On the Middle sea race I was particularly interested on the Pogo 50 performance (photo above). The boat was well crewed and always faster than a Class 40 that was also racing. My interest has to do with confirming one more time (or not) that this type of hull is not the best option on the med in what regards performance and to look at the comparative behavior with IRC based cruiser racers.
To make an evaluation, the conditions on this race were very interesting since we had strong upwind winds, where the Pogo type of hull would be penalized and even more time sailing downwind with strong winds, where the Pogo would have an advantage. We had also very light winds at the beginning, so not a complete picture but a comprehensive one.
The Pogo 50 (Eros) has done a great race and among the production cruiser racers it was the 4th to arrive, after Caro, the 65ft, Music, a Swan 53 and a Xp44 (XP-Act). Behind, on another group at some distance, an Elan 350!!!(Rosaton), a J122 (Anita), a M37 (Herbe V), a Salona 41 (Rossko), a Swan 44 (Triple Lindy) a Sunfast 3600 (Bora Fast), another JPK 1080 (Sunrise) and an IMX 45 all going fast too.
Let’s look at the different weather conditions on the race and see how the Pogo 50 behaved compared to the boats it was fighting with at the end of the race and also with the two that finished ahead, the Swan 53 and the XP44.
At the beginning of the race, from Malta to the passage of Messina strait, upwind and with very light winds, the first to clear the strait was the Xp44(XP-Act) followed by the Swan 57 then the First 45 (Elusive 2), a Nautatec 40 and the JPK 10.80. Of course, in so light conditions tactical routing is very important but the point here is that traditional shaped IRC cruiser racer (smaller) were faster than the Pogo 50, but not much and that the JPK 1080 passed the strait at a considerable distance, behind the Pogo 50.
After the strait they continued upwind, tacking till the end of Sicily’s North coast, but now with strong winds and waves of considerable size (4m). The first to turn around Sicily was the Swan 57 with the XP44 on its tails, then the First 45, the JPK 45, the Nautatec 40 and then the Pogo 50.
The Pogo lost a lot to all these boats, not only in speed but in VMG due to a lower pointing ability not compensated by speed.
At this point the Pogo was very far away from the Fisrt 45 (that sailed ahead) and had been overtaken by the little JPK 1080 that went away. Note that upwind with light winds the Pogo 50 is not disadvantaged but with strong wind, normally, it is. That has not to do really with the wind but with the waves that normally appear with the wind. Without waves the Pogo, because it is very light and has a small wet surface, it is not significantly disadvantaged, but with waves the boat is enveloped by the wave and has therefore a much bigger wave drag than the narrower boats and that slows it down.
When we look at a Pogo polar speed we can see a very good upwind performance all the way from weak to strong winds, but that, of course, is in flat water.
After turning around Sicily, going South and till the finish in Malta, it was all downwind, the bigger distance on the race course constituted by two downwind legs, in two different directions, first to Panteleria and then to Malta.
Passing Pantelleria the Pogo had already overtaken the Nautatec 40, had come close to the JPK 1080 and was diminishing the distance to the First 45 and a bit to the Swan 53 and the Xp44. From all those boats the Pogo 50 was now the fastest but the difference in speed, even for the little JPK 1080, was far from what most would have expected, including me.
After passing Lampedusa, the Swan 53 and the XP 44 still maintained a big advance. Then passed the JPK 1080 that had been fighting side by side with the Pogo for a considerable time and resisting!!!
I took some measurements of the speeds of the three boats at the same time on three different points on the last downwind leg and that can give an idea of the difference in speed on those conditions: Pogo 50 - 9.8/10.4/10.3, First 45 - 9/9.6/9.4 and the JPK 1080 - 9.3/9.8/9.5
The Swan 53 and the Xp44, even if they had seen their advance slightly diminished, still arrived well ahead of the Pogo 50 that very near Malta had finally managed to catch the JPK 1080 and the First 45. The three boats passed the line almost at the same time.
Notice that the Pogo had started 40 minutes after the JPK and 20 after the First 45 so it made the race in less time (and arrived ahead).
But it is not the race that I am more interested in but on the performance analysis and in what regards that the JPK 1080 passed the Messina strait way after the Pogo so, regarding medium/strong wind, upwind and downwind, if we consider the starting point the Messina strait, then the JPK 1080 was faster!!! Till Messina strait was all very light winds and luck and strategic routing took a big importance in what regards performance. After that it was all about boat and crew performance.
You can play back the router and take a look at the performance of the different boats. http://www.rolexmiddlesearace.com/tracker/#pt
|Jeanneau Sunfast 3600|
Once more we can see that the much generalized idea that the Pogo is faster than more traditional designed performance boats of the same size, following the IRC development trend, is not true. It is faster or slower depending on the conditions and points of sail. No doubt it would be faster on a Transat, on the med, on average it is slower, but always depending on the conditions. Its strong and weak points are just different.
But being slower does not mean that with a solo skipper it is not easier to sail downwind and therefore able to go much faster, specially with a not very good skipper (and that includes me LOL). Fact is that on this race where there is a duo racing classification, I have seen a lot of Class 40 being beaten by traditional IRC performance cruisers (and the class 40 is a racing boat).
It has happened this year where the victory went to a J122, (stellar racing team) that made a stellar race. They were not only the ones in the category to have managed to finish the race as they have done it fast (they were turning around Lampedusa when the Pogo 50 was turning around Malta and they had stopped for repairs).
The Class 40 that was their major opponent on the duo class (Green Challenge) was always 2nd till the moment that the J122 had to stop in Filicudi island for repairs. The J122 was recovering fast when the class 40 was forced to retire on the North coast of Sicily.
|Green Challenge BM class 40|
Taking about retired boats, they were almost 50% of all participants, including the only multihull, a small racing catamaran that was making a great race on the light stuff but that on the strong upwind conditions had to retire not far from Filicudi.
And regarding boats that have impressed me, among performance cruisers, well, no doubt the JPK 1080 but also the Elan 350 (Rosatom) that has made a truly incredible race, the XP44 that is a favorite of mine and one of the best performance cruisers around and the Swan 53.
There was a Swan 42 making an even
more impressive performance, faster than the XP44 and the Swan 53, till the moment it had problems and had to retire, at the middle of Sicily's North coast. Very good also the
performance of the First 45, the Salona 41 and the one of the J122, all great
And by the way, congratulations to the Russian Bogatyr crew (JPK 1080) that won the race on compensated time. More and more Russians sailing on the med and now winning races!!! Welcome to the top racing scene where the more, the better.
Some more information about the JPK 1080:
Some more information about the JPK 1080: