Tuesday, November 19, 2019


I have already posted about this boat when it was still on the paper and was just a design that looked promising. The 400 marks the renewal of OVNI line. It is more modern than previous boats and more innovative in many aspects.

Nearer the OVNI 400, at distance, the Allures 40.9
On that post I have compared its technical characteristics to the boat that is its obvious aluminium rival, the Allures 39.9. Some months ago Allures released the 40.9 that is a MKII, the same boat with a more modern and nicer interior even if with the same layout.

The French magazine Voile  has recently made a very  good comparative test between the two boats being both on the water sailing side by side and that allowed clear conclusions in what rgards sailing performance. The links for my previous post and the test that can be downloaded (with the magazine) for 6€:
Above OVNI 400, below Allures 40.9

The OVNI 400, having more beam, less finer entries and all the max beam pulled to the transom is unbeatable in what regards interior space and volume and has a very nice luminous interior with a great layout, a big galley and features an unusually big front cabin.

 The cabin is wider at the front because they used the forward part of the hull to install not only a big chain locker but also a sail locker, something very rare on a 40ft boat.

The forward cabin is so big that it can take a head of good dimensions without becoming a bit cramped but space is not elastic and the aft cabin that has about the same width on both boats has a length of less 9cm (1.90) on the OVNI and that can be a problem for big guys. Both boats have a similar standing height, close to 2.00 meters.

Besides personal taste the only point that seems to me better on the Allures is the slightly raised position of the chart table that can be an advantage on crossings with bad weather since it is possible (with the pitch of the boat) to have some forward view while seated. On the contrary you need to stand on the OVNI but then the all around view is much better.

Both boats, assuming two cabins layout, have lots of storage space and dedicated space for watermaker and generator and both have an easy interior access to the rudder mechanism.

On the cockpit both boats have arches at the transom able to serve as davits and that allow the installation of solar panels and wind generators.

Both have big dodgers being the one on the OVNI bigger and having the support of an integrated arch being more solid even if it seems that there is the possibility of Allures having a fixed dodger (look at the photo with the two boats).

The aft winch position on the OVNI is better  than on the Allures allowing a better and easier use, sailing solo or with a crew. The Allures has slightly more outside storage but that is compensated on the OVNI by the outside access to the inside storage compartment.

 Of course that is on the two cabin versions and the two boats can have a three cabin version that does not make any sense on this size and type of boat because the space is needed for storage.

Both boats have nice integrated bowsprits with an anchor stand and the OVNI has a modern slightly inverted bow with lots of buoyancy that contributes actively to diminish pitch and allows a softer passage over small waves and a huge transom that certainly contributes a lot for overall stability and limits roll downwind.

The Allures hull is more conventional having been designed already some 7 years ago but very elegant and with a good performance. In fact on Voiles Magazine test the Allures was always faster than the OVNI and had a much better performance upwind.

They don't give much information about it but they say that with high medium and strong winds the OVNI lacks power upwind and that the small rudders should probably be bigger to give a better control to the boat and I am not surprised with that because when I saw the drawings I was intrigued by how small they were.

On top OVNI 400, over Allures 40.9
The test has taken place with 18k winds and the Allures can  tack with an angle between 95/100º making 6/6.5kt and with the same wind, at a bean reach/downwind, can go easily at 7/7.5kt. 

It does not seam much but remember that these are centerboarders even if the OVNI has 1300kg ballast on the centerboard. With weak winds the performance should be comparatively worse mainly on the OVNI that with small angles of heel has a bigger wet area.

Above and below OVNI 400
It is a pity that the OVNI, already with a 1300 kg swing keel,  has not taken the opportunity to have at least a version with all ballast on the keel. It would allow, with the same ballast or even less, the OVNI to be a much more powerful sailboat, one that would not have problems going upwind and could go faster beam reaching, a boat that on most situations would be faster than the Allures and not slower as it is.

But it is always the same problem: money money and boats made to a budget. All that  the need of a bigger mast to carry more sail  and a beefier keel structure would make the boat more expensive.

 If you are ok with voyaging not on the fast lane, but safely and carrying a lot of stuff, on a boat ideally suited for long range cruising, then one of those two are for you.

 If not and you like to have the pleasures of fast sailing then get an RM that certainly will go much faster or if you really want an aluminium boat of this size just wait 2 or 3 years for the new Allures that will replace this one.

You will not only have the advantages of an updated hull but probably also the option  of having all the ballast on a swing keel allowing for a boat 1500kg lighter and with a much better sailing performance.

Or if you have the extra money buy the Allures 45.9 that has that option already, being the boat with all ballast on the swing keel 2280kg lighter than the centerboarder, with the same sail area.

Saturday, November 9, 2019


The RM 11.80 is much slicker than the first 40ft from RM, the 1200, that was at the time (2003) the biggest  RM to date. The 1200 looks amateurish by comparison, rude, much heavier and slower.

At the time I sailed the RM 1200 and in weak winds and it seemed to me slow and sluggish, but of course that was not what it was designed for, it was already a very good boat on a beam reach or downwind.

RM 1200
The new RM is not only more stylish but also the building techniques are different. The RM 1200, contrary to older models,  had already a cored fiberglass deck, being the hull made from marine plywood, a special grade, that was  later saturated with epoxy but on this one the fiberglass use went further:

To give more complex shapes to the upper part of the hull, on the RM 11.80 the sides  are also made of cored fiberglass. Only the submerged part of the hull is now made of saturated plywood and  mostly due to being easier to fix their traditional keel structure that is made of steel.

So much for the brand publicity about being a more ecological boat LOL. But maybe there are other reasons, out of aesthetics  to these changes?  Have they  allowed to make it lighter? or stronger?

 Surprisingly the RM 11.80 is heavier than the RM1200 (7000kg - 6800kg), smaller (HL: 11.80m - 11.99m) but beamier (4.37m -  4.22m). The RM 1200 was offered exclusively as a twin keel boat (1.80m draft) and while still being the twin keel the more popular version on the RM 11.80, it is also proposed standard with a traditional torpedo keel (two rudders on that version) and also an optional hydraulic swing keel with all ballast on the keel being the drafts respectively 1.95m, 2.25m and 1.3/3.20m.

Regarding ballast and B/D RM entered on the bad wave of not disclosing the ballast of their boats a thing I don't understand because I certainly would not buy a boat without knowing what the B/D is and without looking at the stability curve. 

Sure it is a certified class A boat but that is a minimum and there are huge differences in stability among boats certified on the class and I surely would not want a boat that makes it barely class A in what regards stability in any of the requirements including AVS.

But if they choose to do so, as some other brands, that means that most people that buy boats just don't care about that and trust they are providing very safe boats. The problem is that today for a boat to sail well, with yachts with a huge hull form stability, they don't need to have a good safety stability and that is really a temptation for boat builders (it is cheaper to have a low safety stability) and a problem to buyers.

If you did not read it have a look at this post that I made about the subject:

On the RM 1200 the ballast was 2700kg (B/D 39.7%) and that even with a draft of 1.80m gives a boat a decent final stability with an AVS a bit over 115º. I don't believe the AVS or the final stability of the new boat to be better than the one of the old one. The RM 10.88 is a beamier boat, needs less ballast to sail well and because it has more draft it needs less  ballast to have a similar stability. It has for sure less ballast.

 So we reach the surprising conclusion that the use of the fiberglass on the sides of the hull did in fact make the boat not lighter but heavier because even with less ballast and smaller than the RM 1200 the 11.80 is heavier. Will it be stronger? I doubt very much, I don't see how using two different materials it is possible to make a boat stronger than using  a single one that is already probably stronger than fiberglass.

Is it worth it? Well, that will depend how much you value the looks of the boat and certainly the new boat is gorgeous.

Comparing ratios between the two boats we will see that the older boat has a slightly better D/L (meaning lighter) 132.3 to 133.7 and that regarding SA/D the upwind values are very similar (19.8 to 20) and that downwind the new boat carries more sail (42.8 to 54.8). For the values of the ratios, not knowing the RM 11.88  LWL I had estimated a value of 11.35, a bigger one if compared with the one of the RM 1200 due to the inverted bow.

If we consider that the SA/D with the genoa is practically similar (26.2 to 26.1) and that the loaded weight on cruising mode will be very similar probably the two RM, the older and the new will have a very similar performance while using genoa or jib, being probably the older one a bit faster upwind due to a lesser beam. Only downwind and under geenaker (that is much bigger) the new one will be faster.

The RM 11.88 will be faster on most conditions, specially on a beam reach and downwind than mass production main market cruisers like Jeanneau, Beneteau or Hanse but they are sold as performance cruisers so the question is: will they be faster or comparable in speed with more traditional IRC based performance cruisers? Let´s see what we can find regarding race results (previous models) that are not many because few chose to race them and with good reason.

We can find a RM 1270 that in 2017 made 3 races on  the British two handed IRC championship with not good results. On the Fastnet was more than 13 hours slower than a Sun Fast 3600, more than 6 hours slower than a J109 and more than 2 hours slower than a Salona 380 (all boats two handed).

We can also find a RM 1260 that made the Middle Sea Race in 2016 with even worse results and that is not surprising if we consider that the Fastnet is mostly a beam reach race normally with medium to strong winds while on the Middle Sea Race the conditions are typically Mediterranean with mixed conditions but always with a fair part of upwind sailing and many times, besides medium to strong winds, a lot of weak winds.

The RM 1260, also double handed, did not complete the race but on his last timed passage, at Stromboli, it had already lost about 16 hours for a Solaris 42, more than 7 hours and a half for a Comet 41s and about 7 hours to a J109, all two handed.

They call it a performance cruiser but it is not certainly a cruiser-racer and if you want a boat to cruise and to race occasionally this is not the boat to have. If you want to sail on the med and want a boat with a good sailing performance, again, you can chose a better boat but if you want to voyage on the trade winds this is certainly a very adequate and a fast boat, faster than most other voyage boats on the market and also a very stable boat that will roll very little, sail with a low angle of heel and  that will allow an autopilot to work very efficiently at speeds that on other fast types of hulls you would have to steer manually.

There is one thing that almost all agree regarding this boat: it has a great interior one that was already very good on the RM 1200 and that has been improving along the years. Difficult to make better and nicer even if the quality and finish being good are more on the practical side than on the luxurious side.

The boat is already a success and before having the first one ready they had already 17 sold. Probably there is going to be a waiting list for this one that was also nominated for the European Yacht of the year contest. A very nice boat!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


The Mini Transat is not only a great race for young professionals to show what they are worth but for many amateurs a huge challenge to prove to themselves that they can do it and many times their stories are as interesting or even more than the ones from top sailors. 


The Italian Ambroggio Beccaria stole all protagonism and is the hero of the 2019 mini-transat. Now what we want to know when we look at the race tracker is not who leads the race but for how long can Beccaria, on a Series boat, shadow François Jambou, the leader of the fastest category.

In fact for some hours Beccaria, who has been on the tail of Jambou for the last 24 hours, was the first boat on the race (series and protos mixed) even if his boat is a series boat meaning a GRP boat with aluminium mast that can be bought from a manufacturer, in this case Pogo and sails on a race where there are many protos racing.

Protos (from prototypes) are one off boats that contrary to series boats can be made of carbon and have canting keels and foils.

 So what he have here is a guy that on a slower (about 7%) low tech cheap boat stays on the tail of the first of  a class of expensive full carbon racers with canting keels and foils: what a sailor!

Just to give you an idea of what is a  Mini proto look at this one, that is now well behind his low tech, inexpensive boat.

Of course the Italians have already noticed the huge potential of this sailor and call him the extraterrestrial. I thought they were exaggerating but what he is making here is just unbelievable. I hope the Italians have the good taste to give him quickly a competitive class 40 because on the mini racers he has nothing to prove or to learn anymore and his potential is huge.

You can follow the race here: https://www.minitransat.fr/en/follow-race/cartography


The name is Brest Atlantiques and it has already started, making the Jacque Vabre look like a small race, I mean in what regards extension and number of miles to the finish line.

The Ultims have joined the huge fleet that is already racing on the Atlantic. They have left Brest 16 hours ago, with strong winds and huge seas and are already sailing off the Portuguese Coast and probably in two days they will start catching the slower class 40 that are racing the Jacques Vabre.

 For the more distracted the Ultim class are the fastest offshore sailboats, maxi  trimarans. There are not many and the capsize and destruction of Banque Populaire, Armel's boat was a huge loss and these boats with an average cost of 10 million euros are not easily replaceable.

Anyway we have four of them racing here, the best, with the best skippers, legendary sailors: Franck Cammas on Edmond de Rothschild, François Gabart on Macif, Thomas Coville on Sodebo and Yves le Blevec on Actual Leader. Gabart is leading, Cammas is close on the chase. Big race for big sailors.

You can follow here:

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


There are two racing Transats going on and crossing the Atlantic, the Mini Transat that goes to the Caribbean (81 boats) and the Transat Jacques Vabre (59 boats) that goes to Brasil. The Mini-Transat is a solo race, the other a duo race.

Many or even most of the sailors racing are professional or want to become professionals (on the Mini) and many of the ones that race the Jacques Vabre, on bigger boats, started on the minis. All in all the cream of solo/short crew racers are at sea crossing the Atlantic and among those there are also many sailors that have raced on the VOR or have even won the VOR.

This type of racing has become more and more popular not only among the public but also among top sailors because contrary to IRC fast and big machines, that are owned by millionaires or very rich people (and generally skipped by them even if the crew is composed of professionals) these boats are owned by the sponsors (commercial companies or corporations) that contract the best racers to sail them.

We can only find something similar on the VOR but because the VORs have  big crews and a crew is expensive, not all of them are really top sailors, unlike the vast majority of the ones that are racing the  IMOCAS on the Transat Jaques Vabre..... and this year the race is better than ever.

Most of the duos are composed by a very experienced sailor, a winner of many races and a younger talented sailor (sometimes also a winner of top races) and curiously not always the skipper of the boat, the one that has contract with the sponsor, is the more experienced.

I will not follow the races in detail here, I am just calling your attention to these races that can be followed with a tracker and are good fun to watch. You can even learn a lot about routing looking at the meteorology (that is given on the trackers) and understanding the several options taken by the skippers..... and they are hugely different.

On the Jacques Vabre on the IMOCA the lateral separation between the boats (West-East courses) is more than 500nm and that means a completely different approach to routing.

On the IMOCA race there is a lot of interesting stuff going on like an almost unknown American (to solo/duo) making a great race, having as boat the Hugo Boss that was 2nd on the last Vendee Globe and having as co-skipper a very good solo/crew sailor.

I am talking about 11th Hour Racing and Charlie Enright / Pascal Bidegorry. Charlie has made two VOR campaigns, Pascal three and won the last one, but most of all he has won everything that was to be won on solo from the Figaro class to the IMOCAS and on the giant trimarans (ULTIME class). It seems that the younger american sailor (35) is learning fast with the old master (51) because they are sailing now in 6th place but at only 25nm from the 1st.

Curiously the boat that is leading can be considered an old one (PRB 2009) and the duo, composed by two good sailors was far from being a favorite. Kevin Escofier has participated as crew on many top races and world sailing records but as skipper on a duo/solo boat has very little experience while Nicolas Lunven is a solo Figaro champion, a very good sailor but with little experience with IMOCA class boats.

This is only possible because this has been a very unusual race with lots of upwind sailing and the old boats are not worse and possibly are better than the new one in what regards sailing upwind and Alex Thompson on his new Hugo Boss by now should  know this very well: he is only 22nd  due to the bad upwind performance.

Another interesting performance comes from Clarisse Cremer that ascended to IMOCAS directly from the Minis and is 4th on a boat that is old (Banque Populaire X 2011) the one that has won the 2012/2013 Vendee Globe. Of course her co-skipper is no less than the last winner of the Vendee, Armel and that certainly helps a lot LOL.

Also very interesting the performance of the italian Pedote that has as co-skipper Marchand. Pedote is a Mini champion winner of many races and that after a successful passage on the Multi 50 (won the Route du Rhum) comes to the IMOCA. Marchand is a Figaro sailor, a champion that finally made its way to the IMOCA class. The Prysmian Groupe is 17th now but not that far from the leading boat.

I could be writing for hours, it is really a fantastic race but the best is if you to follow the race. If you still don't know you can see who the sailors are and what their careers have been here:
and follow the race here:

On this Transat you have 3 races, the IMOCA one but also the race of the Multi 50 (only three) and the race of the Class 40 (that are many). The race of the Class40 has been very interesting too. Many class 40 sailors come from the Minis but the two sailors that lead on come from a different background. Aymeric was a mini top sailor 7 years ago, but he is racing and winning on Class 40 for some years now and his co-skipper is a champion on smaller boats (470, J80) and only a medium sailor on Figaro.

The second are a British/French team with Goodchild, the skipper, with a very varied but average career having experience with Class40 and IMOCA and Delhaye, a French Figaro top sailor. Neither of them has a big advantage over many of the other boats, the race has been hot and the pace is so high they are catching the slower IMOCA.

Finally on the Mini Transat the surprise was that  Axel Tréhin, the winner of the first leg, did not have a boat with the new foils, neither the second that arrived only 6 minutes later, after 8 days racing. The first boat with foils was the third that arrived only 26 minutes after the first. These three arrived well ahead of all others and the surprise came with the 4th boat to finish, not another proto but a series . "Chapeau" to the performance of the italian Ambrogio Beccaria, a name to retain.

Also deserving a note is the 4th place in proto of Marie Gendron a woman that has left behind 13 sailors. Marie, 27 years old, is a composite engineer that having no money to buy a boat built her own. It took her five years and it seems more two to reach top level in what regards sailing it. If she continues sailing we will have here a potential new top sailor to join the several that this year will be making the Vendee Globe.

They have finished the First leg (Canary Islands) and the second leg to the Caribbean starts in two days. You can follow here:

Thursday, October 24, 2019


The overall victory was attributed to the JPK 11.80 Courrier Recommandé (a French Team) and then mysteriously changed to the First 45 Elusive 2 (a Malta team) without any explanation. 

The JPK was already leading the race on the previous check points and according to the final classification the elapsed time difference between the First, that arrived first, and the JPK was 87 minutes, but if we check the tracker we will see that in fact the JPK arrived only 48 minutes later. 

The JPK 11.80 being an IRC5 started the race 10 minutes before the First 45, that is an IRC4, so the real elapsed time difference should be about 58m (according to the tracker) and not 87 minutes as it is given on the final results.

EDIT: The situation was finally explained by the organization: several boats inverted course to help the trimaran Blackwater that had lost the mast and Elusive 2 one of them. They should have explained that from the beginning as well as announcing what was the redress time (they did not).

Thursday, October 17, 2019


This year was a great year in what regards fast small racer-cruisers, boats that are more used to race than to cruise and one of them was the Sunfast 3300.

The new boat is faster than the previous one (3200) but it has needed some adjustments: it has received bigger rudders and to be competitive in solo/duo sailing, water ballast (it seems that the WB system still needs some improvements).

Its racing career on the big classics started well on the Spi-Ouest (two handed) being 2nd, in compensated and real time behind a JPK 10.80 but beating its rival, the JPK 10.30 that won one of the races but was handicapped by problems due to lack of tuning (the boat was launched just some days before).   

Anyway the Spi Ouest was this year raced on atypical conditions with weak winds, being some races cancelled due to lack of it.

JPK 10.30
Then the 3300 was beaten by the 10.30 on the Fastnet and on the Quadra Solo/duo Med. 

On the Quadra Solo/Duo they have not competed on the same class, the JPK 10.30 won the solo division and the Sun Fast 3300 was beaten on the duo division by a JPK 10.10 (the model the JPK 10.30 replaced) but I would say mostly due to the inconsistency of the results on the several legs.

The next big battle between the two in major races will be on the Middle Sea Race  where we will see two very good teams racing them, the 10.30 skippered by Laurent Camprubi and the 3300 by Mallaret. The Middle Sea Race starts next Saturday and I will be following it.

 Lots of interesting sailboats racing this edition. Besides these  two we will have a very well sailed Grand Soleil 34, a MMW33 and several JPK and Sun Fast as well as many Jboats, but unfortunately not the new 99, that seems to be a step behind the new JPK and the new Sun Fast in what concerns performance.

 It is going to be interesting to see how fast performance cats, used almost exclusively for racing (and that do the Fastnet) will perform on the med waters and this year the conditions will be Med typical, lots of upwind sailing, weak winds and strong ones will be met.

 And on on the two handed division how the Pogos 36 will perform against the JPK 10.80/Sunfast 3600 and the Pogo 12.50 against a J122.

 Without doubt the Sun Fast 3300 is a great sailboat, faster than its predecessor the 3200 and faster than the JPK 10.10. The only problem for the Sun Fast 3300 is the JPK 10.30 that seems to be just a bit faster overall and has a better handicap.
The JPK 10.30 interieur

It is yet too soon to make a definitive evaluation because the races where the two boats raced together, with top crews, are few. It is yet to be seen if the JPK 10.30 will leave the Sun Fast 3300 on its shadow, the same way the JPK 10.10 has done with the Sun fast 3200 (that nonetheless is a great sailboat too).

It remains to be said that while both boats have interiors mostly thought for ocean racing the one of the JPK is nicer and more adapted to cruising and many racers like to do some summer coastal cruising with the family.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019


The Swan 48 is on the water, we have photos, videos and also the technical characteristics. It is time for another post, even before seeing it in Dusseldorf, because this is a very interesting yacht and probably will be one of the most popular on the long Swan history.

The last time I checked they had already sold 24 (only 3 built) and I bet that the sales will increase after the possibility to see and sail the boat. In fact the Swan 48 looks even better on the water than on the drawings and after having a look at the interior, hull, cockpit and the technical data I find very little to criticize.

The interior looks just fine to me. They resisted the modern tendency to turn all the available space to the interior, to make it bigger, at the cost of storage space. No, in what I am concerned the layout of this yacht is perfect, it has even space for a 2.50 m dinghy on a garage as well as a considerably sized sail locker as well as lockers under the cockpit seats.

The galley is good, the saloon has enough space and the quality of the design and materials, typical on Swan, will make it a lovely space. The cabins without being king size have an adequate dimension and I would say that the forward one is large offering big storage and a a head with a separate shower with adequate dimensions.

The two aft cabins are smaller being one of them bigger than the other and offering two individual beds. The storage there is not much unless one opts for the alternative layout that offers a folding berth on the smaller cabin and a lot more storage.

For the ones that do extensive cruising this layout makes a lot more sense and that way the boat will have two cabins and two heads being perfect for two couples to cruise. When the kids come to visit they can find sleeping space on the folding berth and on the saloon.

On the first post I said I did not like the single rudder. They have considered that possibility while designing the boat but had opted for a two rudder set up that has many advantages over a single one in what cruising concerns and only a disadvantage: a less effective control at slow speed at the marina for reasons I have already explained (there is a post about it). But because this yacht will have a bowthruster that is really not a problem.
Above Swan 48, below Solaris 50

I can only find three things I don't like, one of then unfortunately has become the rule on luxury yachts. I mean the electric captive winch technology linked to a single point main sheet system. Everything is operated by a joystick, the winch is below deck and I doubt that it has a manual override.

That is a great way to simplify the deck layout that will need only more 4 winches instead of 6 and allows for an easy operation. I would say that it is an indispensable system on big yachts sailed without a big crew. The forces are huge and the system has been used already for some years (Harken and Lewmar) with success.
Solaris 50

But on a performance cruiser with 48ft? On a mainsail with 77.1m2? The system will rely entirely on electric power and on a generator. A generator makes sense on this type of boat where it is expected to have AC, but excludes the possibility of having a traveler for the main that even if  not essential for cruising will certainly contribute for the pleasure of sailing.

Solaris 50
Sailors that like to sail love to have their sails perfectly trimmed, it is not about the speed (many times only some extra decimals of a knot) it is for the pleasure of doing it. That is what performance sailing is about and a performance cruiser should offer the means to do that specially on a boat with less than 50ft were the efforts are manageable by a single sailor.

The second thing I don't like, and this one seems to me absurd, is the mainsheet going through two holes on the back of the cockpit table (look at the 2nd foto). The efforts on the system will be considerably bigger due to friction and the lateral efforts at the base will be huge. It makes no sense and it looks odd and poorly designed.

The 3rd one has to do with the windlass position and the two opening hatches of the forward chain locker/sail storage space. The winch is on the side and I don't think that is the problem, but one of the hatches, near the winch effectively restricts winch operation specially if something goes wrong and you need more space than the little one that is provided to operate it. The problem would be solved with a bigger single hatch opening to the opposite side of the winch.

Very little for a boat that seems very well balanced and designed. For reference we will look at the numbers comparing them with the ones of the Solaris 47 and Solaris 50, probably the closest competition for this boat that should cost just about a million euros, not far but probably a bit more than the Solaris 50.

All measures on metric system (m, kg)

LWL: SW48-13.88, SO47-13.40, SO50-14.25; Beam: SW48-4.59, SO47-4.36, SO50-4.55; Dipsplacement : SW48-15000, SO47-12600, SO50-14200, Standard Draft (all with a similar type of torpedo keel): SW48-2.40, SO47-2.80, SO50-2.80; B/D : SW48-35%, SO47-34%, SO50-35%.
Regarding the keel it is worth noting that the superior draft of the Solaris will mean that for an identical B/D it will offer more righting moment.

Solaris 47
Regarding the hull we can see that the Swan, that looks to be less beamier than the Solaris, is in fact more. What gives that impression is that while all the beam on the Solaris is pulled back, that is not the case on the Swan. This means that the Solaris will roll less downwind, being easier to be driven fast on autopilot and that the Swan (if all other things are equal) will offer probably a better performance upwind and in light winds.

The Swan has  a two rudder system and both Solaris a single rudder. I think that for cruising a two rudder system is preferable but probably for this type and size of hull, in what regards performance, a single rudder is marginally better. Not the case with extreme beams, like for instance Pogo 50 (5.15) but the case of most TP52 (max beam 4.43).

SA/D : SW48-23.4, SO47-24.2, SO50-27.8; D/L : SW48-155.8, SO47-146.0, SO50-136.1. This means that the Solaris, especially the 50, is proportionally lighter and also that proportionally to the weight they have more sail area. That would make the Solaris faster in almost all conditions even if it is not a huge difference. I would not be surprised if upwind with medium to strong winds the Swan is faster.

All great sailboats, very similar in what they offer and on the style of cruising they provide and even if neither of them is a cruiser-racer, if well crewed, they would not look bad on any race. The Swan offers a prestige that the Solaris still aims to reach, due to decades of success, but I would say that if the Solaris continues on the same trend some day it will reach a similar status.

Personally I would say that I like more the hull design of the Solaris and also its deck and cabin design but I would prefer the Swan 48 interior. The one from the Solaris looks a bit impersonal and even in what regards the Swan I am judging only by photos and videos and assuming it has the same quality of the 54, it looks warm and cozy.

Of course I am talking mostly about style and regarding that the tastes can be very different but if I had to chose between the Swan 48 and the Solaris 50, well, it would not be an easy choice and probably I would want to sail both boats to decide.

Saturday, October 5, 2019


While the mini Transat is just beginning, let’s have a look at the incredible new IMOCAS that will race the Vendee Globe. This edition will be specially interesting because not only the number of new boats is big (8) but also the number of Naval Architects that designed them is considerable (4).

 Unlike on the last edition, where most of the new boats were designed by Guillaume Verdier, this year he will have only two new boats racing (Apivia et aDvens) while Juan Kouyoumdjian will have also two (Arkéa-Paprec and Corum), VPLP will have three ( Charal, Hugo Boss, DMG-Mori) and Sam Manuard will have L’Occitane. 

Sam Manuard is the least known and also the one with a smaller cabinet but you will remember him if I say that he was the designer of the Seascape 27 (today First 27) and more important, the designer of many recent winning boats on the class 40. He is also a good solo/duo racing sailor.

And to make things even more interesting the new boats are very different regarding design and foils. Some are designed to fly high on the water like VPLP designs, narrower boats and designed to have a minimum drag while flying, sailing with little heel.

The designs of Verdier are quite the opposite, quick to raise the bow out of the water but not designed to fly high. He bets on a superior stability given by beamier hulls that provide a big lateral support to the boat. 

For diminishing wet area, their boats are designed to sail with a considerable heel. The approach of JK is an intermediate one with beamy hulls needing heel for the righting moment but with a foil design that allows the boat to go higher on the water, as we can see on spectacular images of Arkéa-Prapec. 

And the surprise may well come from Sam Manuard that says his boat will be very different from the others and from Sam good things are to be expected. He does not have the same experience regarding foils but he is working with Nat Shever the one who designed the foils on the winning boat on the America’s Cup and who is working now on American Magic. 

Regarding the rules of the last edition there is a change that brought a huge evolution: now it is possible to modify the angle of the foils but Michel Desjoyeaux, the double winner of the race and today involved in boat design, says that the boats will be unbalanced without foils on the rudders (that are not allowed).

The IMOCAs, in what regards foiling, have only 2 support points, keel and foil and are inherently unstable having the need to have a bit of the transom on the water for support. We can see on the Hugo Boss video that  when it goes higher and lifts the transom out of the water instability follows and the boat falls backwards due to lack of support.

It seems obvious that the boats to continue to evolve need lateral foils on the rudders, but it don’t seem probable the rules to be changed before the Vendee Globe.

Regarding the performance of the new boats versus the last generation ones, Lauriot-Prévost (from VPLP) says that Charal can foil with 13Kt of wind and that, while older boats with 16Kt wind could do 22/25kt, the new ones can go at 26/30kt.

When the boat starts to foil it will win 4kt speed. This means that the angles that they will choose to sail will be different depending from boat to boat and the wind needed to foil. Everybody will be looking for conditions to foil even if that means a slight detour that will be more than covered by the extra speed.

A difference of 96 NM each 24 hours is a huge difference and certainly means that, if they don’t break, one of the new boats will win the Vendee, but it is not sure that they will not break, specially the foils.

 The foils are now much bigger and the forces on them increased a lot. And if they break probably the high flyers, the boats from VPLP, will be the ones that will see their performance more compromised: they are narrower, with less righting moment and specifically designed to fly.

Maybe Guillaume Verdier and JK are counting that the chances of a boat to do the entire race without breaking a foil are slim and are not handicapping so much their boats in what regards sailing without foils.

 Also big foils, like the ones of the VPLP designs, cannot be lifted on any considerable extension and therefore in light winds they make the boat slower due to more drag. Not that on the Vendee there is a lot of light wind but they will find it on the Doldrums, that they will pass twice and there a considerable difference of speed can be very important.

Foils will probably be the key element of the race. It will be a fight between more lift and more drag (flying boats) versus less lift and less drag, this in what regards the drag from the foils because the superior drag from the foil can be compensated by the smaller drag of a boat flying. Probably, if the design is equally good, foils with less drag will tend to break less than foils that offer more lift (and drag). All very complicated and interesting.

One thing is for sure, this will be a great race and one not only among sailors but also among designers, kind of race that makes yacht design progress, my kind of race.😉

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


A lot can be learned regarding how a sailboat sails looking at a good movie. Not the same thing as sailing the boat but worth commenting. And let's not forget that comparing two fast boats in what regards sail performance, sailing both boats, but not having both in the water at the same time, can be very misleading.

The real test in what regards true performance and handicap performance can only be given on the race course and not any race but on the main ones, that have good racing crews, where we can be sure that there is a good possibility that the boats are being sailed close to their potential, specially if there are several competing.

The Dehler 30OD is on the water but not for so long as the JPK 10.30 and has not yet been raced in a major race, unlike the JPK 10.30, that won its class on the last Fastnet, being really fast on the water.

In real time it was only about half an hour slower than the fastest XP44 (3 days 2 hours 47 minutes), faster than the fastest Jboat racing, a J133 (and they were many with several models) and faster than the fastest Grand Soleil 43.

The results on the Fastnet are even more impressive if we consider that all the other boats I mentioned were sailed by a full crew while the JPK 10.30 was sailed by a duo, being one of them the builder of the boat. Of course they also won the two handed division, leaving the second, a brand new  Sunfast 3300, at more than 4 hours in real time and almost 5 in compensated.

I have no doubt that the JPK 10.30 is a great design and that it will be a winner of many races. Let's wait for the racing results of the Dehler, in real time and in handicap to see what its real performance is.

Regarding the movies the JPK looks perfectly balanced while it seems to me that the Dehler buries too much the bow on the water and that's curious because, looking at the bow shape, the one of the Dehler seems more modern, but of course the buoyancy of the forward sections and the longitudinal CG are more important.

The Dehler seems to have very narrow entries and very narrow forward sections and has a big beam with all the beam pulled aft. Such a design needs to have a lot of buoyancy at  the bow. Compare its design with the one of the Pogo 30 and you will see what I mean.