This Archambault is the first to really come playing in the Pogo garden, but with a different character. Whereas the 12.50 cruiser is a direct spin-off a quite successful class 40 racer (S2, now already replaced by the S3) and therefore optimized for downwind courses, the A13 seems more of a compromise with more homogeneous performances on all courses.
This is perfectly in line with the different philosophies: the Pogo is an open “box rule” design without any restrictions at all concerning rating, the Archambault on the other hand has clear IRC ambitions and will therefore be available in four different versions, from pure (handicap) racing to fast cruising.
In proportion the A13 is a less extreme and especially much narrower design. And with also relatively more weight, both features that should improve upwind performance especially in choppy seas.
Less beam also means the interior space will be almost the same for both boats, although the A13 is 2 feet longer. And it has doors, Paulo :-)! Plus a less lofty and more cozy touch which will probably especially be appreciated by the ladies, who mostly have the last word when it comes to deciding about a new boat. Am I a lucky man :-)!
This interior certainly explains a part of the extra weight, as does the narrower beam requiring more ballast. The upwind sail area is comparable for both (around 110 square meters), the Pogo being smaller and lighter than the Archambault. Only the spinnakers are proportionately the same size (155 and 185 square meters respectively). So on paper the 12.50 should be more powerful in light to medium winds.
A fixed 2.60 meters draft is quite a lot for most cruising grounds, not as much from a sailing point of view (although I often have to choose between sailing keel down a long way around, or motoring keel up straight over the Flemish Sandbanks, at least I have the choice) but certainly in port or at anchor. Few believe their eyes when we enter Blankenberge when the tide is low or anchor amidst the catamarans, just in front of the beach.
So I think Archambault is very right to study the option of a swinging keel. For the same CG it would need to be more than 3 meters deep, but without it I’m afraid very few cruisers would go for the A13. Which would probably mean exclusion from the Pogo play garden.
Regarding this, I wonder if Arcambault would also take up the Pogo challenge concerning the construction of a swinging keel. The concept itself goes a long way back, to the First Class 8. But until now Structures is the only yard to offer a composite foil with a lead ballast. They are very keen on this technology: during one of our visits to the yard we could see our own keel in construction but were not allowed to photograph it.
So although the 12.50 and the A13 are quite different concepts, I agree they can become competitors on the fast cruising market and also hope especially the French magazines will give us a treat with a nice comparative test.
Yes, 2.60m is a lot on the tidal waters of Holland or France but some years ago I sailed a Salona 41 with a 2.70m draft in Croatia and to my surprise I had not any problem, even in what regards anchoring. On the Med that is not a big inconvenient. With my boat I am always more worried with my big spade rudder than with my 2.25m keel and happily would change to one with 2,50m or 2.60m draft to have a better protection on the rudder, that goes probably over 2.00m deep. Off course, a swing keel will allow you to enter any small port and will give more flexibility...but at a cost of about 20 000 euros and more maintenance. For the ones that absolutely need a small draft it is the way to go but if you can dispense that the extra 20 000 euros are hard to justify.
And talking about money that is one of the things in what Pogo will be too hard to beat and not by a boat like the A13. The superior ballast and the reinforcements needed will make it a more expensive boat. Not surprisingly the price is similar to the one of the Sydney 42GTS that has a similar typology in what regards beam and ballast even if the hull, specially the transom area, is very different. I don't think the A13 will be in competition with the Pogo 12.50 due to the price difference, or at least it will never be as popular as the Pogo is.
Regarding speed the bigger power of the Pogo 12.50 is not necessarily transformed in speed because being the A13 slimmer, it will need less sail area to go at the same speed...and the LWL is bigger. Anyway probably with strong winds the Pogo will be faster downwind while the A13 will be faster upwind and with medium and lighter winds, but only when the VPP will come out we will be able to say and a comparative test sail, as you say, would be very interesting, even more with the Sydney GTS 43 on the dance too.