Sunday, December 17, 2017


François Gabart didn't need this magnificent achievement to be one of the two best solo sailors, monohulls and multihulls have no secrets to him. But after this feat it leaves Armel Le Cleac'h (the other one) a bit on his shadow, now that his victory on the Vendee Globe is already past...and after all Gabart was not there to fight him.

But Le Cleac'h has a new maxi trimaran, he is testing it and I have no doubt that as soon as the boat is perfectly tuned and the right conditions are reunited he will try to beat this record. The fight between these two incredible sailors for the title of world's best offshore sailor is just amazing.

Yes, I know they are solo sailors but since the time a team of solo sailors with no past VOR experience won it, it became clear that if they are top solo sailors, after a short adaptation, they are also great top offshore crew sailors. And this year VOR is proving that with the two leading teams constituted mostly by solo sailors...and not the best of them.

About the new record, contrary to what many think this is not the absolute sail record but the solo sail record. The absolute sail record is in the hands of another great sailor, Francis Joyon, that with his crew made it 1 day 17 hours faster, but this solo record time is really incredible: Gabart has the 2nd absolute time meaning that he beat all previous crew records before the one of Joyon, that is from last year.

He beat the previous solo record, that belonged to Thomas Coville (2016), by 6 days and 10 hours!!!! To be fair even if Coville boat is also a maxi trimaran the one from Gabart is newer and faster, only comparable to the Armel Le Cleac'h new one.

A final point to compare this solo record with the monohull one, 42d 16h 40m to 74d 3h 35m that belongs to Armel Le Cleac'h, just to say that they are not comparable: the multihulls used are maxi trimarans with around 100ft and the monohulls are the ones from the Vendee Globe, with 60ft.

 The monohull record has been established during the Vendee Globe not there having been attempts with maxi monohulls, that means also that while the multihull record is established by a solo sailor that has his routing chosen by a team of specialists (on land) the monohull record is established by a solo sailor that does his own routing while sailing the boat. Not comparable on several counts, except in what regards the sailors that have them, the two solo sailor princes, Gabart and Le Cleac'h.

Saturday, December 16, 2017


It looks even more elegant on the dynamic photos, with the boat sailing. The interior looks good, contrary to many other cruisers, the C45 has a great storage space and the performance numbers look good: the perfect main market cruiser, even if not a luxury one, at a very interesting price?

A family cruiser as good as a luxury cruiser except in what regards a luxury finish. Yes? No!!!

On top HR 44, below Bavaria C45
In fact these two denominations that are used as categories for the European Yacht of the year should be changed since they are misleading, making the public believe that the difference between two main market cruisers, a luxury one and a family one, like for instance a Halberg Rassy 44 and  Bavaria C45, has to do only with the luxury finish or at least that the difference in price relates mainly to that.

Besides the differences in finish quality and quality of interior materials there is a big difference between those two boats, one that is responsible for a substancial difference in production costs and one that has nothing to do with luxury but with sail ability and safety stability: the big difference in B/D (considering similar drafts and keels).The Bavaria C45 has 25.7% B/D ( 2.2m draft), the Halberg Rassy 44 has 39.8% B/D (2.1 draft), both with similar keels.

A huge difference that will be responsible for a very different sail performance upwind and that will make the HR, in what concerns stability, a more seaworthy boat with a bigger resistance to a knock down and much faster on the recovery from one. Also a boat with a superior AVS (128º) and a smaller inverted stability. Maybe that is why you can find the Stability curve of the Halberg Rassy on their site but not the one from the Bavaria on the Bavaria site.

Overall stability has not only to do with B/D, draft and type of keel. There are other factors as beam, hull shape and displacement. The Bavaria is a bit more beamy (4.49m to 4.20), the design of the hulls are not that different. I prefer the Bavaria hull design that will add and increase stiffness at a lower angle of heel.

The keels have a similar design, the one from the Bavaria has more 0.1m but the one from HR is a lead one, so the CG (regarding the ballast) is probably similar. The HR displacement  is superior, 13.300kg to 11935kg but  without the ballast the HR is actually 870kg lighter and that difference of weight is entirely due to the 2235kg that the HR has more on the ballast.

Looking at the boat speed polar from Bavaria with 12K of TRW, the speeds are very good, being the one at 35º  hard to believe. Probably the boat is maximized for that wind speed but it is better not forget that those numbers regard flat sea. On normal sea conditions the polar speed will continue to be good except upwind close to the wind.
As the waves get bigger, with the wind and sea condition, the wave drag increases dramatically and the boat needs more power to sail upwind. More sail will be needed and the boat starts to heel. Then the RM that comes from the ballast becomes really important, but on the Bavaria, due to the huge differences of ballast, that boost of RM will be a very small one, compared with the one of the HR and the performance of the HR will be much better than the one of the Bavaria.

While the HR will be able to maintain the upwind angle and power on, the Bavaria will have to open the upwind angle to look for power and diminish wave drag with a substancial loss in VMG. Another difference will regard the ability to resist gusts that will be much better on the HR.  When the boat heels on the gust, the much bigger ballast of the HR will bring the boat back on situations where the Bavaria will broach. That will result in a Bavaria need to reef earlier and in less speed.

The two rudder set up on the HR will also contribute for a better control in gusty conditions. Besides, with a 4.49m beam the Bavaria will have to have a very very deep single rudder, almost as deep as the draft. That will not only increase mechanical efforts on the shaft and supports as it will make delicate med mooring since the probabilities of the rudder touching the bottom are much increased when sailing astern towards the quay.

To put things in perspective I should say that this relatively small B/D is not, by any means, a "defect" from the Bavaria but typical on the so called family yachts. The Oceanis 45 has a 26.6% B/D (2.27 draft), Sun Odyssey 44 a 26.6% B/D (2.20 draft), Dufour 460 a 26.5%B/D (2.20 draft), Hanse 455 a B/D 30.2% (2.25 draft).

The Hanse is the one that has proportionally more ballast and maybe that is why, from these builders, it is the only one that publish the stability data. From all those it will be the one with a better safety stability, or reserve stability, having an AVS of about 117º, far away from the 128º of the HR,but almost for sure, better than the other ones.

Why do all those boats have a much lower B/D than the HR, if it is important for more safety and sailing? Because it is much more expensive to do a boat with a large B/D than one with a considerably smaller one. That is due to the needed reinforcements on the hull and boat structure to handle safely the more important forces involved. And because most people when choosing a boat are not aware or understand the technical side and don't see any diference: after all on the boat shows they look all the same and if they are all the same why pay more?

Bavaria Shipyard is short to call the C45 a performance cruiser, they say: "Pure sailing pleasure meets perfect sailing performance.. a performance rig permits higher speed...... an exceptional, superior sailing performance"

Sure, more sail area makes a boat faster but more sail area without more stability (stiffness), out of light winds  means also that you are going to have to reef a lot, earlier than other boats with the same stability and less sail area. It means also that you are going to have a problem with gusts, unless you have a full crew sailing the boat.

The Bavaria C45 has a 22.2 SA/D, the Hanse a  20.4 SA/D, being the beam and type of hull not much different. It is clear that the Bavaria will be faster in light winds and downwind but with stronger winds the Hanse, due to its considerably superior B/D, ratio will be faster upwind and on a beam reach, sailing much better on gusting conditions. The Bavaria will have to reef considerably sooner than the Hanse, becoming slower.

So much for the superior, exceptional sailing performance. I have no doubts that the Bavaria hull is very well designed but I don't believe in miracles. If the words used to describe the Bavaria ringed true then we should be comparing it with other boats with those sailing characteristics, boats like for instance the Grand Soleil 46LC or the Solaris 47.

Both have not very different hulls but a very different B/D. The GS46 LC has a 35% B/D , Solaris 47 has a 34.3% B/D. The Solaris has the ballast effect potentiated by a considerably superior standard draft (2.8m. The one of the GS is just a bit bigger. Note that the Solaris can have less draft but in that case it will have more ballast and a bigger B/D ratio.

The GS 46LC has a 19.2 SA/D and the Solaris 47 has 24.2 SA/D. The bigger SA/D from the Solaris corresponds not only to a slightly more sportive boat but to a more powerful one. The B/D between the Solaris and the Grand Soleil are close but the Solaris has not only more 0.5m draft as it has a more efficient keel, with all the ballast on a torpedo.

Regarding the speed of a boat, if the hulls are similar, what counts is not the standard sail area, that can always be altered in light winds by a code 0 (upwind) or a geenaker (downwind), but the boat power that corresponds to the boat stiffness. It is there that we can see the speed boat potential since it is what determines the sail area the boat can carry safely.

Grand Soleil 46 LC
Finally a big advantage from the Bavaria over the HR and many other boats: storage space.On the HR 44 it is really low due to the big aft cabin. On the Bavaria, on the owner's version, the boat is not only offered with a sail locker as it comes with a dinghy garage, at least that's what they say. Well, on this case I admit it makes no sense to talk about a dinghy garage, unless the dingy is deflated, because it has only space for a 2.2m dinghy, too small for most yachts, but it offers a very good storage space in the "dinghy locker".

Solaris 47
The Bavaria offers a very neat rigging with four winches at the reach of the helmsman that control all the lines on the boat. The C45  is offered in three versions, a basic one (Holiday) one with teak and better finish (Style) and another one with better sail hardware, including a carbon bowsprit, carbon spars and a boom direct control with a line to a cockpit travel, near the wheels. It also features an open transom (Ambition).

The Bavaria C45 is a great step forward regarding the Bavaria 46, a better sailing boat, a nicer looking one with a more funcional and agreeable interior. It is better but it could be a lot better. Some less positive comments show my disappointment for Bavaria not having  taken the opportunity for being really ambitious making a mass main market boat with the same stability characteristics of more expensive boats. They could have made it at least on the Ambition version. That would have given its denomination a true meaning.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Yves Le Blevec the solo skipper that was attempting to beat the only circumnavigation record that still belongs to a monohull, the one against winds and currents, is well and inside the boat waiting for a rescue.

The boat capsized at the Horn under not unusual weather conditions for this time of the year, wind from 30 to 50K with 70k gusts, 5 to 6 meter waves. Probably it was on one of those gusts that the arm that holds the amas broke leading to a capsize. The boat was on autopilot with the skipper trying to sleep. It happened at 4:21 am.

As I have said before, for beating the record all he had to do was to keep the huge trimaran in one piece...and that included not to capsize. He was very ahead of the old monohull record but going the wrong way around has nothing to do with a circumnavigation on the other direction. Only for trying Yves Le Blevec has already earned the respect of all other multihull ocean racers.

Yves Le Blevec was rescued by the Chilean navy using an helicopter. Nice to know thatb they are there for the rescue and that they are great professionals. Thanks to them!

It is not a first time for Le Blevec neither for Actual (another trimaran with half the size). Some years ago, on a Transat Jacques Vabre he capsized off
the Portuguese coast (movie below).

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Well, that's a way of saying because if the Spanish boat has mostly a Spanish crew the Chinese boat has only a Chinese  on the crew, being the others mostly French. Anyway it seems that I got it right before the beginning saying that this edition would be dominated by the Chinese and the Spanish team.

DongFeng after leading most of the 2nd leg was beaten by Mapfre that had been 2nd on the first leg. Only the bad Dongfeng result on the first short leg (where it was 3rd) and the weird way this year the classification is attributed explains why Dongfeng is 3rd, even if it has been the boat that led the race for more time. 

Regarding the classification it seems to me that in port races not having any weight at all on the classification makes no sense as it makes no sense that extra point attributed to the winner of a leg, or even worse, the Newport to Cardiff leg to score double points. It would make sense the longer legs to be awarded more points and the shorter ones less, but Newport to Cardiff is way shorter than Lisboa to Cape Town so why the first has double points and the last single ones? And why the very short leg between Alicante and Lisboa has the same points as much longer legs like Lisboa to Cape Town? What is the logic of all this in what regards racing performance and sport achievement?

Dongfeng is leading again and it has one more French solo sailor on the crew, Fabien Delahaye, a Figaro and 40class champion that substitutes Daryl Wislang. I don't think they will be slower with the change. Now the Chinese boat has five French sailors out of nine...and one Chinese. The Spanish boat, Mapfre has also 5 Spanish sailors, among them the Skipper. I hope they change the rules regarding this because it makes no sense at all, I mean, the nationality of the boats and the nationality of the crews. Vestas, the Danish boat that is on 2nd place overall ( 5th on this leg), has also a single Dane on the crew while the two Dutch boats have on Brunel two and on AksoNobel just one Dutch!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


I know, it was back in November and I covered it on the blog, but this movie is just great, one of the best from "Spirit of Yacht" and it deserves a post by itself. The Middle sea race is really a fantastic race, probably the one that deserves the title of Med Classic, even more than the Giraglia and this edition was really very interesting. If you missed the coverage almost in direct have a look here:

One of the reasons I love this race is because it provides a huge number of great sailing videos. In what regards that the only one that compares is the Sydney Hobart, where everybody knows the conditions are strong. Many think that the med is a lake but there is a reason for having so many great sailing movies on this race and that has to do with many editions raced with very muscular conditions. I could post many great sailing videos from this race but I will post only three more, one from the 2014 edition, one from 2008 and one from 2007. Enjoy!

Friday, December 8, 2017


After the post on the Wauquiez 42PS I cannot resist to make a comparison with the Elan GT5, a deck saloon that is just some cm smaller than the Wauquiez (12.41 to 12.99), has a not very different waterline length (11.58 to 11.79m), a boat that costs a lot less (230 000 to 385 000 euro without tax).

As it would be expected the interior of the Wauquiez has a better overall quality and also a better design even if the one from the Elan is far away from being bad. It is also a nice and a comfortable one. Apart from the superior quality the diference goes for the different  interior concepts: while the Wauquiez is a true deck saloon, with a great view to the outside the Elan follows the same concept as the Jeanneau 41DS,  Bavaria Vision, Gunfleet 43 or Oyster 475, the one of a false deck saloon.

In what regards a deck saloon they only retain the raised cabin typical of those boats. The interior is not raised and what they get is not a lesser height from the saloon to the deck but a bigger interior overall height, a more luminous interior and a great sensation of spaciousness. This is today by far the most common tendency in what regards the so called DS boats.

The big surprise regarding the Elan is, that contrary to what would be expected, the hull is better built than the one of the Wauquiez. Both boats use infusion techniques, being the one of Elan a Vacuum assisted technology but, contrary to Wauquiez, Elan uses exclusively epoxy based vinylester resins. Both boats have cored hulls. Elan uses a closed cell foam while Wauquiez uses a balsa core, one that can give problems if any water makes it to the inside of the sandwich.

But most of all the big difference in quality and better building techniques regards the boat structure: while Wauquiez uses a prefabricated structure that is then glued and glassed to the hull (like Hanse or Bavaria) Elan has the boat structure infused with the hull, becoming a part of it, a solution that is used on race boats or very expensive boats.

It has also the three main bulkheads not made, as usual, in plywood but on GRP sandwich and fully laminated to hull and deck being an integrated part of the hull structure. That is also very unusual on boats with this price tag. All this allows the Elan to be lighter and at least as strong as the Wauquiez (8650 to 10700kg). For this difference in weight contributes also the smaller Elan beam and the slightly smaller length.

In what regards seaworthiness, stability (including safety stability) power and speed the Wauquiez is not a match for the Elan. Both boats have hulls with all the beam pulled back and the Wauquiez has more beam (4.34 to 3.91). But the superior form stability due to the bigger beam is not enough to compensate the lower CG that is given by a deeper draft (2.4 to 2.1), a more efficient torpedo keel and most of all by a much bigger B/D with those drafts (31% to 28%).

This means that B/D diference is much bigger than the considerable one those numbers show due to the difference of draft. The Elan can be delivered also with 2.25 or 1.95m draft but in those cases the ballast as well as the B/D would be superior. As I said that big difference is partially compensated in stability by the bigger beam of the Wauquiez but in what regards safety stability, the one over 40º of heel and that is not used for sailing, the Elan will have a much better performance, specially in what regards recovering from a knock down of 90º or over.

The Elan superior stability translates in more power that will be very useful to sail upwind with strong winds and seas, where the lesser beam and finer entries will be very handy too. It translates also on a bigger SA/D, 21.3 to 18.7 (both boats with a small overlapping genoa), making it a faster boat in all conditions.

Maxi 1200 smoke exaustor
Both boats offer a very comfortable interior having the one from Elan only a major defect: lack of appropriated exhaust of fumes from the stove. There is not an opening over the stove but that would not be an impediment if they agree to mount a small smoke exaustor, like the ones that are used on other yachts, like the one on the left picture.

In what regards storage space, considering both boats with two cabins, it is hugely superior on the Elan GT5, not only the interior one, with a dedicated storage space (also accessed from the outside) but the one outside, with a locker under the seat, and a big central one (bigger than the Wauquiez). It offers two removable lockers more, on the back of the boat, on the transom that I would gladly dispense to have more space behind the steering wheel and a better looking boat. Ok, I am sure my wife would not let me since they house an outside refrigerator and a barbecue, but that is another story LOL.

If you have the money to pay for the substancial difference and if a clearly better overall look and a slightly nicer and better interior as well as bigger cabins is paramount to you, than the Wauquiez is a better choice. 

If you really enjoy sailing pleasure and want a better and more seaworthy sailboat, if you need more storage space than the Wauquiez very reduced one (for long range cruising),  find the GT5 interior space comfortable enough, then the Elan is the right choice and you would save enough money to buy a car.

More important and usefull information on the Wauquier 42PS and on the Elan GT5 here:

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Well, not a pilot saloon but a deck saloon... but if we look at the Jeanneau 41DS (deck saloon) we will find out that the Jeanneau is not a deck saloon at all. It seems the French have a tendency to name their type of boats in quite an odd way LOL.

Anyway, on the production market the small true deck saloon are so rare that is halfway to make the Wauquiez 42 an interesting sailboat and if we join to that particularity a nice look, one difficult to get on a deck saloon of that size, the typically impeccable finish of Wauquiez and a modern efficient new hull designed by Berret & Racoupeau, we have all the ingredients that are needed for having it posted here.

The hull is described by the designers this way: "The new Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 42 has a high-performance hull shape.The straight bow stretches the waterline to the absolute maximum length resulting in better performances and higher speeds. The powerful bow and soft hull chines provide a high shape stability, very important for offering a sailing yacht behaving well in all conditions.

The Pilot Saloon 42 has a powerful stern suited for a double rudder configuration making the boat easy to helm downwind and at the same time reducing the wet surface which improves the sailing performances in light winds. The Pilot Saloon 42 is fitted with double rudders offering optimal control at all points and conditions of sail.

It has a length of 12.99m, a beamy boat with 4.43m beam and all of it pulled back to a large transom. The standard version has only 1.65m draft but a version with a 2.15 is available. That one  has a 3000kg ballast and that for a 10700kg  displacement gives a reasonable 28% B/D. A 18.7 SA/D does not make it a fast cruiser but will give it an honorable performance and the possibility of having a 80hp engine gives it a motorsailor ability.

As in all Wauquiez there is a huge aft cabin with a private head at the cost of a reduced outside stowage space. The boat is announced as a blue water cruiser but for long range cruising the Wauquiez 42 PS lacks storage space. I would say that it makes more sense as coastal cruiser where its very agreeable interior would make a great live aboard boat.

This boat is going to be presented at Dusseldorf in January. Last year I had a look at the 48 and the interior work and finish as well as the design and functionality were truly first rate. Unfortunately the 48, contrary to the 42, has an old designed hull, probably the one from the 47, an 11 year old one and it shows, on the looks and certainly on the water too.

The Wauquiez is built a bit better than mass production boats. It has a sandwish hull with a balsa core. It uses an infusion process. The boat structure is a grid that is glued and glassed to the hull. Some steps better than Jeanneau and Beneteau but not very different from what Bavaria and Hanse are doing even if I hope that the considerable difference in price goes not only for the better quality interior but also to the care on the building process.

I don't like balsa core that offers good physical properties but is vulnerable if for some reason water comes on the sandwich. Most brands are changing, or have already changed, for different types of closed cell PVC, but besides that the impression you get from visiting the boat (48) is one of very good quality overall.

The price is considerable and a basic boat without tax costs 385 000 euros. With vat and some extras would cost over half a million euros. Not so expensive as a Halberg Rassy 412 (and a bit bigger) but not very far.

I am very curious to see if the boat interior is as nicely finished and as good as the one on the 48. The interior drawings are very nice and if they have the quality of the ones from the bigger boat, it would not be worse than the one of the HR, offering on top of it a great sense of space and a very nice exterior view. Of course you pay for those big "windows" on hot climates, like the med, with the need to have everything covered, not to let the sun and the heat come in.