Wednesday, January 28, 2015

TRANSQUADRA 2nd LEG: MADEIRA - MARTINIQUE


Qq images du départ en attendant le montage... by overlapprod

 As most certainly will know this is a Transat solo or duo race for amateur sailors (at least 40 years old) with sailboats below a given limit of IRC rating. Mostly small fast boats (31/36ft) with some bigger comparatively slower boats on the mix...lots of boats, over a hundred.
The second leg started 3 days ago and they have been sailing fast with 20/25K steady winds and that has been taking a toll on the boats: Two boats lost the mast, one ripped the main sail and another with one of the rudders broken.
You can follow the race on the tracker here:
http://www.transquadra.com/positions.php
And on the news, that unfortunately are only in French:
http://www.transquadra.com/actualites.php
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Transquadra/213972661966974
Some great movies from the first leg of the race (St Nazaire/Madeira or Barcelona/Madeira):

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

THE SEXIEST BOAT (A44) WON THE EUROPEAN BOAT OF THE YEAR CONTEST


I am talking about the Advanced yachts 44 and the "sexiest one" was just my opinion that I posted some months back here:
http://interestingsailboats.blogspot.pt/2014/10/the-sexiest-boat-around-is-on-water-a44.html

Off course, I did not have sailed the boat (unfortunately) and what I said was only based on the yacht design, technical characteristics and my knowledge about sailboat design but it seems that my assessment was correct and what 11 boat testers from 11 different countries said about the boat was not less enthusiastic than what I wrote on that post. The boat won the 2015 boat of the year contest on the category of special yachts and the comments the diverse test sailors made about the boat (sailed on demanding conditions) deserve to be read:

Yachting World, UK: ..wild and different. The Advanced 44 lives up to her name by being the most contemporary monohull of 2014, and one that puts sailing pleasure above any trivialities like practicality and cost. And what a sensation she provides… the ride is stable, direct and super-responsive – this is a true supercar of the sea....A great job by Nauta Design and Roberto Biscontini, she has performance to match the style –and congratulations to Advanced for having the balls to do such a project! "

Fare Vela, ITA:“An extreme and expensive weekend fast sailer, which shows one of the best open-style hulls ever tested. We sailed the Advanced 44 in extreme conditions, not exactly her field, but she moved softly and powerfully in big and confused waves, as well as surfing for long periods in a very stable way, even when underpowered. Plus she has a very interesting interior concept".

 Voile and Voiliers, FR: “If a boat deserves this nomination, it is the A44. Yes it is much too big for a day cruiser, much too expensive for the average sailor and much too powerful for a crew of two. But its sailing ability upwind is nothing short of fantastic"...

Yacht.de, GER: “This disturbingly new yacht, which refuses to fit in any known market segment, elevates performance sailing to a new level. In cross-seas and fresh breeze she keeps her groove almost by herself, allowing fingertip steering and offering the finest feedback. Simply the best serial production big boat I have sailed to date. Its a Ferrari Enzo on the water: expensive, unreasonable, impractical – but oh so great.”

Marina.ch, SUI:  "Italian style at its best! With the Advanced 44, an experienced crew will win regattas. But this boat is also a luxury daycruiser and weekender too.”

Seilas, NOR: "A small big yacht – The Advanced 44 has a cockpit of a 60 footer, and can keep a 60 footer’s pace through the water. We did 15 knots downwind with a gennaker in 18 knots wind! The upwind performance was like a racer. The interior is open, modern and stylish. This is Italian craft at its best.”

YachtRevue, AUT: “The Advanced 44 is an individual design with extraordinary performance, smart styling, sophisticated deck-layout and a special atmosphere below deck.”

BadNyt, DEN: “A statement of what is to come to the keelboat market in the near future. It goes with the trend that weight is becoming essential for both the performance and in particular for the sensation of sailing.”

Published on Toby Hodges blog: http://www.yachtingworld.com/blogs/toby-hodges-blog/5-top-new-yachts-crowned-european-yacht-year-2015-winners-25-tested-61420#esF4hlEIY2OOsDHS.99

Sunday, January 25, 2015

25 YEARS LATER ANOTHER DRAGONFLY 25


The 25 was the first Dragonfly so a new 25 means something, this was supposed to be a very special boat and it is in fact a more modern design but I think they could have gone further. The floaters are beautiful with a lot of buoyancy (160%) but the central hull could be nicer (in what regards that the new Corsair daysailer seems nicer to me).
A very nice boat with an interior suitable for short range coastal cruising and certainly a good racer, a very fast sailing boat for sure. They have already sold 5 boats that should cost about 69 000 euros (without VAT) with a 5hp outboard and sails.
They say about the boat:

"Both versions will have the same offcenter Kickup centerboard in the mainhull, to create more space inside the boat and the centerboard casing is hidden inside and under the port sofa seat in the center cabin. Both rudder systems will also be able to kickup.

The standardboat will have a 10.50 m Aluminium rotating mast and the Sport version will have a 11.80 m rotating Carbon mast.
The floatdesign is in a total new design and construction, still asymmetric shapes to get better hydrodynamic lift and also to get more buoyancy in the right place. The floats are in new and better hydrodynamic design, so the floats will be more fun to push harder and will have better waterflow. 
The floats will have 160% volume, and will be the highest volume floats we have yet ever made in our designs. This means the boat can actually easy fly the centerhull, not that this is the purpose, as the boat will be fastest when the centerhull is just airborne, but it will give more safety as also the floats are actually 30 cm longer forward of the centerhull to give more diagonal safety and stability."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

MAXI 1200 DOES IT WORTH THE MONEY?


This was the boat I was more curious about on the Dusseldorf boat show for several reasons, one of them to know if Delphia, now the owner of Maxi, had managed to bring the price down on the Swedish boats known by their quality and also by their high price and the answer to that is YES, a big one, at least in what regards the introductory price on the Dusseldorf boat show, that I don't believe it will last.

They were offering a very well standard equipped boat with an introduction package that includes equipment like webasto heating, 2 electric 50 winches, Gas detector and inverter, as well as several other equipment that will make it a well equipped sail way boat for 170 000 Euros (excluding VAT)!!!! The "normal" price of the boat equipped this way would be 198 000 Euros, a price that does not look excessive to me.
Has the quality been affected? In what regards building I don't think so, in what regards the interior it looks a bit less luxurious than an "older" Maxi but the quality is certainly above average with very nice detail designs. I cannot say that I like very much the interior design in what regards small details and mostly in what regards the wood color combination with the fabric of the cushions, but for that price I could live with it. The wood is too dark and the wood implementations too heavy (for instance on that massif saloon table) for the light cabinet style. However the boat has some great details like the smoke extractor with illumination that extends over the oven with a touch on a button or the rotating seat that provides a very good and comfortable navigation station without "spoiling" the nice saloon area.

Regarding sailing hardware everything is of great quality and I (and many for what seems to me) just complain about the lack of a traveler even if the way the main sheet is brought to the center of the boat to a powerful winch at very easy reach of the helm's man can contribute to a good control. The truth is that this is a modern tendency and boats like Swan and XP yachts come now without a traveler. I don't like it but it seems to work relatively well even in performance cruisers.

The hull looks as nice as it looked on the renderings, the storage on the three cabin version (that I saw) is a bit short for extended cruising but it will be certainly more than enough on the 2 cabin version and more details have come out in what regards the boat structure that is outstanding with a big carbon beam as central frame (that will reach the rudder that goes through it), carbon reinforcements on the bow area (carbon bowsprit) and on the link between the chainplates and the main carbon beam. Over that a more conventional structural grid distributes the efforts and takes the furniture over it. The hull is made using Vinylester resins and it is cored using PVC as core.

The stability curve and the Polar speeds confirm what I have said previously, a very fast boat, specially with light winds, sailing faster than the wind till about 6,5K wind. Regarding planning the narrow hull does not allow planning without very high wind speeds (less than 10k with 20k wind) but will certainly provide a very good upwind performance. It will be a boat that with 8k wind will sail over 7k and that on most conditions it will sail between 7 and 8.5K and that will allow for very good average speeds.
The stability curve shows a stiff boat with particularly good reserve stability with a high AVS (near 130º) and a very small inverted stability in comparison with the positive one. Regarding the outstanding reserve stability it suffices to say that the boat is making as much force to right itself up at 90º as the force it is opposing to the wind when it is sailing with 25º of heel, that as you can imagine, is a very big one.

A great boat, very well built, very seaworthy, fast at an incredible introductory price. If I was looking for a boat I would not let pass this one and I could live with the high quality interior, even if some of the design integration pisses me off. A true sailors boat that I don't believe  will be a big success since the narrow hull provides a comfortable interior but a small one for a 40ft and it seems to me that will not please the wives that look mostly to that part of the boat and have a decisive say on the choosing of the boat.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

INCREDIBLE DEALS AT DUSSELDORF BOAT SHOW



This is a post about boat prices and great deals on the Dusseldorf boat show but only valid for 3 days or so (during the boat show). I thought that even so this probably would interest some. As usually I went to the Dusseldorf boat show, to Dusseldorf  too, for the beer and the people that I find great. They like to socialize through the night, drinking beer, of course,...on the outside, sometimes with temperatures below zero. I guess it's a way of maintaining the beer cold LOL. Now for that you need to be German or at least Nordic, not for me even if I like the spirit.  Anyway inside the good old breweries it is crowded and it is very difficult to find a place to seat anyway, even in the middle of the week.

Jeanneau 379
Now, regarding boats, this year a friend asked me to help him to buy a boat and as I have said the best thing when one is going to buy a sailboat (unless the money is no problem) is to have an open choice and look for good deals.

My friend wanted a boat between 37 and 40ft but the budget was not really up to it. He wanted also a fast boat. So we started with the Oceanis 38 that was discarded because he did not like it and I have to say I was not impressed with the finish too. I heard so much good about the interior on American forums that maybe they are better finished on US, I don't know.
Dehler 38

The Jeanneau 379 looked better to us and we went for a full offer. My friend is French and we found a nice guy, a French dealer for most of Southern France (the best ones are almost always the bigger dealers). He went below standard price offering not only the boat show discount but also a dealer discount. The boat with all the options and VAT cost a bit less than 200 000 euros. That's about what I expected. Not a great deal, just a fair one.

Varianta 37
Then we went to Dehler and the very practical young  German dealer said to us that no way we would have a minimal equipped sailboat for less than 220 000 euros (with VAT) and I know that if he said that then a decently equipped boat would went for more, so we looked instead to the Varianta 37, with pretty much all options. A good fast sailboat with an Ikea interior that would go for about 135000 euros including VAT. My friend did not like the Ikea interior. I still think it is a great boat for the price and the interior can be bettered with time.
Elan 400
We had a look at the Elan 400 but they said the minimum price for a minimum equipped boat should be about 240 000 euros, so we gave up. Went to Dufour that has a new 382 with a fantastic interior but with undersized winches and a kind simplified rigging and the price was just a bit over the one of the Jeanneau 379 but then it happened the first interesting thing:
Dufour 382
This dealer was the only one that was a sailor, understood what we wanted (by the comments about the Dufour 382 to be all about interior and less about sailing) and said that unfortunately that's what people want and that real sailing boats, like the performance Dufour series (like the First from Beneteau) were selling badly, that they were not even bringing the boats to the boat show and were lowering the prices, saying that probably they would stop doing them.
Dufour 40e
So I asked, lowering to what point? and asked him about the best possible bargain for a Dufour 40e performance. He talked to his boss in Paris, we talked about options and I was really surprised with the price he could make on that boat. As he understood that even so it was out of budget, he talked again on the phone and the final price was (if I remember correctly) something like 214 000 Euros (or 204 000?), including everything and delivered on the med. That was a very good price, specially if compared with the one from the Jeanneau 379. The Dufour 40e is a much better boat and with a lot more sailing equipment, much bigger too. He took out of the boat price more than 35 000 euros. If you are interested go for it. The same kind of discount (a huge one) can be made on the Dufour 45e, an awesome boat.

Ok, the price was great but a bit out of the budget so we went to Salona. They will have a new 38 not on this summer but on the next one and I was hopping that they could make a great price on the current 38. My friend sails on the Med, not in France so I asked to the guy from the factory for a direct deal, picking the boat at Marina Kastella, near the factory in Croatia and the results were quite surprising: 25% discount on the boat 50% discount on extras.

Probably you will only get this if you buy directly the boat from the factory and not through a dealer so don't even mention that to the dealer in your area. The result: A well equipped Salona 38 by almost the same price of the Varianta 37!!!! (135 000 euros without VAT).



The boat can be bought with a French leasing and the final price will be lower than the one of the boat with VAT. That's the one he bought. I have to say that in what regards size, quality of building, deck hardware, speed and seaworthiness the Salona is way better than the jeanneau 379 (that is a 36ft boat) and being able to buy one for about 30 000euros less than the Jeanneau is absolutely incredible and just gives credit for what I said: When buying keep an open approach and look for the great deals, that most of the time are not the boats they have on the boatshow (Salona had no boats on the boat show).

No, this are boats with the hulls from the last generation and that's why you can have good deals on them. Will they have a difference in performance regarding a new hull? Well, if everything was equal on the boats, yes a slightly one and probably an increased downwind performance but irrelevant in what regards cruising and I was saying if everything was the same. Like its is the Saloan 38 will blow completely away the Jeanneau 379 or the Dufour 382, new hull and all and the Dufour 40e will be even faster than the Salona.



Saturday, January 17, 2015

ARMEL ON FOILS ON THE NEXT VENDEE GLOBE



Lots of talk about the possibility of IMOCA using foils. I had posted about that here but now it is not just talk but real. The new Banque Populaire VIII, Armel's boat will be sailing on foils. The IMOCA class, now that the VOR  passed to one class boats, is the development center of offshore racing monohull. It has been so on the past and it continues to be on the present.


The idea is not using the foils to fly as one the America's cup catamarans but to create a lot of lift and take the boat more out of the water diminishing apparently its weight. As you can see on the movie they have been testing actively the system using a mini and Armel talks about 60% advantages versus 20% disadvantages. The design is from Verdier/VPLP and the boat will be on the water 2 or three months from now. They work fast in France. I am really impressed ;-)
Some interesting considerations by Armel and VPLP:

Armel Le Cléac’h:

We went for VPLP/ Verdier because of their skill and they were nearby, as we needed to be in touch all the time. Their boats perform well and have always evolved. Banque Populaire wanted to work with a French yard, French craftsmen so we went for CDK. Once again, we can take advantage of them being close to us. .. The designers showed us the new features for the hull on which they had been working. Work began on the mold a year ago or eight months after the start of the project.

The major innovation is the arrival of foils. The designers suggested these after the experiments in the America’s Cup and in sailing in general, where foils are becoming more and more common. The idea was to use these new technologies to take the weight off the hull at certain speeds and to allow acceleration. We did a lot of work with the research team and the designers, an the whole of the Banque Populaire team. This is a huge challenge, which initially was very theoretical. We decided to carry out experiments with the Team. We chartered Sébastien Picot’s Mini 6,50 N°198 on which we fitted three daggerboards, one traditional one and two with foils to carry out trials from July 2014 under the supervision of Bertrand Pacé, to find out more. It was fascinating. It was complicated to set up and adjust and after a lot of attempts, we had some surprises. We went for one of the two options suggested by the designers. We added the foils to the construction in December.

I wanted the cockpit to be protected and for the boat to be as dry as possible. These monohulls are usually very wet and you get the full force of the spray and waves. When sailing around the world, it is important to be able to carry out manoeuvres while protected by a sliding cover, with a helm that makes her easy to handle and that is well placed to offer good visibility. Spending a long time at the helm can make all the difference in spite of the efficiency of autopilots, as we saw in the final stretch of the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe.

Vincent Lauriot-Prévost:

When the keel is canted windward, the keel blade generates some lift for the boat and to act against the heel, we have the foils making up for the loss of power. We regain the power by generating vertical thrust. The boat is therefore in "air" mode more than the previous generations. It has to correspond to certain angles and forces that we often find in the Vendée Globe, and the result is a huge gain in speed of several knots. The boat will not be more powerful, but will appear to be lighter with a smaller wetted surface as she is raised up by these appendages...Rather than looking for a good all-round performer, we went for a boat that offers gains 60% of the time and slight losses 20% of the time.

Friday, January 16, 2015

FASTNET 1979 AND THE GRIMALKIN TRAGEDY

I had posted about it on the old thread but I saw the movie again (BBC) and decided that it has to be here. It is one of the best sailing movies ever. I will post also a very interesting movie with Nick Ward and the one that saved him form Grimalkin. Nick published a book with the story. Curiously the skipper's son and also part of the Grimalkin's crew, Mattew Sheahan (then with 17) is a prominent tester and Journalist for Yachting World Magazine. After a life racing sailboats he likes a lot what he calls the "Pogo factor" and has been responsible, among the rather conservative British nautical press, for a fresh  new look regarding cruising boats directed influenced by the racing solo racers.
What happened on Grimalkin was controversial: some took a liferaft when they thought the boat was sinking but leaved two behind and that's the reason of the book title:"Left for dead":  http://www.amazon.com/Left-Dead-Surviving-Deadliest-Sailing/dp/1596914556
Read also this interesting description of what happened:
http://www.flintoff.org/left-for-dead
"Sea Fever: For Those in Peril" - Fastnet Race Disaster, 1979 from Hidden Picture Productions on Vimeo.
And the Grimalkin...still races: