races, but we would only know when we see comparative racing results, with the boat being sailed with a top crew.

But all this regards racing. In regards to cruising even if the GS has probably an insignificant very narrow speed advantage, the two boats are very close in performance and things like the interior layout, design, and overall quality versus price will be more important.

For the ones who want a performance cruiser with fully trimmable sails, the possibility of having a car for the mainsail is also important but I don't know if that will be possible with the First because having a car with that type of traveler implies a different running rigging and 6 winches and while on the GrandSoleil the boats are completely interchangeable and you can order your own version with options from the two boats, I don't know if that it is possible with the First.

Choosing one winch set up (4 or 6) and running rigging for cruising is a question of taste but the 4 winches at the back have their own disadvantages, with many stoppers for two winches and the winches very close, making it difficult to operate them. On the "Yacht de" magazine test, the test sailor complains that the winches are too close on the First, and that can lead to problems with the lines getting entangled.

On the version with the 6 winches you have access to the ones aft, if you seat forward to the wheel, and you can have optionally electric winches for the other two. That will allow you to operate them from anywhere in the sailboat. 

Another difference between the First and the GS is the rudder option: a deep single rudder for the GS44 and a two-rudder setup for the First 44.

GS44 Race
 Both have advantages and disadvantages, offering the single rudder a marginally better performance in traditional regattas, a better feeling, and considerably better maneuverability on the marina, while the two-rudder system offers slightly easier control in difficult offshore conditions, better reliability regarding rudder accidents that result in breakage, and a considerable advantage in what regards med mooring.

GS44 performance cruiser
The interior layout is very similar in the distribution but on the First instead of having it aligned they choose to have it following the boat hull. That creates a lot of angles. It looks odd to me but I want to have a look at the boat before saying more. In regards to style and functionality, I don't really like any of the standard interiors but typically the  GS has better materials and finish. Again, I will need to see the boat to have a definitive opinion and I hope to do so at Dusseldorf.

Some things I can already tell: both have small galleys, the one in the GS44 has an open cabinet that serves for nothing (it seems they don't know sailboats heel). It can probably be a cost. The GS has, in the saloon and cabins, a shelf that is protected by a low and not continuous metal work, which can be nice to the eyes but does not serve the purpose of keeping the things stored there from falling when the boat is heeled.

Above First 44, below GS 44
On the First the option of following the hull lines ends up allowing for more saloon volume but less storage space, having very shallow cabinets and even less storage space in the saloon/galley area than the GS, with a smaller chart table. 

Most of all, the GS44 has as an option the possibility of having a beautiful and great saloon, full of cabinets, with plenty of storage and that explains why the standard version galley and saloon seem a bit odd. 
They are so because they were designed taking into consideration this expansion, that is impossible on the First.

What seems to leave no doubt is the better building quality of the GS which uses Vinilester resin, airex foam on the hull sandwich and carbon in stressed areas while the First uses a cheaper balsa core on the sandwich. 

Also, Beneteau does not mention the resin they use and that probably means that it is a polyester one. On the GS the bulkheads and the keel structure are laminated and bonded while on the First they are only bonded.

With a better quality interior, better building and superior performance only the price can justify choosing the First over the GS, but is the difference significant? It does not appear to be the case, unless one is really on a very tight budget. In these times of incertitude regarding price increases, both boats cost standard and in the cheaper version over 330 000€ (without VAT) but they don't include sails or electronics and that means that with taxes and ready to sail they cost well over 400 000€ and considerably more if you want them fully equipped as a performance cruiser.

First 44

Many things that in the past were standard in a cruiser-racer, like 6 winches, and traveler for the mainsail, are today expensive extras (when available as options), so, to really know what is the difference in price between the two boats, you have to make a simulation with both boats, with the equipment you want, to see if the difference in price justifies having the First 44 over the GS 44.


To understand how expensive top sailing hardware is you can look at the difference in price between the First cruising and racing versions. The standard First racing version is a very naked boat, does not include a windlass and has a very small water tankage (200L), but even so it costs at least 10% more than the cruising version, and that does not include carbon spars. If we look at the Oceanis 46.1 price, that has a better cruising interior, we will see that it costs 11% less than the cruising First 44 and 22% less than the First 44 with better sail hardware. That shows you how expensive it is to make good and fast sailboats and explains the differences in price between big brands' boats and performance cruisers.


Today most cruisers choose to motor, even in perfect sailing conditions, so, the market for good sailing boats is shrinking and the arrival of a new performance cruiser with great sailing ability is to be saluted, even more if it is a model produced by one of the big manufacturers. Beneteau is, among the big ones, the only one that offers such type of sailboat, hopefully, at a lower price than boat builders specialized in this type of boat like GrandSoleil or Italia yachts.

More information regarding the GS44: