Wednesday, September 17, 2014


From France to Italy, from a very small yacht to a big one, the Vismara V80, celebrating the arrival of a new partner and fresh money to the shipyard. I should say a new owner since Alessandro Vismara will only hold 49%. The majority is on the hands of an holding that very adequately has the name: "Cose belle d'Italia" (I am not joking :-).

It is not only beautiful but fast (all carbon) with a luxurious interior, in a way zen can be luxurious in its purity and richness of materials.

The design team is the usual on the house team under Vismara direction but it seems that they had not managed to dissuade the first owner to have the dinghy on a proper dinghy garage and the first boat displays an huge dingy on deck contradicting the cleanliness of the yacht lines. I hope the next one will have a owner with better taste :-( 

For the technical details have a look here:

I love the torpedo winged keel ;-)


Things are going to be very interesting on the Mini races, particularly with the series boats (production minis). The new Pogo 3 would probably have dominated the podiums....except that surprisingly Archambault decided to make a Series mini, a production one and the boat is the well known Sam Manuard design that is one of the best on the protos.

Of course it will not have a canting keel and some limitations regarding materials or length of the mast will be enforced but that hull is a very fast one, not to mention that the boat is beautiful. So, good news to everybody (except perhaps for Pogo :-)

The racing is going to be even better and the competition will be very hard between Archambaults and Pogos, Sam Manuard versus Guillaume Verdier, two of the hottest solo racing boat designers. I cannot waite :-)

The boat is slightly less expensive than the Pogo and sells for a little less than 50 000 euros, including VAT (about 20%).

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


No, not these ones ....
As you all probably now the agony of Najad has been going on for some years now: They went bankrupt, were saved by a neighbor motorboat shipyard but that did not work out and the Swedish famous brand went bankrupt again. Then it was bought, quite unexpectedly by Swedestar, a small Swedish shipyard that makes beautiful fast boats in a classic way: Narrow, big B/D ratio, powerful and very fast upwind even if not as fast downwind.

In my opinion the problem that killed Najad was the big increase in size of the operation: They grew a lot from a small shipyard to a medium sized one and a mid sized one doing the kind of boats Najad produces takes a lot of risks. If they had maintained the shipyard with the size it had for many years I am quite sure they would have no problem in surviving.

Swedestar it seems to have understood that, had downsized the operation, moved back to the old small shipyard on the Orust Island and it will go back to produce exclusive sail boats to order. Meanwhile it seems that the SwedeStar will change their name and will be produced as Najad. Najad will have two lines: Luxury cruisers, heavy and not very fast and performance cruisers, the ones that today are the SwedeStar. To remind you of what I am talking about (SwedeStar), nothing like some nice tests (movies) with the SwedeStar, a great cruiser for the ones that like to blast upwind have a classic taste and like to sail comfortably but fast (I like them a lot).

Monday, September 15, 2014


This seems as much fun as racing a motorcycle on trails or up the mountain: The balance seems to be as delicate, like on a motorcycle you drive it with all your body, the speed sensation should be awesome and the risk of breaking bones a lot lesser....If I had 18 again I would certainly have been very inclined to be good at it. Now, having learned to sail alone and never raced dinghies I am quite sure that I would not be able to make one of those things fly :-(

Have a look at this nice movie from the European Championship, last August:

Act 5 Wrap Up, EFG MothEuroCup 2014 from EFG MothEuroCup on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


As I have come from Greece, a country I know already pretty well, as well as most of the cruising grounds in the Med, probably will be of interest to some cruisers my opinion about Turkey as a cruising ground. It surely would have interested me before I went there to have more information about it and the one I had not always proved correct, at least from my view point.

I have heard that the Marmaris and Bodrum regions were very beautiful, more beautiful than Greece and that the Turks were very nice. I was also worried with that stupid law about black water and grey water (impossible to respect) and the need of emptying the black water tank on special stations on very expensive marinas, instead of emptying it far away from the shore.
Regarding this last concern I have to say that even if I had passed 15 days cruising Turkey and though I had to buy the famous blue card (to register black tanks pumped out) I never went to a pumping station (they are available only in expensive marinas) and I did not have any problem with it, neither was I asked to show it when I checked out, maybe because I did not check out on the Marmaris or Bodrum area.

There is one thing definitively better in Turkey, compared to Greece: the food. Better and less expensive, much less expensive if you go out of the tourism zone and eat with the locals, there a varied delicious meal can cost as little as 5 Euros. Of course you will not drink beer or wine (sometime they don’t have it at all) and drink water or tea (as the locals).
Keçi Buku

On the market the variety of food is also bigger (and cheaper) with some delicious stuff around. The Greek wine is nothing special but it is not expensive and they have good beer (Fix), the Turks have only expensive wines that don’t deserve their price and the best beer is the Tuborg (made in Turkey) . Both things are very expensive in restaurants.
If you do like us and adapt to the local costumes you will find that their tea (sold in 1kg packages) is very strong and tasty as well as inexpensive (sometimes is just offered).
About the cruising grounds the surprise for me was that on the Marmaris and Bodrum zone there are more charters (and a huge number of gullets) compared with the nearby Greek Dodecanese Islands, incomparably more than on the Cyclades and even more than on the Greek Ionian. I don’t know how but in what concerns mass tourism and charters the Turks are clearly beating the Greeks. That was another surprise for me.

They have more and better marinas (more expensive) and less small town ports were you can stay on the quay.

The landscape around Marmaris and Bodrum is magnificent, the number of coves, bays and natural ports is huge (very small distance among them), the wind is less strong than on the Greek Islands and it would be truly perfect if not for the number of boats everywhere.
Don’t make me wrong, it is not like Croatia were sometimes it is very difficult to find a place to anchor, in Turkey they use mostly an anchor and ropes tying the boat transom to land and that allows for many boats using a cove…but I just don’t like it, I mean being surrounded by boats, many of them charters and gullets with a big and noisy bunch of tourists inside.

So if you like solitude and more peaceful ambiances skip the zones near Marmaris and Bodrum.

Kuruca Buku
Datça region, between the two is much better, as beautiful and with a lot less boats. I went up till near Izmir and though the anchorages are more spaced I found some beautiful and lonely ones, sometimes plagued with garbage that no one picks and the Turks that are very nice on the Tourism areas here eye you with a different look, like if you are not really welcomed, you know, you say good day and someone just looks at you with a blank stare, that kind of thing. Also while on the tourism areas almost all women dress occidental clothes and use bikinis, here most are completely hidden up on traditional Muslim vests and went to bath with them.

Turkey is an odd country with two conflicting cultures, an urban one, clearly Occidentalised and a rural one, strongly Muslim, I mean the kind where you see almost everybody praying on their knees facing Meca at the prescribed hours.

To make things even more confusing my departing port was Çesme that I thought it was a small town with a small Marina. Yes it is a small town but a big marina (Camper & Nicholson) with an incredible quantity of high end shops and restaurants.

You would not believe the crowds that gather at night to eat on the many fancy and expensive restaurants and to enjoy the night…and to my surprise they were almost all Turks and of course these ones are not “fundamentalists”.

So, did I prefer Turkey? Yes for the food, no for the rest of it. In Turkey you feel that those tourist places are created expressly for foreigners and very rich Turks while there is a huge difference in income to the average population that would not have the means to frequent them.

Kazikli Limani
Those places, as well as the global architecture and urbanism for  tourists and privileged is way better than in Greece You can also note that those places are maintained very clean by an incredible number of workers that are always on duty. When you go out of those spots the difference is huge and nobody cares about garbage, not the people, not the nearby town, not the state.

Comparing to Turkey I find Greece more interesting and with a less outrageous difference between the privileged and the average.
Even if most of the islands clearly live from tourism, contrary to Turkey the diversity on offer is much bigger and while in Turkey big investment tourism developments is the norm, in Greece it is the family business, on the small restaurants or on the shops that appear a bit everywhere in a very disorganized and free way.

You will find also this difference in what regards the offer of impeccable numerous high-end Turkish marinas (expensive) versus the many town quays available in all Greece (inexpensive but without a shower or WC).

It is all a question of personal taste, in what regards crowded or lonely anchorages, marinas or town quays (a big difference in money too) and in what regards my discomfort facing the luxury type of tourism among much poor populations that live very differently. This discomfort with big cultural and economic asymmetries in the local population is really a very personal thing since that situation is typical in most of the so called tourist paradises all around the world.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


That's a favorite boat, one that I would not mind to have (when I got older and the Comet 41s proves to be too much for me to handle eh! eh!), a beautiful fast boat with classic lines and a design criteria not far from the Comet with a big ballast ratio and a moderated beam. The boat was tested recently by Yachting Monthly and Chris Benson, normally very contained in his praises says wonders about the Arcona 380:

"If the 380 were a car, she would be an Aston Martin: a beautifully-engineered, luxurious and refined sports tourer, purring with power and control. ... For anyone who actively and genuinely enjoys the business of sailing, this boat is the benchmark. Drape an arm over the lifelines, check your position on the binnacle plotter, and luxuriate in a peerless helming experience, unrivalled among production boats. I defy anyone to sail this boat and not smile as she leans gently on a gust and surges forward. It's pure sailing pleasure.

She positively flies upwind. Her structural stiffness and ballast distribution allow her to carry full canvas when others will be reefing. Off the wind she glided across the water regally, accelerating with each extra knot, once again with the helmsman in total control. ...

...She's not a boat for beginners. For a start, she's got plenty of power - easily controlled if you know what you're doing but she might scare newbies. With a cockpit traveller, the falls of the mainsheet could catch the unwary during a gybe, too. Plus, if you're new to sailing, you should sail something else for a few years just so you can appreciate how good the 380 is.

If you're a dinghy-sailing couple looking for a classy, sporty cruiser then she could be right up your alley, likewise a couple with a more sedate cruising yacht looking to get a bit more excitement out of their time afloat as well as expanding their cruising range thanks to her effortless speed..."
more here:

If Arnaud is reading this he is probably thinking that this is the right boat for him and Vonnie and he would be absolutely right but this is an expensive one and very dificult to find on the used market where they have always high resale values, but then we only live once ;-)

Here the Swedish test on Hamnen (well I don't understand a thing of what they are sayng but I can read their expressions and I am quite sure they are saying nice things about the boat ;-)

Saturday, September 6, 2014


There is no secret that I have a soft spot for Salonas, I narrowly missed buying a 38ft (money problems) but the truth is that they are one of the brands that offer more for the money, if you just want something that sails better than a Bavaria or an Oceanis.

It is nice to see that I am not the only one thinking that way: On Yacht de. they tested the little 33ft and they said " Joyful adaptable Salona 33....with the 33ers can do everything from leisurely boat ride to tuned racer".

The boat test movie deserves a look and as usual you can download the full test for 2 euros.