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. https://interestingsailboats.blogspot.com/2018/02/l30-racing-and-cruising-on-fast-lane.html

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:  https://interestingsailboats.blogspot.com/2015/02/neo-350what-looker.html

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. http://neoyachts.com/neo-350/#neo-350-virtual-tour

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.

Saturday, March 2, 2019


It gave me a lot of boring work but finally the Index is updated. I will try to maintain it like that. I have noticed that many use it....and it was more than a  year outdated. Apologizes for that.

For the ones that are searching a particular boat the blog search engine works relatively well.

For the ones that want to follow my particular cruising seasons, that are on the blog under the name of Almas'log, the more recent years have passed to my facebook page. Lots of photos and information about the Eastern Med. You can look by years. Only on the present year there are more stuff on the facebook (it will be cleaned later). Past years are occupied almost exclusively with Almas's log.