Sunday, October 25, 2015


And the guys on the new boats on foils are a bit apprehensive about making a debut on a storm:,47.249,-3.867,4
But the race direction will not change the race start just because some boats have foils that are still not really tried enough on bad weather...and I agree that the race should go on. Postponing would be to give an advantage to the new designs over the older ones. Anyway it will be interesting, I mean even more interesting ;-) Well, the new boats on foils (at least some) have already some miles in rough weather even if what is ahead of them is far worse: 

And now the really good news, the start will be broadcasted by a French TV, France 3 and Dailymotion will be re-broadcasting it on the Transat Jacques Vabre channel (on the race site). As an option you can also watch it on the official France 3 website in French.
 After that you can follow the race almost live on the tracker (Cartographie) that will be available on the site since departure (13.30 French hour): 
With news in French, Portuguese and English, what do you want more...maybe you don't like sailing? :-)
More about this race with lots of videos here:

Saturday, October 17, 2015


This is a post that I have wanted to make here for a long time about a very interesting boat that will probably (unfortunately) be a commercial failure. I had already posted about it when it was on the project stage and it seemed already a very nice one.
Now that it is on the water and I have seen it at Dusselforf a follow up makes all the sense. 

The Sundbeam 40.1 is a lovely medium to light weight boat and even if they prefer to evidence its “sportiveness” it is not a performance sailboat but one that one can put on the same category as the Halberg-Rassy 412, a more sportive one but not a cruiser-racer. The boat is not as expensive as the Halberg Rassy 412, it is a bit smaller and considerably less heavy being a much slimmer and elegant boat. 

While the Halberg Rassy makes more concessions regarding interior volume the Sunbeam makes a lot less as it makes less in what regards effective sailing and beauty. Sunbeam is an Austrian brand, not very well known but that has been making quality boats for more than 50 years. On the past the boats were very well built but in many cases the looks were very similar to Bavarias. That was in the past since now they have a line of beautiful, elegant well built boats that sail very well, designed by J&J curiously the one that designed the pre-Farr Bavarias.

I have in the past visited several Sunbeam and even sailed side by side (at least for some seconds ;-) with some. I was always impressed with the built quality and finish but this time in Dusseldorf, I was not only impressed with that but with the quality of the design at a very good price. 

Comparing the HR 412 with the Sunbeam 40.1 will give some clues about the differences. The HR has a bigger LOA ( 12.61m to 11.99) the HR has more beam (4.11m to 3.99) both featuring modern transoms with the beam pulled back. The Sunbeam has a more effective keel with about the same standard depth (1.99m to 2.00). 

Regarding stability the Sunbeam balances the HR bigger form stability with a similar ballast ratio (0.36 to 0.35) but a much more effective keel (for the same draft), that means that the HR will sail with slightly less heel but that the Sunbeam will have a better final stability. 

 The HR weights 11.1T while the Sunbeam only 8.5T and the superior slightly bigger sail area of the HR (90m2 to 87.5m2) will not prevent the much lighter Sunbeam (and less beamier boat) to be a faster boat, specially upwind (and the HR is already a fast boat for a medium weight boat). 

The interior is a very nice one, slightly on the conservative side but cosy and the quality is evident. The storage is adequate specially on the two cabin version having the boat a very useful fender locker aft the anchor locker.

Several magazines have tested the boat and all the reviews were very positive, especially in what regards sailing. A great boat that I would say will miss a market since the ones that are after that type of boat want more interior space and will compromise a lot for that and in what regards performance cruisers, well it is not one, not comparable with true ones like the Arcona 410 just to speak of one with similar quality. At about 250 000 euros (without VAT) it is an interesting boat at an interesting price.

Maybe it is just your type of boat, not too sporty, not too fat, not too slow (meaning faster than most new cruisers) and a beautiful one with a great cruising interior.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Now that the start of the Transat Jacque Vabre is getting closer (only 10 days) more and more Open'60's are being shown using their new foils. Now we can have a look at Jean-Pierre Dick / Fabien Delahaye boat, a serious candidate to victory with two great sailors aboard. Everybody knows Jean-Pierre Dick but Fabien Delahaye is not so well known, a kid from the new generation with already a big list of accomplishments. Looking only at victories: 1st Transat Jacques Vabre (Class40 - 2013), 1st Tour de France (2012), 2012 French champion crewed offshore racing, 2011 Champion of France Solo Offshore, Winner of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale (with Armel Le Cléac’h - 2010). Their boat looks good and even with moderate wind the first 1/3 of the boat sails out of the water for considerable periods: 
Also a look at some great images from"Le souffle du Nord", Thomas Ruyant / Adrien Hardy Open60, one without the new foils and even if with two great sailors from the new generation (with many victories on smaller ocean classes) I don't believe the 2007 sailboat will allow them any chance to win. That's right, on many offshore races a top 2007 boat is still a boat to be considered for victory, here is just a 2 generations older boat, considerably slower then the new ones or even than the ones from the last generation. That is a measure of the speed of boat development and improvements on design on this class. Compare that with the Volvo racers where the boats from the previous generation where faster then the new ones. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Yes it is not only the Open60's that are changing fast in the way they sail, ocean racing trimarans are changing fast too. We have the idea that they already fly but not really since they kept on of the hulls on the water. Look at these images: Spectacular but dangerous and not that efficient. Now this team, Oman racing, has been experimenting on their MOD 70, having as reference a small GC 32. Look at the difference in efficiency, taking into consideration the size of the boats: The first MOD70 that comes first as a full foiling boat is the Edmond de Rothschild. First the boat in May, winning a race without foiling: and two months later we can see the boat foiling and sometimes completely out of the water: So another point of interest is to know if they become easier to tame. The MOD70 are very fast but very tricky to sail and several had capsized, the last one just some days ago: and of course, not forgetting other spectacular MOD70's capsizes:

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


While we wait for the Mini-Transat to re-start (all have already arrived to Lanzarote) let's have a look at the Transat Jacques Vabre, a 22 year old race that this year will have the additional interest of seeing the comparative performance of the new Open 60's on foils with the older ones. The Jacques Vabre is a global duo race meaning that even if we have different classifications we will also be able to see the comparative performance between maxi trimarans, 50ft trimarans, Open 60's and 40class racers. Several races in one. 
The race starts this month in France (Le Havre) and finishes in Brazil (Itajaí), a long Transat. 42 boats have already signed up, the majority Open 60's (20). a race to follow for sure, not only very interesting as with a site in English and Portuguese too (besides French):
 Some movies about the race and the racers:

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Don't take me wrong, classical means not that the boat is not very fast, means only that it is an evolution on older designs, without nothing really new, except the fact that it is probably the only medium production cruising boat built in carbon (not an option) and just that makes it outstanding.

Well, maybe not only carbon since on small letters they say: "Hull and deck of sandwich construction of carbon fibre reinforced vinylester with a 20 mm core of Divinycell. " so what they are talking about? Reinforced with what? If it is a full carbon hull it cannot be reinforced with something else. Even if not fully in Carbon the weight (9550kg) indicates that carbon use is somewhat extensive.

The design is from the NA that had designed all other Arconas on the line, Stefan Qviberg and that explains the conservative design that is very similar to the other Arconas. Does not mean I do not like it, in fact the hull design is very similar to my own boat or the Comet 45s....but the Comet 45 is a 10 year old design.

Anyway the performance I am sure that will be there (due to the light weight) even if I believe that it will be a poor boat in compensated racing and nothing special going downwind, as we can see by the speed and wind they show on the video.

Regarding cruising it will be another story, the performance will be super, a top building with a very good interior comfort. However I don't like at all the interior design that seems of bad quality to me (they should have it redesigned by an interior designer) and the standard water tankage (320L) is small for a 14m boat.

Thanks to Thomas Larsson that brought this boat to my attention :-)

Saturday, October 3, 2015


and a great movie with another of the new IMOCA, the new Safran Open 60: they really go faster!!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

SWAN IS BACK (Swan 50 club)

Swan has once produced the more prestigious, fast and well designed cruiser racers but on the last years has only produced well designed performance luxury boats that lacked the distinctive character that was the brand trademark and that have make them different from the others. 

Even the more racing oriented 42 and 45 lack the comparative modernity and performance of older models... but not this boat.
I believe that with this one they have returned to their origins: that will be a very expensive high tech boat but not a luxurious one. They traded luxury for performance and have it designed by Juan K the one that had designed the fastest VOR racers.

The Swan 50 look gorgeous to me and even if they present it, in what regards cruising, as fit for "comfortable short cruises or longer sport cruises" I would say that would satisfy a performance cruiser that tend to be more spartan then the habitual Swan clientele that is more luxury oriented.

It has a good storage, good tankage (500L of water and 300L of diesel for a 56KW engine) and only the galley seems small. Being the boat a semi-custom one that would not be difficult to modify since it is adjacent to a storage space. More 60cm to the galley (and less 60cm on the storage) it would make it adequate for longer cruising.

Of course, it is a carbon boat and not only the looks and design look great and very effective, specially for ocean racing (or cruising), as the dimensions point to a very, very fast sailboat that will be a lot of fun to sail. This 50ft has about the weight of a performance 42ft  cruiser (8500kg), a moderated beam all pulled back (4.20m), a big draft (3.20m) with an option for a swallow draft (2.20m) and certainly a big B/D ratio that in conjunction with the beam and the chines will make for a huge stability, that we can imagine looking for the sail it can carry upwind: 142m2.

In what regards hull design nothing really new, just a very updated design with an inverted bow, chines forward to create more buoyancy and to divert the water making for a drier boat, chines on the back to increase stability and making it easier to drive downwind and two rudders for a better and more efficient control on ocean conditions or downwind........ What a boat!!!   ;-)

Thursday, October 1, 2015


No that has not happen yet but it is the project of Hannah white on this beauty, a kind of overgrowth Moth with 6 meters:
The boat sails beautifully (or flies) and Hannah thinks she can make 40k on a real sailbboat, (well of a kind ;-) and beat the feminine sail speed record that belongs to Zara Davis on a windsurf with 34.74K. Hannah is no beginer with three transats solo and a Mancha Channel record, she may well fly that "thing" to 40k. A dangerous stunt since falling at 40k should be quite traumatic for her and the " Speedbird" that only weights 8kg.