If you are a follower of this blog you have noticed that, more and more, posts are about big yachts, some bigger than 50ft, and believe me, not because I have a bigger interest in them than in smaller ones, but because new and interesting sailboats are appearing mostly among big yachts to the point of becoming rare among smaller sailboats.
The only remaining niche where we can still find small interesting sailboats is among the ones that are used mostly for racing, cruiser-racers, more pointed to racing than cruising, and true racing boats. and That's the case with Aeolos P30, that is a racing sailboat, one that is pointed more to offshore solo or duo coastal races even if it can be also used in crewed coastal regattas.
The other boat designed with the same program: winning in real-time coastal offshore races on a 30ft sailboat, is the Dehler 30OD and the Dehler will not stand a chance against the Aeolos, unless very particular conditions are met, with strong winds and a very disproportional downwind sailing...and even so I have doubts that it will be faster.
|Dehler 30 OD|
The interior remembers me of my first boat, a 23ft traditional 80-year-old wooden sailboat with a covered full deck and an open interior. My wife and I sailed it along the Portuguese coast, more than 40 years ago, living inside (and mostly outside), for several weeks.
|Dehler 30 OD|
|Dehler 30 OD|
And if it is a small concession in what regards performance, on offshore coastal races, in what regards crewed traditional regattas between buoys, the beam is probably the right one (or very close) for providing the better performance on traditional regattas, that normally have the same distance upwind and downwind. This is even more true if the wind is in between 12 and 14 kts.
Out of that limitation, the Aeolos P30 is truly maximized for performance, offering much more spray protection and interior space than other fast racers like the Farr 280, Soto 30 or Fareast 28R, offering also more power, more stability and a rigging adapted to solo or duo sailing.
The Dehler is considerably beamier, with 3.28m while the Aeolos has 2.95m. The Aeolos is much lighter, with 1530kg (including a 6hp outboard engine), while the Dehler, with a 10hp diesel engine, displaces 2800kg. Both have similar torpedo keels with the same draft (2.20m) but the Aeolos has a lifting keel that allows it to be moored in shallow water (0.5m) and allows it to be easily charged on a trailer without the help of a crane.
Above,Dehler, below, Aelos
How does the Aeolos manage this huge difference in sail potential to the Dehler? Basically with a much lighter boat with a much bigger B/D. The lighter boat is obtained with better building materials and with a much lighter interior, a truly racing interior. That means an almost naked interior. Big savings in weight comes also from the option of an outboard on a pod versus a much heavier diesel engine.
On the Aeolos the boom, the bowsprit, the tiller and tiller extension, as well as all interior, are made of carbon. On the Dehler, the boom and the tiller and extension are made of aluminum, all the rest is GRP, except the mast and some carbon fibers on the boat structure (fiberglass and carbon). The Aeolos does not have a proper head, much less a black water tank or a 40l flexible water tank with a manual pump or a mini galley, like on the Dehler, and all that saves weight.
Well, when I was young I have cruised in a boat with a similarly naked interior, with my wife, for more than a month at the time, and we were quite happy about it. It is up to you to find the right kind of girl, one that goes along with it, or else you really will need another type of boat, unless this one is used only for racing or solo cruising.
If I was a young guy interested in sailing and racing, and I had the means, I would be very interested in this boat, that truly corresponds to the image that was given to Dehler 30OD, the one of a racer that would be almost unbeatable, size by size, in solo or two-handed offshore coastal races, and a yacht that will be a lot of fun to sail.
Some doubts can be raised because the Aeolos was not designed, like the Dehler, by a reputable sailboat designer, and built by a reputable shipyard. I know of several very experienced sailors that basically designed their own boats, with some external help, some giving origin to famous brands, even if on the Aeolos the concerns can be bigger, due to the type of yacht, a very fast and light carbon racer.
Like the Farr the Aeolos has a deep single rudder, but mounted on an innovative smart cassette system, that allows to pull the rudder up, when the keel is up. It will also allow for a very easy replacement in case the rudder breaks, due to contact with some submerged object.
The Farr 280 is built using an epoxy/e-glass sandwich, the Aeolos, epoxy/carbon sandwich. That allows the Aeolos to be lighter, but the biggest difference is due to a very different hull structure. While on the Farr a more traditional one is used, with a big frame reinforced by some longitudinal beams (under the deck), the one on the Aeolos is more modern, with two main carbon bulkheads that hold a carbon box for the keel and three longitudinal frames, one forward, two aft.
If I am confident with Hans Genthe ability to improve the Farr 280 hull (a boat that he knows very well and raced extensively), to be more effective and faster on offshore coastal races, regarding boat engineering, I would like to be more reassured, especially because this boat has a hull structure different from the one of the Farr 280, and because the Aeolos is a more powerful racer, with more efforts involved, especially on the keel structure.
|Farr 290 structure|
Several firms, from fluid engineering, passing by structural engineering and composite technology are referred to but none specifically related with high-performance sail racing engineer, except Pauger, but Pauger is not a yacht engineer cabinet, but a carbon Yacht shipyard and carbon mast building, and certainly a reference in both counts.
As I said previously I like the basic structural design even if I would have liked to see it complemented, between the two bulkheads, with a small carbon grid, vacuum infused to the hull. All structure will certainly be laminated to the hull, deck and cockpit providing a very strong shell. If there is a weaker point it will be on the lateral support of the keel box and on the big efforts that the hull will be subjected on that area.
This boat has an incredible price and the specs are almost too good to be true. The materials are top, I am sure the running rigging will be very good, it is transportable, it can be class A, and the only points where I would require more information would be about the boat structure, not because it looks bad to me, but because the reputation and knowledge base (top racing yachts) of the ones that designed it is unknown. https://www.solico.nl/composite-news
For the same reasons, I would require more information regarding the shipyard that will build the boat, also about its financial stability and portfolio. Much of these doubts will be lessened once the first prototype is sailing and even more when several boats have been built.