Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Just about one month to the big solo Transat with 90 skippers on the departing line. 90? it does not look much, compared with the last solo race I posted about, the SilverRudder with 200!!! Well if you are French you know the difference if not maybe you have never heard about it: When I say it is the big Transat you can believe me. They are only 90 but the best professional solo racers are all there and the fastest solo racing boats too.

There are some interesting news, like Pedote racing on a 40 class racer or the old Peyron having by miracle a very competitive sailboat at the last minute (due to the bad luck of Le Cleac'h that hurt an arm).

This time I count to be at Saint Malo to see the guys sailing away and have a good look to all those wonderful sailboats. I will talk more about that when the race start is closer and I will be following that race here, after all we have to wait 4 years to have the pleasure of enjoying it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

ITALIA 12.98

New 41fter from Italia yacht for 2015. I have to say I am partial about Italia yachts, I just love the boats. For me they represent, in a classic way, the ideal cruising boat : beautiful, practical, fast and classy, not to mention the high quality everywhere. For the ones that sail on the Med this boat makes a lot more sense than an Halberg Rassy or a Najad.

The design is from Matteo Polli /Italia Yacht Design Team and Maurizio Cossutti, the boat is light (7950kg) is built with the state of the art using sandwich cores of varied thickness  made with E glass and vinylester resins with carbon reinforcements ( there is a structural carbon frame that transmits to the hull the efforts of the keel and shrouds).

The YT 12.98 is classic looking but that does not mean old or technically outdated. The keel is a good example of the state of the art: "a performance “T” keel made with numerical control. .. The keel is enclosed by a casing made from fiberglass molds (using) numerical control."

The boat is relatively beamy (for an Italian design) with 4.19m of beam but it presents fine entries and a hull with the beam not all pulled aft as in most French designs. Probably a boat with good light air and upwind characteristics, specially if we consider that it carries upwind (with a jib) 103 m2 and downwind (with a gennaker) 197m2. my kind of boat ;-)

For the ones that don't know Italia yachts, a test sail and a movie by Yachting World on the big brother, the 13.98 (a beauty isn't it?):

Sunday, September 28, 2014


I have been talking about the huge increase of interest regarding solo/ short crew racing out of France. That interest reflects itself on the number of participants on the short crew/solo division of famous offshore crewed races and also on the number of inscriptions on the few solo races outside of France and the Silver Rudder race is a great example: The Danish race around the Funen Island (134NM) had 15 racers in 2012, 100 in 2013 and 200 this year.
Well, not all is well since it looks like that most of the racers did not get the more important point of a solo race... that is finishing it. The winds were weak and the fastest boat, a trimaran Dragonfly 28 had done it in 26hours 11minutes. Another boats that were among the fastest:  Dragonfly 35 in 39 h and 21 m, a J111 in  29h 11m, a IMX 40 in 30h 03m, a X332 in 38h 31m, a X99 in 38h 27m a Cheetah 30 in 38h 35m, a Seascape 27 in 30-10, another one in 38-45 a Broker 28 in 39-02, a Saphire 27 in 39-25 a J 80 in 41-46, a Pogo 2 Mini racer in 39-38 a Mini racer Nacira in 45-10 a Melges 24 in 46-04.

Cheers for the ones that with slower boats did not give up and finish the race: That's the spirit :-)

 The ones that took more time but made a lot better then the vast majority that had retired from the race: A little Seascape 18 in 49-18, a Granada 27 in 48-48, a Int 806 in 50-09, a Scanmar 33 in 48-44 a Rommel 33 in 49-21 and a Lagoon 380 in 47-05.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


This post covers less ground but that’s a part of the Greece that I love a lot and as it is not yet discovered by many, so I think it will interest cruisers heading that way and like to avoid crowded anchorages. Corinth Gulf is just a lovely place to sail and I can only justify the absence of sailboats because it is far away from any charter operator and because the sailboats that pass there are in route between the Aegean and Ionian, through the Corinth Channel and are not really cruising but voyaging.

The truth is that even if this year I made it slower than last year, enjoying the scenery, the truth is that I was already coming back and with limited time. Next year I will make it the other way around, from the Ionian to the Aegean and I will cruise it as it deserves to be cruised: Slowly. Anyway I have passed there two times so I have some information that can interest other cruisers.
First about the wind, that is normally weaker and from the East quadrant on the first half (beginning by the Aegean side) and stronger, from the West quadrant on the last half.

The absence of sailboats and the deserted beautiful coves start before the Gulf itself, at the end of the Saronic Gulf, on the Port side (going to the channel). Some are deep (but with sand bottom) but one of the last ones, Ormos Linari has several buoys (from the boats of a fish farm) that they let you use them (there are several). You can also anchor and take a line ashore, since the bottom goes down quickly. Been there last year and loved it.

After passing the Corinth Channel the options are not many (nearby) and probably the best is Corinth Port were you can anchor (not really on the port but still protected by it). 3/4m of water and a good holding. If you have less than 2.00m draft you can try the dilapidated “Marina” (really nasty looking and full of fishing boats) or tie inside the port near the city (a fellow cruiser said to me that his boat with 1.85m draft touched the bottom). Anyway, for me, with 2.30m draft the option is in anchor that is what I prefer even if in this case the scenery is not nice. The old Corinth is not near (several km to the interior and someone has told me that there were better places to visit.

Going West, pointing to the Ionian there is a favourite place, Andikiron. I have been there last year, this year as well and probably next year ;-). A perfect shelter on a magnificent scenery with a huge scale and a tourist place….but for the Greek.
That means a different kind of offer and prices too. The last restaurant on the seaside before the port is the less expensive and they made delicious roast meat. I am not particularly fond of chicken but the one that I had there last year was just delicious…and the price is a very nice surprise too.
You can stay on the port but it is a bit deep to anchor and moor Mediterranean style. This year I saw a British boat (the only other sailboat on the bay), a Moody 425 using the port Atlantic style, with the boat along the wall, but the port is very small and that takes a lot of space. You can do like me and stay on anchor. The depths are considerable and the best spot is at the end of the line of restaurants, between a buoy that marks a reef and the shore.

Don’t trust the information on the map of your plotter: it is much deeper near the coast than the map indicates. The boat can swing relatively near the shore without problems. On both times I set anchor with a depth of around 8m. Good holding.

From there I made it to Ormos Anemokambi: beautiful place, perfect shelter. A small British boat was at the end of the cove (looking like being there for several days) and at the end of the night another boat( that passed the Channel with us, an Oceanis 50) came in for the night. Far from crowded and very peaceful.

Ormos Anemokambi
Last year we also found a very beautiful place, Galaxhidi. Small port, good shelter and very nice village. Good shopping and great restaurants. In fact from the very small port (with a small beach in front) we don’t have any clue about the size of the village, that extends itself to the interior.

It is also a great place to leave the boat and rent a car (ask on the restaurants and they will send one from the nearby town of Itea) to visit the justly famous Delphi ruins. The dimension of the holy place is just awesome. 

This year I decided not to stop at Galaxhidi: Last year I had a bitter discussion with the guy from the Greek coast guard. he was not too bright (to say the least) and wanted me to pay for 3 days instead of the 2 that I had stayed there. He said that the places were too cheap if compared to the ones in a marina!!!!!

This kind of people, not frequent in Greece, are the ones that give the country a bad image and drive people away. I hope he is not there anymore…anyway he is the reason I skipped Galaxhidi this year.

After Ormos Anemokambi I stayed in Kalistea, beautiful place…that I will not recommend to anybody, except in settled weather.
The place looks nice, the wind protection seems to be ideal, most of the bottom is sand…but in a windy day like the one we have been there we found out that the small cove in front of the beach, coupled by the mountains that surround it creates a whirlpool of wind, not a violent one but one that keeps turning your boat around and around like if the wind is changing of direction all the time. Quite disturbing I would say.

Last year we have made a far better choice and stayed in Trizonia Island. The place has a marina (that I think is inexpensive) but also a sheltered place to stay near the marina.

Monastery near Galaxidi (Ousia Louka)

 The only catch is that this is a very popular place, the anchor places are limited (4 or 5) and you have to arrive early to be sure you find a place. The village is very quiet and nice, with lots of cafes and restaurants on the other side of the marina facing the nearby shore.

The people are very nice too. Last year we went at night to have a coffee, had a pleasant chat with the owner of the café and he refused to take money for the coffees (normally 4 euros). I should say also that last year in Galaxhidi in a restaurant right in front of where the boat was, when I sat drinking an ouzo and watching with the owner and waiters a basketball game between Greece and Spain, I was offered a full plate of sea food, no money asked or accepted. There are still these kind of places around those shores (if you are a nice guy LOL).

From Kalistea I sailed to Mesolonghi, famous because it was where Lord Byron died. It is a strange place, the remaining part of a big interior sea that has been disappearing. You enter it by a long channel full of houses on poles and reach a big natural port with all around protection. Last year I was there but it was very windy and we did not leave the boat. This year we discovered the city that is much nicer than what the pilotbook leads to suppose.

The only problem is that for the centre you have a 20minute walk. Great for provisions and shopping providing you take a Taxi back which in Greece is quite inexpensive (5 euros). We ate on a very nice restaurant. As long time travellers we have a knack to find out where the locals eat and this time it was not different. We will be back: Great food, fantastic people.
There is also a big Marina, quite inexpensive (24 euros for my boat, I asked even if I stayed on anchor). They are very nice, seem very competent and their price for the winter is just great, on land or on the water and they allow you to work on your boat.
Certainly good competition for Cleopatra or Ionian Marinas in Preveza (also great places to leave a boat).
Mesolonghi stays at the mouth of the Corinth Gulf after having passed the big suspended bridge that crosses it. Maybe some words about the pleasures of sailing the Gulf.

As I said the last half is upwind sailing and I love it specially when the wind is stiff. I could dispense the short steep waves of the med that the wind creates on these conditions but even so it is good fun and the waves add a factor of difficulty.
In fact it pays off to hand steer the boat on these conditions, taking the bigger waves at a bigger angle and coming to the small ones with the boat well into the wind. It is even better when you have competition and that is quite rare because there are not many sailors that like to sail upwind but the ones that I found on these waters, maybe because they are voyaging were on to it. From Ormus Anemokambi to Kalistea, with 18/20K of apparent wind I caught quickly the Moody 425 that I had seen there and that had left before me. There is a misconception that heavier boats like the Moody 425 on stiff weather can be faster upwind than a good light fast boat. Well it is really a misconception, the skipper when I waved hello took out the front sail and put the big engine on, motorsailing into the wind. Well, maybe he was a bit faster but I went rapidly away, just sailing.

Zakinthos Island - Lagana
From Kalistea to Mesolonghi I crossed tacks with another sailboat that came on the opposite tack. The boat looked beautiful and very well sailed, all sails out including a big genoa (I had a small jib). It was a Najad 379. The boat really looked fast. One hour later I had trouble in seeing it back on the horizon. It was just a little speck. So guys, if you do really want a fast boat upwind know that there is really a big difference between the different types of boats and that a good upwind boat is much faster than an average boat, that is, if you do sail upwind (because many don’t).

From Mesolonghi I went to Zakinthos, to Ormos Keri, another great natural port with some nice restaurants ashore. That’s a big bay, the sand is bottom and you can even arrive at night: there is always place for more boats and in fact there is always a considerable number of boats there.
Porto Keri viewed from  Lagana
The Keri bay is part of a bigger bay, Lagana bay, a natural reserve for turtles. It is forbidden to anchor on part of the reserve and looking at the pilot book it seems that you can only anchor at Keri bay and little else but I had the good chance to have a look at a more detailed map (used by the guys that rent small motorboats) and saw that Lagana itself is out of the forbidden zone. It seems that almost nobody knows that.

Two great nights with full moon, the only boat on anchorage, not on Lagana itself (that is too noisy for me at night) but at a small beach near a big rock, that turned out to be a private beach, café and bar (left there the dinghy to go to town).

If you are young and like agitated nights at very low prices, Lagana is the place. It looks like a giant fair, with a vocation for providing adult entertainment from booze to girls, nightclubs and discos, the full house. It is also a nice big beach full of restaurants and lots of people.

From Lagana bay we sailed to the capital Zante, an old Venetian city unfortunately destroyed by an earthquake in the 50’s. From the Venetian city little remained, maybe the big slabs of rock on the port but Zante is a modern nice place where you can find provisions and restaurants at a very nice price.

The quality is good as well as the local olive oil. The laid back ambiance is very agreeable at least till you want to buy something not tourist and find out that most of the shops don’t open in half the days of the week on the afternoon: Too laid back ??? Just kidding :-), nice place with a very well protected port with inexpensive places. You can have water and electricity if you want (5 euros each).

Zante is my favourite place to enter and leave Greece. On the port you can ask for Dionisios an agent that almost for nothing treats all needed papers without you leaving the boat and is associated with a guy that takes care of the fuel and gas bottles. They are quick, nice and efficient and the gas bottles are the less expensive I have found ever.

From here, to save many days of sailing in the Calabrian coast (Italy ), as on last year, we will be making an almost 500km passage of open sea, till the cape Spartivento (Calabria) where we hope to find a place to stay on anchor (if the wind allows it), Otherwise it will be a longer passage to Taormina in Sicily.

But that is another post and another story.. but I can already say that things went not as planned, as unfortunately it happens many times.

Friday, September 26, 2014


That's a surprise!!! the RM 1060 is a model with few years (and a very up to date sailboat) and the shipyard announce already the 1070, for 2015.

  It does not seem to be only a  MK2 since the hull, even if very close, seem to have some alterations, among them a slightly inverted bow. The appendices where also modified at least in what regards the offer of a new keel, a swing one similar to the one mounted on Pogos."

"A suivre" in what regards other alterations, namely the weight. The boat that was already very beautiful is now absolutely gorgeous. The designer is the same of all RM, Marc Lombard.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

JPK 45

And this one comes as a complete surprise: We all know that JPK are great cruiser racers and winning boats specially in oceanic races and short crewed races. Some short years ago they had made a performance cruiser, the 38, a very fast boat more pointed to cruising and designed without any concession to handicap rules. Now, just after the 1080 (already a winner), they anounce another cruising boat and this time a big one pointed to bluewater cruising, with a cutter rig and all, the JPK 45:

For what I can see on the image and for what they say about the technical characteristics it looks more than good :-)

The design, as usually on the JPK, is from Jacques Valer and the boat will come with a rigid doghouse. With 13.50M, It will weight only 8500kg with a ballast of 3000kg!!!. That in a boat 4.50m of beam and a bulbed keel (probably a torpedo one) with a draft of 2.20M will make for a very STIFF and powerful boat. All that power will allow it to sail 113m2 of sail upwind with ease....and 113m2 of sail for 8500kg and a long waterline will make for a very fast boat, specially if designed by Valer. On the picture we can also see that it will have twin rudders. It will also have an option for a keel with variable draft (swing keel?) with 1.50/2.95M draft.

A Boreal on speed LOL. I love it!!!!

Monday, September 22, 2014


After a post about a big Vismara 80, a post about two other Vismara??? No, I am not on their pay roll LOL, but a lot of very interesting things are happening at Vismara:

After the gorgeous V47 in 2013 they are planning for 2015 an even more awesome boat, a sort of improved V47, but let's start with the V47, a cruiser racer, all carbon, capable of winning races but also a great cruiser with a very nice interior and a deck incorporating solar panels for energy autonomy, all in great style. Have a look:

Making a winning racer is difficult but making one that can cruise comfortably besides winning races is a lot more and it seems to me that Vismara has made the trick. The V47 weights only 10250kg  (a good percentage of it as ballast) has 131m2 of sail, a moderate beam (4.00m) but most of all it has this incredibly nice interior for such a fast boat:

The new Vismara Mills 62 (2015) looks even better and Mills stands for Mark Mills that will be designing the hull. Mark Mills is one of the most accomplished cruiser racer designers and many of his boats are winners, with particular reference to the recent Mini-Maxi Alegre, a very beautiful and fast boat. I would say that this one is at least as beautiful and probably with a bigger cruising potential. Look at drawings:

It is not only the nice interior that will make it a nice cruising boat (besides a racer) but the lifting keel that will allow a true racing draft (4.20M) with all the associated advantages and even so will allow for a reasonable cruising draft (for a fast 60fter), a draft of 2.95m.

Mark Mills says about the design: " This design builds on our successful racing yachts, starting with the research and design team and tools developed for the Mini-Maxi Alegre, and extending that to utilise the latest Volvo program RANS CFD. We have worked to optimise her to a Mediterranean weather profile with an offshore bias, reflecting the mix of racing that (it)... will do..

 After many design evolutions this has produced the exciting powerful hull shape which offers not only high performance but a striking modern look combining power, speed, and beauty.”
Yes, I cannot agree more in what regards looks!!!Also I have no doubts that it will be a very fast boat, particularly on the Med where upwind sailing performance is very important. This baby has a length of 19M and a beam of only 5.00M. That, the hull design, the big ballast at the end of 4.20M will make it a rocket upwind ;-)