Friday, March 27, 2015


They took an eternity to let go the main on the first one...but that one at night was just scary.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


While waiting the first one to be built the shipyard posted a very interesting virtual visit that really can give an idea of the boat interior volume. Looking at it I wonder that can be a very satisfactory space for a single guy to live aboard, on a boat that is rock solid, can sail and moor in very swallow waters (where places to moor can still be found) and offers as a plus a satisfactory sailing performance. It can actually pay himself substituting a  rented home and offer a sailboat as a bonus ;-).

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Initially Comar announced as first cats on his new cat line  a 37 and a 62: The 62 is still on the agenda, the 37 is almost on the water but the next to follow will be a 50 that Comar describes as an Oceanic sailboat:

"The Comet 50 and Cat was developed with the intention of making a fast oceanic high performance comfortable. The project still in the preliminary stage has the ambition to become a point of reference for all fans of catamarans that aim to travel the world in safety and comfort with daily averages impossible to a monohull or heavy catamaran with relative small sail areas...The boat will be built in composite with extensive use of carbon on the most stressed areas."

The design is from Marc Lombard and the cat 50 will weight only 11000kg. It will have a lot of stability due to a large beam (7.30m) and low CG, will have long dagerboards (2,45m draft) that are not visible on the drawings (rotating ones?).
It will be a very fast sailboat, able to carry a lot of sail: Mainsail 87.3m2, Genoa 130% 55m2, code zero 115m2, Spy asymmetric 160m2. The tankage will be considerable (600L of water 360L of diesel) and it will have two powerful 60hp engines. It looks nice to me, lets hope the price is a nice one too ;-)

Friday, March 13, 2015


Jörg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane aboard Renault Captur (6th) fought with 70k winds after rounding Cap Horn. Riechers said:

“Rounding Cape Horn was pretty easy. We had 35-40kts of wind. And just after the Cape, we thought OK, it is going to be easy. No stress. But one mile after Cape Horn came the first gust, 70kts of wind, so the boat was lying flat with the third reef in the main and the J3. So from there we were a b it scared, we bore away and rolled up the J3, and continued with the triple reefed mainsail. And still we surfed at 24 to 25kts. The seas were very white and very steep. In the end it was pretty scary. So for my first rounding of Cape Horn it was a big one.

“You are not super, super scared. But you ask yourself the questions. With a triple reefed main and with the boat on the edge of control, with the rudder problem, you can only steer with the autopilot, you just stay inside. You ask yourself what is going to happen if the autopilot freaks out and makes a mistake? Then you have a real, real big problem.”

Sébastien Audigane , on his 4th rounding of the Horn: “The most stressful conditions I have seen in 25 years. Two and a half days ago we contemplated turning round to avoid it. It was the perfect storm with a very low depression in the centre. Looking closely we judged we could pass it. But I confess that during the storm we looked at each other and said “This is a bullsh*t idea”. Once you are in it there is little you can do to manage the situation. The boat did well under three reefs. The only worry was our dear autopilot might give up on us.

“After the Horn, when we hit 70 knots and the wind was consistently at 60, we sat it out, watching what was going on outside from time to time as we waited at the chart table, ready to adjust the autopilot if needed. These are the most stressful conditions I have seen in 25 years.

“We don't try to get ourselves into these situations. We had prepared the boat as best we could. We stacked the boat as best we could, we had our survival suits on and were ready psychologically.”

Anyway it is good to know that an Open 60 is able to meet these absolutely extreme conditions and keep sailing....on autopilot. Absolutely extraordinary on a boat that weights less than most 40ft cruising sailing boats. So much for those that think that seaworthiness on a sailboat is directly linked to displacement and that heavy boats are necessarily more seaworthy than light boats.

Regarding the race itself, it has not been very interesting. I had pointed out at the beginning that only two boats and teams seemed to me competitive regarding winning it and that the fleet was very dissimilar regarding sailing potential. The two more competitive  teams (Hugo Boss and Cheminees Poujoulat) were reduced to one at the early stages of the race when Hugo Boss lost the rig.

About 1000nm separates the first (Cheminees Poujoulat) from the 2nd (Neutrogena) and more than 5000nm!!! separates the last from the first. The two leading boats are very close on sailing potential, being both 2007 Farr designs, both have won major races, one the Vendee Globe (2008/2009) the other the Route du Rhum (2010) but the very experienced crew of Cheninees Poujoulat (Stamm, Le Cam) marks the difference to the less experienced crew of Neutrogena (Altadill, Munõz) that have been doing a good race and learning fast. Without their forced stop at New Zealand for repairs their difference for the first would be less than 200nm even if I believe that Stamm/Le Cam could go faster if they had to.

Some great images from the race:

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Beating the new Banque Populaire, the new Safran is on the water. Morgan Lagraviere will be the skipper, coached by the old Safran skipper Marc Guillemot. The boat was designed by Vincent Lauriot Prévost (VPLP) and Guillaume Verdier. It has foils, it is beamier then the previous boat, the CG (mast and keel) was moved back to lighten the forward section and the bow is larger and more rounded increasing also the buoyancy on the forward section of the boat. All this will make it easier to lift the bow that probably will be very important to increase foil's efficiency.
Waiting for the first sailing movies, these two give a good view of the boat that is a beauty:

Thursday, March 5, 2015


I had already posted about the Solaris 50: and I had said only nice things about it but now I have seen the boat in Dusseldorf and I was greatly impressed. This is not only a very beautiful boat but also the kind of boat that I would have if I won the lottery.

And for the quality I ended up not finding it extravagantly expensive at 570000 euros, VAT included,  lot less then what would cost an Halberg Rassy 48 with a similar built quality.

On the link above you can check out what I had said about the boat dimensions but I will add that with a beam of 4.55m is significantly narrower then most production main market boats (Sense 50-4.86m; Hanse 505-4.75m; Sun Odyssey 509-4.69m; Bavaria cruiser 51-4.67m), has a bigger B/D ratio, a more efficient keel and a considerably bigger draft (or in option a smaller draft and an even bigger B/D ratio). This extra keel efficiency and superior B/D ratio will give not only a more powerful boat but also one with a better reserve stability.

The 14 200kg of weight are very similar to the one of the above main market cruisers even considering that this weight, contrary to the others is not an empty weight but but the one of a boat in sailing condition with half tankage. So it is not a particularly light boat but consider that contrary to the others this is a vacuum infused cored boat (Airex) using vynilester-epoxy resins with carbon reinforcements and one that can have carbon spars.

Knowing that they have 40 years of experience building boats that means that this boat is overbuilt and all that extra weight is aimed to increase boat strength. They not only use bulkheads laminated to the deck and hull as they use composite cored laminates on the two main bulkheads to  diminish dilatation problems between two different materials. The idea is to built a kind of monoblock boat increasing overall stiffness.

If someone wants to know more here there is a detailed specification:

Many looking at this boat would say: Another pretty fragile boat designed for med sailing. Well, fragile it is not and a boat doesn't have to be ugly to be very seaworthy and strong and Solaris is a paradigma regarding that. Besides the winch position, the self tacking jib and mainsheet system (that can have a traveler or not) everything is designed taking into account solo or short crew sailing.

A word regarding handholds that were almost absent on the 50ft at Dusseldorf: They are mounted to the owner request. You can see that on the Solaris 58 that is side by side with the 50. There are handrails on the deck while the 50 has none. Those steel handrails can also be mounted on the interior ceiling also.

The sprayhood is very interesting: it can be stowed and completely covered on a space provided for that on the cabin or deployed and... surprise surprise, it is an huge one that forms a completely covered enclosure. I would like to have seen that, as well as how it fits on the storage space and how much time it takes to deploy but they did not have it at Dusseldorf.

Finally in what regards storage this boat is one of the few 50ft that offers a garage with enough space for a small dinghy and a forward sail locker/storage space with considerable dimensions. On long range cruising, while crossing oceans the dinghy can be deflated and the extra garage space can be  used for extra storage.