Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Cigale 18
The Italian nautical press has been talking a lot about a new Italian voyage boat, according to them a very innovative boat, the Gulliver 57. It is certainly an interesting one but the total absence of reference to the Cigale 18 left me not only surprised but also pissed.

Bad journalism, by ignorance or voluntarily, since the Gulliver 57 is nothing more than a version of the Cigale 18 with a lifting keel made in Italy. And the Cigale 18 is just a bigger version of the Cigale 16, a boat that has existed for decades.

The Cigale 18 and the Gulliver 57 share the same main dimensions, the same interior generic layout and the same designer (Marc Lombard).
Above the Cigale 18, below the Gulliver 57
This is a very good fast aluminium voyage boat and certainly the lifting keel is a very good contribution since the 2.85m draft of the Cigale leaves something be desired in what regards world wide accessibility to small ports and getting close to the coast on anchorages for better protection.

I never saw the interior of the Cigale 18 but regarding the one of the Cigale 16 this one is looks more luxurious. It really looks very well done with a lot of clever details (see the movie). It would be interesting to make a price comparison but neither give any information about the price.

These boats are beamy, light (15.5t) with hulls based on the ones used for long range solo racing and have a good reserve stability due to big draft, torpedo keels and a good B/D ratio. The one on the Cigale is 32.3%, 27.4% on the Gulliver. Even if with a smaller B/D probably both boats have a similar stability since the draft of the Cigale is 2.85 and the Gulliver one 3.5m, with the keel down 1.7m with the keel up.

Alubat, the firm that makes the Cigale is experiencing some difficulties. I hope they surpass them and also that they introduce the Cigale with a Swing keel, that is a far better solution, for the use intended for the boat than, a fixed keel or even a lifting keel as it is proposed on Gulliver. A lifting keel, even if provided with a crash box is always a more fragile solution than a swing one in what regards accidental groundings.

Two great boats for long range cruising even if they seem a kind of overkill to me: certainly the much less expensive Cigale 16 is more than enough for the job, with a  2.46m keel dispenses a lifting keel expensive solution, allowing access almost everywhere. It offers already a good storage, three cabins and two heads. A post about the Cigale 16:


  1. Hi Paolo

    Certainly some nice touches on this new boat. Alubat will do a swing keel if you ask for it but it means moving the saloon forward and cabins aft to allow the keel box to be hidden in the bench and the engine has to move. In the end we decided it was a compromise on what we wanted and so went with the regular layout.

    The company seems to be rediscovering its mojo with more boats in the yard than last year and we are looking at August commissioning - hope you will be able to come sailing at some point once you are done for the summer.

    Fair winds

  2. Glad yo hear from you. I lost your email (when I changed PC) and I was concerned that Alubat problems may have an effect on your boat. I am glad to see that everything goes according to the plan.

    Yes, I would like very much to try your new Cigale. I am going to the Greece in April and I will be back probably mid to end of September and available to sail with you. Tell me more about your plans and commissioning times (they can change as you know). Do that to may email please.

  3. Hi Paulo
    Just a quick note to say thank you for your wonderful blog. You provide the best, unbiased sailing yacht design insight and commentary I've seen on any sailing site.

    I visited Santorini last year. Would love to travel to other Greek islands (the less well-known ones) some day. Very interested to hear about your Greek travel plans and experiences.


    1. Thanks mate to let me know. Sometimes I feel a bit lonely here even if I know that a lot of people are seeing and appreciating my posts.

  4. Hello, I need to identify as Anonymous as I am not very active on the internet.
    Nevertheless you will find my coordinates below.

    I was very happy reading the words of Paulo as they are very objective.

    It happens that I know the owners of the Cigale 16 which had been presented in Paris and they have made a first "giro del mundo" and are now sailing a second trip. So it is clear that Alubat can build boats and there is a big Ovni community on the web to prove it.

    The story of Gulliver 57 is somehow very interesting and unique. Carlo and myself were standing next to each other in Macinaggio in January 2011 welcoming our Jeanneau 53 (also a great performer) when I advised him to look at the Cigale 18 for his new project. One needs to know that Carlo had just finished to rebuild the aluminium boat of his father. There is when magic happens. Carlo told me that he had tried to have Alubat build his "dream boat" but failed. Therefore he started on his own. Having said that I am convinced that the new management of Alubat would certainly have found a solution.

    It happens that we are the family who owns the first Gulliver 57 which went to water in July 2016. The particularity of the project is that it is 100% custom built and has nothing in common with the current market tendencies of series boats. We wanted a Safe, performant and comfortable home for our 2 kids - 6 and 9 - and ourselves able to welcome our 27, 26 and 20 year old sons with girlfriends, and of course able to sail the world. The uniqueness of the project is that we found a team for which "Everything is possible". And I had over 300 engineering issues to solve. I have posted a full description of our boat on a very amateuristic webside that I've made an afternoon several years ago .

    I am actually quite proud that we've managed to put all these specs into 19,5 tons. Carlo's boat which went to water a year ago has more than 3 tons left. The difference : he sails 5,5 knots with 5 knots of wind, we 3,5 - 4.

    Enough for now. We are currently selling our house and will move to ImPreSión in July. I have done some trials over the past 1,5 years and have been positively surprised. Upwind the boat keeps full cloth (195 m2) at 24 knots apparent wind and feels extremely stable. With family I reef at 18 knots to enable Julian to finish his lego. With 35 knots at 70 degrees, 2,5 m waves, you enter a completely silent boat. Impressive. Of course this "no compromise" in safety - comfort - performance has a price tag, but very far from regular One Off projects. I believe it has all to do with the enthousiasm of the people that build your boar. Let sailors build it.

    Don't hesitate to contact me :

  5. Hello Paulo,

    Just discovered your site. Great blog with succinct boat analysis ! I am now subscribing.
    Keep up the great work.... I am currently trying to decide on a cruising boat and your articles are hugely helpful. Your articles allow me to better focus on what makes a good boat... looking for fast and minimalist design.. so far I the pogo and jpk have my attention.
    Thanks a lot