Sunday, January 27, 2019


First 53
The First 53 does not look ugly, the technical characteristics are not bad, it just isn't innovative or particularly nice and there is nothing special about the design. It seems that I had already seen that design somewhere, some years ago. I was hoping for more.

Maybe my expectations, after Beneteau acquisition of Sam Manuard designed line of Seascape yachts (to rename them First)  have become too high. I thought that First was back to the glory days when their boats were cruiser-racers, cutting edge designs, very fast boats, able to win major races, designed by some of the best racing yacht naval architects.

Ice 52
And that is the case with Sam Manuard (Seascape designer) that after having designed winning boats on the minis and class 40 is now designing an IMOCA or Pascal Conq, Guillaume Verdier, Nivelt-Muratet or Marc Lombard, all with a big experience designing very fast and winning sailing boats.

But instead they have chosen Roberto Biscontini and Lorenzo Argento, that certainly have done some interesting work but are not specialists with a proven record in cruiser-racing or racing yachts (no matter the very specific team work of Biscontini on America's cup yachts) and are minor designers if compared with the ones that I have mentioned above. Strange choice, maybe because Gianguido Girotti, managing director of the brand, in charge of product strategy is Italian.

Ice 52
I suspect that they were chosen mostly due to the previous experience of Lorenzo Argento with Wally luxury yachts and that gives a hint about what this boat is aimed at: not the cruiser-racer market but the luxury performance cruiser market that is dominated by boats like Grand-Soleil or Solaris.

The dimensions are average for this type of boat with the exception of the B/D, that is smaller and the beam, that is bigger.
Xp 55
Contrary to what is usual the ballast will be the same on the standard version, with a 2.5m draft and on the optional long keel version, with 3.0. If the 29% B/D is slightly below average with the optional long keel (3.0m) it is on the low side on the standard version, in comparison to the one on other yachts on this segment.

Contrary to what happens on the Oceanis 46.1 on this boat you will have two versions, not only with more sail or a bigger mast, but with that and different RM and sail power. For giving you a better idea of this yacht's characteristics let's compare the dimensions of the First 53 with three different yachts on the same market segment, the Ice 52, the Xp 55 and the Solaris 55.

Xp 55
The First 53 has a 15.97m hull length, the Ice 52 15,80, the Xp 55 16.76 and the Solaris 55 16.70. The First 53 has 4.99m beam, the Ice 42 4.65, the Xp 55 4.77, and the Solaris 55 4.85m .

The First 53 light displacement is 15 500kg, the Ice 52 12 500, the Xp 55 16 800 and the Solaris 55 17.600kg.

The First keel will be almost for sure a high performance T keel like the ones of the Ice and Xp and its B/D is 29% for a 2.5 draft (3.0 optional) while the Ice 52 has a 37% B/D for a 2.45m draft (2.85 optional) the Xp 55 has a 2.85m draft (2.50 and 3.20m optional) for a 39% B/D and the Solaris 55 has 37%

Solaris 55
As we can see nothing very exciting about the First that is the beamier yacht and the one with less B/D. It is also the one with more hull form stability but due to the difference in B/D certainly not the more powerful one, quite probably the opposite even if on the optional version with 3.0m it should be a fine sailing yacht.

Bottom point, unlike on the past when the First compared to the Oceanis were lighter boats with a narrower and very different type of hull, with a considerably bigger B/D, the First 53 seems to have the same type of beamy hull, similar to the ones of the best Oceanis series (like the 46.1), probably with slighter finer entries, with a very slight diminution in displacement and with a slightly bigger B/D.

Solaris 55
The First 53, compared to the Oceanis, will probably have a higher quality cruising interior and will be an overall high specs and more expensive yacht, a better sailing boat and that includes being slightly faster too but also having a better stability, including a better safety stability.

Beneteau, on the information note about the First 53 gives some hints that corroborate what I say: "Beneteau intends to restore the sailing prestige on which the brand's reputation was built... Beneteau is reinventing the legendary First range with a beautiful yacht, matching the desires of new customers who enjoy luxury high-performance yachting".

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

J/99 versus JPK10.30

Yesterday I saw the new J/99 at Dusseldorf. The JPK 10.30 is still at the building stage but we can already say something regarding design and, assuming the 10.30 will have an interior of identical quality of the other sportive JPK, also about finish.

J/99 and the JPK 10.80 - Look at the very different transoms 
J boats were known to be narrow boats but things have changed and contrary to what it looks like the JPK, even if slightly bigger, has less beam (3.32 to 3.40m) but it has a larger transom, having all the beam pulled back while the J/99 continues to have a classical hull shape, in fact very similar to the one of older IRC designs.

The hull form stability that will be gained by bigger beam will be lost on the hull design. The chined hull of the JPK with a large transom will probably provide the same or less drag without losing in hull form stability making the boat also easier to be raced solo or with a short crew.

Probably the J has a slightly better performance in light winds and upwind but I would say the better overall performance will be the one of the JPK.

The JPK has twin rudders, the J/99 a deep single one, both have a single tiller set up and both offer different types of keels, for IRC or for maximizing performance. However the JPK offers standard more draft (2.05 to 1.99m) and even if the ballast of the J/99 is not given it would be very hard to beat the JPK 42%  B/D. The JPK, although 37cm longer, is lighter ( 3500 to 3800kg).

Above J/99 below JPK 10.30
The JPK will be a faster boat and also an easier one to sail solo or in duo and even in IRC I doubt the new J/99 will be a match for the JPK since both boats have designs not very different from previous boats and the JPK has been beating the new J racers on all main IRC races, from the Fastnet to the Middle Sea race, passing by the Sydney Hobart and more recently on the Silver Rudder (solo).

The difference in speed will not be big but will be very important in what regards racing. In what regards cruising the easiness of the JPK will be far more important than any difference in speed, specially in what regards sailing downwind or in what regards being able to resist better to gusting conditions without need of constant sail trimming. Easier also for an autopilot.

Regarding interiors, the J/99 has an interior suited for spartan sportive cruising with all that is needed (except a shower) with a very rudimentary finish.

 We can see on the layout (10.30) and by the interior on the bigger JPK 10.80 that the JPK has not only a better cruising layout but also one much less spartan, looking even cozy if compared to the J/99.

JPK 10.80
The JPK has also the nice particularity of offering two lateral seating positions on opposite sides with a forward view that will make them perfect resting places to sail the boat from the interior, on long solo offshore passages.

Regarding prices, they are similar, if we take into consideration that the JPK is a bigger boat. They will be dependent on boat configuration. The J/99 costs about 103 000 euros without sails, electronics or taxes, the JPK 10.30 will cost on the same condition about 114 000 euros.

Ready to sail, with electronics, european VAT, transport and sails the J/99 should cost about 150 000 euros and the JPK 10 000 euros more.

JPK 10.30

Monday, January 14, 2019


It looks great on the design and on the specifications and the price is incredible, lower than most main market 30ft cruisers. 

It is designed by a good NA, the Italian Segio Lupoli and contrary to what would be expected it has a bigger B/D than the much more expensive main market mass production competition. It is made in Poland, as most small Beneteaus and Jeanneaus. Poland yacht industry is becoming bigger and bigger and will probably increase even more now that Beneteau group bought Delphia.

The boat will be presented in a few days at the Dusseldorf boat show (Hall 16 - Stand D19) and the price for the first 20 orders will be under 54000 euros, including a 15 hp Yanmar engine (that probably can be upgraded) sails but no electronics, a basic equipment and no taxes.

It is expected a considerable raise in the price after the first 20 having been sold. I have already talked this boat here:
 But because this price will not last and the boat can be seen (and bought) in a few days at the Dusseldorf boat show, I thought it was a good idea to remind you all.

Saturday, January 12, 2019


This blog is not about all sailboats only about boats that I find interesting. I don’t post about all new boats that come to the market and I was not going to post about the new Oceanis 30.1 but the way this pretty boat has been received on the social media and on some magazines made me change my mind. There are some huge misconceptions over there.

I have seen people saying that this is a lot like a Pogo 30, same designer and all; Beneteau states on their site that the boat “ promises new experiences and thrills (a) robust little smart cruiser....for......coastal sailing and high sea adventures” and a lot of interest and expectations have been raised and more will be when the price is made public, because it is going to be an inexpensive boat.

Then the boat is going to be offered for testing on a sunny day with light winds and the boat  sail magazine testers are going to conclude how good this boat is to sail, easy, pointing well and fast (on the light wind) and all that will be true

Besides the boat is beautiful, not like those little boats with disproportionally huge sterns but in an almost classic way, with not only a very well designed hull but a very well designed interior, with light colors and lots of light…and offered at an unbeatable price: wow!

If Beneteau had said only that this boat “is easy to sail but lively to helm … is small enough to trail, opening up endless possibilities for sailing on lakes and rivers, as well as coastal sailing” with fair weather, skipping those “endless possibilities for …high sea adventures” that would be a fair advertising.

As it is, it is just misguiding and that is why I have decided to talk about this boat, comparing it to the Hanse 315, a boat that is not transportable but that is hugely more seaworthy than the Oceanis 30.1 and that contrary to the Oceanis 30.1 is suited to be sailed on high seas on the right season of the year.

The Oceanis 30.1 is a relatively narrow boat, narrower than any other main market cruiser of this size and the reason is obvious, they want a boat able to be road transportable and asked the designer (Finot/Conq) to limit beam to 3.0m. The boat being narrow has nothing to do with a better boat performance but only with that.

I am quite sure that if there was not a limit imposed by Beneteau, Conq would have made it beamier, increasing hull form stability and boat power, not to mention interior space. On the previous Oceanis 31, also designed by Finot/Conq the beam is 3.4 and on the much more sportive Pogo 30 (also designed by them) 3.7m.

Conq himself explains in an interview what influence the beam limit has on the boat design (translated from French): “That beam limits form stability and therefore the righting moment, the boat power (stiffness), sail area and so on. Everything comes from there.”

Note, that it is perfectly possible to make stiff and powerful a “narrow” boat, like the Oceanis 30.1. For that the boat has to have substantially more ballast than a considerably beamier boat. Traditionally this is not the way Finot-Conq designs are developed but this concept was used for many years on the J boats designed by Rod Johnstone, even if today they have become beamier.

On top Oceanis 30.1, below Hanse 315

So the question is: has the Oceanis 30.1 a considerably bigger B/D or more draft complemented with a high efficient torpedo keel than more beamier boats of approximately the same size?

Comparing it to the beamier Oceanis 31(same designer), the 31 has a similar type of keel with about the same draft (8cm less) and has 21% B/D while the new boat has 24%. As it was to be expected there is a small difference and that probably is enough to give to Oceanis 30.1, that surely has a very well designed hull, a similar performance or even better in light to 13 or 14kt winds even if I doubt that would be the case in stronger winds.

But the ones that know something about boat design will notice that both the Oceanis 31 and the new 30.1 have low values of B/D, considering draft and type of keel. Those will know also that smaller yachts, for being certified as Class A sailboats have to have better stability curves and a better AVS than on bigger yachts, and that is why their B/D is normally bigger.
On top Oceanis 30.1, below Hanse 315

That is so because it is rightly assumed that a smaller boat will be easier to knock down by wind on in more extreme cases to be rolled by a wave and so they should have a proportionally better safety stability and a better AVS to help them to right quickly after a knock down or to diminish the time the boat will be inverted.

Those low B/D numbers would make impossible any of the two boats to be certified as class A, they just don’t have the needed stability, namely safety stability. That would not be a problem if Beneteau did not claim that the Oceanis 30.1 is suited for “high sea adventures”.

Just to understand all this better let’s compare, looking at the B/D, keel and hull form stability the stability of the Oceanis 30.1 with the one of the Hanse 315, a Class A certified boat, but near the limit to have that certification:
On top Oceanis 30.1, below Hanse 315
The Hanse 315, with 4700kg is a heavier boat and only that will give it an overall bigger stability (RM is GZ X Weight). The Oceanis 30.1 lightness has been referred on some magazines and sailboats should be light, but if we compare the weight of the Hanse 315 without ballast with the weight of the Oceanis 30.1, on the same condition, we will see that the difference in weight is only 178kg.

If we take into consideration that the Hanse is slightly longer (+ 2 cm) but much more beamier (+ 35 cm) we will see that the difference in weight is not only due to a bigger boat but mainly to a much bigger ballast (+ 527 kg) and the need of a more reinforced hull and boat structure to deal with the extra RM efforts.

The Hanse, that has already a considerably bigger stability, due to the bigger hull form stability and the superior weight, increases substantially that difference by having more 54% ballast than the Oceanis, on a keel of similar design and with about the same draft (3 cm less).

All this makes it a much more powerful and stiff boat with a considerably bigger overall stability. These differences will be translated not only in power but in safety, having the Hanse a much better final stability and a better AVS, making it harder to knock out and much faster to recover from one, more difficult to be capsized and if inverted, much faster to get back on its feet.
This and all photos below, Hanse 315

And what about sailing? The Oceanis and Hanse SA/D are respectively 19 or 17.1 and 17.0. The D/L is respectively 170.8 and 198. Those two SA/D regard the use of a jib (like the Hanse) or a 105% genoa.

Why not comparing simply the boats with a similar sail, the jib? Because on the drawings the Oceanis 30.1 is presented with a 105 genoa and a small genoa traveler, while the Hanse comes standard with a jib and a self taking traveler, without a genoa traveler. Of course, it will be possible to mount a genoa traveler on the Hanse but it will be expensive and very few owners use it preferring a code 0 and a geenaker.

Given these numbers and the type of hulls I would say that the Oceanis will sail faster on light winds, for sure, with the standard sails. But using a code 0 or a geenaker that difference will not last much and will be inverted as soon as the wind increases a bit, because the Hanse with a much bigger stiffness will be able to fly the code 0 or the geenaker with much more wind than the Oceanis, going then faster.

Downwind with a true spinnaker the Oceanis will be able to sail faster than the Hanse into stronger winds providing it has a very good crew, I would say one with racing experience, trimming the sails and having their weight on the right place. The Oceanis is lighter with a considerably smaller D/L but it is also less beamier and that will make going fast downwind much more trickier than on the Hanse, I would say very difficult or impossible with autopilot.

Of course all these is assuming that the boats are equipped with a code 0 and a geenaker because out of that, especially downwind and on a beam reach on low medium winds the Oceanis can have an advantage with the standard sails, before one needs to reef them and that should happen probably with about 14k of real wind, going upwind.

In fact I believe it makes more sense a 105% genoa on small boats than a self tacking jib and I would say in what regards that, the Oceanis is better thought for general use and cruising.

On stronger winds, mid medium winds and above the Hanse would not only be faster but also a much easier and safer boat to sail. The bigger difference will be upwind with waves where the Oceanis simply will not have the power and stiffness to make way, having to open a lot the course to continue sailing.

The Oceanis 31 has a nicer and slightly longer bowsprit, the Hanse has an anchor stand that serves also as bowsprit. Both have a two wheels set-up but the bigger beam of the Hanse makes that solution much more acceptable than on the Oceanis where the wheels have to be small to allow a decent passage between them.

The Oceanis has an apparently more logical version with a rudder but then the main winches are too much aft because their position was designed for using with the wheels, not with the rudder. The Hanse has a real boom traveler near the wheels, the Oceanis has no traveler and has the usual set-up used on the Oceanis line, over the cabin.

Bottom point: is the Oceanis 30.1 a bad sailing boat? I am sure it is not and will do very well what it was designed to do: sailing in light winds to mid medium winds and not demanding conditions, a boat that on its swing keel version will be great to be transported between lakes or to be transported to a given location with more or less sheltered waters or even to be sailed coastally if the conditions are good. 

Certainly it will not be a boat to be sailed on high seas (as Beneteau says) unless you make of it an adventure that can have some nasty results.

The Hanse 315 does not have the Oceanis versatility in what regards being transportable neither has it an option with a swinging keel but will offer a seaworthiness very far from the Oceanis’ one, being able to be sailed coastally in much stronger conditions, even able to do some high seas sailing and, on the right season, some Ocean Crossings.

The Oceanis interior, designed by Nauta, has a nicer design including a hull portlight and probably it will be of similar quality than the one on the Hanse  but that will be easily checked by you on any boat show. The interior layout of the Oceanis is so well designed that the considerably bigger interior space of the Hanse doesn't seem to be turned in an advantage. I would say that it is time for Hanse to redesign that interior and stop doing it on the house, but have it designed by a top boat design cabinet.

Choosing one or another depends where you want to sail and how you like to sail but one thing is certain, if the program of the Oceanis 31 is enough for you it would be a waste of money having the Hanse 315.

Having a stronger hull and boat structure, needed due to the bigger efforts that the Hanse much bigger ballast creates, makes the boat substantially more expensive and that’s the main reason the Oceanis has much less ballast, to be able to be cheaper.

The Hanse 315 costs €74,900 without electronics, transport or taxes but with sails. The price of the Oceanis 30.1 is not available yet but I do expect it to be considerably lower except on the swing keel version where probably it will be close.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


On a boat that is still very contemporary and was one of the most advanced cruising designs when it was launched, nothing big was changed, only small things were bettered.

The hull and the rig remain unchanged with just a better traveler for the genoa and an optimized mainsheet system.The interior was revised with more two hull ports for a better outside view and more light. More storage was added and small furniture alterations were introduced making it a tad more practical and beautiful.

A great little cruiser that has become an even better yacht.

Thursday, January 3, 2019


It could have been a better and faster racer if Jeanneau had not insisted in having it adapted for all sorts of racing and therefore compromising absolute performance, to make it competitive in handicap racing. 

The program they asked was about everything in what regards racing: Solo and duo transats, short crew offshore races, crewed offshore races, inshore regattas with short and complete crew. Only cruising seems to have been left out of the package and it will be expected a racing interior very similar to the one of the Sunfast 3600.

For managing all this they had the boat designed by two NAs, Andrieu, the designer of the previous SF, a specialist in IRC, and Guillaume Verdier, one of the best, if not the best designer of Open boats, for absolute performance.

Obviously the result is a compromise between pure performance and IRC performance (and that’s a shame). The design does not have any foil probably to make it able to enter the boat contest for the new Olympic class of offshore duo racing.

Even so the SF 3300 has some very interesting design features like two parts of the hull, one frontal other aft, forming a double concave. Andrieu explains that these shapes are used in some bigger racing designs but, to his knowledge, it is the first time it is used on a small design. The objective is to adapt the hull to a wave shape and therefore provide a better distribution of dynamic pressure increasing the buoyancy and reducing wet surface.

The other really new feature is on the rigging that has cars for the genoa that instead of being longitudinal are transversal, allowing for a more precise trimming, downwind and upwind.

All the rest we have already seen even if they are cutting edge features like the slightly rounded very voluminous bow, the two deep rudders on a single tiller (for facilitating crewed racing), the main sail with a huge square top with twin backstays, a big traveler, the mast more carried aft, like on open boats, integrated big bowsprit, an IRC studied keel without bulb or torpedo and two “windows” to have a good forward view from inside the boat.

A yacht that could easily be faster and lighter (with a torpedo keel, more draft, more RM, a slightly beamier hull) but that is designed this way to have a low IRC rating (around 1.055) and to be competitive in handicap racing.

Length: 9,99 m; Max beam: 3,40 m; Draft: 1,95 m; Displacement: env. 3500 kg; Ballast: ?; CE category (in progress): A6 - B7 - C10; Sail area upwind: 60 m² / 646 Sq ft; Sail area downwind (symmetrical spi.): 128 m² / 1378 Sq ft; Engine: 15 CV / 15 HP; Water capacity: 100 L / 26 US gal; Fuel capacity: 50 L / 13 US gal; Battery capacity: 120 Ah (+ 120 Ah opt.).

The projected price seems interesting, between 100 and 110 000 euro without tax or sails.