Thursday, November 29, 2018


When I saw on the nautical press the technical characteristics of the new OVNI 40, I could not believe them. They said that the boat has 2600kg ballast and displaced 11200kg. That gives a B/D of 23% and that, considering that the ballast is inside the boat, would not allow the boat to be certified as class A due to a poor final stability and AVS. 

I checked on Alubat site and they apparently confirmed those dimensions. Only when I made the download of the boat brochure did things become different: contrary to what used to be, the centerboard is heavy and acts as ballast. It weights 1300kg, going down till 2.88m (draft). 

Even if the centerboard does not seems to have more weight down than up, that changes things and the ballast is actually 3900kg, with some of it way down. That gives a B/D of 35% that, without being much, considering that most of it is inside the boat, will allow the boat to be certified class A, but I bet, very close to the minimum required in what regards stability. 

The OVNI 395, the boat that this one substitutes, is surprisingly lighter (10 000kg) and with 3300kg of ballast plus the weight of the light centerboard that, if I remember right was something like 300kg, has a B/D of 36%. Considering that on the new boat the ballast CG is slightly lower due to a considerably part being down on the centerboard, the final stability and AVS of both boats should be very similar.

The OVNI 400 in what regards that mixed ballast system has resemblances with the Southerly, particularly the 42, that displaced 11250kg, with 3670kg of ballast having 2100kg on the bottom of the hull and 1570kg on a swing keel that had a max draft of 2.72m. The bigger ballast on the keel allowed the Southerly 42 RST to have a smaller B/D (33%) than the OVNI. 

What this type of boats loses in static stability gains in dynamic stability, regarding a more conventional type of yacht with a big draft and a bulbed or torpedo keel with a similar B/D (or even smaller). This type of boat is able to dissipate better the energy of a breaking wave by sliding over the water instead of transforming it on a rolling movement.

The smaller the area of keel (or centerboard), the better the ability to not trip over the keel and to slide with the push of a wave and these boats can put the centerboard up in really bad weather while running with the sea, escaping from a storm. It is worth noting that contrary to the 395 the 400 loses static stability with the board up. 
The overall stability is considerably bigger on the 400 due not only to a superior weight (more 1200kg) but also due to a hull with a lot more hull form stability. The 400 has more beam (4.35 to 4.11m) but has also all the beam pulled back to the transom. 

This, the weighted centerboard, the much bigger draft of the centerboard (2.88 to 2.10m) makes it a very different sailboat than the one it is substituting (395). The 400 will be slower on light winds but faster on a beam reach and downwind with medium to strong winds. 
Above, OVNI 395, below, Allures 399
But more important than that the 400 will be a much more comfortable sailboat downwind, rolling a lot less and easier on an autopilot, it will sail on a beam reach on a close reach faster and with less heel (with medium to strong winds) losing for the OVNI 395 only in light winds and close hauled and if I believe that it will be so, the bigger keel draft may have an attenuating factor regarding pointing ability, notwithstanding the considerable bigger wave drag due to the type of hull and superior beam. 

The OVNI 400 is a medium displacement boat with a 203 D/L and with a moderate sail plan, one that certainly is accordingly to the boat stability and that on the standard version has a 17.3 SA/D ans with the “performance rig” (with a square top on the main) has 18.9 SA/D. 

It would be interesting to make a comparison with the main competition, the Allures 399 that has also an aluminum hull but, contrary to the OVNI, for lowering the boat CG has a GRP sandwich deck. The Allures displaces 10 900kg, has a light centerboard that weights 200 kg, that adds to the 4000kg of ballast on the bottom of the hull. This gives a 39% B/D that compares favorably with the one of the OVNIs especially if we consider the lighter deck. 

The Allures has a better AVS and a better final stability. Its hull in what regards shape is a bit between the one of the OVNI 395 and the one of the OVNI 400. It has a similar SA/D (215.8) and a SA/D (16.9) not far from the one of the standard OVNI 400 (17.3). 

The sailboat performances should be quite similar, except on strong winds downwind were the 400 should be faster. Both have equally powered engines (50hp), good enough to give them almost a motor-sailor ability and have a large tankage: the Allures 330L water, 400 L diesel and the OVNI, water 550L, diesel 500L. 

What really is much better on the OVNI 400, compared with the OVNI 395, is the interior space, not only because the boat has more interior space due to more beam and the beam all pulled aft, but because the interior is much nicer, with an all around panoramic view that besides that allows to sail the boat from the interior. 
The 3D drawings show a very nice, functional and comfortable interior. The boat has many possible layouts even if on a boat that is aimed at long range cruising the ones with the 3 cabins don’t make sense, if that is the way the boat is going to be used. Both the two layouts with 2 cabins are well thought being the only difference two heads (and a smaller forward cabin) or one head with a separate shower cabin. 

Another interesting feature is a hard sprayhood. But if they use one they need to provide openings for ventilation that are not shown on the drawings. The running rigging has some unusual features, namely a large traveler for the main over an arch and shows also a nice but small traveler over the cabin for the frontal sail on a position that should provide an excellent sail trimming while close hauled.

Not big enough for a big genoa, a type of sail that seems to be interesting on this boat. Probably the position of the stays would prevent its use anyway with the traveler on that position. A new traveler over the deck would be needed for a 140% genoa. 

Four winches are shown on an intriguing position, under the sprayhood. Maybe they are thinking into putting them on a position that will allow their use on a completely protected area but I don’t think that is justifiable. I hope that they revise that because it makes not much sense having all the winches away from the wheels and having to cross the cockpit area to work on them.

I like the boat design with its slightly inverted voluminous bow, raised cabin and the elegant transom arch to support solar panels, wind generator and eventually to serve as davits for a dinghy. The design is from Mortain & Mavrikios a firm that was responsible for some interesting designs but that on the last years has not done much work. 

The OVNI 400 price is not known yet, the OVNI 395 costs around 240 000 euro and the Allures 399 costs around 280 000, both boats standard and without VAT. I would be surprised if they were able to maintain the 395 price, probably it will be close to the Allures price.

All in all a very interesting proposition that could be a lot more interesting if instead of having 1300 kg on the centerboard it had a swing keel with all the ballast on the keel. That could lead not only to a boat almost 1000kg lighter with a better safety stability and a better AVS but also to a more powerful and fast boat, one that could be a benchmark on this category.

Friday, November 23, 2018

1 500 000 HITS.

I would like to share this with all of you. We have passed 1 million and a half hits, thanks to you all. The previous thread on sailnet (2010- 2014)  was not far from that.

On this blog (2014-2018) the beginning was slow but it has been growing steadily each year, even if it is a seasonal blog that closes for the sailing season, 5 months in a year. The audience now is of about 30 000 views a month.

I will continue till I stop having fun doing it, even if in what regards earning some money with it, it has been a disillusion. This kind of automatic adds only pay when people open them and unfortunately not many do that. The system is conceived for social blogs that have millions of views a day, not for this type of blog.

To all of you, thanks for the company on this journey on boat design and sailing fun and if I may ask something, try to participate more doing comments. It is a way of not feeling lonely on this side of the net and feeling that you are enjoying the blog.


Thursday, November 22, 2018


Sunbeam is an Austrian shipyard that have been making boats for more than five decades. For many years they looked like Bavarias, with a better finish but designed along the same lines, maybe because the designer was the same (J&J) and like Bavarias were a bit on the conservative side of yacht design.

They have recently modernized all their line, the boats are well designed (still by J&J) the finish is very good and the Sunbeam 46.1 looks nice and comfortable. That’s a pity that the recent actualisation on the designs did not reach their building methods that continue do maintain good quality but using conservative methods: the hulls are monolithic and they still use manual lay up instead of vacuum infusion.

Even so the boats are not too heavy maybe because they use some carbon to reinforce the boat structure and use the bulkheads, that are laminated to the hull and deck to form a kind of integral structure.
Above, Sunbeam 46.1, below, X4 6

The Sunbeam 46.1, as the new X46, belong to a new class of yachts: till now in what regards high quality boats we had performance cruisers, also caller cruiser-racers and medium weight sailing boats. Performance cruisers are boats like the Arcona, Solaris, and medium weight cruisers, boats like Halberg Rassy, Najad, Amel.

Between these two types there was space for a new type of boat, one that stayed in between these two, lighter than the medium ones, heavier than the cruiser racers, trying to achieve speed with comfort and minimum fuss. X yachts and Grand Soleil pioneered the way creating a new line of yachts that was aimed to achieve this, on GS the LC line on X yachts the X line, staying in the middle ground between the XC line and XP line. In fact this is only a new type of boat because it is better built and has a considerably bigger B/D than the mass production boats (Oceanis, Bavaria, Jeanneau etc) otherwise, in what regards SA/D and D/L they have not very different characteristics.
Above, Oceanis 46.1, below XC45 and HR 44

Taking a look at the D/L and SA/D we can see that the Sunbeam 46.1 has a 147.4 D/L and a 21.2 SA/D, the Oceanis 46.1 has a 127.0 D/L and a 21.5 SA/D, the X46 has a 146.3 D/L and a 23.6 SA/D, the XC 45 has a 173.2 D/L and a 20.4 SA/D and the Hallberg Rassy 44 has a 173.7 D/L and a 19.9 SA/D.

This means that, generally speaking and compared with mass production boats, in light wind and downwind the performances are similar but the Sunbeam will have a slightly better performance beam reaching in medium winds, a better performance upwind with medium winds, a much better performance with strong winds and a considerably better reserve stability and AVS.

The Sunbeam 46.1 35% B/D on a bulbed keel with a 2.20m draft is a good value but one that cannot be compared with the 40% on the Hallberg Rassy 44, the 45% of the XC 45 or the 41% on the X46, but a value that will compare favourably with the 29% of the Amel 50 or the 26% of the Oceanis 46.1.

Note that the HR has10cm less draft than the Sunbeam, that the Oceanis has 15cm more , that the XC45 has the same draft, that the Amel 50 has 5cm less and that the X46 has 10cm more and that all have similar bulbed keels with the exception of the X46 that has a more efficient torpedo keel. More draft means that the B/D is maximized, less, the opposite.
Regarding beam the Sunbeam has 4.45m, similar to the one of the Oceanis 46,6 (4.50), the smaller HR 44 has 4.20m, the slightly smaller XC45 has 4.32 and the X46 has 4.27m. The Oceanis is the only one that has all beam pulled to the transom. The HR and the X46 are the ones closer in what that concerns, followed by the Sunbeam and the XC45 that is the one that has a more “classical” hull even if modern and not far from the one of the Sunbeam.

The displacements of the Sunbeam 46.1, the HR44 and the XC 45 are not very different, 13 000kg, 13 300kg and 13 200kg respectively. The Oceanis 46.1 is much lighter with only 10 597 kg, a displacement not far from the one of the X46, 10900kg.

If we consider the weight of the boats without ballasts we will find a different picture, with the Sundbeam 46.1 weighting 8450 kg, the smaller HR44 8000kg, the smaller XC45 7235kg, the smaller X46 6400kg and the Oceanis 46.1 weighting 7862kg.

If we compare the weight of the Oceanis with the one of the Sunbeam, both without ballast, we will see that the difference in weight is far from the difference in boat displacements, only 588kg, that can be easily explained by the need of a stonger structure and hull on the Sunbeam due to the extra efforts that the superior ballast will create.
In fact that difference in weight is surprisingly small if we consider that they say that the Sunbeam has a “massive hull reinforcement” and because the Oceanis, contrary to the Sunbeam, has not only a monolithic hull but also an interior “contremoule” a kind of interior skin that is bonded to the hull and increases boat rigidity. 

We can see that the XC45 and the X46, boats that have a lot of ballast, are the ones that weight less if we take out the ballast weight. That is only possible because they are the boats that use more advanced building techniques having a steel frame as boat structure.
Above Sundbeam 46.1, below Xc45

Till recently on the XC45 the fibber was hand laid but almost all the hull, with the exception of the keel and engine area, was cored, not only the part of the hull over the water line. 

The X46 is built like the X45 with the exception that vacuum infusion is used and that will allow considerable gains in weight due to a better resin use (the X45 is now vacuum infused too). Also the furniture, although nice, is probably lighter than on the other yachts. 

The Sunbeam’s closest rival, the X46, has a nice but slightly different hull, less beamier with a superior B/D, has only four winches, does not have standard a genoa traveller (it is an option) but has a traveller for the main, that is inexistent on the Sunbeam 46.1.

All in all the Sunbeam 46.1 is an interesting sailboat, good looking, lighter than medium weight cruisers, like the Hallberg Rassy and the XC45, not far in dimensions from boats like the Oceanis 46.1 or the Bavaria C45 but with a substantial difference in what regards ballast and B/D ratio. The magazines that tested the Sunbeam 46.1 were impressed with the boat performance and quality:
Above HR44, below Oceanis 46.1

It is also better built than Oceanis and Bavaria, with a much better sail hardware that includes six winches of adequate dimension and a long traveller for different sized genoas as well as traveller for a self taking jib. Like most of the mass production cruisers it does not have a traveller for the boom and instead it has a not very efficient control system on the top of the arch, similar to the ones used on several mass production cruisers.

The Sunbeam 46.1 costs, standard without vat, 365 000 euros while the smaller X46 costs 399 500, the XC 45 costs 457 500, the Hallberg Rassy 44 around 500 000 and the Oceanis 46.1 costs 225 300 euros. Regarding price the Sunbeam 46.1 is midway between the higher one of the smaller HR44 and the lower one of the Oceanis 46.1.

Friday, November 16, 2018


The Dehler 30 OD is a nice design but I really don’t know what to think about it. Not that the boat is not interesting, it is certainly a looker and it will be surely very fast and a lot of fun to sail. But what puzzles me is the market to which the boat is pointed, that seems to be an nonexistent one. 

It is meant to be a One Design offshore solo or duo boat and that implies the existence of a class for racing, but will this boat manage to create such a class on a country where solo and duo racing is not very big? And with a boat that due to the liquid ballasts cannot be an inexpensive boat? 

And even if they manage to sell enough boats to create a One design class and a championship of offshore solo or duo races how will the boat be transported to the races? The big beam makes it non trailerable and the absence of an engine with small autonomy and power (electric 4hp) makes the transport by sea difficult at least in what regards respecting a timetable. 
Regarding other type of races it is difficult to know how the boat will perform. For IRC or ORC duo class, 30ft is a bit on the limit in what regards offshore races. Yes, of course, there are mini-racers, that are even smaller but the truth is that on the offshore IRC/ORC races that include a duo class the chosen boats are rarely smaller than 35ft. 

There are two big amateur races for solo sailors, one coastal, the SilverRudder, other offshore, the Transquadra (transat). On the Transquadra there are some 30ft boats racing but most will chose a boat that will allow them to be among the first in real time and boats like the Sunfast 3600 or the JPK 10.80 were designed thinking about that race. 

The Dehler 30 OD is just too small to be able to win that race in real time and less adapted than a Pogo 30 and besides the electric engine does not allow the production of electrical energy through an alternator (as with a diesel engine) and on longer races they need to produce energy for the instruments and autopilot. 

Regarding this boat they talk specifically about the Silver Rudder, even if that one is a coastal and not an offshore race, but the SilverRudder is a relatively short race where there is no need of an interior since the sailors are full time at the wheel or rudder. It is not a handicap race but a race by boat length. This boat will be racing on the class Small (25.01 - 30.00 feet) against boats like the Farr 280 or the Soto 30 and I don’t think it has any chance to win. 

The Dehler 30 OD is not a dual boat, a cruiser-racer, it has no conditions to suit for more than a spartan weekend cruise while other boats like the Pogo 30 can do long range cruising and boats like the JPK 9.60 can coastal cruise comfortably. 

That’s true that it will be faster than any of these two but slower than true race boats like the Farr 280, Soto 30 or similar boats and almost for sure not as good in handicap racing as JPK or other top fast cruiser-racers designed specifically for IRC or ORC racing. And slower than the Pogo on a transat. 

Some say that this could be the perfect boat for the new Olympic class of duo offshore racing but that is really a long shot and there are talks that the boat has already been chosen, the L30, certainly a less adapted boat for solo racing but having a huge advantage of having a smaller beam that makes it trailerable, having a lifting keel and a better cruising interior, with a true head. 

With the Dehler it shares an electric engine, but more powerful, on a boat that is lighter with the advantage of including a hydrogenerator that will charge the batteries while sailing. It has also solar panels as an option. 

Maybe I am wrong and there is a market for this boat, much will depend on the price but I do not believe that Dehler can make that boat cheaper than the L30 (75 000 euros), probably not even close. 

Now, if they chose to put a nice and comfortable light interior on the Dehler 30 OC, if they mount a small diesel engine and offer an option for decent tankage as well as a stand for an anchor on that bowsprit, then we are talking about a different ball game, about a dual boat that can be very interesting as a fast cruiser and a small offshore racer, a boat that I believe will interest a much bigger number of sailors.

Thursday, November 1, 2018


Hallberg Rassy’s big design revolution, that started 8 years ago with the 372, has finally reached their bigger yachts. From a brand that built conservative and relatively slow yachts they turned into a brand that produces well built, relatively fast, contemporary cruising boats and they have managed to do so without losing their conservative clientele and adding a new clientele that prefers contemporary fast cruisers.

The only point that remains conservative are the interiors but who can blame them? They are beautifully finished, cozy and tend to age better than new trendy more modern interiors.

The new 57 is their first new big yacht that is truly contemporary in what regards hull design. The 64 from 2011 pointed already on that direction but the hull is much more conservative as well as the keel and rudder. The 57 has dual rudders that have many advantages in a cruising boat.

The 57 and the 64 have completely different hulls, with just a small difference in beam (5.11 to 5.17m) the 57, maintaining narrow entries, is a much more beamier boat and contrary to the 64 has all the beam pulled back to the transom.

The draft is not very different (2.43 to 2.50m) the B/D is the same (35%) but the 57 keel is less wide and probably with more ballast on the bulb. In what regards stability the 57 is a stiffer boat due to a much bigger hull form stability and that gives it proportionally a much bigger stability at small heel angles and a proportionally bigger stability on heel angles used for sailing. It also allows it to roll less downwind and make the work of the autopilot easier.

That difference in stability (versus weight) allows the 57 to be a faster boat on almost all points of sail (with the probable exception of close upwind with medium and strong winds). The difference in proportional stability between the two boats is translated in the difference on the standard SA/D, that is considerably bigger on the 57 (18.1 to 16.1).

With a performance mainsail the 57 has a SA/D of 20. This is a very respectable number and that with a D/WL of 165.6 will put it on the lower step of performance cruisers while the 64 with a D/WL of 186.7 and a SA/D of 16.1, far from being a slow boat (due to its narrower hull) is a completely different sailboat, a medium weight cruiser.
The HR57 interior is well designed, having a big sail locker at the bow and a huge galley very well suited for cooking while sailing, even upwind on any of the tacks.

On the interior the only thing I don’t like is the relatively small transom locker that has no space to store an inflated dinghy. There is no justification for a 57ft cruiser not having a garage for a dinghy. Much smaller boats, 50/52ft boats, have already a dinghy garage.

If they had chosen not to offer a dinghy garage, then the 57 should come standard with davits. On a luxury boat that is suited to be sailed by a small crew, even a couple, it does not make any sense to have the need to pull a heavy dinghy to the deck.

Another thing I don’t like is the absence of a traveler for the mainsail. Yes, it makes sailing simpler, but the fact is that a traveler is useful in many situations, to someone who knows how to sail and HR has them on their smaller models, including the 44, so why not use it on the 57 (and 64)?

As a final point I would like to refer a very positive one: Hallberg Rassy, contrary to what Amel has done on its newer models, has resisted the temptation to diminish the B/D of their boats even if on a boat with the 57 type of hull (not very different from the Amel ones) the ballast can be diminished without affecting greatly the sail performance, with exception of upwind with stronger winds and specially with bad weather.

Yes, most will not be able to tell the difference unless the boat is sailed exhaustively, not even test sailors from magazines, since it is very unlikely that they will face bad weather on the test day, as it is even more unlikely that the boat will face survival conditions where that superior B/D (on similar keels and drafts) will make the difference making one boat considerably safer than the other due to a better reserve stability and superior AVS.
Many will be asking themselves why, if that is so. Why most boats with similar hulls and keels as the 57 have a B/D of 26 or 27% , like the Amel 55, as well as almost all main market inexpensive cruisers? The answer is easy: price. It is not so much the price of the extra material to make a heavier keel it is the cost of making a stronger boat structure and hull to be able to cope with the bigger forces that a heavier keel will imply.

And contrary to the money spent on the interior nobody will notice the improvements that money spent on making the boat safer brought. Not the test sailors when they sail the boat, not the ones that are looking for a sailboat on that market segment.

Sail magazine stopped publishing stability curves of the boats they are testing and even before that the few that published them never commented them, I don’t know if by ignorance or as magazine policy, so, be aware that no matter what test sailors say there is always a chapter that will remain hidden and that is not tested nor verified, the one that regards safety on extreme conditions and final stability.

Sure, if the boat is bigger than 32 ft the chances are that they are all Class A certified, but do you really think they are all the same in what regards safety stability?