Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NEO 400

I don't know why I have not posted about this boat already, certainly it is one of the most interesting 40fters around, a Ceccarelli design. I had made a quick reference to it on the old thread but at the time it was only at a building stage. Now it is on the water, winning races and most of all showing an incredible performance in real time and also a huge seaworthiness (on the stormy Middle Sea race). After that race the crew said about the boat and the sea conditions:

"With us was a veteran of the Volvo Ocean Race and he said he never would thought that in the Mediterranean the sea could be like that with eight meters with a breaking and a a that has increased quickly from 20K to 25K and then up to 35K and 40 knots, so constant, relentless. At the end we saw 48 knots, without a break for 200 miles. We sailed between Lampedusa and Malta, for us the worst part, with storm jib and the mainsail with two reefs. 
We were consistently between 16 and 18 knots, with peaks around 22 and beyond. At 22 knots the log was out of water and did not work anymore, so we do not know how much speed we made, but it was really tough. The unusual thing was that the wind never fell, ..40-45 knots for at least 12 consecutive hours, it was really hard...Waves as ever I've ever seen in Mediterranean and we manage to sail the boat in safety without giving up performance. .. the boat behaved very well and we have not broken anything, I noticed a excellent behavior under storm jib. ..... we have outsailed 50 fters and beaten boats like the B2 and a Cookson 50..."

They outsailed the J122 that won the race (on compensated) by almost 4 hours, were faster than the fastest racing class40 and left behind a Sydney 43 (+3 hours) and a DK46 (+2 hours), a truly incredible performance that showed that the boat can go as fast as the absurdly high rating it has. It should be said that the J122 was incredibly well sailed and that's why it won on compensated. Those 4 hours difference are a true expression of the difference in speed between the two boats.

As a way of better understanding from where that speed and power comes let's compare it with a J122, a very fast boat and a preferred of mine, as a performance cruiser, a winner of many races (dimensions in kg, m and m2):
LOA: J -12.19; N - 12.15.  LWL: J - 10.55; N - 11.50. Beam: J - 3.63; N - 3.99; Weight: J - 6770; N - 4600. B/D ratio: J -37,4%; N - 52,2%. Draft: J - 2.20; N - 2.60/1.60.SA upwind: J - 80.4  N - 105.0.
Two very different boats. The carbon Neo makes the J look very heavy (it isn't) but the four most remarkable differences are the huge difference in RM, the difference in weight, the difference in LWL and the diference in hull design. No wonder the Neo 400 is so seaworthy, it is incredibly stiff.
The J122 is a stiff boat but the Neo with a lot more beam, a hugely bigger B/D ratio, a considerable bigger draft and a more efficiently designed keel, makes it it look like a tender boat. Also impressive is the difference on the LWL, almost 1 meter on a boat that has about the same LOA. The difference in weight was expected, being the Neo a carbon boat.

Regarding hull design the Neo 400 is very modern, with a lot of beam and all of it pulled back with a transom design that would make easier to control the boat downwind sailing fast. The J 122 has a very different hull, a more dated one, not because it is narrower but because a more modern design would have that transom slightly modified and the beam more brought back, as it is featured on the more modern J111. That and the old designed keel on the J122 makes the boat look outdated when compared with the Neo, even if still able to deliver an impressive performance.The first time I saw The Neo 400 specifications I thought: WOW!!! and when I saw what the boat was capable of doing on that race, I said again... WOW!!! what a boat!!!
They plan a more cruising version and I cannot wait to see it. It does not need to be carbon, a top light epoxy vacuum infused hull will put about more 1000kg on that boat but even with the extra weight it will be a hell of a boat. I can only hope that they can make a cruising interior as good as the one of the new version of the J122. The one of the racing version of the Neo cruiser racer is really...spartan, even if functional. Besidesbeing a hell of a sailboat, the Neo is also a Gorgeous boat:


  1. Talking about interesting, check this out :

    By the way I am contemplating an RM 1050....


    1. Hi Anders!
      The link does not work :-(
      Nice boat...but accept a word of advise: test sail the boat. After the Opium it may be a deception. The new series are faster, but I tried a RM 1200 (old series), that is a great cruising boat but did not like the feel of the rudder neither the performance in light winds. Not what I was looking for.
      Take care and keep us posted,


  2. It is a new Salona 38. Try this link



  3. Wow!!! Thanks Anders. Salona has good taste for designers, Ker and now Cossutti. Probably you have noticed, it is the same designer of the Neo 400 ;-) I will have a good look at it and will try to know more.

  4. Regarding RM I also test sailed the RM 1200 and did not like it either. Too wide stern for one rudder and autopilot drive unit unavoidable makes (all?) tiller steered boats very heavy to steer.