Monday, December 3, 2018


The ARC continues to grow, now mainly due to the increase of number of the yachts on the ARC+, the sister Transat: this year 17 multihulls and 56 monohulls take part on the ARC+, that is strictly a cruising affair, without racing division. This Transat, contrary to the ARC, has no racing division, it has a stop in Cabo Verde and, starting in the Canary Islands finishes on the Caribbean, in Santa Lucia.
On the cover and above the X6-5

Looking at the boat performance on the ARC+ I have not considered the first leg because being short, many chose to motor a lot, knowing that they can refuel at Mindelo. All can use the engine on this Transat but being the second leg much longer the engine use distorts less the sail performance on that leg.
Most of these boats are sailed by a cruising crew that is constituted by the couple that owns the boat with some friends to help, loaded boats that are going to make the cruising season on the Caribbean, others are charter boats that are being moved from the Med to the Caribbean to do the charter season there, during the med winter crewed by charter people with some sailors doing charter.

Baltic 56

Even before they all arrive and the engine hours on each boat are known, let’s look at the sailboats and crews performance, considering that some or even many sailboats are sailed below their cruising potential while others are just sailed on the sportive side, not because they are racing but because it is the way those cruisers like to sail. 
Sigma 38

The first boat that caught my attention is a X 6 5, from the new cruising line of X yachts. It is not even a cruiser-racer but made an incredibly fast transat leaving all other monohulls and multihulls behind. 

That’s the crew (photo up) and they don’t look like top racers to me, but a nice bunch. For the Skipper it was his first Atlantic crossing as well for most of the Slovenian crew. Good sailors, no doubt, but the X65 certainly proved that it can be a surprisingly fast cruising boat in what regards potential speed. I have to say that I was surprised. 

Oyster 625
Only 13 hours later did the 2nd boat arrive, a Baltic 56 (2007), a good cruiser-racer.

One day and six hours later an incredibly well sailed Sigma 38 arrived. The Sigma 38 is a 30 year old cruiser racer and still a very fast cruising boat if well sailed. It is a boat with a big B/D and that helps in what regards safety while pushing the boat to the limit. 
XC 42
About 1 hour after the 38ft, came an Oyster 625 and just some minutes later a surprising XC 42. The XC 42 is not only relatively small but belongs to the line of “slow” cruisers of X yachts, the ones that are medium weight boats and have no pretensions to be fast, just good cruising boats. Well, this one shows that they can be fast on a transat. 

7 hours later arrived a Boreal 55. I find the Boreal 55 performance surprising because it is an aluminum voyage boat, a centerboarder that has to have much more ballast weight than other sailboats (because it is inside the boat) and it is therefore considerably heavier. It proves here that it can voyage fast too LOL. 

Next, one hour later, came a brand new Hanse 548 and about 5 hours later the first catamaran, a well sailed Lagoon 450F that took almost two more days than the fastest monohull and 13 hours more than the Sigma 38. 
Lagoon 450F

All the others are still on the sea and the next ones to arrive, in about 4 or 5 hours, will be the 2nd and the 3rd cats, a Sunreef 74 and a Nautitech 46 followed closely by a Beneteau 57. 
Sunreef  74

On the next group, at about 6 to 7 hours from Santa Lucia, 4 monohulls, among them a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49i. Then at two to three hours from that group, comes another one where the 4th cat, a Lagoon 50, sails at about the same pace as a Dehler 39, a X 442 and a First 50. 
Nautitech 46

Way behind, the performance of a Neel 51 trimaran comes as a negative surprise. The trimaran comes far away from the first multihulls, 8th among them, and that, for a boat that the manufacturer describes as having an “extra speed” over monohulls and catamarans, seems a bit odd. 
Jeanneau SO 49i

In fact a Neel 45, a lighter racing version with a bigger mast, made some years ago a very fast ARC. Is the Neel 51 (in standard configuration) that much slower, or is just badly sailed? In fact that Neel 51 is way behind a XC 38 and behind a Beneteau Oceanis 42CC, a slow boat but one certainly well sailed. 
Dehler 39

And that’s it for now. When the other bigger Transat, the ARC, with 200 sailboats, comes closer to the finish I will have a look at it. Well Ok, I can say already that Jean Pierre Dick, the professional solo sailor that this year missed the Route du Rhum, is having fun with his cruising boat, the JP54 and putting to shame everybody on the racing division.

Lagoon 500
On his 54ft cruising boat he is kind of smashing all competition, including a Maxi Yacht, a Swan 82 and the first of the multihulls, a 59ft Outremer 5X, that is already 300nm behind. 

Just as curiosity, even if he could sail that boat solo fast, he is having as crew CEOs (that probably are slowing him down LOL) to whom he wants to show his passion for the sea and the love for oceanic races. I am very curious about that crew.


  1. Hi Paulo, thank you for sharing your passion about sailing.

    Are you aware of any 20' to 30' boats, along the lines of the Mini 6.5, that have a swing keel?

    Important factors:

    1. Safety. Unsinkable Cat A.

    2. Planing. Fun great performance and stable.

    3. Single handed.

    I'm looking for a fun safe boat that I can take out in the Pacific Northwest in most any conditions, do ocean passages (Hawaii), and access remote coast lines.

    If I could somehow have the performance and safety of a Mini 6.5 in a boat that can get close to the shore....

    Thanks for any input!

    1. The mini are great sailboats and some have circumnavigated, one non stop but certainly I would not say that “ in most any conditions”.
      You have several Class A boats that fit your description: the Pogo 30, Django 7.70, RM 890, Mojito 888, Malango 999, Revolution 29 come to my mind. There are several smaller but most of them are not class A and if the design is similar, the bigger the safer.

    2. Probably Beneteau is going to present briefly a 30ft with that kind of design and characteristics.

  2. Both times I did the ARC there were a wide array of boats. Many of them were sailed very, very poorly. One example was a brand new catamaran that did the whole crossing on a run with just a main and jib. The Neel 51 could be just that scenario.

    1. Yes I know, many boats are poorly sailed and that's why I look at the ones that are well sailed and normally don't comment on boats that are sailed slowly. I only commented about the Neel 51 because, even considering that that boat is sailed inefficiently, they are making a very slowly transat with many much smaller boats and not even fast ones, going faster. The XC 38 is a good example.

  3. It is not a Race. and even if you have a fast boat, it does not have to be sailed fast, Crossing the Atlantic can be done is a comfort speed also, it dont have to be a race, Go in style and comfort.

    1. Yes, this one is not a race, does not even have a racing division. The ones that want to race are on the ARC not on the ARC+. Yes I agree with you but there are always sailors that like to sail fast and others that sail slowly and that's why I only consider the boats, monohulls and multihulls that are being sailed more efficiently and disregard all the others.

      That is why you don't see me commenting about a Lagoon 420 or a Bavaria 46 that are going slower than a Colin Archer 40 or about a Lagoon 450F and a Wauquiez Centurion 40 that are going way slower than a Bavaria 37 or a HR 352. I am only interested on the fastest boats of each type.

  4. Boy, the Revolution 29 seems like the most intriguing of the bunch. Do you know much about aluminum construction? Durability, issues, safety.

    And I couldn't find any info about it, ie. specs, even the builder website! Do you have anything?

  5. The French have a long tradition in building aluminum voyage boats and the firm that builds this boat has been building aluminum sailboats for a long time, so no worries. The boats are very durable and more safe in what regards to collisions with containers and that kind of stuff.

    Regarding stability I would say that the 22 is a coastal boat but that the 29 should not have any problem concerning that. The boat passes Class A requirements in stability for a crew of three.

    This project started with David Raison, the designer and also the designer of the boats that have been dominating the mini-transat on the last years, a race that he has won himself on one of his designs, the first one that won with this type of bow.

    On another register, have a look at the performance of a Pogo 30 that it is making de ARC. I bet that you would be positively surprised.