Tuesday, October 30, 2018


The Bente 39 is on the water, on schedule, and it is a very interesting boat. I had already talked about it on a previous post but I have to confess that I did not expect it to be so well finished and to have such a good looking interior.

I am judging by the photos, I hope to see it at Dusseldorf to confirm that. The elevated chart table and the inside steering position seem to be very interesting for the ones that sail in cold climates, out of season or for long passages even if all that “glass” area would turn to be a disadvantage for the ones that sail on the med or on the Caribbean.

On those regions (where most sail) the owners of boats with large “glass” surfaces have them covered for preventing the sun coming in for lowering the interior temperature. However there are several boats with lots of “glass”, like the RM, and this one has the advantage of having two small dedicated hatches for the aeration of the superior part of the cabin.

The data that has been provided regarding the boat weight and ballast, is scarce and strange. I tried for two times to contact the shipyard to have correct information but they didn't reply. Yacht.de refers that the ballast on the 2.65m keel version is 2500kg for a weight of 6575 kg. That gives a B/D of 38%, a high ratio for a boat with a big draft and a torpedo keel. A racing boat ratio.

Contrary to what would be expected the Bente 39 is not a very light boat if compared with fast performance cruisers of the same type. For instance the bigger Pogo 12.50 weights 1075kg less, the slightly smaller JPK 38 1175kg less Even if compared with tradicional performance cruisers we will see that the Salona 380 has 390kg less and the Comet 38s has 175kg less. Note that the Comet and the Salona have a much smaller draft (2.0 and 2.1m) and have less ballast (2300kg and 2200kg)

In fact the Bente 39, assuming that the 2500kg refered by Yacht. de are correct has an excellent B/D. With considerable more ballast than the Comet and the Salona with a much bigger draft and a hull with more form stability, the Bente 39 will be a very powerful boat.

However that is on the 2.65m draft version. On their site the version with a 1.95m draft weights only more 15kg??? (6590kg). This does not make sense unless the two versions have a very different RM. That huge difference in draft (70cm), considering the same type of keel, would need, on the boat with a smaller draft, about 400kg more ballast to maintain a similar RM curve.

With a difference of only 15 kg in ballast the two boats would be very different in what regards sailing. That is not a normal situation and probably one that  would demand two different RCD certifications and would make this boat a very strange one in what regards that. There is also the possibility of the 2500kg to be the ballast of the 1.95m version and not the one on the 2.65 m draft, I would say that it would seem more probable to me.

Unfortunately not a clear situation and one that casts a shadow over the shipyard in what regards transparency on the Bente 39 characteristics. It is impossible to make a correct boat assessment without knowing the ballast and weight of the two versions and that is specially important in what regards a performance boat. http://www.bente24.com/wp/39ben/

The designers (Judel&Vrolijk) say that the Bente 39 is inspired on a class 40 but if it has the same type of hull it has a more moderate beam, almost the same as a smaller Pogo 36 (4.05 to 4.00). That should make it less typified downwind even if broad reach and beam reach should be where its performance will shine.

The Bente 39 has a huge sail area, 96 m2 and that should make it a very fast sailboat, at least on lighter winds, even on the heavier version with the shallower draft (89m2). They offer it also with a swing keel version with 1.20/2.80m draft, that seems to me the most interesting and the interior layout seems to be designed just for that.

The price is quite good, they talk about a ready to sail boat for 145000 euros and a completely equipped boat for 210 000 euros (no taxes). I cannot wait to see it at Dusseldorf and for the first tests on the water.

Friday, October 26, 2018


On the Middle Sea Race we have a great winner, the JPK 11.80 skippered by Trentesaux Gery. They have made a fantastic race finishing on a 39ft cruiser-racer ahead of boats like Farr 45, Eliott 44 or XP44 and I mean also very well sailed boats.

However I  have not changed my opinion that it does not make any sense to have an overall winner on a race with several days because the weather and sea conditions are not the same for bigger and faster boats and smaller and slower ones.

Courrier Recommandé was racing in 28th position in IRC, on the North coast of Sicily, and I knew already that if they maintained the pace they were probably going to win. And if it was not them, it would be another small boat because the strong wind along the West coast of Sicily and all the way till the finish (on the beam and downwind) would favor the boats that would catch it. The big ones had already passed with medium winds and it would be the smaller boats that would get it.

Last year on the Sydney Hobart happened the other way around. So, what sense have these arbitrary victories on handicap on several days’ races? Shouldn't it make more sense to transform that stupid notion of line honors in overall winner of the race? And give full credit to each winner on different categories? They exist already but on the shade of that arbitrary notion of overall winner on handicap.

And what to say about the ridicule thing of having a IRC and ORC classification that, in some cases, give different winners? Everybody has already understood that, even if IRC is more widespread, ORC gives a better boat assessment in what regards performance under different circumstances. There are talks about reuniting the two systems in a single one, for years, and notwithstanding, things remain the same. I don’t understand why World Sailing does not take a hard stance on this subject.

Or better, I think I understand why: even if races like Sydney Hobart, Middle Sea race, Fastnet and some others promote some of the best sailing on the planet, in what regards spectacle, boats and crews, they are almost ignored by world sailing.

If you look at the site and at the different sail race categories, these are Fleet Races and World Sailing says about them: “Fleet racing is the most common form of competitive sailing that involves boats racing around a course.”

So, if it is the more common it is clear that they should gather special attention. They are subdivided in two sub categories, 'one-design' and 'handicap'. Regarding one design the WS have an incredible number of championships, some world ones. But listed under handicap there is not a single championship, much less a world championship and the races mentioned above are not mentioned, even if they are major sailing events and very popular in what regards public and sailors, they are treated by World Sailing like minor events.
The same happens in what regards handicap rules, as if most races were not handicap races or if World Sailing should not be the authority in what regards handicap system and rules. As if they had not the responsibility to provide a universal single comprehensive, fair and effective handicap rule.

To increase the confusion there is now an Offshore Sailing World Championship. It started to be an ORC championship but this year integrates IRC and ORC. I cannot find anything about it on the WS site.

With this denomination we would think that it would be a major championship that would integrate all major handicap races, but it is not, it is a Championship realized each year in a different location, this year was Hague, with a relatively low number of boats racing and with a public and sailor attention much smaller than some individual big handicap races, like the Fastnet or the Sydney Hobart.

What a mess! One of the objectives of world sailing is: “To provide a professional and valued service to our members that enables the sport to grow in relevance and influence.” For a sport to grow it is necessary to provide a clear and comprehensive line of gradual sportive achievement that would allow to identify the best sailors in the world and of course a small number of world sailing championships for the best to race and to prove that they are really the best.

If we look at car racing and FIA we will see that they have only 4 world championships, F1, World Rally, Endurance and Rally Cross.

There are plenty of other championships, some of world dimension (they call them World Cups) but it means that those 4 are the main ones on the sport and the ones where we will find the best pilots. And among those main championships everybody knows that the best of the best are on F1 and WRC, being the other two championships supplied with pilots that are not anymore competitive on the two first categories. Clear and effective.

Compare with World Sailing where they have a multitude of disciplines, mostly dinghy racing as world championships plus a world match championship and what they call the Sail Events, and Oceanic Major Events. Sydney Hobart, the Fastnet, Transpac or Middle Sea race are not considered among those events. The site is utterly confusing as it is confusing and impossible any correlation between the different events and the world’s best sailors, unless we consider that all in each category and event are the best.

If we compare to car racing it was as if a kart world champion was at the same level as a world F1 champion. Compared with other major sports, that are highly professionalized, sailing continues to have a Corinthian very amateur approach.

If we want sail as a sport to grow we need a professional approach one that does not forget amateur sailing but also one that creates a very small number of top professional sail racing world championships for top professional sailors.

The professional racing sailors are already there, and they are many, some of them highly skilled but racing in many different events when they should be reunited around some few meaningful ones to compete to be the best of the best.

Sunday, October 21, 2018


Terrible conditions, very difficult light winds along the East coast of Sicily and on the Messina strait. When I say light it is almost no wind at all sometimes 2 or 3 kts winds.
HH66 and 84ft Allegra

The big fleet spent all night without being able to pass the strait and its opposing current. The only exception were the two racing trimarans (Multi 70) that have showed a remarkably good performance upwind with weak winds. Soldini and Maserati (Mod70) are doing a great race, have left behind the other Mod70 and have already passed Stromboli.

Curiously the two other big multihulls racing are not doing so well against monohulls and on that private battle Allegra, a very fast 78ft cruiser racer is beating the HH66, another very fast cruiser racer cat, about which the builder says that “we've created a cruising cat that outperforms anything of equivalent size and class – anywhere” 

Comet 50c aand Mylius 50
Actually the HH66 (and the bigger Allegra), on these conditions, are being beaten by smaller cruiser racer monohulls like a 50ft Mylius, a Mylius 60, a Comet 52C and a Swan 50. 

Looking at other cruiser racers doing well, another Mylius 50ft is going very fast chasing the HH66 and not very far an old Swan 651 shows that on these conditions it is still a match for more modern boats. Not very far, just entering the strait come two surprisingly Swan 42. 

The first 40 ft cruiser racer is a Neo 400, the first one with less than 40 ft is a JPK 11.80 that is battling with several J122 that are doing good on the race as well as a Sydney 39CR. The first 36ft boats are JPK 10.80 and the first of the two crew category is a Comet 45s that is going strong even if compared with fully crewed boats, followed by a very fast and well sailed JPK 10.80. 
Swan 50
As expected the several Pogos (12.50 and 36) racing are not doing well and the 40class racers have finally understood that med conditions doesn’t suit them and even if there is a class for them on the race and they have been racing here on the past, not a single one showed up this time. 

Saturday, October 20, 2018


I am talking about the Rolex Middle Sea Race and obviously being the best or not it is a matter of opinion but it is certainly a big classic that is celebrating its 50th edition with a big fleet racing: 131 boats most of them modern cruiser-racers but also many top racing sailboats.

It is also my favorite med race and one that provides very interesting information about different type of hulls performance on the med typical conditions.
Don't miss it! The tracker: http://rolexmiddlesearace.com/tracker/
The start:

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


The hull looks beautiful and the boat is very nice, specially on the performance version (First Line) where it is offered a carbon mast, flat deck genoa furler, German mainsheet system, better sails, adjustable backstay and genoa cars, bowsprit, upgraded performance winches, upgraded halyards and sheets, carbon wheels, lead bulb extra deep keel (2.60m) bigger mast, more 28% sail area and of course single line reefing on a main sail with full battens. Some of the above items standard, most as options. 

They even say that this version “will guarantee unique cruising sensations”. Will that be true, will this boat satisfy the ones that “like fast cruising”, as they say?

If a car manufacturer decides to offer a model with a more sportive version they will have one with more horsepower, lighter and stiffer, with a better suspension and everything that contributes to a more precise and fast car control. A car is not a boat but less weight, more power and more control are three items that will be common when offering a more sportive version, being it a boat or a car.
Is the 46.1 First Line more powerful? No, it is not. One may say that it has a bigger mast and considerably more sail area but that makes it only a boat with more sail area, faster in light wind, but that is not what it is called power in a sailboat.

The amount of sail area on a sailing boat depends on the size of the sails, that can be variable, the power of a sailing boat is the righting moment (that it offers to oppose the force of the wind on the sails) versus the boat weight and shape of the hull (drag).

Well, to be absolutely correct it is probably just a little bit more powerful since the boat will weigh less 159 kg (due to the difference in draft from the standard version) and will have a bit less drag due to a torpedo keel and lead bulb but the RM will be practically the same. They increased the draft and decreased the keel weight and Less weight means also less RM.

Of course, this very small increase in RM (if any) is not proportional to the 28% increase of sail area so what you get is a boat that is faster on light winds (the standard version can also be faster if you use a code 0 or a Geenaker) but that on stronger winds will not be faster and will need to reef much sooner. In fact if you look at the picture below you will see that the boat going upwind in light winds is already at the heeling limit and in need of reefing.
And even if this is a boat with a big form stability it is also one with a small B/D ratio that on the standard version (2.35m) is just 26% (less on the performance version). That means that the boat will sail well upwind and downwind but upwind will not be able to take advantage of the extra power given by bigger ballast, will have to reef sooner and will have a safety stability that probably will not go much further than the minimums required by the RCD.

Regarding boat control the First Line comes without the arch that on the other versions is where the boom control lines are situated. On the “performance” version the control lines are over the cockpit but without a traveler that would allow a better control. I have doubts that if the arch system is well built and well regulated the one over the cockpit will be more efficient due to the much bigger distance between the boom and the pulling point.

They offer a german sheet system, a system that is great for boom control because when the boat is heeled you can work in any of the two winches, the one up or down, but on this case with only 4 winches and no option or possibility of mounting another two, that system will be probably a disadvantage because you will have two winches occupied with the mainsheet another one with the genoa and that means that on one of the tacks the reefing line will not be possible to be handled by a winch at least without taking one of the lines from a winch. Most of the reefing is done by hand but for the final trimming a winch is needed.

And even worse than that, there is the possibility (depending on the tack) that you cannot use a winch to lower the main sail. Yes, for letting it down you will not need a winch but some turns of the halyard around the winch is the way to let it down progressively and in a controllable way. Also, at the end of the reefing process the sail should be tuned pulling the halyard up or pulling the boom down or both.

So quite a mess and much more complicated than with the standard version from wich this running rigging was designed: for the jib on the self tacking system you only have a line, only need a winch and with a furling main you also have only a line for reefing (furling) the main.

On the “performance” version for reefing you will have at least two lines, one for each reef and if you want to have 3 reefs, four lines and it would be impossible to have them all on the same side of the boat. You need more winches to work in an effective way.

I have many doubts regarding stiffness, not in the sense of boat power, but as opposed to bendy, a boat that is rigid while sailing on difficult conditions. The Oceanis 46.1 is built like the other Oceanis: they use a non cored hull with a structural counter mould bonded to the hull, a system that offers a reasonable hull stiffness but weight for weight not one comparable to the one that can be obtained with cored hulls.

And I have doubts due to the boat weight. Looking at it, without ballast, the 46.1 weights 7862 kg. If we compare it with the weight of a main market boat built with better resins (less weight) and  a cored hull using a top infusion technique (less weight) like the much more expensive Grand Soleil 46LC we will see that the weight without ballast is similar (7800kg).

If we compare its weight (without keel) with boats of similar price but with cored hulls, like the Bavaria C45 or the Hanse 458, we will see that they are considerably heavier (8870kg and 8320kg. I do like light boats but I do believe that you can only obtain lighter boats with a similar strength if you use better resins, better building materials or better building techniques or all things put together. It is not the case with the Oceanis 46.1.

The interior looks uninspired and the standard tankage (370L water, 200L diesel) is insufficient (they offer more as option) but what makes me say that it is a pity, is that everybody that sailed the boat have said that it was a well balanced boat and that it sailed well. It could have been a beautiful and great performance sailing boat if many things were different: It has the looks and a good hull.

Friday, October 12, 2018



I didn’t like the last edition of the European yacht of the year: on the performance cruiser category, that supposedly should evaluate between “yachts designed for fast and competitive sailing on the race course, but catering for all creature comforts required for enjoyable holiday sailing as well” the winner was the Swan 50 a boat that is only used on the race course and that has a very poor, even if luxurious, cruising interior.
Arcona 435
They have chosen on the Luxury cruiser category the Amel 50, a boat that in my opinion is not as good as the Halberg Rassy 44. The Amel 50 has average safety stability, remarkably lower than the one on the HR44 or other boats on that category that are seen as bluewater boats.

This year the winners are yet to be announced and I don’t like it already. On the Family cruiser category that is supposed to regard “typical cruising boats… a trend driven by the charter business… typical examples are often found to be in charter fleets…” one of the runners is the Halberg Rassy 340. For sure a great yacht but not one used in charter or a typical inexpensive boat, as they are supposed to be on this category. 
Why the HR 340 this year on this category and the HR 44 on the Luxury yacht category last year? The HR 340, regarding other 34ft boats is not less expensive than the HR 44 regarding boats of that size.

And more, in that category that it is defined in one official place as referred above, on another official place it is defined quite differently, as: “the category Family-Cruiser comprises of yachts designed for sailing with friends and family on day trips or holidays but also for long-distance blue water cruising.” That covers about any type of cruising boat, from daysailers to bluewater boats. What a confusion!!!

Mojito 8.88
Another yacht on the family category is the Mojito 10.88, a kind of Pogo with the particularity of having a small dinghy garage: a typical inexpensive boat used on the charter market? I don’t think so and this one is certainly a performance cruiser even if, like the Pogo, was not designed for racing.

This year on the performance cruiser category, “yachts designed for fast and competitive sailing on 
the race course, but catering for all creature comforts required for enjoyable holiday sailing as well” they nominated two cruiser racers, the Grand Soleil 48 performance and the Arcona 435, and the X 4.6 a boat that comes with a self taking jib, without a genoa traveler and with a running rig and winch set up only adapted to the use of the self taking jib.

This system besides not allowing a decent trimming on all points of sail, is limited to one size of sail. “Fast and competitive sailing on the race course” with a single frontal small sail that cannot be well trimmed. Seriously? As we all know X yachts have a cruiser-racer line and a good one allowing for racing and cruising, the XP line, not this line.

I regret to say that what was once an interesting competition and a great idea, with yachts evaluated by test sailors from some of the best European magazines, does not interest me anymore. It has become a nonsense competition where yachts are put on the different categories in a random way and where the categories are not clearly defined.

It is clear that having the yacht market an annual offer that allows choosing a European Yacht of the year, among all categories it has not an annual offer that allows the evaluation of yachts on well defined significant market categories.
It would make more sense to have a single annual yacht of the year every year and a European yacht contest regarding categories every three years, among all boats that had come to the market in that period.

That would give much more meaningful information and would allow clearly defined market segments and not this nonsense with four completely different types of yacht running on what I would call the main category, the one of the Family cruisers. Truly, according with their own definition of Family cruisers, only two of the 5 Yachts on contest belong to this category.

Monday, October 8, 2018


Some boats are interesting for their design or sailing characteristics; this one is interesting mainly for its price, that is quite incredible, the lower by far, regarding this size and type of boat.

Why have you never heard about it? Well, this is a boat that exists since 2016 but with the exception of the last Genoa boat show, didn't go to boat shows neither pays publicity on sail magazines, so it is pretty much as if it did not exist in what regards public knowledge.

And you would ask: how they survive if they are not known? That's a good question and the answer is a curious one: like “More” this boat is built by a big charter company (Kufner) that fed up with the quality of the boats offered for the charter market, meaning all main market boats, decided to build his own boat.

Damir Kufner the owner of the charter company and the de designer of the boat says about it: ”Boost for this project was also the fact that European brands are getting more expensive, and their quality is declining, maintenance costs have risen, so it has become increasingly difficult to make profit in charter business. I simply had to do something about it. …
 I decided to start this project”.  "Despite the fact that the intention was not to create a light boat, as it is well known that the feeling of comfort is better on a heavy vessel, the boat is extremely fast due to her great hull shape and optimized helm sheet and keel. So, with a little luck, we produced a good-looking, comfortable, fast, and affordable sailboat.. "

Only the charter Kufner company has 8 Kufner 54 on its fleet and more companies in Greece and Croatia bought the Kufner 54 for their fleets even if having an unknown boat (for the clients) represents a disadvantage that seems to have been compensated by the price, that is 35% less than the one of an Oceanis 55 and includes much more equipment.

Some would say that a boat built for charter is not a good boat but they forget that charter use is not only an intensive use but one made by careless and many times ignorant sailors that  use and abuse the boat. That means that a charter boat suffers more than an owner’s boat not only in what regards hours of use but in what regards rude use and therefore it has to be a strong one.

For that reason toughness and good resistance to wear are some of the main characteristics that are appreciated on a charter boat. That and price.

The Kufner 54 seems to be handling well all those areas and it comes standard with many things that are options on other brands, some of them needed on a charter boat or on a boat used for extensive cruising: the boat comes standard with a generator, air condition, webasto heating, bimini, sprayhood, Sundeck tent, cockpit and sundeck cushions, led TV (80 cm), radio /CD/DVD, a good battery pack (4×180 Ah), a good tankage, a 110hp engine and even a teak deck, all for 279 000 euros.

And even if they don’t mention it the boat comes with 6 winches, a thing that not any of the main market boats have, and that allows a much better and practical sail control than what is possible with four, that is the normal offer on this segment. Plus I have heard that the boat sails well, if compared with other main market boats, although some tons heavier.

The boats are made in Croatia, the design is conservative but pleasant even if it does not offer anything new, with a tankage and stability not very different than the one offered by an Amel 50 at 1/3 of the price.

 If I was on the market for a main market 50 to 55ft boat I would have a better look at this one, I would charter one, I would visit the factory and if I was satisfied with the sailing, the building and finish(that looks acceptable) I certainly would consider it: the price is too good for not considering it as a valid option.