Thursday, July 6, 2017


I know that many of you, like me, want to really know the differences between the behavior and speed of different types of boats but unfortunately you will not find that on a magazine and in this case nothing like real experience and that's what happened yesterday when I had the opportunity to sail with a brand new Hanse 415 at the same course as my Comet 41s. 

 Note that this is not about the Hanse 415 versus the Comet 41s but much more about two different types of boats, the differences would not be very different if instead of a Hanse it was a Beneteau or a Jeanneau and, instead a Comet, a First 40, a Salona 41, a X40 or a J120.

 It is not also about light wind performance or upwind performance where the differences between the two types of boats would be huge but about sailing with wind on the beam or downwind with 16/18K wind and about not sailing the performance boat with a crew and a Spinnaker (where it would be much faster) but sailing the performance boat under canvassed, with only a genoa versus a fast main market boat sailing with full sails.

 They advertise the Hanse, with its self taking jib as a very easy boat to sail (and it is) and on the other hand people would think a performance boat a more dificult boat to sail and it is, if the boat is sailing exploiting its full speed ability, like racing, but what would you say if I say to you that the Comet 41s only with a Genoa is has fast as a Hanse 415 with full sails? Faster when the wind hit 17 or 18K.

 Do you think that an under powered boat with only a genoa, far from the limit, is more dificult to sail than a full powered boat with full sails near the limit where it needs to reef the main (not a furler main)?

 This experience could only happen because my wife had yesterday a small surgery and asked me to sail only with the genoa for the boat to be more comfortable since I have the autopilot working badly and she could not make any effort. Normally even with a short crew or solo with a working autopilot I would be sailing in these conditions with full genoa and a main on the second reef, with a huge safety margin (the boat would be good for 25k winds with just a bit furled genoa). On those conditions I would be sailing with that wind between 8.6 and 9.6k and no way a main market cruiser could take that pace with only 16 to 18k wind. 


  1. Hi Paulo, congrats for your blog. I'm still impressed by the performance of your boat. Peaking over 9 knots with just 18 TWS and only full genoa. Really fast boat.

    1. I do not like to brag about it but yes it is fast, specially upwind. Some days ago I had a kind of a "race" with a First 44.7, close upwind on about 9 to 12k my surprise I was faster. More details on my facebook page on the day I leaved from Poros to Epidavros.

  2. Dear Paulo,
    In our part of the world, Scandinavia, we find ourselves in these friendly "competitions" all the time. Amidst the island archipelago and fjords, we run along narrow corridors, and in high season, never alone. We sail a H385, very similar to the H415, but the ballast and sailarea proportions are slightly different. It seems to make the boat relatively faster. We have small children in the cockpit, who really dont like significant heeling or surprising moves, and we sail with 3 y.o dacron sails. Not pushing the limit at all. We frequently outpace both 40 footers and (sometimes) keep pace with more performance oriented boats. In fact, just yesterday we outpaced a B46 and a J439 on a downwind run. Admittedly, we were running a assymetric and full main and conditions were light, but it still felt good. On the other hand, a few weeks ago we were completely outpaced by a classic wooden 12m. Performance cruiser of another age demonstrating the brilliance of its design.

    That being said. I fully support your general observation that performance boats are mostly easier to handle than production boats. I find the same to be true in many types of life, work and leisure, whereby the top rated gear is simply better, even for low impact use. Its simply better. Highly specialized gear, i.e a racing sailboat, has of course a very narrow usable range, but other quality performance oriented sailboats are designed for broader range of purposes. I have also sailed a bit on older classics from HR and Najad, and clearly their characteristics are different than our modern production boat. Although not exactly speed machines, their stability and ergonomics makes for better performance at less effort.

    So why doesn’t everyone want a performance cruiser? The price increase for improved performance seems out of proportion for most people including ourselves. The value-proposition doesn’t seem significant enough, or it requires a very knowledgeable and interested buyer, to fully appreciate the differences. That group of buyers is perhaps not big enough, not growing, and hence, high performance cruisers will remain a niche with relatively small volumes and high prices. Maybe even shrinking.

    Perhaps the Pogos, and possibly new RMs, are able to overcome this by offering performance that overcomes the value proposition threshold, i.e plaining sailboats. That’s a “value proposition” that seems quite significant. They may actually attract new buyers and grow the market. Bigger market will lead to higher volumes and lower prices.

    I would be very curious to see any hard market data on this. Is this part of the market actually strengthening? Or is it just hype? The reported waiting times for a new Pogo and RM (years) is quite extraordinary and indicates that demand is much higher than supply. If this is sustained, we should see prices come down and alternatives expand. I.e the volumes of performance boats is incredibly small. More professionalized access to sales channels. i.e have you ever tried to buy a Pogo? (requires determination in itself). This innovation also needs to be supported by more than just product innovation, i.e there also need to be market, sales, and also more efficient line production to make the transition into higher volumes and lower price points.

    Someone made investments in Bavaria decades ago, transformed the sailboat cruiser market to assembly line production (for better or worse). Perhaps something equivalent is needed on the performance range side. But I believe the value proposition needs to be more attractive than it currently is.

    What would happen if Hanse offered a plaining performance cruiser at half the price of a Pogo?

    Kind regards,

    1. Hanse cannot offer a performance boat, on Pogos league cheaper. Pogo Shipyard dont do magazine publicity and rarely goes to boat shows to keep the costs down.

      As you said price of a performance cruise is higher, that has to do with better sail hardware, as you pointed out, but also with the cost of added stability (Power) that turns also indirectly as a safety factor (better stability curve, particularly in what regards safety stability).

      That's simple to understand, performance boats have a bigger B/D ratio or bigger drafts with torpedos and both things translated not only on a bigger stiffness but also on the necessity of a more reinforced hull/ keel structure to be able to cope with those bigger efforts on the hull...and that is very expensive.

      Also very expensive to build a significantly lighter boat as strong as an heavier one.

      But there are some cases of boats/brands that have successfully managed to produce performance boats not much more expensively than main market cruisers, Dehler, Salona, Elan and Maxi 1200 comes to my mind and even so they don't sell in large numbers, some are even in trouble to survive.

      I believe that is because first of all most costumers don't really understand the differences between those types of boats, secondly because most cruisers just want to cruise. Sailing is not a priority (neither sailing pleasure) but only a mean to an end. Those will chose the boat with a bigger and nicer interior and that's why you have a great boom with condo cats right now: they offer just that.

      Those cruisers will just motor against the wind or in lighter winds and then the bigger advantages of a performance cruiser will be just wasted while they will get a boat with less interior space and that is a big minus.

      I am not defending one type of boat against others, not even in what regards condo cats: the right boat to each one is the one that cover their needs and I am kite sure that the market expresses the different needs in the quantity and types of boats sold.

      But there are some that like as much sailing as cruising and performance boats (different types) are the boats more adapted to those, that will be always a minority, as the boats designed for them.

  3. Travelling over the sea is amazing experience specially in group. The video shows you enjoyed a lot. Fun during Sailing and cruising depends upon quality of boat. Great share.