Thursday, March 31, 2016


St Barth sailing bucket is not a top race with top sailors and top racing boats, more a regatta to the jet set sailing community to have a big social event and have fun with big crews sailing their mega yachts, to a nice sailing performance. Anyway I am quite pleased that some very rich have the good taste of spending their money in beautiful and hugely expensive yachts including the recuperation of the J-fleet, the maxi racers from the 30's, that you can see also here competing. Cheers to them and to the great images they provide for our delight.

St Barth Bucket Regatta 2016 by Drone from St Barth Fly Cam on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Nothing really much interesting from Besteaever.... till know. They are beautiful expensive aluminium voyage boats designed by Dykstra, very classical in design, considerably heavier then the French alu. models, having the 50 a similar design made of GRP, a considerably less expensive version, the Bestewind.

But things have changed and the new 45ST can have a swing keel with all ballast on the keel and a two rudder set up. That will increase the boat potential as a voyage boat, allowing it to access shallow anchorages, to get better protection from the wind and sea, anchoring closer to the shore and the possibility to be beached.

Contrary to the previous 45 this one has a real pilot house, offering a small protected space to steer the boat in bad weather, or cold,  at the cost of a smaller saloon (you can see it on the movie). It makes a lot more sense than the aluminium sprayhood  previously adopted (on the photo) that would not serve as a proper shelter for bad weather.

An interesting boat for the ones that prefer a slightly outdated hull to enjoy the privilege of having a classical looking boat and don't mind to pay for a 45ft aluminium semi custom boat about the same that they would pay for a more functional 50ft French production Aluminium voyage boat.

The interiors are of very good quality and match the classical taste of the yacht.

Since we are looking at the Besteaver, let's also have a look at the less expensive GRP version, the Bestewind 50 that costs about the same price as the Aluminium Bestevaer 45, around half a million euros without VAT. A very nice looking boat with an interior a bit too posh for my taste, but that will go along with the conservative tastes of the ones that will chose a boat like this as a voyage boat.

Monday, March 21, 2016


No, it is not this one, this is just an ante-vision (François Chevalier) of what could be the future boat but an interesting design nevertheless. So, what we do know about the characteristics demanded for the new boat?:

"The new one-design racing boat will have a racing program of  mainly offshore solo and duo races. It will integrate technologies that will provide a substancial improvement in performance, without diminishing the seaworthiness and allowing easy access. It  will fulfill the requisites for  ISO Category A and Category 1 ISAF. Its size, from 30 to 32 feet, will allow to maintain a low price and a controlled cost. The one design will be strict and  an integral part of the design and building."

We know also that only major designers with experience in designing this type of racing boats (on the last 5 years) will be accepted on the contest for the new boat and we know that the 3 finalists have already been chosen (24/2), that the 3 preliminar projects have already been delivered and that the official project will be chosen before the end of this month.

The two previous Figaros, the I in 1990 and the II, in 2003, were two amazingly advanced designs for their time, to the point that the Figaro II, designed 13 years ago still look contemporary. They were designed by two of the best French designers, Finot and Marc Lombard.

 We know already the 3 chosen finalists, VPLP (Verdier?), Finot/Conq/Manuard, Mer Forte (Michel Desjoyeaux). It seems a bit odd Mere fort being there, I don't see how their curriculum fits on the demanded competences.

Regarding François Chevalier ante-vision I am not convinced about the bow. Probably it will be rounded but not so much. That bow would be great on a Transat but on the med upwind on nasty conditions would prove to be an ineffective one, that would make miserable the life of any sailor, including a racing one. In fact even if Transats are on the boat racing program they are not the main part of it.

Not also sure about beam. probably we will have a beamier boat with finer entries or maybe not because the use of lateral foils imply a big buoyancy on the bow, specially on a small boat and I am not sure how that will be solved. I hope there will be better ways than with a bow like that.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Halberg Rassy continues with the renovation of its fleet porpoising much better sailing boats, maintaining the minimum of conservatism to make his clients happy. This time it was the substitution of the old Halberg Rassy 43, already in its 3rd remake and clearly outdated, by a new 44.

The new model is nicely designed by the habitual NA cabinet, German Frers, but it is very different from the old 43. The inefficient skeg rudder was substituted by a modern twin rudder set up, the big bow overhang disappeared allowing for a much bigger LWL, it has much finer entries, the hull form stability was increased by considerably more beam and by bringing the beam aft, the boat has a much more efficient keel with more draft a superior B/D ratio.

All this translates in a boat with considerably more overall stability, faster and safer with a better reserve stability and better AVS. HR should be congratulated and this model will be a great sucessor for one of the benchmarks of HR, the 43.

The 44 has also some practical new features like a folding transom that turns in a bath platform and an integral bowsprit with anchor stand. It is slightly heavier than the 43 (13.3t to 12.7t) but that diference in weight is less than the diference in ballast (5.3t to 4.5t) and that makes proportionally the 44 a lighter sailboat, specially if we consider the bigger LWL and superior beam.

The much superior sail performance comes not only from a better and more hydrodynamic hull but also from the superior sail area that the bigger stability will allow (109.6m2 to 95.1m2).

They talk about 8.8K speed at 100º with 12K true wind and even more impressively the VPP predicts  with 6K true wind a boat speed over wind speed from 70º to 120º with a max speed of 6.7K at 100º. 

The old 43. Compare the two hulls.
Off course those performances consider perfect sea conditions and flat seas but they are very good for a boat of this type. The time of the slow and boring HR seems to be things from the past.

The performance upwind is also remarkably good, just to understand how good it is I compared it with the performance of my own boat, a performance cruiser of 41ft, a Comet 41s that has the typical very good performance of a modern fast cruiser racer of that size. 

The Comet is only marginally better regarding VMG  (about 0.1K) and the Comet points better just about 1.5º. The Comet is always a bit faster with winds till 20K (true wind) after that the HR 44, due to its much bigger LWL, that allows it a better wave passage, is even slightly faster.

The old 43. Compare side views.
They talk about the bigger cockpit space, compared with the 43, but the truth is that the cockpit space continues to be small, specially if compared with one from an aft cockpit boat of that size. It's the price to pay for a king sized aft cabin.
Regarding that cabin there is an option for a bow thruster there, probably due to the smaller maneuverability in port maneuvers that comes with the twin rudder set up, that is a much superior solution except in what regards that.

That option will imply a huge loss of exterior storage space and  I would say that would be a big trade  off  regarding a better maneuverability and should only be taken if the boat will be sailed a lot from marina to marina and that would be a waste since this boat would be a very good bluewater boat and for that use all that lost storage space will become necessary.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Yes I have good news for the ones whom sailing pleasure and fun is more important than cruising comfort on a cozy interior: Finally the much waited replacement of the Figaro II is going to happen this year and that means a lot of very good small racing offshore sailingboats on the market at very interesting prices, since the boat will be no more used on the Figaro circuit after 2017 or 2018?

This boat will make not only an interesting fast spartan cruiser but also an interesting offshore solo or short crew racer, for the ones that are more interested in that or in a dual program, particularly on places were the fleets are not very new. The boat interior is the one of an offshore race boat and has everything you need to live aboard even if in a spartan way, but it would not be difficult neither very expensive to improve that interior.

Regarding seaworthiness, I will remember that on the Figaro circuits duo Transats were on the racing program and that when the previous model was discontinued (Figaro I) an old Canadian sailor pick one and had done a circumnavigation without any problem.

A movie with the boat interior and some others that will remain in our memory regarding this boat great sailing performance ;-)
More movies here:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


One of the first posts on this blog was about a virtual comparison between the Viko 30s and the Viko 22s and I say virtual because the Viko 30s was not yet on the water and was not tested, contrary to the Viko 22 that had been tested by Yacht de with not very favorable comments, to say the least.

At the time I expressed the opinion that they were very different boats (even if their look was not that different) due mainly to a big diference in B/D ratio and also different freeboard proportionally to the boat length. The Viko 22 is basically a dinghy relying on form stability and on the weight of the crew for stability, having a very poor final stability. The Viko 30 has a torpedo relatively deep keel and its stiffness and final stability, as well as the upwind performance has nothing to do with the S22:

I was waiting for some more testing but as they seem to take time to appear I would have to rely on the one from "Yacht de" and on the images we can see on the video test:
and also on the one from the British "Sailing Today".
This review was specially enthusiastic regarding the sailing performance, scoring the boat 4 out of a maximum possible 5 regarding sailing and looks. They were testing not the deep keel version with a torpedo keel (that I like more) but the swing keel version and even so they said about the Viko 30s:

"I was pretty impressed with the Viko. She looked smart and thoroughly up to date and she handled some frankly awful conditions gamely. I would have liked to sail the fixed-keel version, because if you added a gennaker and some racing sails, you would have a pretty competitive racing yacht."

The movie shows a boat that sails well, reaching 7.7K on a F4/F5, recovering easily from gusts (contrary to the S22). A boat that privileges sailing and cockpit space to interior space, with a simple rigging, a big storage and a simple interior with a small galley and a big head.

I saw the boat this year at Dusseldorf and I was not favorably impressed with the interior quality that is below the one that is offered by Bavaria or Hanse in similarly sized sailboats, but that would be expected since a Viko 30s costs 35 500 euros while a Hanse 315 costs 59 900 euros.

The Viko can cost even less with an outboard engine (29 900 euros) or a lot more if many options are to be taken. Anyway a low price for sailability, interior space and cruising ability. I would say that this boat makes sense to the ones that are interested in a coastal small boat mostly for having fun day sailing it with ocasional weekend and holiday cruising in a kind of basic way.

And I would put the emphasis on sailing since even if there are several other Polish offers regarding budget cruisers none seems to me so less compromised regarding sailing potential and cockpit space, even if some have better quality interiors. Regarding what the boat offers, difficult or impossible to find better at that price, it remains to be seen if there are a market for it, meaning an emphasis in sailing regarding interior space and interior quality on a mass market boat.
If someone tries the boat I would also be interested in your opinions about it, particularly regarding how it sails. For the ones interested I would recommend a extensive personal test sail through charter. You can charter one in Italy (Agropoli) for not much:

Saturday, March 12, 2016


The Adventure 55 is clearly a voyage boat but from a different bread from Allures, Garcia or Boreal. Not a centerboarder like those but a lifting keel Yacht (1.40/3.05m) with a torpedo where most ballast is located (6.2T). That ballast on a 20T boat give a B/D of 31% and that with that draft and that type of high performance keel, is a lot.
The boat has a considerable beam (4.8m) and a big form stability that is bettered by a beam bough aft and chines. That form stability plus the stability from the low CG makes this a very powerful boat with a SA/D of 21.8 and certainly a fast one.

The dinghy, contrary to the majority of aluminium centerboarders around, is not on davits but on a garage and that contributes to make this a beautiful sailboat. The boat was tested by Seilas magazine during a passage and the speed they got most of the time was 10K, in different wind and sea conditions. They were impressed with the Adventure 55.

This yacht contrary to most of the aluminium centerboarders cannot be sailed from the inside and even if it has a very large sprayhood, that offers a big protection, that is a disadvantage specially in what regards cold climates but probably this boat was not designed with that in mind. Not all wish to go voyaging on very cold climates and with the exception of that, the boat is perfect, offering speed, seaworthiness, the safety of an aluminium hull and beauty.
The interior is a good and nice one but I would say that it lacks a bit of inspiration. The Adventure 55 joins the Gigale 16 in what regards the offer of fast aluminium voyage boats. The Cigale does not offer the versatility of a lifting keel, but that comes with a price and the Adventure 55 is considerably more expensive. I would not mind having any of the two even if I would prefer the lighter, less expensive and faster Cigale, even if I find the Adventure 55 more beautiful ;-)

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Sure not a big deal, several Pogo 30 have crossed the Atlantic and even more Pogo 8.50 (the previous model), but these guys made a nice movie and since it is an interesting boat and an interesting movie, I believe you guys will appreciate it:

On conservative sail forums we heard about the impossibility of this type of small boats doing a Transat: Not enough water, not enough fuel, not enough seaworthiness. Well they had no problems and it seems to me that even if they are three, they don't seem uncomfortable on that small boat and they certainly are going at the speed of a much bigger one, so less days on the crossing and more fun sailing.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Something interesting coming from Elan. They have two series, the Performance  and the Impression. The Performance series has several good boats specially the 32ft (E3) and the 35ft (E4) but the 40 (E5) has not the same good cruising interior design of the other two boats offering a smallish galley for a 40ft boat.

Well, about the impression series I would forget about that, don't think they are interesting. It is hard to understand how a brand can have so nicely designed performance boats and so ugly main market cruisers, specially since the designer is the same (Humphreys). Anyway the good news is that is going to change.

They are going to pick the hull of the 40ft E5 (a nice and good hull), add a nicely designed raised cabin (that will provide a lot of light), a big hull port for the view and a better cruising interior. All seems to make sense including a running rigging  more geared towards solo sailing. I hope they get it right because what come up, even if with horrible black graphics, is nice and interesting even if the galley continues to look too small.