Saturday, May 11, 2019


I am closing the blog for sailing and I will get back to my sailing chair somewhere in October but in the meantime I will like to offer you all a last post that I hope will contribute for a better information about boat safety stability and the RCD class A certification. Something that gives food for thought and eventually contributes to the implementation of a bluewater RCD certification class. 

When the RCD was being drafted they invited naval architects and naval engineers from several nations to contribute with studies and thoughts regarding yacht stability, including safety and final stability.

The general consensus regarding an offshore boat, what the Americans call a bluewater boat, was that it should have an AVS of about 130º and the correspondent final stability.

There is logic in what regards that number. There are studies that indicate that the average time for a boat with an AVS of 120º to re-right itself on the same sea conditions that lead to an inversion is between one and two minutes.

But things are not that simple because if the boat is inverted by a rough much bigger wave, that time can be much, much bigger and if one is on the cockpit at the steering wheel, even if attached to the boat, things can get ugly even with a one minute period.

So, taking all that discussion into consideration ,what is the AVS that is considered minimum to a class A boat to pass the RCD certification? Yes, the 130º value was considered but it is a maximum value that comes in a formula, this one: 130 - 0,002m) but always ≥ 100°, being m the boat mass

That means that a yacht with a small mass, a small boat, will need an AVS not very far from 130º but it also means that on a considerably bigger boat the AVS can be close to 100º.

And, of course, increasing ballast to better the AVS creates more RM and more efforts on the boat hull and structure making the boat more expensive.

The result is that mass production builders tend to follow the RCD minimum requirements in what regards AVS opting for one slightly above the one that formula gives as minimum. More expensive boats usually opt for having a higher AVS (having a bigger B/D) one considerably above the minimum that is determined by the rule for Class A, normally near 120º but rarely 130º or over 130º.

Pogo 12.50
Sadly, due to lack of awareness of the public, some of the brands that make more expensive boats, like Wauquiez (Pilot Saloon) or Amel have abandoned that practice and come close to the one followed by the cheaper mass production boats, having an AVS not far from the minimum that is required for the Class A certification of the boat.

More expensive boats are made to a budget too and some are choosing to spend all the extra money on an even more luxurious interior and I would say with very good market results, but misleading sailors that assume that those boats have a better stability and seaworthiness than mass market boats.

Some examples to make clear the variation of the minimum AVS required (for certification on class A) with the boat mass : A Pogo 30 will need a 124.4º AVS, an Oceanis 41.1 an AVS of 114.3, an Oceanis 46.1 needs a 108.8 AVS and an Amel 50 needs only one AVS bigger than 100º (these values are approximate).

Elan Impression 444
This will allow Amel to say that an AVS of 110º (or so) is vastly above what is demanded for the certification of the boat as Class A, giving the impression that the yacht has a very good final stability and a very good AVS when in reality it is an average one and a poor one for a bluewater boat, if we take as measure those 130º that were considered on those studies as the value indicated for a bluewater boat.

And if we look at the B/D of the two Oceanis, both the smaller and the bigger one, we will see that with similar keels and not very different drafts (2.19, 2.35m), the smaller one needs a B/D of 29% while the bigger one only needs 25% to be slightly above the required AVS for the class A certification, meaning that the smaller boat has probably an AVS superior to the bigger one and I say probably because for good reason brands like Beneteau or Amel don’t make public the stability data of their boats.

Hallberg Rassy 44
Note that the same stability safety reasons that lead to consider necessary an AVS not far away from 130º on smaller yachts are not less valid on bigger ones even if RCD gives a different impression.

The only thing that changes is the bigger risk of being rolled by a wave on a smaller yacht (because the overall stability is smaller) meaning that a bigger boat will need a bigger breaking wave to be rolled. Not so much in what regards a knockdown by a bigger gust of wind or by one of the increasingly more frequent weird meteorological phenomena, since the sail area is proportional to the boat mass.

But I do know of several 40 to 45 (some bigger) yachts inverted by waves, numerous cases of yachts that were knocked down and a considerable number that were abandoned after several knockdowns.

I am sure that some will be asking themselves what has the AVS to do with knock downs? Or even with an inverted boat?

A lot, because a high AVS implies a big safety stability, meaning that not only the boat would be much harder to knock down as it will recover much faster from one and that is vitally important, because when a boat lies flat on the water has very few remaining positive stability and it will be at the mercy of the next wave.

That’s why most boats that are rolled are not by a single wave but by a set of two: the first one takes out the boat stability (knocking it out) the second one rolls the yacht.

An higher AVS means also that the area under the positive stability (on a RM curve) is much bigger, several times bigger, than the one over the negative stability, meaning that a much smaller wave than the one that had it inverted, can bring the boat back.

If the positive area of the curve is 4 times bigger, it means that for bringing the boat back, from an inverted position, you will need a wave 4 times smaller than the one that inverted it. If the positive area is only two times bigger that means that you will need, to re-right the boat, a wave half the size the one that inverted it and that, if the boat was inverted by a rough wave, it can be a problem.

Najad 450 cc
While a small 33 ft light yacht (that to be certified as class A has to have a better AVS than the one of a bigger boat) will recover very quickly from a knock down, the typical 45 mass production yacht (that can be certified with a much lower AVS) will take much more time and in some cases the water on the sails can even prevent it to right up on any reasonable period of time, leaving it exposed to the waves with little stability remaining.

We can conclude that the Class A certification, as a measure of the boat stability and seaworthiness, is useful in what regards 30/33 ft boats and gives information about a more or less seaworthy boat (for instance, separating the Oceanis 30.1, that does not have the stability to be a class A, from the Hanse 315, that has), but it will say nothing about the seaworthiness differences (in what concerns stability) between an Oceanis 41.1 and an Hallberg Rassy 412: they are both class A boats (by a big margin) even if they are very different in what regards final stability and AVS.

Elan impression 394
And since the RCD main objective is to certificate products providing the public with information regarding their safety and conditions where they are safe to be used, it is obvious that in what regards boats over 36ft it fails miserably since they are almost all class A boats, giving the impression that they are equally suited for offshore, bluewater sailing.

Of course, the ones that gain with this situation are big mass production builders that want to make boats adapted to most users, the ones that will never sail in bad weather, boats with a smaller stability and AVS but with a certification that will put them on the same class of boats designed to be much more seaworthy and designed to be sailed on more demanding weather.

That is clearly a commercial advantage but it neither allows transparency in what regards sailboat characteristics and the market nor provides consumers with accurate information. I have to say that sail magazines have done nothing in what regards making clear this distinction between yachts with different final stability, negative stability and AVS.

That distinction cannot be evaluated on a test sail, that is rarely done in bad weather, much less with a knock down or inverted boat, but that difference results very clear when comparing stability curves. Magazines used to publish them but mysteriously stopped doing that. And even when they published them they never commented, specially if they revealed a poor AVS, final stability or a big negative stability.

It is ridiculous that the higher seaworthiness certification is today achieved by almost all cruising boats over 30ft. Should not the consumer who wants a much more seaworthy boat than a 30ft have the right to clear information about that?

That will only be possible creating a new higher seaworthiness and stability specifications class, one that will allow consumers to distinguish between boats like an Oceanis 41.1 and Halberg Rassy 412 and that will separate boats that can be sailed offshore from the ones that are designed to be sailed offshore, bluewater boats.

There have been talks about that for a long time but I don’t see any will to pass that to the law since big boatbuilders are completely against that new class, for obvious reasons, that have nothing to do with transparency, information and public interest.

Hunter Legend 50
There are more factors on the RCD in what regards seaworthiness and stability, like the minimum energy at 90º, the downflooding angle and the STIX but they are secondary to AVS, final stability and negative stability. Sure, the minimum energy at 90º is very important but it is directly related to the AVS (since the types of hulls today are very similar), the downflooding angle is very important and should be considered but it is easily improved and does not depend on the basic stability of the sailboat while the STIX only gives a general idea of the boat overall stability, not final stability and it has a factor that can count very negatively without reason, I am referring to the boat sail area, as if the sails could not be easily reefed.

For the ones that think that I am exaggerating let me remind you that the IMOCA are self-rightening. We could say that they are designed to be sailed on the southern seas and the worst seas on the planet but that is not the case with the 40 class that are meant to be ocean racers.

On the 40 class box rule it is not only demanded that the boat pass the stability criteria to be approved as a class A boat but to ” proving that the boat is capable of righting itself from the broached position with empty ballast tanks.
It must be when heeled at 90 degrees … the boat in measurement trim is kept in this position with the aid of a strop passed around the mast at the level of the measurement band at the top point of the mast ... the load exerted on the strop must be a minimum of 235 kg and a maximum of 320 kg.”

This on a boat with a displacement of a bit more than 4000 kg and a mast of around 20m means a huge RM at 90º. On a cruising boat that weights 2, 3 or 4 times more that value should be 2, 3 or 4 times more. Those values for the 40 class boats are so big that give most of them the ability to be self-righting (using the water ballast).

Hanse 430
These values of RM at 90º are not only measured on the water (and not on the paper) but also are several times bigger than the ones that result from the stability curves needed to certify a yacht in Class A.

Should not a cruising boat meant to be sailed bluewater have at least similar final stability values, the ones that warrant that the yacht is capable of righting itself quickly from a broached position? Should not consumers that want to buy a bluewater boat have accurate information about this? Is it not for that that the RCD exists?

Certainly they are not being informed now, since the RCD allows yachts to be certified in Class A with an AVS just a little bit over 100º and such a boat in sailing trim, with sails on the water, would not be able to right itself from a broached position on a short period of time, staying there, knocked down, almost without positive stability at the mercy of the waves.

A new RCD category for bluewater boats, against the will of mass production builders, will only happen if there is enough public pressure and for that sailors have to be informed and aware of what is going on.

A request to you all, I am sailing and I will not post this on any sailing forum or on facebook groups. If you agree with what it is said please contribute to the discussion on this topic, not only here but on the internet sites where you discuss sailing information. You are welcome to share this post where you find it useful.

For the ones that want to follow my personal sail log I do that on my facebook page. I am already sailing and having fun even if it is yet a bit cold this year on Macedónia, North of Greece. You can still see the snow on the top of the mountains.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019


No, that is not the L30 but the Sun fast 3300, one of the boats that should have been on the contest to chose the boat for the new World Sailing's Offshore World Championship 2020, this and other suitable sailboats for solo or duo offshore sailing like the Figaro 3,  with predecessors widely used for that type of races with a huge success.

Above L30, below Figaro 3
But no, the boat chosen was the L30, a boat never used for solo or duo race and with good reason because it is not suited for that, being a boat that needs a crew to be raced fast.

And who chose the boat and how? That is a good question since nobody who understands something about the type of boat suited for solo/duo sailing would chose a 30ft boat with only 2.5m beam.

The L30 lacks the initial stability that is necessary to make a sailing boat suited for solo or duo offshore racing, initial stability that makes it a more stable platform to work and an easier boat to sail.

They don't say how the boat was chosen, not even if there was a contest and what were the other chosen boats for trials and who made them. I suspect that there was no serious comparative trials performed by top solo/duo sailors.

They say only that "The boat has been trialled by some of the world's leading sailors including Charles Caudrelier (FRA), Ian Walker (GBR) and Abby Ehler (GBR)". And are these the leading sailors to trial an offshore duo boat?

Class 9.5 (Akilaria
Only one of them has a vast experience with duo and solo boats (Charles Caudrelier) and I am very curious to hear his opinion about this choice but could find nothing, neither any comment from him regarding the boat.

The other two never raced endurance duo offshore or solo and have no experience regarding this type of boats and certainly if top solo/duo sailors had participated on this choice (as they should) they would have be mentioned, but they were not. A very sad affair that shows the sore state of sailing as a sport. A pity and a shame for all of us that love sailing as a sport.

Note that I find the L30 a nice sailing boat and I have posted on this blog about it, it is not about the boat, it is about the use they want to give it. Look at the two videos below and you will see the diference between a boat that needs a crew to go fast (L30) and a solo/duo boat (Figaro 2) that can go fast solo.

Monday, March 18, 2019


The Swan 48 was the most interesting new design I saw at Dusseldorf. I had the opportunity to see the boat's plans and even had the pleasure to meet German Frers, a legend in his own time, the designer of this and almost all other Swans of the last two decades.

S&S and Frers previous Swan 48
This is the third Swan 48, the first was a beautiful S&S design (1971) that only out of the water shows how much outdated the hull design is. The second already a German Frers (1995) design, only shows its age on the bow and transom, a great design for its time, still modern in many ways, specially on the underwater body, that I find comparatively better than the cabin design.

The new Swan 48 is gorgeous, hull and overall design, an opinion that seems to be shared by many, with several boats already sold on the plans , before the building has even begun. I would say that this Swan is going to be one of the best sellers in Swan history, one of the few contemporary Swans that can be bought for less than a million euros.

The Swan 48 has a sailing program near to the one of the 65, that I saw at Dusseldorf, certainly with the same type of finish and decidedly aimed for fast cruising, short crew sailing with some ocasional racing. But racing is not the main drive of these boats. We can see that they have only four winches, no main sheet traveler and that all sail hardware is controlled on the steering wheels by push buttons controls, from the winches to the main sheet, all powered by electricity. 
S&S and Frers previous Swan 48

The Yacht has  a dinghy garage, a sail locker and an interesting layout that can be adapted to owner's specifications. For living aboard for considerable periods with all comforts and lots of space this boat is perfect for two couples with the added advantage of not needing a crew, not even if something goes wrong with all those electric aids and the boat has to be sailed manually. An experienced couple will not have any problem sailing it, kind of an ideal size for maximum comfort without being overwhelmed by size.

As a design and program this is a boat from the same family of the X line of X yachts, between the X 4-6 and the X6, but a more expensive boat with an even better interior, probably similar to the one of the 65 and that means flawless quality with impeccable good taste with just a very slight conservative flavor on the choice of materials and finish.

The only thing I don't like on the design is the single deep rudder that will raise problems and concerns on the med while med mooring. There are two things I would like to see creatively addressed in what regards design: the sprayhood and the bimini.

S&S and Frers previous Swan 48
I explain: on modern boats, and this one is no exception, there is a garage for the sprayhood but  almost always it concerns only the steel frame. It makes no sense, who is going to dismount the sprayhood before stowing away the frame, just to have a lot of work mounting it later? 

A garage with space for a fully mounted sprayhood is a must and one that Swan could provide. In what regards the bimini it is even worse. They are indispensable for the ones that sail on the Med or Caribbean, and that means the majority, but they come always as an afterthought and most of the times not well integrated on the yacht lines.

Many brands have their models designed with sprayhood garages (even if not big enough) but none proposes a bimini garage and why not? Simply because the boat is designed first and only as an afterthought  the bimini is designed, as if it was not an almost indispensable item on a cruising boat. 

It is time to change that and as it is happening now with the sprayhoods, a bimini garage will appear sooner or later. It is not difficult if it is previewed on the boat design since the beginning and who better to come up with such innovation than Swan?

Friday, March 8, 2019


Remember the Neo 350? I have posted about it 4 years ago: beautiful design by Ceccarelli, on the lines of the bigger 400, that had already proven to be an incredibly fast boat, specially with strong winds:

The first Neo 350 is on the water, the second almost finished and a third on the way, time to have a look at the boat and to see if it is as nice as the drawings. And yes, it is  a beautiful boat, slim, very elegant, looking bigger than a 35ft cruiser-racer.

Let me tell you that after having meet  Paolo Semearo, the technical director, there is no doubt in my mind that this boat is made by sail enthusiasts for sail enthusiasts. Yes, they want to make a living out of it but the funny thing is that talking to them you understand that the money is not the more important issue here but making beautiful fast boats.

They don't make boats for making money, they make boats because they love building and sailing fast boats and they even say that they know that it is impossible to make real money building this type of boats. They just survive, but doing what they like, with great quality, attention to the details and even adjusting each boat to the needs and demands of each sailor.

This attitude is hard to find today on the boat building business. Among small builders they are not unique in their passion about sailing boats and sailing,  but there are so few that they deserve to be mentioned and applauded.

 Of course, this means that the boat can be made with vinylester or epoxy resins with carbon reinforcements, it can have one rudder blade or two, that can have a tiller or two wheels, that it can have different types of keels and even small variations in ballast to make it more adapted to IRC or ORC racing and the interior can be slightly modified to suit owner's tastes.

Unidirectional E-Glass / pvc foam composite by vacuum infusion used on the two versions and on the more high tech they use hull carbon reinforcements, epoxy resin, carbon bulkheads and keel frames, steel/weldox blade with lead CNC machined bulb,  carbon rudder,carbon mast and boom, carbon bowsprit and carbon tiller.

The displacement on the two versions is the same and all the weight saved goes to the ballast that is bigger on the high-tech version. That will give it a not very different performance in light winds but with stronger winds the boat with more ballast will be quicker. With demanding conditions the boat should be a blast to sail and also very seaworthy.

The predicted displacement turned out to be a bit optimistic and the real displacement is 4400kg, the ballast is 1700kg on the ORC maximized version. The IRC maximized version can have more ballast. Even on the ORC version the B/D is already 39% and that and a beamy hull, with a big hull form stability, will make it a hugely powerful sailboat.

Paolo says that the only boat on the water is a more cruising oriented version with all cruising equipment, the low spec version and that the owner is an amateur racer that has made only local races, all light to medium wind races. Even so the boat proved to be faster on the water than a top X35.

The X35 is one of the two boats from the racing line of X yachts, faster than the XP line and due to its hull characteristics the X35 has its better performance in light to medium winds (much narrower boat) and on stronger conditions the Neo 350 should not only be faster but much faster, especially the higher specs version that is designed to be very near to the maximum rating allowed for ORC group C, with a CDL of 9.76.

Curiously in what regards displacement, ballast and draft the Neo 350 and the X35 are very similar (4400kg - 4300kg; 1700kg - 1700kg; 2.09m - 2.15m) but the LWL is bigger on the Neo (9.65m -   9.12m) and the beam is much bigger, all of it brought back on the Neo, more classical on the X yacht (3.65m - 3.27).

With similar displacement and ballasts, the Neo 350 much bigger hull form stability (due not only to a much bigger beam but also to the hull design, with all beam brought back) will give it a considerably bigger overall stability and that allows it to carry a bigger sail area for a given wind.

I would say that in light winds the X35 is probably faster but with medium and stronger winds the Neo 350 will not only be faster but much faster. For the ones that want to sail solo or in duo ( to compensate the weight of a crew seated on the side) the Neo 350 can have 350L of water ballast that can be passed from one side to another (two tanks).

I would say that option would not only make sense to sail offshore in duo as it will also be a very interesting way of increasing the water tankage for ocean crossings. The standard tankage is 150L water and 60L diesel.

It is yet early to know the real sailing potential of the Neo 350 but I would say that the hull looks beautifully designed, the numbers seem right and on the video it sails very well. We will soon know how it performs racing since the two first boats, the two existing boats will be doing the ORC World Championship in Croatia, in just about two months and I hope at least one of them will be on the Middle Sea Race.

 I have no doubts that they will be very fast in real time, it is more of a question to know if the boats will be competitive in compensated time. I also don't have doubts that the boat with a torpedo and a bit more ballast will be even faster in oceanic conditions. That's the stupid thing about handicap racing: they don't make the boat as fast and seaworthy as it can be but as competitive it can be for a given rating and most of the time that results on a slower boat.

My enthusiasm is a bit more moderate regarding the boat interior. Yes it has nice features as the furniture to be part of the boat, made in fiberglass and the open layout but I cannot say the same about that idea to close the cabinets with carbon "sail". If the boat is used for cruising and they are full of jars and bottles I foresee a lot of stuff spilled while going hard upwind.

Above the Ofcet 32, Below JPK 10.10
Also hard to open them without everything coming out. I suppose that at request and at a cost they can be closed with veneer or sliding transparent plastic material but it is a pity that they do not come standard on the more cruising oriented version.

The other thing I don't like is the poor functionality of the galley and not only due to the opening of the cabinets. On a small galley like that all space has to be functional and polyvalent.  As it is it will be ver difficult to prepare a decent meal there.

And it would not be difficult, heavy or expensive to make it better, the only things needed would be a removable veneer board over the stove, that would provide additional working space and instead of the single sink (that does not cover all available space) a double aluminium one, with a board closing one of the sinks, a board that would work as cutting place to prepare food.

Regarding storage for cruising and racing the boat is well thought of: for racing the table can be lowered and the cushions taken away providing a great place to have sails ready to deploy at the bow. For cruising the boat has a swim ladder and a good space aft, under the cockpit, for storage with an access that doesn't look very easy or practical, at least while sailing.

Of course, for cruising one of the aft cabins has to be turned into storage space and the boat will be suited only for a couple, or a couple with two small children. An interesting boat as a very fast cruiser-racer even if some details have to be reviewed in what regards cruising. Nothing big or difficult.

The prices are not high for the quality: the vinylester version will start at 170 000 euros and the epoxy one with carbon reinforcements at 190 000 euros.

Sunday, March 3, 2019


Fantastic looking new boat with a very curious story: the owner wanted a top cruiser-racer, one that allowed him to win races in real time and that was suited also for some cruising with the family. The boat he was interested in was the Swan 50 but the 3.5m draft made it unsuitable for racing and cruising on the Baltic, his cruising and racing ground.

He talked with Håkan Södergren, a Swedish NA known for designing narrow hulled fast boats, among them the (Swedestar 370 and 415) but without real experience in top sailboat racing design and asked him to design a kind of a Swan 50 but with a lifting keel and the result is the Shogun 50.
Above Shogun 50, Below Swan 50
In reality Södergren did not really make a kind of Swan 50 with a lifting keel, he let himself be carried away by his preference for narrow boats and designed a boat that in what regards the bow and length resembles the Swan 50 but a much more narrower boat with a more conventional transom.

Maybe the conditions on the Baltic, with short period small waves and with a lot of variable and weak to medium winds, justifies a boat more specified to light winds and upwind sailing but I believe that in a more broad range of circumstances the Swan 50 is a better option in what regards racing and hull design.

Comparing dimensions (m and kg) first Shogun then Swan: HL - 15.22, 15.24; LWL - 14.20, 14.00; Beam - 3.88, 4.20; Displacement - 7800, 8250; Ballast -3500, 3450; B/D 45%, 42%, Draft - 3.50/2.00, 3.50; SA/D - 34.9, 39.4; D/L - 76.2 - 83.7.

Above Shogun 50, Below Swan 50
We can see that the main difference is the beam that is considerably bigger on the Swan, that the ballast, draft and type of keel are very similar, having the Shogun  50kg ballast more and that in what regards displacement the Shogun is 450 kg lighter.

I don't believe that they will manage to build the boat with that weight, assuming that is not specifically for sailing only on the Baltic but also to race on Oceanic conditions and has the needed strength for that.

That is hard to believe that Rosättra shipyard, where quite traditional sailboats are built ( Linjett ), without a big experience building in carbon and having the considerable added weight of a lifting keel can build a considerably lighter yacht than the Swan that is built by Nautor, with a huge experience with carbon boats and designed by JK that has a big experience designing very light top racers.

Shogun 50
Sure, the smaller beam of the Shogun 50 will contribute to make it lighter but that will be compensated by the extra weight of the lifting keel. We will see when the boat is built if they can make ir to the specified weight.

I would say that it is to be expected a deviation between 200 and 500 kg and that will change considerably those ratios.Anyway we can see that already the swan has a bigger SA/D indicating a more powerful boat, meaning, that even considering that they can build to specs, the superior hull form stability of the Swan is not compensated by the bigger RM generated by the Shogun superior B/D. We can see also that the Shogun is a lighter boat with a smaller D/L.

Both boats have all beam brought back but I prefer the Swan transom design that is more innovative and will contribute to a superior hull form stability at bigger heel angles, close upwind with full power.
Swan 50

The superior finesse (lower CF) of the Shogun and smaller D/L will give it an advantage in lighter winds and maybe a slightly better performance upwind but I don't believe that advantage can be compensated by the Swan better performance in all other points of sail, specially on a beam reach and on a broad reach.

Anyway, I cannot wait to see the two boats competing on the water and I have no doubt that the Shogun 50 will be a very, very fast boat, as the Swan 50 is. You have only to look at the results on the last Middle Sea Race where in compensated it made only 6th in ORC but in real time was the first cruiser-racer to arrive, faster than a Swan 82 and faster than a Mylius 60 only beaten by race boats.

A final word about the interiors that are much a question of taste, assuming that the ones of the Shogun have the high quality of those of the Swan, that are not only bright but also refined with a bit of classic taste on the leather finish on many details, on the Shogun they seem to me almost military in design and color. Expensive certainly, but kind of dark and cold.