Friday, March 9, 2018


Grand Soleil 48
It doesn't make sense does it? Well, about the same sense as buying or being interested in a cruiser racer without knowing the ballast or having a good look at the the underbody.

This talk would not seem odd if you knew that recently two Italian brands, Italia Yachts and Grand Soleil, presented to the press two new cruiser racers without revealing the ballast or showing the underbody.

And it was not by accident because I asked them about the ballast and I did not get any answer. Of course they sent a lot of talk regarding what they wanted sailing magazines to say about the boats and sail magazines just published that. Well I am not a sail magazine LOL and I refuse to post about things I don't have enough information.

So, what can I tell you about the new Grand Soleil 48 and the new Italia 11.98? Very little except that they look well, the IT 11.98 on an updated line of ORC development style the GS more in a  conservative IRC/ORC line of development, very similar to past models of both brands.

That the Italia 11.98 belongs to the more sportive line of Italia yachts and the same happens with Grand Soleil. Both boats will have two versions, one with better performance than the other. 

On the IT 11.98 the version developed for ORC racing will have a tiller and a bigger cockpit working area, with less seating space, the one more pointed for a dual use will have  a two wheel system and a bigger seat, but I am sure that if one prefers a tiller on the more dual version that would not be a problem.

IT 11.98

The Grand Soleil 48 on its faster version (one ton less) is not pointed as much to racing as the IT 11.98 and even if the more expensive version is called "Race", it is just a  better boat than the cheaper version. The"Race" has a more technological built and it is pointed to those who can afford it.

Sure the "race" version will have a bigger racing potential but while on the IT 11.98 we are talking about top racing on a very naked boat on the GS we are talking about "gentleman" racing in a luxury boat with a very good interior.

On the GS "cruising" version the winch set-up is more appropriate to short crew sailing but I am sure that could be interchangeable between the two versions. The IT 11.98  version more adapted to cruising is presented with a fixed bowsprit with an anchor stand while the ORC optimized version has none.

Of course, both boats will have a long list of options including a lot of carbon options: spars, wheels and rudder included. Both are relatively light weight boats, the 11.98 weighting 6.2t, the GS 40 10.5 or 11.5t. The IT has a  28.0 SA/D, the GS 27.5 SA/D. Both will be very fast performance cruising boats, the IT 11.98 aims to be a top ORC racing boat, the GS aims to be more of a dual boat with good performance on the race course.

If you are so pissed as me with this new trend of presenting boats without disclosing some of the things that matter more, namely the underbody and the ballast, please post about that on the comments and I will be happy to send them to the brands in question: maybe that will help to change that.


  1. Good looking out Paulo. No serious sailor would even consider buying a boat without knowing that information. It's hard to even think objectively about a boat as an option without that data. If they're offering performance components like a carbon rig, but withholding more important design information it makes me question if these boats are really going to be performers after all. Maybe just pot-belly hulls that can't stand up to their rigs.

  2. I wrote to Italia Yachts regarding the ORC rating of the new 11.98, it is rated with a CDL of 9,65 - which puts in ORC class C together with much smaller boats.

    1. From Italia's website:
      "In the ORC regulation Italia 11.98 is optimized to be the largest boat in Group C"
      It's a bit strange they would play the new 11.98 in class C against the already successful 9.98. Class B has similar sized competition for the 11.98, including the Grand Soleil 39, which is obviously a comparable yacht. Italia Yachts would appear to have deliberately limited the outright performance characteristics of the 11.98 to achieve a ratings "dumb-down". Furthermore, if the 11.98 performs well in regattas, that may come at the expense of the 9.98's results and crowding their own market. Choices are good, but I don't really follow their strategy with this one. Having said that, the 11.98 is a lovely looking yacht.

    2. That's the problem with handicap racing: that results on a boat not being as fast as it can be but with one that is maximized for a given rating.

      Look at the keels for ORC and IRC racing without bulb because too much stability is penalized and one different than the other.

      Sailing is the only racing sport that come out with this nonsense solution regarding handicap. Look at motorsports, motos and cars all of them have multiple divisions but inside each division each car can be developed to the limit and the slowest inside a division has not a more favorable handicap than the fastest.

      The one on that division that arrives first wins it. That's simple, effective and leads to the development of any machine to the limits.

      I guess that regarding the IT 11.98 they are still calculating what will be the ballast and the keel design, not to make the boat as fast as it can be (that was easy) but, being slowly, to be able to have the better handicap and win races. Ridiculous!!!

  3. I absolutely agree with you Paulo. And doesn't make you feel much confident with those designs. Thanks for this great blog.

  4. Paulo keep going and pressing for the full information package. There are enough 4KSB around on the water.

  5. Very sad a time where the knowledge about the complex interaction of all forces and moments on a sailing yacht has never been more evolved and could call this regression or ignorance! Let’s hope that in the long run intransparency will harm the business and people still want to know what they get for their money!

  6. Really annoying! It seems they are still calculating how many layers of GRP will make the hull of... to save money but satisfy the certificate! Not nice to hide that data, seems they are not serious boatyards!

  7. Hi Paulo,

    What do you think about Italia Yachts 10.98? I don't find stability curve for this boat. How is in a storm? The light weight of this boat can endure a big storm? The b/d ratio is not very satisfy.

  8. The IY 10.98 is a very nice sailboat. A light one with 4800kg of displacement and 1500kg of ballast on a torpedo keel with 1.9m draft. It has a B/D of 31% a good number for that type of high efficiency keel. That means that it has a good final stability and a good AVS.

    Why do you say that the B/D is not very satisfactory? If you compare it for instance with the one of a Jeanneau SO 379, that has the same type of keel but with less proportion of weight on the bulb and about the same draft, you will see that the B/D is significantly lower (26%).

    Now about enduring a big storm, no small sailboat (and for small I include a lot bigger than 37ft) can endure a big storm: ships have been sunk by big storms.

    Maybe you are not referring big storms but stormy weather, gales? Certainly this boat can handle the conditions of a transat made on the right time of the year but it is not a boat to be sailed on high latitudes on winter. No boat of this size is.

    Not saying that it cannot make it only the the risks are unacceptably high, at least for me, but I think the same about the old heavy designs that are racing the golden Globe Race and the number of boats that have already been rolled seems to give credit to my opinion.

    Again, it is a very nice sailboat, particularly good upwind and I like it a lot but it all depends what you want it for. One of the things you have to take into consideration is that its load capacity is necessarily low. It may not be a problem if you cruise without a lot of stuff and like to keep it simple and fast.

  9. Hi Paulo,
    I want a boat for med conditions, to use it in the summer for a family with 2 children on board. When i referred to the storm, i thought to Mediterranean storms and as i saw it can be very violent. Is 31% b/d a good number? I look on Hallber Rassy 340 and the b/d ratio is 38 with 1 m short but a longer water line. Considering price, look and space is more rational to choose 10.98. But if i think to price, b/d ratio and space you can get the same from Bavaria 41( more space but cheap interior ). I am totally lost.

  10. Hi Andrei,

    On the med you have updated meteorological information, many shelters and ports where you can wait the stormy weather to pass and even if there is frequently lots of wind really bad storms with breaking waves of more than 3 meters are rare in the summer.

    The Halberg-Rassy is a very different boat from the Italia 10.98 but that diference in B/D does not tell all the history, because the IT has a more efficient keel that maximizes ballast. The truth is that the Halberg-Rassy has a bigger overall stability, due to a bigger weight and a slightly better final stability and AVS.

    On the HR the final stability and AVS are not good but exceptionally good.

    Comparing the Italia with the HR is like comparing a sports car with a good touring car. Both can cruise but in a different way. I don't think you will have any security problem sailing with the IT 10.98 on the med if you are reasonably prudent. Much before it becomes dangerous it becomes very disagreeable and I am quite sure your wife will not let you sail on very disagreeable conditions.

    If you have a sportive family, if your children want to learn how to sail properly, then the IT 10.98 would be very interesting for you. It is a sailor's boat meaning a boat for the ones that besides cruising love sailing. The boat has an excellent performance upwind and in light wind and you will be sailing a lot on the med upwind and with light wind too.

    The Halberg-Rassy 340 is an excellent cruising boat and a good sailing boat even if it will not deliver the same fun as the IT 10.98.

    If you are talking about new boats maybe the 10.98 it is not a good idea because it is a relatively old design that I am sure it will be substituted quickly, unless they make you a nice price with a big discount.

    The Bavaria 40, or any of the mass production boats certainly makes sense regarding the price, that's why that kind of boats are the ones that sell more but will not sail as well as the Italia, particularly upwind and with light wind neither it will deliver the same pleasure at the wheel and the interior is bigger but will not have the same quality.

    With two kids growing up and if you want to maintain the boat for more than 4 or 5 years and if you like sailing as much as cruising maybe it makes sense to have a bigger but not so expensive boat as the HR or the Italia, maybe something like the Salona 380 or the More 40. If you are interested in buying now maybe I can help you in Dusseldorf in exchange for some beers LOL.

  11. Hi Paulo,

    Sorry for the late response, thanks for recommandations. ( i really like your site. I read all the posts ) Regarding More 40, I am little confused because i saw different specifications. The information on the manufacturer site is different from that privided by the dealers or designer ( Cossutti design )
    Regarding Salona 380 or any model produced by this company sincerely do not trust that they are still able to deliver any boat.
    As design I admit that I really like IY10.98, I like the sweet lines of the boat, the quality of the interior even if it is not a modern design. Of course I dream of IY 12.98 but I can not afford it.

    1. If you like the IY10.98 have one. It is a good boat.

      The More 40 is a different boat, much bigger and with a bigger overall stability. It is a good boat too and one of the best market propositions in what regards price.

      If you are serious about the possibility of buying one and need any clarifications send me a personal message (the email is on the blog) and I can put you in contact with the engineer that designed the boat structure and was the project manager of the boat building process.

      If you talked to dealers I am curious about the delivery time for that boat. Do you ask them?