Thursday, February 26, 2015

CARIBBEAN 600, BETTER AND BETTER


This race is becoming a classic and it is really a shame the lousy site and the very poor race information. Much to be bettered regarding that. A race with a growing fleet with very interesting sailboats of all types competing. This year they had a top multihull trimaran, Phaedo 3, a Multi 70 that dominated the race. Phaedo used to be a much slower Gunboat 66 that used to be beaten easily by Paradox, a 63ft cruiser racer trimaran....not anymore, the new Phaedo showed of what is capable a top 70ft racing trimaran and made the Caribbean 600 in a record time well ahead of any other boat.

Phaedo³ at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 from Ocean Images on Vimeo.

Outstanding performance of the new 88ft Rambler,much faster then the 63ft trimaran Paradox and than any of the 100ft racers, including Leopard.

Rambler Launch from New England Boatworks on Vimeo.

Great performance of the 100ft Luxury yacht Nomad (Finot/Conq) that come right after the big racing boats, ahead of a Volvo 70, beating by far all other Maxi cruising yachts. Great performance of the Ker 43 Otra vez, coming among the big boats (immediately ahead a Farr 60 and immediately behind a Volvo 60). Great performance of the Class 40 Tales II (first 40fter) coming just behind a Farr 72 and ahead of a Shipman 72. After the Shipman 72 another Class 40 beating two Volvo 60 and a Swan 60.
No Gunboats and almost no cats this year. Only a Moxi 61 that was not fast beeing beaten by the 40class racers (it took a shortcut at the end of the race).

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DJANGO 7.70 VERSUS FIRST 33.7

Two friends one with a Django 7.70 other with a First 33.7 decided to make a kind of test sail between the two boats. I know, not fair, the First is considerably bigger and an older design but even so I found interesting the video and the comments on You tube:
Not a great video too since both boats are not shown sailing side by side but the information is interesting: With very light winds the First 33.7 is faster upwind and points better. With 20/25k winds the Django is a bit faster and more responsive. Well I would like more information but that's the only thing they say :-)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

DOES CRUISING BOATS NEED "TRAINING WHEELS"?


On the cruising forum where I post as "Polux" I have posted something about hull shapes and performance that may be interesting to this blog. The post is here (post 258):
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f47/true-blue-water-boat-extinction-a-fait-accompli-141354-18.html#post1754758
From here comes the basic question: The qualities that make a good racing solo sailboat are relevant to a cruising boat? Or putting it another way, the type of hulls and rigs used for solo racing are relevant for cruising, as a benefic global influence that can allow better cruising boats? The type of hull that allows a solo sailor to push and sail fast (many times under autopilot) a racer through ocean has advantages for an inexperienced, solo or short crew cruiser while sailing offshore on a cruising boat?

As a way to answer let's have first a look at the differences between the type of hulls used for solo racing and the type of hulls used for crew racing: Many think that the very beamy Open 60 are the fastest type of boat downwind (for the size) or on a circumnavigation but they are wrong. Certainly they are the type of boat faster sailing solo on a circumnavigation but not if a crew is used. On that case a boat like the VOR65 (with 60ft) will be faster, provided it has a full crew to handle it.

Let’s have a look at both hulls, a VOR 65 and a Open 60 (both sailboats designed for a circumnavigation on the trade winds, meaning mostly beam reach and downwind sailing):

The difference is evident, both have all beam pulled back but the Open 60 is a much more beamier boat. So why not make an Open 60 less beamier and theoretically faster? It has been made…and did not work out, they have been developing these boats for 30 years, and the actual configuration it is the one that at the moment allows for a faster boat…sailed solo. Why?

Let’s look at some videos of 11/12m racing boats, solo racing boats and crew racing boats to understand why. First a Beneteau Figaro II versus a J111. Both boats can go damn fast downwind, the J111 even faster but look at the guy on the Figaro that can leave the boat on autopilot to adjust sails or even to go ahead to set the Spinnaker. He has to leave it on autopilot on many occasions inclusive to sleep.
 
Compare with the guys on the J111, even with a short crew they need three guys to keep it out of broaching, one at the wheel, other constantly trimming the front sail and a reserve one for the mainsail or for helping if something goes wrong. The J111 is a cruiser racer, if look to truly race boats, like a Soto 40 or a Ker 40, the control has to be even more precise and a bigger crew is required:
Now compare with a same sized solo racer, a 40class boat sailed by a lonely sailor and will be on a completely different ball game. One guy is enough to drive the boat fast downwind, not as fast as a ker 40 or Soto 40, but certainly much faster than a Soto 40 or Ker 40 solo sailed. On a solo racer the boat has to be handled many times on autopilot since it is the same guy that is the trimmer, the bow man, the navigator the helmsman….and it has also to work on the winches and to sleep since most of the races on those boats are Transats or circumnavigations.
Bob Perry said once that those boats had training wheels and that he didn't need any training wheels on his boats. So the question is, do cruising boats need training wheels, meaning they can be sailed faster and safely with them …or maybe not?
J111
Luca, the guy from Comar maintenance said that he was part of the crew that test sailed the first Comet 41s (my boat) and that on the maiden sail they had sailed it at 18K. Well, I have owned my boat for two years now and I have never went faster then 14K (and even so on only one occasion) and I know that I will never sail it at 18k simply because for that the boat needs a crew. Don’t make me wrong, that is a fast boat and a relatively easy boat to sail with a huge resistance to broaching and an incredibly sensible rudder. Just with a bit of help with my wife, or even solo I can sail pretty fast on it, specially upwind but the downwind sailing speed (no spinnaker) is most cases between 9.5 and 11.5K, a bit more in  really strong winds, not anything closer to 18K. That is what the boat can do with a full crew and a spinnaker up in strong wind.
J111

My friend Eric, that is not much younger than me, said it has not taken him much time to sail his Pogo 12.50 to 13/14K and that is a speed that he reaches with some ease on the right conditions. I may be wrong but I seem to remember that he said that he had done once or twice 16/18K with his boat, with the help of the family crew, that includes not only a wife but a son also.

Me and Eric are the kind of cruisers that like to go fast, most cruisers will sail more calmly but the point is, would not this difference in easiness (that has to do with the hull of the Pogo to be derived from solo racers, while the one of the Comet is derived from IRC racers) will not suit even more less demanding sailors? I think that the answer is a clear yes and that’s why most contemporary NA use hulls influenced by solo racers in almost all main market production sailboats and in voyage boats too. The ability they have to go with more easiness, with more directional stability from a beam reach to downwind makes more efficient on autopilot that’s what most cruisers use while sailing. That type of hulls makes also for a more forgiving boat that can take more abuse without broaching.
Beneteau Figaro II

So what about upwind sailing? will more narrow boats, or IRC derived hulls, like the ones of the Salona or Dehler, Comet or J122 perform better? The difference will be not much on flat seas, just a bit better pointing ability but on  nasty seas or even on the typical med short period steep waves there will be a big difference due to wave drag.

While sailing on flat water the waterplane (and wet surface) of the boat like the Pogo will be a very narrow one, having to do more with its weight than with its beam but while passing waves all change: The wave envelopes the boat that passes through it and increases hugely the wet surface associated to wave drag that is much bigger on a solo racer beamy type of hull than on a much narrower IRC derived one. The beamy hull will suffer much more drag for each wave it crosses than the IRC type. Sure it can fly more sail due to its much bigger hull form stability but that will not even the match. The boat will have to open more the course (to gain power), probably it will go a little faster, storming through the waves (and that is less comfortable) and in the end it will be slower, or at least is what I have taken from the observation of race results even with more powerful 40class racers (on the Sydney Hobart and Med races).
Soto 40

Heavier boats with this type of hull, like the Oceanis 38, 41 or 45, Dufour 410, 500 (among others)  will have about the same comparable characteristics regarding cruisers with about the same weight and hulls influenced by IRC hulls, like the Jeanneau 409.

Is this less good performance upwind on some particular conditions a big disadvantage? Not for voyage boats that mostly will follow the trade winds, not for main market mass production boats because even if most sail on the med where these conditions can be met, most sailors just don’t go upwind on those conditions (over F4) or just motor most of the time when sailing directly upwind.
40class racer
That explains why the open solo race type of hull is the main influence on cruisers today: it just offers the best compromise for most sailors, not forgetting the big advantage that a bigger interior represents for cruising, in living space and storage.

Of course that does not mean that even in what regards cruising that would be the best compromise to all. There are many variables here and one can just prefer a narrower boat because it just likes more the way a boat sails on a seaway, because it is more nervous and fun to sail, because it values more upwind sailing or just because he finds narrower boats more beautiful. All good reasons. ;-)

Monday, February 23, 2015

VERY INTERESTING: AZUREE 33C

Not really a new boat, just a MKII but one that took away the biggest defect from the previous boat: it was not properly nice, even if a great boat at a very good price. Now you have all the previous qualities in a much nicer sailboat with a big and customizable interior. If I was looking for a 33ft sailboat I would be looking hard at this one:


Azuree 33C: LET YOUR CREATIVITY SET SAIL from Azuree Sailing on Vimeo.

The older model come out with bright colors from the last "Middle the sea race", raced on gale conditions. Many boats abandoned the race but the smaller of them all, the little Azuree 33, sailed only by a duo (one of them the NA) keep pushing and made a remarkable race.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

NEO 350...WHAT A LOOKER!!!

After the incredibly good performance of the big sister, the Neo 400 on the last middle sea race, under gale conditions, there was no doubt that the boat had a big offshore potential and also that the inverted bow helped to control water projections and to keep its nose up. A big design success for Ceccareli and after such a good boat we all wanted more and more to come.

The first one after the Neo 400 is a 350 that can have waterballast for racing offshore. The boat is as beautiful or even more beautiful than the big sister and contrary to it, it is not made of carbon. To keep costs down it is basically a vacuum infused epoxy e-glass boat with some parts in carbon (spars, rudder, bowsprit,tiller, bulkheads, keel frames).

Keeping costs down is a way of speaking because such a high quality built is expensive and this beauty costs a bit less than 200 000 euros (with VAT). Two versions will be available, a cruising one with aluminium spars and a racing one but I bet that even the "slower" version will be a very fast sailboat, able to win races.

The Neo 350 will have a hull length of 10.70m will weight only 3650kg of which 1500kg are ballast on a lead bulb at the end of a steel foil. The beam is considerable (3.53m)the draft is moderate (2.05m) and the RM is huge, allowing for 72sqm of sail upwind.

The interior disposition is interesting, similar to the bigger boat, but only when the first boat comes out we will see if it is as much spartan as the one of Neo 400 or if this is a boat that is pointed to a more vast clientele with a nicer finished interior.
Anyway a very beautiful boat that will make proud any owner and will raise a lot of envy looks: Italian design and boat building at its best ;-)

The Neo 400 blasting on the last Middle of the sea race:

Monday, February 16, 2015

GLOBAL OCEAN RACE 2015/2016


Maybe it is this year that this race gets the number of entries to make it a major one on the offshore solo/short crew racing scene. The idea is just great and it became even better: An affordable racing 40class boat for all, solo or duo crews and a circumnavigation race. Better because now, instead of multiple legs it is a circumnavigation with a single stop in Auckland. More interesting as a sporting event and also less expensive and less time consuming for the participants.
The 30 000nm race will start from Southampton in September 2015 and will finish in Portsmouth around March 2016. There are already 8 teams in and I am impressed with the American Dave Rearick that will race a Kiwi 40FC Class40. He is doing right now a solo circumnavigation on that boat....just for training for the big one LOL. Meet the guy, quite a character and ....not a young guy anymore. Cheers to him.

I am quite sure this is a great race, at least for the ones that are racing it...most of them have made more than one edition and keep coming back. This race has the potential to become a classic and I really hope that to happen: A non French major solo race, that would be interesting and would help to spread the concept of solo/short crew long range racing among other countries.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

RM 1070 FIRST TEST



By voile magazine, and one of the long ones, a 100nm test. The magazine is available on Zinio but I can advance that they only say good things. It was the twin keel version and it performed as expected and that means well. They gave some numbers: 15K wind 8K speed, 40ยบ TRW 6.5K speed. Not a mean machine upwind but not bad, considering the twin keel setup. A boat for voyaging on the trade winds and certainly one of the best at that, size by size.
As usual on this type of very large transoms the engine performance was poor and the cruising speed is just 5.5K. Anyway this is a sailboat and the 80L of diesel tankage does not give it a big autonomy while on engine.