Saturday, March 17, 2018


As most of you know Najad went down some years ago and in 2013 was bought by a small company,  Lidköpings Båtsnickeri, the builders of Swedestar. From then on nothing impressive happened, quite the contrary, a lot of confusion: they changed the names of the Swedestar (370 and 415) to Najad and maintained in production some of the old Najad models.

They gave up on the Swedestar models, made a new cockpit design and some interior alterations on the Najad 505. Now, finally they made a new boat, the 395 that is the first one by the "new" Najad company.

Commercially it seems that they got it right. They have already sold several boats and a considerable interest was raised around the 395. They also bought Arcona (recently) and that seems to indicate that things are going very well for Najad.

For designing the new boat, instead of relying on in the house design or local designers (as they used to do with Swedestar), they called major yacht cabinets, Farr for the hull and cockpit design and Ken Freivokh for the interior design.

The work of Ken Freivokh is very good and even if he habitually designs super yacht interiors he showed that he can as well design small yachts with the same quality. About the work of Farr I am not so sure. I have no doubt that the hull design and the underbody are very well designed and efficient but out of that, the design seems as uninspired as in some of his Bavaria designs, featuring a high freeboard. Probably Judel/Vrolijk, the Najad old NA, would have managed a more elegant yacht.

The 395 is offered in two versions, a center cockpit and an aft cockpit one. The version they have already finished and was presented at Dusseldorf was the aft cabin, that seems much more interesting than the CC that has a minuscule cockpit and practically no storage space, the cost to pay for having a king sized aft cabin.

The Center Cockpit is not adapted to offshore cruising or long range cruising (unless it is from marina to marina) because it has no way of carrying the equipment that kind of cruising implies.

The same can be said regarding the aft cockpit version if the three cabin set up is chosen. But that version has an option with one of the cabins transformed in a big storage space.That option allows also for a bigger head and it is a pity that they have not taken the opportunity to make the other aft cabin bigger at a slight cost of storage space.

The galley/saloon design is similar to the other Najad, maximizing the saloon space and allowing for a galley that is comfortable and functional, specially if used while sailing. The problem of using this solution on a boat of this size is the complete lack of storage space aft on the hull, since all space is needed to implement this layout.

The hull is a nice modern one, beamy, with all the beam pulled aft but maintaining relatively fine entries. Not very different from the one of the Halberg-Rassy 412, that will be the closest competition for this boat.

The Halberg-Rassy is bigger (length 12.61m to 11.99 - beam 4.12m to 4.0.) but lighter (11.1t to 12.4) with a similar keel and rudder (a single one). The standard draft is a bit bigger on the Najad (2.10 to 1.99m) having both boats versions with a smaller draft. The Halberg Rassy has a slightly bigger B/D (36.0% to 35.5%) but the Najad compensates that with a slightly bigger draft.

Both boats have a not very different stability curve with AVS close or slightly superior to 125º and curiously the Halberg Rassy due to its superior dimensions is able to have a bigger overall stability than the Najad, that weights 1300kg more. Both have a very good reserve or safety stability and have a good offshore potential.

The building quality will be probably very similar, both using cored hulls, the Halberg Rassy only over the water line. The Najad uses vacuum infusion while Halberg Rassy uses the old method, hand lamination. On Najad they make a big publicity about the boat structure that seems to be made the same way as the one on Halberg Rassy, a GRP grid that is laminated to the hull.

Both boats will sail well, for this type of cruisers, the Halberg Rassy better due not only to the longer waterline (11.50m to 10.98) but also because it is lighter and more powerful, with a superior stability. That is visible on the SA/D that is clearly superior on the HR (18.5 to 16.3).

The Halberg Rassy offers only a version with a AC cockpit and a single wheel, the Najad offers two versions, a AC version with two wheels, a CC version with a single wheel and on both versions an arch for the mainsheet or a traditional traveler near the wheel.

The arch is very high (the boom seems to be higher than usual) and disproportionate. On that version the Najad has an incredibly high sprayhood  that finds support on the arch: it would be hard to make it uglier than that.

The difference in sailing speed, specially in light winds, probably will not matter for most cruisers that are interested in one of these boats so I would say that the main factors for a choice will be built quality, safety/stability, storage, interior and exterior design. These two last points are substantially different between the two boats and  liking more one or another will likely be the decisive factor.

The price of both boats should not be very different. The Najad 395 is announced at 364 000 euros , the Halberg  Rassy probably will cost just  a bit more. But the prices  are without tax or delivery. A decently equipped yacht will cost considerably more than that.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


A great boat with a horrible denomination. What's wrong with the X-yacht guys that can design and make great boats but cannot give them a decent or even comprehensible name? X4-6 means that the boat is from the cruising line and a 44.3ft boat. The smaller boat on the cruising line is called X4-4, they have a bigger X4-9 and the biggest one is the X6-5. Confused? At least I am, I cannot remember the size of the boats without checking out on their site.

But excluding the boat name there are very few things I don't like on this boat, that they call the perfect family cruiser. I didn't like much the interior of the smaller boat, the X4-3 (41ft) that, compared to other 41ft interiors, looked small and cramped but by the drawings and interior layout it seems that this one, with the extra beam and length, has a very agreeable living space and has plenty of storage space.

You may find odd that I start to talk about the interior, but on this boat I know that all the rest will be alright. But the sailing performance (on this type of design) has as consequence a smaller interior space so, getting a comfortable, nice and acceptably spacious interior is one of the main challenges on this boat.

Just to put things in perspective, let me tell you that the much smaller Oceanis 41.1 has about the same beam as this boat. Compared to the smaller X4-3 the (41ft) the Oceanis 41.1 (39.3ft) beam has a huge difference (3.95m to 4.20) and that is one of the reasons the bigger X4-3 has an interior that looks small, even if compared to other fast cruisers.

This will be one of the boats I will check carefully on the next Dusseldorf boat show because I do agree that it is probably close to be the perfect cruiser at least for some type of sailors. I am very curious about the interior. I know the quality will be good, like on the other models,but what I am  really interested about is in the interior feeling and in what regards that, space and design are critical.

In what concerns seaworthiness I have no doubt this is a great boat: the big 41.3% B/D on a lead torpedo keel with 2.30m draft in a boat with a moderate beam will give it not only lots of power as it will assure a high AVS and a big reserve or safety stability. One of the cruisers with better values in what that concerns.

This type of high performance keel with a huge ballast (4500kg) can pose safety problems in what regards the way it is secured to the boat, not when the boat is new but decades later or on the sequence of groundings. Not the case with this boat that has the keel bolted to a big galvanized steel grid that distributes the efforts by the hull.

The hull is cored having as core a top foam, using epoxy resins and vacuum infusion. This, with the steel structure allows for a strong but light boat with a displacement of 10900kg. That is more 2250kg than the more sportive XP44 but since the building techniques are almost similar (the XP44 has a carbon reinforced hull structure, not a steel one) I would say that superior weight means a stronger boat....and the XP 44 is already a strong one.

To be fair let me say that not all that weight has to do with a stronger boat: only the difference of ballast for a similar B/D ratio (due to a lighter boat with a higher B/D) is responsible for about 850kg, the epoxy/carbon boat structure versus a steel one for probably 200 or 300kg, and about the same due to a lighter cruising interior. Considering all that the diference in weight would be probably around 900/1000kg, even so a considerable one if it corresponds to a more substancial laminate.
Above X4-6 below XP44

Comparing the XP44 (13.29m) hull with the one of the X4-6 (13.50) we will see that the X4-6 is more modern with a bigger LWL (12.33 to 11.89), a bigger beam ( 4.20 to 3.95) and the beam more pulled aft. Surprisingly we can see that Niels Jeppesen had resisted to increase the width of the frontal cabin much, giving  more substancial bow entries to the cruising boat.

He also resisted using the older performance cruising boat hull for the cruising boat, creating instead a new hull, a more modern one and better adapted to cruising due to the bigger beam.

That bigger beam and the much bigger transom will increase substantially hull form stability and even considering the XP 44 slightly bigger B/D (44.5% to 41.3%) its GZ curve probably equals or has slightly better values (except AVS). That, with the difference in weight, will  that give the X4-6 a considerably bigger overall stability.

The hull has a lot of rocker for a performance boat and that with the fine entries will reduce in much the possibility of slamming upwind increasing also the boat performance on that point of sail. Note also that the sail drive is closer to the keel than in many other boats, being better protected by it.

Regarding sailing, giving the quality of Jeppesen design and the boat characteristics the X4-6 will be an excellent sailboatboat, fast but easy. The reduced weight will make dispensable the use of a big genoa and the small jib mounted on a self tacking rail will be enough to provide a good speed on most occasions.

With really light winds a furling code 0 or geenaker can be used on the fixed bowsprit that also includes the anchor stand. X yachts are known to have a very good performance upwind and this one will not be an exception but the beam pulled aft will give the X4-6 an easy downwind performance, with a bigger roll resistance, making it more adapted to be sailed fast with an autopilot.

There are some more points that are worth consideration: the very interesting lateral cabin portlights that when open offer protection from the rain and opening to the outside offer an increasing protection to infiltration and safety in extreme conditions. The main winches near the wheel are also neat, even though  I don't like the rigging using only 4 winches and much less the other two to be far away from the wheel.

Also the very interesting solution in what regards the ventilation of the aft cabins that is made not by the usual small cockpit portlights in conjunction with a hatch but by a hatch and bigger portlights opening to the outside. That solution gives a boat a very distinctive lateral cabin shape, unusual on modern designs but far from being ugly.

The boat features a boom traveler, big and recessed near the wheel, a traveler for the self tacking jib and an optional genoa jib over the cabin, a not very usual location on cruising boats and one that will contribute for a great upwind performance.

The outside storage seems very good with a sail locker aft the chain locker, two big cockpit lockers, one of them dedicated to the liferaft and a big under the cockpit locker with two hatches.

The transom opens to form a swim platform, more than enough for having a better water interface while swimming.

There are a few things I don't like, among them the choice of a single rudder for this boat. It is not an efficiency concern but one regarding practicability and exposure: A big single rudder is necessarily more fragile then a smaller one from a twin system. A shock with an object near the end of it will result in a much bigger force on the rudder structure and the hull due to a much bigger arm (rudder length). Also when a rudder has problems due to delamination or is broken by a shock, with a twin rudder it is possible to continue sailing the boat, even if more slowly.

But most of all the biggest problem has to do with sailing on the Med where the traditional mooring system is to bring back the boat on anchor to a quay. The depths near the quay are many times smaller than 2 meters while the depths at just three meters away are 3 meters or more. This poses a big risk to touch the bottom with the rudder while backing up with catastrophic results.

Note that this can be a smaller problem on a cruising boat with a smaller performance but on a boat like the X4-6 the rudder should have a depth of 2.0m, possibly a bit over, making the Med mooring a delicate maneuver. I know what I am talking about since I have a boat with similar characteristics.

I would say that for someone that will be sailing extensively on the Med it makes sense to have the boat with the optional 2.50m draft. It will not be a problem to touch the bottom at small speed with the keel but it can be with the rudder. The rudder has the same size on the two versions and the keel with 2.50m offers a much better rudder protection, making sure that in case of grounding it is the keel not the rudder that it will touch the bottom.

Besides the rudder and in what concerns negative remarks, one regarding aesthetics and the interior: Obviously the port hulls were positioned to be at equal distances on the hull but I would say that the interior aesthetics are in this case much more important and it makes no sense to have a port hull sideways on the saloon and not in the middle of it.

 I would also say that it would make more sense to have two in the saloon even if smaller. That would give a bigger sense of interior space (that's amazing what light can make in what regards spacial sense). The other regards the non integrated swim ladder. There are plenty of ways to do better than the adopted solution, I mean it looks like a kind of after thought (the ladder) that needs yet to be moved to the right position to be used.

Generally the information provided by X yacht regarding this new design is a good one except on one point, that unfortunately has become usual not to be provided, not even in boats already on the water: sprayhood, bimini an other sun protections. Even if optional they should be integrated on the boat and the best or worst design shown on the boat information.

These are pieces of equipment that almost all cruisers use and it makes no sense in calling a boat the perfect family cruiser without showing them and their adequacy.

Finally the price that on a boat with this quality cannot be a bargain one: they are offering a promotional discount on the first boats including free extras on the value of  68 5000 euros  (Hull Treatment and Antifouling, Instruments: (Raymarine Wind, Speed and Depth and Chart Plotter), North Sails: Mainsail and Jib in Soft Norlam, 2 years warranty, 2 years Winter Service). The price for the standard boat including those extras is 386 500 euro without taxes.

Certainly it is a lot of money but that does not mean it is not a reasonable price for the quality and for what it offers. With this promotional price it costs more than 100 000 euros less than an Halberg- Rassy 44 equipped the same way.

Friday, March 9, 2018


Grand Soleil 48
It doesn't make sense does it? Well, about the same sense as buying or being interested in a cruiser racer without knowing the ballast or having a good look at the the underbody.

This talk would not seem odd if you knew that recently two Italian brands, Italia Yachts and Grand Soleil, presented to the press two new cruiser racers without revealing the ballast or showing the underbody.

And it was not by accident because I asked them about the ballast and I did not get any answer. Of course they sent a lot of talk regarding what they wanted sailing magazines to say about the boats and sail magazines just published that. Well I am not a sail magazine LOL and I refuse to post about things I don't have enough information.

So, what can I tell you about the new Grand Soleil 48 and the new Italia 11.98? Very little except that they look well, the IT 11.98 on an updated line of ORC development style the GS more in a  conservative IRC/ORC line of development, very similar to past models of both brands.

That the Italia 11.98 belongs to the more sportive line of Italia yachts and the same happens with Grand Soleil. Both boats will have two versions, one with better performance than the other. 

On the IT 11.98 the version developed for ORC racing will have a tiller and a bigger cockpit working area, with less seating space, the one more pointed for a dual use will have  a two wheel system and a bigger seat, but I am sure that if one prefers a tiller on the more dual version that would not be a problem.

IT 11.98

The Grand Soleil 48 on its faster version (one ton less) is not pointed as much to racing as the IT 11.98 and even if the more expensive version is called "Race", it is just a  better boat than the cheaper version. The"Race" has a more technological built and it is pointed to those who can afford it.

Sure the "race" version will have a bigger racing potential but while on the IT 11.98 we are talking about top racing on a very naked boat on the GS we are talking about "gentleman" racing in a luxury boat with a very good interior.

On the GS "cruising" version the winch set-up is more appropriate to short crew sailing but I am sure that could be interchangeable between the two versions. The IT 11.98  version more adapted to cruising is presented with a fixed bowsprit with an anchor stand while the ORC optimized version has none.

Of course, both boats will have a long list of options including a lot of carbon options: spars, wheels and rudder included. Both are relatively light weight boats, the 11.98 weighting 6.2t, the GS 40 10.5 or 11.5t. The IT has a  28.0 SA/D, the GS 27.5 SA/D. Both will be very fast performance cruising boats, the IT 11.98 aims to be a top ORC racing boat, the GS aims to be more of a dual boat with good performance on the race course.

If you are so pissed as me with this new trend of presenting boats without disclosing some of the things that matter more, namely the underbody and the ballast, please post about that on the comments and I will be happy to send them to the brands in question: maybe that will help to change that.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


I believe a lot can be said about a sailboat just looking at the way it sails and this video of the Caribbean 600 gave me some surprising information that explains why this time Rambler was beaten by the trimaran Paradox (by 36m), when back in 2015 (the last time the 2 boats raced together here) Rambler beat Paradox by about 3 hours.

It was not because Rambler had been sailed better in 2015 (on IRC it won this year and it had only been 3rd in 2015) but because the conditions suited it less. And that was a surprise too because the conditions this year were strong and I thought that they would benefit the monohull. But looking at the images we can see that Paradox curiously goes better against the waves, with less wave drag, while Rambler dives the bow on the waves creating a huge drag.

So please, it is time to provide Rambler with adequate foils that lift that bow over the water diminishing wave drag and allowing it to go way faster on these conditions. Look what I mean:

Look how Hugo Boss loses speed when the bow comes down and dives in the waves. That's the way Rambler sails all the time. Imagine Rambler's speed if it were able to lift the bow like Hugo Boss!!!

And, talking about foils let me tell you about my disappointment regarding Figaro 3 foils and the contribute they bring to the boat's performance. There was a huge gain of speed between Figaro 1 and  Figaro 2. We all expected that would happen with Figaro 3 compared with Figaro 2 but, despite the boat looking gorgeous, that is not happening and in my opinion that has to do with the foils that don't create the lift that would be expected and even if they create the RM to compensate the loss of the water ballast of the previous model, that is far from enough to make a considerable difference.

Even with Beneteau hiring Figaro top sailors to make marketing videos, to show the boat potential in perfect sailing conditions, do you really think that the boat has a big difference in sailing potential compared to the previous model? And note that it is on strong conditions that those foils should be more effective. Figaro 2 on the videos below:

Thursday, March 1, 2018


Yes quite an alarming title but the subject has become serious to the point of World Sailing (ex- ISAF), the world governing body for the sport of sailing, to become seriously concerned and being on the verge of taking preventive actions.

The facts: surely everybody remembers the keel that some years ago fell off a Bavaria Match 42  and recently all know that an almost new 90ft Oyster lost the keel. Some know about two First 40.7 but less know about a Bavaria 390, a Jeanneau 37, a Vand den Stadt 45, a Sweden yacht 42, a Fast 42 a Maxi 110, a Max Fun 35 or more recently a Comet 45 and some days ago a Davidson 50.

Nor many know that since the mid 80’s more than 75 boats have lost the keel with the loss of  28 lives.

Probably the numbers of keels lost or boats abandoned offshore with problems on the keel are way bigger and much bigger the number of boats that were found with keel problems before actually a disaster would occur. These are only the numbers regarding the cases that were found by a a work group formed by World Sailing to study the problem and most of them were high profile cases. 

Some of the keels were lost due to the contact with the ground or submerged objects, some due to poor design or poor building like the cases of the Match Bavaria 42, the modified Oyster 825 or the Max Fun 35. Others due to the weakening of the structure as a result of bad maintenance, groundings whose damage passed unnoticed or were improperly repaired while others, like the recent case with the Comet 45, remain a mystery.

Although the Comet 45 has been recovered I don’t know of any investigation going on by the boat builder. Fortunately the boat was British and used in charter and MAIB has opened an investigation to the accident some days ago.

The number of keels lost is increasing and will increase much more in the next years if nothing is made, simply because boats with bolt on keels (almost all today) will become older and the lack of maintenance and the number of damages due to keel grounding will become bigger with time, as well as material fatigue with the results that are to be expected. 

Fact is that most think that a keel does not need maintenance unless obvious signs of degradation start to appear but that's a keel repair, not keel maintenance. Maintenance should be preventive and should obey to a determined schedule, as it is made for rigs or for saildrive seals.

Even in countries where the legislation demands a mandatory regular yacht inspection the problem is not addressed simply because there are no clear industry guidelines in what regards proper maintenance and material fatigue for keel and keel structures. If it looks good and there is no obvious signs of corrosion or if there are not clear signs of problems on the outside of the keel, then it is OK.

Better than nothing but clearly insufficient and that leads us to the core of the problem: even if there is in the EU legislation that protects and gives warranties to consumers regarding the design of recreational and personal water crafts, the RCD, there is none in what regards inspections or accident investigation. 

There is a directive and an agency (EMSA) regarding accident investigation but only in what concerns maritime transport, none regarding recreational and personal crafts. Most countries don’t investigate recreational craft accidents in any way, much less in a detailed way.

And if recreational craft accidents are not seriously investigated there is no way of collecting relevant information that will allow the detection of building or design problems and other shortcomings like de ones that are related with the lack of proper maintenance.

That feedback is necessary to update the RCD in a way that contributes to erradicate those shortcomings in what regards boat design and improve boat security. It will also provide information regarding keel maintenance and adequate schedules.

There is a need for an EU agency similar to EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) for recreational and private crafts, or a branch of it that occupies itself exclusively with that subject and we need European standards and procedures in what regards yacht accident investigation and yacht inspections.

In the absence of such an agency in Europe (and in the rest of the world) it is World Sailing that, seriously concerned with the increase of dangerous accidents with keel losses, on an interview to the magazine, states their intention for creating a mandatory keel system inspection and to increase building inspections to determine that the design specifications are fulfilled in reality and not only on paper.

In fact it was verified that at least in one case the designer specifications were not entirely followed and, being the actual verification of conformity regarding RCD requirements basically a paper one, it is necessary to improve that verification and for what I suspect, not only in what regards keels but also in what concerns boat stability.

But World Sailing has only jurisdiction regarding the sail boats that race on events that follow their rules, not regarding the vast majority of crafts including cruising sailboats. Their good example is better than nothing but it should be followed in what regards all offshore boats and not only the ones that will race on World Sailing events.

We need an agency with the power to provide those measures not only for boats used for racing but for all offshore yachts if we want safer and better built and maintained sailboats.

Sunday, February 25, 2018


I follow here some races and post the movies but many others  provided great sailing movies and it is a shame not to post them here too. So here they are, from last year and this year, for mine and your enjoyment ☺:

A note about the next one: not a great sailing movie but a funny one about the Barcolana the sailing race with more participants. Not a great race but certainly a BIG race LOL.

Friday, February 23, 2018


I had already heard about the L30, that was advertised mostly as a relatively inexpensive fast and trailerable one class racer, designed over a concept from Luka Rodion (Ukraine dinghy champion), so when I visited the boat in Dusseldorf I was expecting a race boat and was pleasantly surprised with a very interesting cruising interior.

The boat site puts almost all emphasis on racing and it is a pity since it kind of gives a misleading impression of the boat that can perfectly be used as dual boat, a cruiser racer that will certainly  perform well on IRC and ORC racing and as a  one design racer.

The stability is not as big as it could have been due to the need of having an easily transportable boat. The beam is therefore limited to 2.54m for road transport on a trailer and in what that regards they propose a very good trailer as well as an easy lowering mast system, a lifting keel (0.58/1.80m) and retractable rudders.

Even with a beam limitation the stability is good due to  the considerable 39% B/D using a 1.80m keel with a lead torpedo. The stability is enough to certify the boat as class A and that, in a boat with that weight and size, says a lot about it.

The boat design (by Adrej Justin) is quite pleasant to the eye and only when looked from behind it shows a bit more volume, that is very well disguised in all other views, but it is on the interior layout that I find this boat really clever.

The lifting keel box is used as an internal division separating the head from the galley and it works surprisingly well. The head is a good sized one and the galley has what is needed for coastal cruising and, even if narrow, it works very well, providing back support to the cook.
The dinette and social area include the forward cabin, that is semi-open, larger than usual on this size of boats and has space for lateral seats and for a removable table that in order to allow space for legs, is fixed laterally, on the keel box.

There is a reasonable aft cabin (with ventilation) and a good open storage space accessed by the head. On the outside besides a small anchor and chain locker there are two big storage spaces on the floor one of them would be occupied by lithium batteries and an electric engine with a 16nm autonomy.

This solution is less adequate for cruising than an outboard, it is heavier, has less autonomy  and it is much more expensive. I don’t like it on this type of boat. It makes sense on a luxury daysailer but not on a boat that can be used for cruising and that wants to offer high quality sailing performance at low cost.

I also don’t like the two wheels (carbon) that are not necessary on this size of boat and can be substituted with advantage with a tiller at a much smaller cost, as well as the two rudders that are unnecessary with this beam, also increasing costs. Neither do I like the absence of settees on the cockpit.

It does not make sense to have a good cruising interior, a cockpit with a shower and all, if you don’t have at least two small seats on the forward part of the cockpit. Seating on the side of the boat is good for racing but does not offer any shelter from wind or water projections.

Those small settees would also increase the interior volume on the cabin as well as the interior height. But I do love the big retractile carbon bowsprit, the carbon mast  as well as the good sailing hardware.

It is built by Oceantec, a Slovenian firm with a good experience building IRC and ORC racers. It looks very well built using exclusively vinylester resins and vacuum infusion on a cored hull (PVC). That allows for a very light (1820kg) and no doubt a very fast boat with a LWL almost the length of the hull (9.20 to 9.25m), a good stability and a huge sail area for such a small displacement: 52.5 sqm upwind and 112.8 sqm downind.

The LC30 will be a great boat for racing and one that has a good potential for coastal cruising, especially if seats are added to the cockpit (that will be easy) with the big advantage of being trailerable and having a mast that can be easily lowered.

For a high performance and high quality built boat the price is not high, 70 000 euro at the factory without taxes….and it is really a beautiful boat and one that will give a lot of pleasure to sail.