Thursday, November 30, 2017


Bavaria yachts are in my opinion among the best mass production sailboats, sure, like all the others built for a low price, but I believe their building process is a bit better than the one that is used by all French mass production builders, having about the same built quality as Hanse, the other German yacht mass producer.

Many people associate  Bavaria with charter boat and it makes some sense because Bavarias are probably the most used boats on the charter business but curiously they retain only the negative connotation and they don't associate Bavarias with the reason why they are preferred by charter operators and that is a very positive one: they offer one of the best value on the market and the boats give less problems than some others.

But Bavarias always had a "defect": they looked like Bavarias. "Look like a Bavaria" became an expression to denominate yachts that not being necessarily ugly had a bland deja vu look. Things went better when they changed to Farr as a designer, but not much better. With the exception of the Vision line, that are better looking, the main line continued to look uninteresting and old looking.

Then, for the C57, their top of the line, they started a collaboration with an Italian NA, Maurizio Cossutti and the C57 looks not like a Bavaria anymore, it looks elegant. I thought that collaboration was only for the top of the line, that the shipyard wanted to look like a "real" yacht, but surprise surprise, they liked so much the design that Cossutti is going to design more Bavarias and Bavarias will not look like "Bavaria" anymore, they will look more beautiful and elegant.

Thanks to a Croatian friend you can look at the first elegant one (after the C57), the C45 (cover photo). I don't know if it will replace the 46, that has already a nice interior but, as usual, look like a "Bavaria" on the outside, or if they will start a new parallel C line. But that seems improbable to me and commercially does not seem to make sense.

The C45 has been maintained secret and no technical documentation has been released. The boat looks quite nice (except in what regards the giant middle port hull) and I am very curious about the technical specifications. Probably it is going to be a very interesting sailboat. Cossutti is known by designing very fast ORC racers namely the NM38 (that won the World's championship) and also for designing some fast performance cruisers like Salona 380, More 55 and the line of Italia Yachts. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


The black beauty, the fastest of all IMOCA is for sale and now we understand why Alex Thompson did not make the last Transat, the Jacques Vabre, a race that he would have big chances of winning. The Hugo Boss, besides being the fastest is an almost new boat, built only two years ago for competing on the 2016/2017 Vendee Globe.

Contrary to what one could think these are not bad news for Alex Thompson but great news: he is going to have a faster and even better boat built next year to compete on the 2020 Vendee Globe. Crazy stuff?

No, the IMOCA class are from all the offshore racing boats the ones whose development is faster and with all information that was received from the use of foils on the last Vendee Globe it is already possible to build a better and faster IMOCA. Hugo Boss is the best on the water and after having been proved, not only faster solo on the trade winds but also fast with a crew, in conventional offshore races, has a high market value and Alex Thompson wants to take advantage of that to subsidize the new racer.

The asking price is three and a half million euro. If you have the money and want to have a winning boat go for it LOL. Seriously I don't know if that will be the selling price, probably not, but I am sure that the boat will have many interested buyers, not only rich billionaires but most of all major sponsors that want a competitive boat to win some major races, with the right sailor or the right crew.

Alex Thompson has made the best possible publicity to the boat, arriving 2nd on the Vendee Globe with a crippled boat (a broken foil) and even so fighting hard for the race leadership, leaving behind several boats from the same generation in perfect conditions. And even more surprising than that, he has proved that the Hugo Boss, with medium to strong wind, was able to be incredibly competitive on the great offshore classic races.

On the last Middle Sea Race, a month ago, the Hugo Boss was able to clearly beat not only all VOR boats racing but also one of the Maxi racers, the CQS, a yacht that was completely rebuilt last year. He crossed the line in real time in 3rd place. I hope somebody will buy it in time for the Sydney Hobart where the conditions are often strong and if not with too much upwind sailing, suitable to this boat. Curiously he showed on the Middle Sea Race that with strong winds he was not as bad upwind, as most including me would think, even if compared with CQS that is a upwind maximized boat.

As a cherry on top of the cake, Alex Thompson with the feeling all, including Hugo Boss, recognize in him for business, has managed to obtain recently the most incredible sailing images of his Imoca sailing well over 30k and flying sometimes the boat completely out of the water!!!(the first movie).

Hugo Boss, the Sponsor, has maintained with sailing and with Alex Thompson one of the  longest associations on the sport: 18 years and 6 racing boats. Chapeau and a big thanks to Hugo Boss to believe in sailing as advertising.

The new Hugo Boss will be the VII. The two last ones were designed by VPLP and Guillaume Verdier. Now that they parted ways he has yet to chose between them who is going to design the new boat. I would say it would be Guillaume Verdier, that I believe is the best designer of offshore open racing boats today.

He is designing the new VOR racer and he can join all the information obtained on the last Vendee Globe, where the leading boats were all designed with his collaboration, with the new research on foils for the VOR, that is estimated at half a million euro and that will come as a bonus to the new design.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


It looks like a different planet!!! On the South, the Antarctic continent, on the Northwest, New Zealand and all around the big Austral desert, the South Pacific Ocean. Soon the nearest guys from François Gabart will be the ones on the space station.

Ahead, he has heavy weather and strong winds. Better take care and not have an accident there because the help is going to take several days to arrive. The record attempt goes well, he has an advance of more than 700nm and he keeps smiling like a kid, as if it was not unusual to sail that monster at speed, alone for several months, doing repairs outside with temperatures below 0 and dodging Icebergs. Truly incredible François Gabart. You can follow the attempt on the tracker:

And what to say about Yves le Blevec, the one that is doing an attempt that even his fellow profissional solo racers considere incredibly difficult, one that was never been attempted by a multihull and the only absolute big sail record that still belongs to a monohull?

That is his second attempt to break the circumnavigation record the wrong way around, meaning against the dominant winds. The first one finished a month ago with breakage on the boat. I hope he has better luck this time. His team think that it is going to be possible to do it in 3 months. So far so good and the distance to the monohull is already big (the little blue boat) on the image above.

You can follow the attempt on the tracker:

Friday, November 24, 2017


There was a big fight till the finish on the Transat Jacques Vabre among the leading Class40. By far the most interesting race on this Transat. Only 23 minutes separated 1st and 2nd  after more than 17 days of racing!!! The victory went to Sorel/Carpentier on V and B. They were only 4th when they crossed the doldrums, some days ago, but their final part of the race was fantastic.

They left behind Sharp/Santurde (that lead the race till the doldrums) and went on close pursuit to Chappellier/Vaillant that put on a big fight, leading till very near the finish line.  We can see their disappointment when they arrived almost not celebrating. Certainly it is hard to lose almost over the finish line after a titanic effort for many days. They can be proud regarding the way they battled till the end.

You can see what I am talking about pulling back the orange button on the lower right corner of the cartography, on the link behind. Amazing fight till the finish!

But there is another winner on this race, a big one, the NA that designed all the boats that arrived on the 3 first places, Sam Manuard. The class 40 is a kind of battleground for boat designers, almost all that are meaningful in what regards designing racing boats, have designed one, from Ker to Farr, passing by Marc Lombard, Finot/Conq, Verdier, Humphreys, Owen and Clark and many others.

With this kind of competition having a full podium is just incredible and says much about Sam Manuard's ability as a designer. Sam was a solo racer coming from the minis and even if he never had a chance in what regards a big commission by a main production shipyard (and that's unfair) he is responsible for some of the more interesting fast small cruisers on the market, the Seascape. You can read (link below) a very interesting interview he gave about boat design, one that is very important to understand the diference between new and old designs in what regards sailing downwind (explained with videos).

On the Volvo Ocean race, after a domination by the French/New Zealand crew of the Chinese boat, that lasted almost all the race, on the final part Mapfre, the Spanish boat, this time with mostly a Spanish crew, managed to overtake them and finished with a small lead. I guess that these two teams will be dominating the race from now on. In my opinion they are the strongest. My bet goes to Dongfeng, even if they lost this one to Mapfre.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


I had already posted about the J112e when it was on the project stage, I have visited the boat at the Dusseldorf boat show and it is all that it promised on the project: a very nice interior, well finished in a kind of modest way and I am not meaning anything negative quite the contrary. While most cruising boats nowadays have a flashy interior with average quality the J112 remains very sober and funcional featuring good quality everywhere. The J112e is made by Jcomposites in France and comes to substitute what was one of the most successful Jboats in what regards sales, the J109.

The J112 is a better and more modern design improving on the J109 in everything, from interior space to stability and performance. It has more length (36.00 to 35.25ft) more beam (11.75 to 11.50ft) a bigger SA/D (22.3 to 20.4) it is lighter (D/L-157 to 172) it has more stability (Max RM - 833 to 940 ft/lb) and all this allows not only a bigger interior but a remarkably faster boat (IRC - 1.015 to 1.060).

The interest on the boat by European magazines has not been big and though it has been tested by many sail magazines for the 2017 yacht of the year few have published the sail test but when they have the comments are very positive and everybody loves to sail the J112e. Curiously  magazines in the US, where the interest for this type of boats is way smaller, have published more sail tests and even have made it boat of the year in an odd category: the crossover yacht.

But all this is not enough to make it a big sales success: the demand of this type of performance cruiser is very small on the US and it is diminishing in Europe not only due to the competition of other successful brands like JPK, Pogo, Italia Yachts (and now even Grand Soleil) among others but because unfortunately here we see also a decrease on the number of cruisers that want this type of sail boat.

Comparing the J112e with what seems to me to be the best performance cruiser of this size, the JPK 1080, I would say that the J112e is much more typed as an upwind sailboat while the JPK remains with a more balanced performance, one that has been giving it an incredible racing performance, from the Sydney Hobart to the Middle Sea Race, Fastnet and on the duo Transats.

In what regards hull diferences the JPK 1080 is just slightly beamier being the main diference on the transom design. The J112e, that is comparatively the beamier of all J's, has the max beam at the middle while the JPK has it pulled aft, giving it a big transom.

We can say this is a sailor's boat in a sense that the interior space has not come at the cost of a decreased sailing performance and that the sail hardware is not just a simplified one that only allows a basic sail trim. Many cruisers (or their wives) that buy the boats on boat shows are not able to understand at what cost comes that little bit of extra interior space or why even with a smaller interior these boats are more expensive than main mass produced boats.

The hulls seem similar on the way they are built even if that is not clearly the case and they are not aware of the differences that allow not only for a lighter boat but also a stronger boat. An then there is the misconception that seaworthiness has something to do with an open transom or higher freeboards, that are clearly visible while the very superior stability is dismissed because they cannot see it.

Even so, on these days that Beneteau stopped to make the First (because the market is not enough for a mass production boat to be truly profitable), the 30 boats already sold are a remarkable figure. Also very interesting to notice that from those only 5 were sold with the more racing specification indicating that the J112e is more bought by cruisers that want a fast boat (and eventually want to make a race now and then) than by racers that will just cruise eventually.

The J112e is a quality boat and therefore not a cheap one, it costs over 200 000 euros, a price that is not far from the ones of other fast quality cruiser-racers like XP yachts or JPK. A boat for the ones that like sailing, particularly upwind sailing and like to cruise in style and comfort but on a modest way and have a small family, a couple or a couple with two kids. A very nice boat specially adapted for Mediterranean sailing where the upwind performance is a must.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Incredible is just the word! The boat is nothing like it was expected to be. It is a truly new concept, one that leaves me wondering. They say it will be faster than the America’s cup multihulls!!!!

If it works it will be fantastic but I have some doubts regarding taming such a beast without electronic help. I really hope they have studied well this extreme design that changes all the concepts of a monohull. It seems a short period to develop such an extreme concept in terms of practicability and even more without having associated with it a complete team of experts. Or maybe they have and in that case they are already way ahead of all other teams.

There is no keel anymore, the foils work not only as foils but as canting keels and they will carry the ballast. The engineering problems seem huge since for controlling the boat the foil movements have to be fast. The boat will have the ability to re-right itself if capsized.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Hanse 548
It may seem odd, a Hanse is typically a main market cruising boat, the Solaris (above) it is more of a performance cruising boat but if we look at the two boats we will find similarities in what regards design intention: both boats assume the pretension of looking like a bigger yacht, a yacht with clean lines, a small cabin height over the deck allowing a huge unobstructed area that provides a great view forward from the steering wheel.

Many would think that the Hanse is a more practical cruising boat being the Solaris more of a looker and a fast sailer, less adapted to cruising but it is the Hanse that does not have a dodger not even a place to mount one while the Solaris has one that can fold and be hidden behind a teak cover.

It is true that the Hanse has a version with a large fixed cover (kind of a bimini) but I saw it only on drawings and the thing is so ugly that I doubt very much anybody is going to have it. It is a kind of anti-statement regarding the boat design intention.

Both boats have a dinghy garage and an interior with similar dimensions with several possible options, a very nice cruising interior with all the space and storage needed for cruising (depending on the selection of the interior layout).

Both boats have a good tankage being the standard one a bit bigger on the Hanse and a similar hull with the beam pulled back and not a very different one, 4.85 meter on Solaris, 5.05 on Hanse even if the Solaris has considerably finer entries. Both boats have similarly big sized engines with around 110hp.

The Solaris is much nicer due to a smaller freeboard, a much cleaner design and due to much smaller port hulls, that on the Hanse are really huge and have a very negative effect on the  way the boat looks.

The Solaris has a better stability due to a bigger B/D. Considering, among the different options, approximated drafts (2.70 for the Solaris and 2.80 for the Hanse) and similar torpedo keels, the Hanse has 30.5% and the Solaris 36.9%. note that the Hanse B/D for this type of hull is a good one, the Solaris one is a very good one.

The Solaris is much faster. It his lighter (17600kg to 19 000kg) and due to the superior stability can carry more sail area (176 m2 to 138). The Solaris has also a considerable bigger LWL (15.78 meter to 14.90). Due to better building techniques and materials (vacuum infused hull and cabin, airex sandwich, carbon reinforcements, structural bulkheads) the Solaris is stronger. The interior material and quality of finish are also clearly superior.

Not intending to say that the Hanse 548 is not well built, that it is slow (in fact it has a very decent 19.7 SA/D), that it has a bad stability, that the interior is not of good quality and nicely designed or even that the boat is ugly, with the exception of that incredibly shade that comes as an option.

Far from that, it is good looking, with a good stability and with a rigging that allows for easy sailing. What I mean is that the Solaris 55 is  just superior, sometimes a lot, in what regards all these points.

The only point in what the Hanse is clearly better is on the price and it is not just a small difference, the Hanse is announced with a basic price of 415 310 euro while the Solaris 55 is announced at 821 000 Euros. Even considering that the Hanse is really a 53fter and the Solaris is a 55fter and that the Solaris for the same price has more equipment the difference in price is huge. Even the Solaris 50 is more expensive than de Hanse 548 even if now the difference is not very substantial.

I guess that some that will dream of a Solaris 55 will end up buying an Hanse 548 and even if the differences are remarkable and not only in price, at least they will be comforted with what the press and the brand says about the Hanse: "luxurious...the crème de la crème"..."the new Hanse 548 ... is a demonstration of what luxury means"..."luxury living on 55 feet"..."the new Hanse 548 is every bit the mini superyacht designed for luxury"...European luxury"..."luxury yacht".

No I am not making up, all these qualifications were used as high lines not only by the brand but by many sellers and sailing magazines including American ones. In comparison the high lines used for describing the Solaris 55 are quite modest: "Solaris 55 has been designed to satisfy the most demanding customers requiring performance sailing even with reduced crew."..."breathtaking beauty sets the trends".

Funny that contrary to Hanse we don't find the word luxury used neither by the shipyard neither by boat magazines referring to the Solaris. Guess what this means regarding the target customers, the ones that will buy one or another. Not hard to figure that out 😊

Saturday, November 18, 2017


826 nautical miles in 24 hours!!! that's what managed François Gabart 4 days ago while on his attempt to beat the circumnavigation record. He had already beaten his personal speed record doing 46K on his Maxi trimaran. I remember that the boat designers estimated max speed to be 42k and that many thought that would be too optimistic!

We are not talking about America's cup boats racing in protected waters but about ocean sailing and that's a completely different affair. He is going so fast on extreme conditions that many knowledgeable sailors are starting to be concerned about safety. But that's François Gabart, I have heard the same story when he was leading the Vendee Globe at an incredible pace, leaving behind Armel Lecleash.

Anyway he was sensible to those concerns and has diminished the speed. Just look at the conditions and what he calls reduced speed LOL. He has already an advance of almost 700nm over the previous record (from Coville)

Thursday, November 16, 2017


After having lost the battle for leadership to Erwan, Clarisse was since the middle of the race a solid 2nd but on the final part of the race she made a routing error and had suddenly 3 other boats practically side by side. She fought to the end to beat them and do you now what her reaction was when she had them under control going some miles ahead? :" I cried for the last three hours of the race ", on her own words.

That's not the first time I was very surprised with the reaction of another great woman in what regards sailing: I remember one time when Ellen MacArthur (on a racing solo circumnavigation) had to go to the top of the mast in very nasty whether, bouncing around with the boat movements. She had managed to do the repair and come safely to the deck....where she started crying complaining about how difficult it had been!!!

Of course I have the utmost respect for what both of them have done but on both situations, after having accomplished a very difficult task, a man's reaction would be very different. On Ellen's case I am quite sure a man would have kicked the mast mast said yeahhh!!!! while doing some enthusiastic movements with the hands.

Well, different but not slower and less efficient and what fun would it be if men and women were alike in what regards reactions?

About Clarisse they posted this on the race site : "Clarisse Crémer, big heart - Thinner, tears of emotion at the time of crossing the finish line, Clarisse Crémer has held strong until the end resisting to attacks from her pursuers to the finish line at Marin. The young woman, who had almost no experience in offshore racing  (even less solo) demonstrated that  by sheer willpower, hard work and a very big motivation, it is possible to move mountains.

To better understand why all this is extraordinaire, not only the sail exploit from a woman on a sports dominated by men, but the incredible way how it was done. Clarisse came from nowhere, in what regards solo sail racing, to beat very experienced sailors not only the ones from the production boats (55) but most of the ones that raced on much more evoluted prototypes, made of carbon with canting keels and daggerboards. If she was racing with her production boat on the prototype class she would have been 5th, leaving 20 prototypes behind.
On the presentation page they say nice words about Clarisse but I don't think that anybody thought that she would be able to do such an astounding performance on her first Transat: "Clarisse Crémer story with the Mini-Transat begins as a vulgarity: the story of a nice and funny girl who wants to cross the Atlantic on a nice little boat. The nice girl, dubbed by a good friend, gratifies us with videos not devoid of humor, tells us her financing research in a slightly crazy mode, avoids taking herself seriously ..."

"In short! We would say that Clarisse on the Atlantic is a nice story that will fall into anonymity once the sport has recovered its rights. Except that we had forgotten a parameter: Clarisse Crémer is a hard worker, the kind to never let go, spent hours on the water training, listened to the advice of the elders, to ensure that day after day she would eliminate her weak points..."

And after this spectacular result we are all thinking what is coming next? well it seems that she does not know: "What I want to do ? I was hoping that the race would bring a revelation but eventually no. It's a disaster, I do not know what I want to do. It was a great project that took me two years of my life, now I have to find something else."

I really hope something else has to do with sailing, if not..... I am quite sure she will do great in anything she really wants to do.

The incredible Clarisse story  left a bit in the shadow the great victory of Erwan Le Draoulec and it is unfair. Erwan was the only one that managed to beat Clarisse and has done so in a clear way, with a 100nm advantage and he is just a 21 year old kid!!! On other sports 21 is a normal age to be a champion, not so on Solo offshore racing where the learning curve is not fast. He and Clarisse have that in common, that and also the fact that they have won together the last mini Fastnet, a duo race).

Two sailors with a huge potential that we hope don't give up sailing. Already great sailors but from here to be great at the top racing solo classes goes a lot of work and years of training. I believe both have the talent to accomplish that if they have the motivation (and sponsors).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


All these great races at the same time and with the ARC starting in a few days, make this November a very special month for the ones that like sail racing. It has been good fun to follow all those crews and sailors racing and battling with the sea, the wind an with other racers.

And there are many very interesting battles going on, starting with the VOR that reached a fulcral point. Till now it has been a bit boring with the French/New Zealanders from the Chinese boat LOL maintaining the lead and all the others following the same routing, without being able to catch them, but staying close.

But things are going to change since they are heading for a storm that will get them from Brazil to the cape of Boa Esperança (Good Hope) really fast and I don't believe that under those conditions they will stay close. Finally some boats stopped following Dongfeng and while they keep going to the West, approaching the Brazilian coast, others are sailing more to the East betting on a shorter course.

They point as leader of the race one of those more to the East, Vestas, in my opinion quite wrongly since it seems to me that the best passage with the best winds is all to the West, very near the Brazilian coast to where Dongfeng is going doing over 16k. The others are slower over the water but many have a better VMG since they are pointing more to the East.

Finally the VOR became really interesting: different routings, a storm approaching and the crews giving their best on the last part of this leg. Make your bets and post them on the comments. It would be nice to have some discussion about the different routings 😏

You can follow here:

On the Transat Jacques Vabre the Ultimate have already finished with an imperial Coville/Nelias
dominating Josse/Roussel, that I suspect have the fastest boat. On the last part of the race, near Brasil they had a difference of less than 15nm but then Josse/Roussel did not follow Coville/Nelias when they went very near to the brazilian coast....and they lost the race there because it was the best routing. When they went for the same routing again, following Coville, they had already lost 25nm.

On Multi 50 race  the two fastest boats are very near the finish and after a big fight between them, on the last phase of the race Rocaryol/Pella have been much faster than Leroux /Riou, catching them and going away quickly. For sure Leroux/Riou have problems on the boat (probably one sail out of service).A pity since that battle was being great.

Of them all the Class 40 has been the most interesting race, with three boats in an incredible fight for a long time and they are closer now than before: Sharp/Santurde are still leading but Sorel/Carpentier are only one mile away while Chappellier/Vaillant are at 7, but closing. They are not following the same routing but parallel courses. Difficult to say who will have advantage. They are entering the doldrums and sailing with very light winds, maybe Sharp that is more to the West, but with so light winds it is very difficult to say.

These are the conditions that are more tiring for the crews, the more demanding and where many miles can be lost or won. It will be very interesting to see who will come first out of the Doldrums.

Finally on the IMOCA race the favorites, Dick/Elies, have justified their favoritism and are leading almost from the beginning. The surprise comes from Meilhat/Gahinet that with a boat without the new foils are the ones that give them some fight, being 2nd at 71nm, but losing miles and in a worse position regarding the route and the wind.

On the Mini Transat the great winner, with 90nm advantage over the 2nd, is Ian Lipinsky that made a fantastic race not giving anybody a chance. The 2nd was Riechers, the one that I said on the last update that was making a very interesting move,going all to the South and yes, it paid off: he won 50 nm to the leader and was able to overtake Koster that finished 3rd.

On the serie class (production boat) Erwan is another great winner (he is finishing) and has now an advance of more than 90nm over the 2nd that is Borroulec. He has on his tail Clarisse and Sineau. Very interesting the fight over the finish line. I will bet in Clarisse or Sineau (that is old enough to be her father). Stay tuned on this fight. I believe they will finish in sight of each other and with some luck doing match racing over the finish line😏.

You can follow the mini transat here:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


I have already posted about this boat when it was on project stage. All  relevant information about the boat's design and stability characteristics are here:

This 45ft is the biggest boat produced by the shipyard Fora Marine that has all its models designed by Marc Lombard. The RM (all with the same concept) won several times the European boat of the year award that is attributed by journalists of many European countries, after having tested all the nominated sailboats.

It may seem odd but this shipyard and this concept, including design and building methods, started 28 years ago. Nothing new now and a very tested concept that has resisted time and longevity very well, having used boats on the market a very good resale value.

Besides its building technique (marine plywood saturated with epoxy and an optional kevlar skin for shock resistance) the RM concept longevity has to do with a very early and long association with what was then a very young NA, Marc Lombard, fresh from Southampton University. At the time he had already experience with racing boat's but the RM was his first cruising design.

The RM, 22 years ago, was then a kind of pet project for Marc, a boat designed like he thought cruiser boats should be, a design that was already strongly influenced by offshore solo racers, from the mini to the Open 60's. Marc would later contribute to develop those solo racer's design, with many winning boats in his career (mini, class40, Open 60's). A very talented NA that would become one of the best and more innovative of his generation.

Most cruising designs on his portfolio, those not made under command of a main shipyard (that impose the type of boat they want), have a considerable similitude with the RM line, meaning that Marc thinks that type of design is the best suited in what regards offshore cruising and Marc has not only a huge designing experience, with all types of sailboats, as it is one of the best NA around.

No surprise solo offshore racers hulls have strongly influenced modern cruising boats. Today the vast majority has that influence, making them more stable boats, easier boats to sail, boats that heel less and most of all, easier boats to be sailed on autopilot. No wonder that now they are the main influence on cruising designs but it was not so 22 years ago. Then main design drive on cruising boats used to come from crewed racers, IMS and IRC designs, boats that need a crew to be exploited.

The RM 1370 is the last of a long line of boats, boats that pointed the way to the design of contemporary cruisers, boats that without changing the concept have been continuously improved in what regards hull design and building methods, always by the same NA, taking also into account the information given by the owners, many of them long range cruisers.

The result could not be other than a great offshore sailing boat, one of the best around, one that may not be the best for the Med or the Baltic (due to predominant upwind sailing and steep short period waves) but it is certainly one of the best boats to voyage, far, fast and extensively on the trade winds, while maintaining a decent performance upwind one that can equal or even better  most mass production boats and better the one of most old designs.

The RM 1370 is on the water and this year in the Dusseldorf boat show it had already a 18 month waiting list. That is quite impressive for a boat that is not main market and is pointed clearly to oceanic sailing. It shows the success the RM are having on the sailing community.

They have increased the shipyard and will have to increase it again due to the the high demand. A success history one that is not based on publicity but on the boat and concept reputation built over the years by their owners that on most cases were sailors above the average.

Talking about those owners one of them is François Gabart one of the best professional solo sailors on the planet, winner of the Vendee Globe and that is right now alone on a huge Maxi trimaran trying to beat the circum-navigation record time. He has a RM for sailing and cruising with the family.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


The first time I looked at this boat I thought it was all about looks with little substance but then I saw the way it was built, the quality of the hull design and interior design and my curiosity was aroused.

This is a very unusual boat, if it was a car it would be a Ferrari and a Ferrari certainly is not the most adequate car for touring extensively even if some would disagree and say that a Ferrari holds better to a road than a sedan, breaks better, accelerates faster and it is much more fun to drive and therefore it would be for them much better than a sedan for cruising around, if it can carry the luggage and offer a suitable comfort.

That's in that spirit that this boat is designed, like a Ferrari but with a luxurious and practical interior and a dinghy garage that can take a 2.7 meter dinghy. A boat that can not only cruise but also race, far from being ridiculous, even on real time.

Like it is proposed the Eleva is a boat for being sailed from port to port. The absence of a bimini or a spraywood would make life difficult for the typical cruiser even if I am quite sure that they can study a set up regarding those needs. It is a pity that it is not included in the basic design, at least as an option. If that it was the case the design could have been as elegant as the boat design.

Curiously one of the most interesting things about the boat has nothing to do with looks but with the technical characteristics, building techniques and materials. The design is from Ceccarelli, a reference in what regards fast boats, the hull is beamy, comparable to a 50ft Oceanis or Hanse, but with finer entries and less beam on the forward part of the hull.

It is remarkably light (10 500 kg) and it has a big B/D (37%), considering that it has a torpedo keel and a 2.87 meter draft. It can have an optional 2.45 mdraft but in this case it will have more ballast and a bigger B/D ratio.

As you have probably already understood this is a boat with a huge stability and very powerful, being able to carry a big sail area. With a jib, as front sail, it carries upwind 154m2 and that gives a SA/D of 32!!!! That means the Eleva will be able to sail very well with very light wind as we can see on the movie. The 75hp engine would have no difficulty in handling the boat due to its light weight and small wet area.

The deck and cabin are made in carbon to bring the weight down and the hull is infused on the two sides of the core using epoxy resins. The boat structure is also infused on the hull becoming a part of it. Carbon is used on the more stressed areas to increase strength.

All interior structure (bulkheads) is assembled together using infusion and then as a monolithic structure, glued and glassed to the hull, increasing its stiffness.

The interior is comfortable and functional, it has a good tankage  with 270 liter diesel and 510 liter water and in what regards storage it has besides the big central locker a big sail locker. A very interesting cruiser that for the ones that like to stay at anchor misses an integrated spraywood and a bimini. It would be nice too if on that big and flat deck an option of integrated solar panels was offered.

Then we would be talking about a perfect dream cruiser, if the winches were not too far away from the helmsman and if their operation would not necessarily interfere with the comfort of eventual passengers. Of course, all winches are electric and can be controlled from the steering position but even so I would prefer to be near the winch, controlling it, even when it is power operated. 

Nothing that cannot be changed or modified. The price for such a boat does not seem excessively high, being similar to the one of other comparable Italian Yachts  like Ice. It will go from 650 000 euros to a million, including taxes.

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Starting with the Volvo Ocean Race with this incredible movie: that's what I call sailing a bit over the limit LOL. The race has been interesting with 5 boats inside 13nm, even if all the boats have been following about the same routing and that is a bit boring.

Maybe now that they are arriving to the doldrums they will opt for different approaches. Not surprisingly Dongfeng has been a bit better than the others and with a bold move to the west won  a lot of miles to everybody and is now leading, with a 5nm advance. All are following now its routing. Maybe if he can keep the distance the others are forced to look at different routing options?

On the Transat Jacques Vabre the 4 different races are very interesting. I will start with the smaller boats, the 40 class racers, with a video from the ones that are 2nd now (they were 3rd when the movie was made). The leading boats have been going at an amazing speed, for 40ft boats. The first passed the heavy weather with the foot down. They are making close to 340nm a day and that is IMOCA (Open 60's) territory.  At that speed no wonder that Phil Sharp/Pablo Santurde (the leaders) have overtaken the last of the IMOCA and are not far from others. Quite incredible!!!

On the Imoca (open 60's) the fight has been fierce and those on the video, even going at that speed, are only 5th, at 111nm from the first boat crewed by Jean-Pierre Dick/Yann Elies, but because among the first there are many different routing options, the distance between them has not the same meaning as if they had all gone for the same routing, like on the Volvo. Here, due to different routing options it is easy to win or lose many miles.

On the video above Lagraviere/Peron, that are 3rd, are experiencing some heavy weather. They are the ones more to the East, with many miles of lateral separation from Dick/Elies but I don't think it is going to be a good option. It seems that the way to go is all to the west. We will see and that is half the fun of it, trying to understand routing and the different options and seeing the results.

The fastest Imocas have been able to sail at about the same speed of the Multi50 and only on the last day the two fastest Multi 50 went away. And went away because they have been on an huge fight and are sailing really on the limit. They have exchanged positions several time and it is one of the hottest fights on this transat. First now is Roucayrol/Pella (on the video) but Leroux/Riou are at only 12nm and much more to the West. I would say that they are going to be much closer tomorrow.

On the Ultime class there are only 3 boats and one of them has already been overtaken by the two Multi 50 and also by the fastest IMOCA. They probably have problems but the other two are batlling hard and going very fast. For most of the race Josse/Rouxel led but some days ago Coville Nelias, going much more to the West were able to overtake them. Since then, on about the same routing, Josse/Rouxel have being able to recover, bit by bit and are now at 42nm. They are now the ones more to the West and they are approaching the Doldrums where routing is paramount and where many miles can be won or lost. Great races going on on this Transat!

And at last the Mini Transat that is far from being the less interesting race, even if on the Proto class (Prototypes) Ian Lipinsky, that has won already the first leg (video above) went away and has a big advantage over everybody (over 100nm). Riechers, the 3rd, has made a bold routing move, going all to the South. I think he has a good probability of being successful but not to the point to catch Ian. Another story is catching the 2nd, Kostner, and regarding that I believe it is going to be a very interesting fight.

But in what regards fights the one that has been great on this race is the one for the leadership on the serie class (production) where Clarisse keeps on pursuing Erwan even if she has been losing some miles. For catching him she needs to outclass him in routing. We will see what she can do about that. Both are making a fantastic race and are among the first Protos!!!

And just to remember that these little 22ft boats can reach fantastic speeds, a look at an already old movie, but still a favorite of mine:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


On winter months, most of the time, there is not much sail racing going on, out of the Sydney Hobart, Transaquadra and on some years the Vendee Globe or the VOR, but this year in November there are many great ones that are on the water. Not that I am complaining but they don't do a favor to each other to be racing at the same time and the effect is already visible in what regards sponsorship.

Let's start by the Mini Transat, a solo race with few rules in what regards boats allowed being the main the max length, 6.5m (21.4ft). There are two classes: prototypes (proto) and production boats (serie). A great race limited to 84 entries (that were all taken long before the race date) with racers from 15 nationalities and 10 women racing.

The race was decided in two legs, one from La Rochelle (France) to Las Palmas (Canary Islands) and other from there to Martinique ( Caribbean). On the first leg we saw the production boats going at almost the same pace of the prototypes, amazing stuff since the series are pretty basic boats while the protos are canting keelers with daggerboard or foils.

The race on proto was won by Ian Lipinski after a great battle with Arthur Léopold-Léger, both boats finishing in sight of each other!!! after several days at sea. On production boats the faster was Valentin Gautier that made a fantastic race beating all the protos except the two first. On 3rd, almost catching the 2nd and not far from the first arrived Clarisse Crémer the one that the French are already calling "La princesse de l'Atlantique".

Clarisse is relatively new to Solo racing and has been making an incredible race being the 1st on the serie till very close to Las Palmas, where she made a routing error and stayed without wind a lot of time. They are doing now the 2nd and final leg, having passed already Cabo Verde, pointing now to the west Indies and Martinique.

On protos the first is Lipinski, Léger had a rudder problem, lost much time and is stopped at Cabo Verde doing repairs, the second is Kostner, the third Riechers  and the 4th a lady, Charlotte that has as sponsor "les femmes de Bretagne" (Bretagne's women) that should be proud of her. Doing a great race. You can follow the mini transat almost in real time here:

Justine Mettraux
The Jacques Favre Transat, raced in duo, has 4 different classes with separate classifications: the biggest number of boats race on the smaller class, the 40 class (40ft), 15 boats with 30 sailors among them two women, both great sailors, Miranda Merron and Justine Mettraux.

On the 40 class Chappellier/Vaillant are leading but the fight has been huge. Right now there are 5 boats at less than 15nm from the first, among them the two teams with mixed crews.
Miranda Merron

Then there is the IMOCA class (60ft) with 13 boats racing and a bit unexpectedly it has been also  a great race with several boats leading. Right now and quite surprisingly, Meilhat/Gahinet are leading on a boat without the new foils, but here also the fight is fierce and there are 7 boats at less than 15nm from the first.

On this class are the 3 women racing, Isabelle Joschke, Samantha Davies and Servane Escoffier. Isabelle is the only one that is the skipper and among this particular fight between mixed crews, she is the first going in 5th place at only 8.8nm from the first.
Isabelle Joschke

There are two multihull classes, all with trimarans, the Muli50 (50ft) with 6 boats racing and the Ultime class (105ft max length) with only 3 boats and one of them less competitive because smaller. On the Multi 50 the fight has been between two boats, with Roucayrol/Pella leading but I would not dismiss yet the 3rd boat (at 21nm) with Leroux/Riou. Riou is a master in routing.

On the Ultime class the fight is only between two boats and Josse and Ruxel have been able to maintain always some advance over Coville/Nelies (22nm).

All in all a very interesting race with lots of battles on the different classes. You can follow it here, almost in direct:

A first note, this post was written mostly last night so there have been some alterations on the classification and that just makes it all more interesting. You can check on that.

A second note regarding the conditions and the boats, terrible conditions during the night and today. As usual with bad weather the multihulls have to slow down more than the monohulls and you can see the IMOCA boats catching the Multi50.

A final note about those women on the images, let's say that it is my homage to those ladies that I respect enormously and that show that on this sport they can be as good as men. For those who wonder why I  will not post photos of the women racing on the Volvo, among whom there are great sailors, that's because they are on a bit of a degrading situation: Contrary to this ones on the solo and duo classes they are not there because they are as good as men but because the crews have advantages if they have women on the crew (that allows a bigger crew). I don't find that positive in what regards women and sailing and certainly gives them a 2nd rate qualification as sailors, even if it is not the case for all.

The Volvo Ocean Race departed from Lisboa for the 2nd leg, the first big one that will finish at Cape Town. The in port race in Lisbon, on the Tejo river, was magnificent with a huge fight between Team Brunel and Mapfre that made a huge recovery and almost caught Brunel over the finish line. Till now several winners on the port races and a very competitive race with Vestas leading this leg but with all boats inside 20nm.

This is the first true Ocean leg and till now routing has not been very important but it will be from now on. My bet is on Dongfeng that has some very good routers aboard, but you never know and on other teams there are also some very experienced sailors. One thing is for sure, VOR has improved greatly the video coverage of the race and we have some great images. That's fundamental for making sailing a major sport. Congratulations to the VOR organization in what regards that. Much better that the one on Jacques Vabre Transat. You can follow the race here:

We have one of the best sailors on the world, François Gabart, attempting to beat the world's circumnavigation sail record, alone on a huge trimaran (99ft) going at times over 40k. He tells about a close encounter with a cargo out of Canary Islands with the cargo asking repetitively if he was a sailing boat (and not believing it): He was doing about 40k at the time!!!

So far so good and Gabart is ahead of the time Coville managed last year on his circumnavigation record. You can follow the attempt here:

Finally we have Yves Le Blévec that on another Maxi trimaran is trying to beat the world circumnavigation record but the other way around, against winds and currents. No doubt he will make it since the record is already an old one made by a smaller monohull but the problem here is to take the boat and the sailor to the finish line in one piece and that is not an easy task because those huge trimarans are not comfortable neither easy to sail upwind. Big balls Le Blévec and also a bit of masochism LOL.

He was not far (cape Finisterra) when he had to come back with some breakage on the boat after a storm on the Biscay golf. He is now waiting for conditions for a new start. I would say that he can leave when he wants since the problem here is to make it, not to beat any particular record. If he makes it, it will be for sure much faster than the actual record that belongs to Van Den Heede (2004 - 122d) on his 4th attempt.!!!This circumnavigation record makes  the one with the dominant winds look easy. You can follow it here: