Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Yes the Med in the end of October can be quite nasty and about half of the editions of this race are prove of that. This year was a rough one even if the beautiful movies of the departure did not indicate that, but the Med can change on a  blink of an eye and that happened this year.

Waiting from the on boat movies, that this year will be certainly great, we have already some interesting news: There is a brand new A13 racing and is making a hell of a race covering 160Nm at the average speed of 18K!!!. There is also a Xp44 and two J122 making a great race. As usual on this race I bet that the class40 racers will be beaten by fast narrower performance cruisers: Definitively not at ease on the Med, the class40.

 The big fast racers had already arrived and as usual the fastest was the already old (and narrow) Maxi Esimit Europe that had finished in  d3 h10 m42 s5  followed two hours later by Ran and then Schockwave, the two mini maxi. They were the only ones that made it in less than 4 days.

Regarding the conditions this description by the skipper of a famous boat, the Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster is enlightening:   “We have two reefs in the main and the storm jib up, we saw 48 knots of wind and we have seen waves of over 20 feet. It is pretty tasty out here and we are most definitely concentrating on keeping everyone safe on board rather than boat speed. However, we surfed down a wave and it was too much for the rudder. It was a sickening sight as half of it appeared out of the back of the boat and for us the race is now over. Although Pantelleria is only a short distance away, we cannot steer towards the harbour there, so we are making are way towards Mazara del Vallo on the Sicilian coast and should be their tonight – absolutely gutted would be an understatement.”

Or this description by the skipper of the leading J122 (IRC 4): “The waves have been as high as 30 feet and the wind speed often gusting above 40 knots, it has been a really wild ride.” Commented Sebastian. “With the full main and jib top sail, we have been flying along. The game plan has been a mixture of pushing as hard as we can but also protecting the boat, so we have been taking it a bit easier in the big gusts of over 40 knots and then going for it when the wind speed drops a little.

All the way to Lampedusa we have been VMG running but when we turn the corner, Artie will be on a beam reach and we expect the waves to be crashing into the cockpit. Everybody will be on the rail, head down, hiking out for the final 100 miles. We expect to finish the race late this evening at around midnight.”

Some very nice pictures here that show the conditions out there:

and some movies of past editions that show how tough it can be:
After having made this post I have took knowledge that things were (are) a lot worse: Three sailboats had to be helped and one has abandoned with a broken mast. It is not clear if they were all racing. The Coastal Guard had issued a warning today at 13.00, talking about a  prohibitive conditions and a F8 that was going to increase inviting all participants to suspend the regatta and to enter on the nearest port. After that "invitation" several boats retired and some had to be helped to make it to port.

The situation is confuse but at least half of the 122 boats seem to have made it to port but probably many have retired and made it to port but probably there are still boats in trouble.

As I have been said, the Weather on the some Med areas is very difficult to predict and a F6/7 can become something frightening. I hope they all make it to safety.


I have posted here about most of the boats that are nominated for the the European boat of the year contest with some exceptions, boats that for a reason or other I don't like or that piss me because they could be great and become short for some reason.

That is the case of the OVNI 52 Evolution that has a great fast hull and screams for a deep swing keel with all the ballast on it, as a way of making it lighter, with more RM allowing the full exploration of that hull's speed potential. Instead it has an under-exploited hull and is a center-border as all the others on the market, with the ballast inside the boat.

The Southerly 535, abandoning the nice profile of their anterior boats assume the shape of a Oyster.
Even the denomination (535) is similar to the ones used on Oyster. The Southerly brand and style deserved better.

The Pointer 25 besides being inexpensive and relatively well designed has nothing special or innovative.

The same about the Wauquiez Centurion 57, except being cheap. Nothing new neither particularly attractive. The style is dated without being classic and only the running rigging is interesting.
The Moody 54DS I admit it is a personal thing: I was never able to like that mixture between a cat a motor sailer and a sailing boat. I know that it sails relatively well but I hate the looks, the big cabin and all the windage it will be responsible for and besides with all those vertical "windows" the boat should be incredibly hot on the Med and Caribbean where it is going to be used most of the time. I know that it has a powerful AC system (and a big generator) to solve that problem, but to me it seems  just wrong to do things that way.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Contrary to the magazines boat's of the year this contest is more relevant: It is not only the testers of a magazine that chose the boat but testers from 10 European leading sailing magazines (one for each country). All boats are tested on the water in two rounds, the last one after being selected the finalists on each category.

This year there will be two alterations: Multihulls will not be in a special class but competing with monohulls in the different classes and a  new class is introduced : Bluewater Boats. Regarding this last one, and taking into consideration the boats selected, it would seem to me more appropriated to call them Voyage Boats (that's the way the selected boats are called in Europe) but as the term is not used in the US, probably they went for a more dubious qualification. It would create some confusion since on the class of Luxury yachts there is also boats adapted to blue water sailing.

The Nominated boats:
Family cruiser: 
Dufour 310
Dufour 310

Bavaria Cruiser 46 
Dufour 310 GL
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349
Nautitech 40
 RM 890

Performance Cruiser:

Corsair Cruze 970
Dehler 46
Jeanneau SF 3600
JPK 1080

Luxury Cruiser:
Euphoria 54
Euphoria 54

Euphoria 54
 Italia 15.98
Moody 54DS
 Wauquiez Centurion 57

Special Yacht:

Advanced 44
 Astus 24
 Pogo 3
 Pointer 25
 Saffier SC 33

Blue Water Cruiser:
Boreal 52
Boreal 52

Boreal 52 
Rapier 550
Garcia Exploration 45
 Ovni 52 Evolution
 Southerly 535

The winners will be announced at the Dusseldorf boat show.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Well, not that bad, he only lost the boat...a beach cat with some alterations, but he will not give up. We will rebuild the little cat and will finish it. That's Ivan Bourgnon, not a quitter, a hell of a professional sailor with a long list of achievements :

 He had already made more than 2/3 of the circumnavigation and the more dificult part, the Atlantic, the Pacific and the more dificult part of the Indian....and then he slept just for 5 minutes, 5 minutes too long and the cat finishes on the beach. Damn!!!

All the story:

and the interview is even more impressive (in English): Learn how to survive big storms on a beach cat LOL!

The two previous posts about his voyage:


and I can only get two lousy photos :-( Somebody should fire the commercial director of Advanced yachts :-). The boat was presented on the Genoa boat show some weeks ago, more than time to have a photo release. 

One of the photos is this beautiful lounge interior, one that make the one from the Oceanis 38 to look poor and the other one is this view from the wheel station:My wife would love that: enough space to have some proper deck chairs while on anchor :-) But that is not what makes it sexy, just what makes wives liking this boat, what makes it sexy is the unashamed beauty of the hull, the low freeboard, the low cabin and the overall design that screams: SPEED and STYLE.

Yes, a speed dragster with a race boat performance with a cute and functional interior plus a comfortable deck (look at those seats) for the wive and guests, separated from the sailing area where the lucky husband will have all controls and winches at easy reach from the wheel.

Some would not like it but I am sure the boat has all the electronic, hydraulic and mechanical help that can be provided to a solo sailor, that means, lots of buttons, that will allow a couple or a solo sailor to tame and sail this beautiful beast comfortably.
As almost all modern top designs it is the work of a team: General concept from Advanced Yachts; NA from Biscontini Yacht design, the Structural Engineering from SP Gurit and the interior and exterior design by Nauta design. The boat is built in sandwich with fiberglass and carbon reinforcements under vacuum epoxy resin and reinforcements in high fatigue areas.

The technical characteristics are just awesome:
Overall Length: 13.46 m ;Waterline Length: 12.70 m; Max Beam: 4.25 m; Draft: 3.00 m Displacement: 7,100 kg (light); Ballast: 2,700 kg; SA: Main 74m2, Genoa (106%) 51m2, Gennaker178 m2.

4.25m of beam is not much for a 44fter (the Pogo 12.50 has 4.50m) but enough to give it a lot of form stability, specially given the shape of the transom, designed to control heeling and limit roll making sailing easier and more comfortable. The RM provided by the ballast is just huge: a 38% of D/B ratio on a sharp torpedo keel at 3.00m deep? That (and the hull stability) will provide an enormous stiffness and power to this sailboat and allows a big sail area: 125m2 upwind for 7100kg of weight, that is racing boat territory.
Well, if the lottery comes my way I would want a swing keel on that boat (a lifting keel would be better but probably would spoil the interior or maybe not since I only need it to go 0.70cm up) but that's just a detail, nothing that money would not buy or that design team would not be able to solve.

What a sailing boat!!!:-)

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Plenty of interesting stuff on magazines on the last months. This time is Yachting world with this interesting test. Pity they had not joined the Oceanis 38 to the group, it was certainly not because they don't wanted but probably they were not able to find a boat.
Like on the previous comparative we are only looking here at how the boats sail. To see what they offer in terms of interior space comfort and storage you have just to go to a boat show and take your own conclusions. I am pretty sure they will all be at the Dusseldorf boat show.

The results were pretty much what I expected but I bet they would surprise more than one and even more if the Oceanis 38 were part of the group.  They were clear: the best sailing boat (in what regards sailing) was the Varianta 37, the fastest and more enjoyable. 

Regarding the Oceanis 38 even if it was not here, on the last year's group test from Voile Magazine (for choosing the 2014 boat of the year) the Varianta 37 was way faster then the Oceanis 38 on light to medium winds (probably the Oceanis 38 will be faster in strong winds, downwind and slower upwind on those conditions).

The full test by Yachting World magazine (September) is very interesting and you can download the magazine on Zinio. The relevant parts regarding boat speed and the way the boats sail are these:
"What immediately set the test boats apart was the difference in speed and pointing ability of the Varianta, particularly against the Bavaria. She smoked the other two yachts upwind despite having a fixed prop..the Varianta soon won all tests on the water. With a F5 going over the Solent she behaved obediently and tacked sharply...A large wheel...provides light direct steering and excellent feeling at the helm. She is nimble, quick and a real pleasure to sail for just sailing's sake.

In terms of performance the Jeanneau was not far from the Varianta - specially considering that she was fully laden with cruising gear. ..We felt most comfortable sailing with the breeze up...upwind..the self tacking jib and good distribution of buoyancy in the hull helped to make the  379 the most nimble and balanced to sail. But with the modest sail plan the Jeanneau strugle until the wind rose above 8/10K.

It was evident in all points of sail that performance was not the Bavaria's strong point... Aboard the Bavaria i failed to get any sense of the helming pleasure the two other yachts had offered. She felt comparatively sluggish and proved difficult to keep on track or find a grove and routed up into the wind too easily. In a group that is close on the paper, we where surprised by the gulf between the three yachts in speed and handling."

Contrary to the impressions regarding the interior, where different sailors will have difference needs and different tastes, the part regarding sailing ability is the part of the test that is objective even if some points slightly blurred, for instance when it is made the assumption that the Jeanneau is not far in performances regarding the Varianta "considering that it is fully laden with cruising gear" but forgetting that the Varianta had a fixed prop while the Jeanneau had a foldable prop.

 That in my experience can give up in speed half a knot to almost a knot, depending on the conditions, probably at least as much as the Jeanneau would lose with being laden with cruising gear. That would made the last sentence more meaningful, regarding the gulf between the three yachts and not among two of them regarding the Bavaria.

I have no doubt that if the Oceanis 38 was part of the group the results would not be that different: Probably a bit better than the Jeanneau in strong winds downwind but worse close to the wind.That makes me wonder why the Varianta, costing almost half than the Jeanneau is not a big sales success and I can only assume that the way a sailboat sails is not as important to most cruisers as the quality or the interior or even the look of the boat.

Personally I like the way the Varianta looks, particularly sailing but the design does not look (and it is not) new, the boat has only on steering wheel  but the way it sails shows that what is older on the design are the looks, not its efficiency: The Varianta hull is the old Hanse 370 one but the keel is the one from the new Dehler 38, a torpedo high efficiency one.

The price of the three tested boats (with the extra equipment they had): Bavaria 37 - 170 267€; Jeanneau SO 379 (swing keel) - 230 626€ ; Varianta 37 - 133 979€

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Remember this?

I find this adventure crazy but only a great sailor with a steel determination would be able to do it. Particularly the voyage from France to the United States was particularly stressing: 87 days, alone in his tiny 16ft boat made of a vulcanic composite, passing hunger and with problems on the autopilot!!!

 Compared to that the return, from the US to France was much easier, "just"46 days and 21 hours.  Harald Sedlacek passed about 134 days alone at sea on a tiny and incredibly uncomfortable boat...just to promote the brand Fipofix (vulcanic composite for boatbuilding) in the hope that Fipofix will build for him an Open 60 for the next Vendee Globe. I really hope they can do it because if someone deserves a boat for that race is this guy, even if it will have to learn how to sail it first :-). 

Certainly it will not be has hard as this made adventure. The 90 days of a Vendee Globe, on a big "comfortable" racer will be much easier than these 134 days on that minuscule boat and certainly a lot more fun!!!