Thursday, April 10, 2014



On this "page" we will compare the performance of different types of boats, specially performance cruisers while racing under different circumstances and conditions. All information will be posted first on the main blog as a new post and then, sometime after, it will come to this post that will work out as a page containing all information. 

Let's start with an interesting race that this year had a big increase in solo and duo entries, showing that in Italy, as well as a bit all over Europe, the interest in solo or short crew racing is increasing very rapidly. This race is also interesting because being raced in the choppy waters of the Med, in very variable winds, can give very different information regarding boat performance than the one that is given on Transat races, with their typically strong and steady downwind winds. And this particular one proved particularly interesting not only by the number of entries in duo (11 ) and solo (16), that put together are bigger than the number of full crewed boats (22), but because the results are quite surprising, not regarding the faster overall boats, but regarding results on the solo and duo classes.
 The race course was very simple, from Civitavecchia, a bit North of Rome going South, till near Sicily, circling Lipari Island and back.

A word regarding the two faster ones, two very well know Italian racing boats and crews and also two very different racing boats, Cippa Lippa 8, a Cookson 50 with a big crew and the smaller Open 42 Kuka-light, with a much smaller crew that finished at a very short distance. Two boats and crews that I like a lot and that I am sure you will appreciate on these two movies from previous races:

Regarding surprises on the crewed race, I would say only a big one, a Multi 50 (racing trimaran) being beaten clearly by these two and making about the same speed as the fastest duo crew racer, an Akilaria class40. It seems that the Multi 50 did not appreciate upwind sailing and short period waves, something they have encountered along the race. The Multi 50 ended up retiring from the race.
Elan 410

On the solo race that counted with 4 class40 racers big surprise with an Elan 410 dominating the race and an Azuree 33 on the first places, being as fast as some Class 40 racers. Till half the race the Duo race was dominated by an Akilaria 40class racer but the other two class 40 ( 2 Pogo) have been dominated by a Comet 41s performance cruiser that surprisingly is well ahead of a J111 that seems not to be easily sailed solo. Also on the Duo race, an Azuree 40 and a First 40.7 are ahead of the two Pogos  (passage at the middle of the race, on Lipari Island).
Azuree 33

Of course one of the problems with this kind of races with amateur crews is that the difference  in quality between them can justify big differences and the truth is that the Akilaria 40 class racer with a duo crew was the 3rd to arrive in real time, all classes put together, but even so, given the number of 40class racers doing this race (8) the results are quite surprising, considering the class 40 are race boats while the others like the Azuree 33, the Elan 410, the First 40.7 or the Comet 41s are performance cruisers with a good cruising potential.
 Also surprising the results of the Azuree 40 (duo), making better than some 40class, having the same type of hull with less power and  of Hakuna Matata, a well known Sun Fast 3200 that is making a lot worse in Duo than the Azuree 33 in solo.

This post took so long that meanwhile some more boats finished the race, namely that incredible Elan 410 that solo, beat all solo Class 40 and all Duo (class40) except the fastest of them. On solo that Elan 410 was followed at good distance by 3 Class 40 that are close followed by the Azuree 33!!!! that is ahead of the J111. Those sailors on the Elan and Azuree deserve a nomination, respectively  Carlo Potesta and Pier-Paolo Ballerini. Chapeau to them..... or maybe not since their results seem to be too good to be true. There have been some talk on Italian forums regarding the use of engine and I have to say that there is good reason to be suspicious.

I explain: That Elan 410 and the Comet 41s had been also on the past edition, being both sailed in duo. The Elan 410 beat the Comet by 41m. This year the Comet was sailed duo and the Elan 410 was sailed solo with the same skippers and the difference in time was of about 7 hours!!!!, not only to the Comet41s but about to all other performance cruisers. That just does not seem possible, being ta J111  or a Comet 41s faster boats and the crew having a similar sailing level.  The same can be said regarding the performance of the Azuree 33. I am curious to see if these results will be accepted on the final classification.

Regarding the duo crews and mixing it with the Solo, the 40class Akilaria made overall 3rd on the race in real time and it was the only one that beat the Elan 410, the second one is a First 40.7 slightly ahead from the Azuree 33, a DOD40, an Italian modern race boat that is ahead of the J111 but behind the Azuree 33!!!!.

Slightly behind the J111 and almost side by side an Azuree 40 and a Comet 41s followed at some distance by an Elan 350. From the two Pogo 40 that were making this race, one is well behind all these boats and the other, after passing Lipari, behind the mentioned boats, gave up going against the wind and went in the direction of Greece, certainly sailing downwind. :-).
Just to make it clear, a new Pogo 40class racer is just as fast (or more) then the Akilaria that arrived 3rd overall. This has not to do only with the boats but with the performance that non professional sailors can take out of them. The SF 3200 continues to make a bad race and is way behind the first Pogo 40class racer. 

Anyway results that deserve some thought and that question the advantage of Open boats type in what regards speed on the Med typical conditions and explain why the Italian boat builders are not great fans of that type of boat. Similar results have been observed in other Med races, where fast performance cruisers seem to match 40class racers, much more powerful boats with a hugely bigger rating, not to mention the naked interior.

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