There is something that I have not seen commented regarding the ARC: Crisis or not, the boats are getting bigger and bigger and that’s a thing that you can see overall Europe and that is reflected on the Market.
Certainly you have noticed that I have been posting a lot about boats over 45ft. That is simply because there are a lot of bigger boats coming to the market and not so many smaller boats.
Regarding this ARC edition anything smaller than 45ft is a small boat and boats with 40ft or less, that once were the majority, are today a small minority.
Curiously if we look to the boats position on the map we will see that the faster boats are the bigger boats, 50ft or more, but regarding the mid/last boats there are not a direct relation between size and position. I guess that means that many of the smaller boats sailors are just better sailors or that on the big boats there are a percentage that has a big boat without to know how properly take advantage of it.
It has been mentioned in others threads and I think it is a reality that nowadays, for many, the first boat is a boat bigger then 40ft and that probably has to do with so many big boats going so slowly notwithstanding a much bigger tankage and a much bigger motoring autonomy (cruisers can and use the engine when there is not wind on this Transat).
So, let’s have a look at some of the boats smaller than 39ft and have a look at their performance:
The first two smaller boats are very different, one is a First 36.7, a well known performance cruiser with some years and the second one is a Southerly 38. This one comes as a surprise since it is not a performance cruiser but a small solid ballasted centerboarder offshore cruiser and a relatively heavy one.
To give an idea of the performance of these boats we have to just look at the boats that are nearby, behind or slightly ahead: Swan 45; Amel Maramu, Hanse 495; Open 60; GS 52, Jeanneau 57.
Those two are really making a great crossing and are certainly very well sailed. Substantially behind we will find four other “small” boats, not very far away between them, by this order:
Dufour 385, Dehler 36, Moody S38 and Hanse 325. These boats are surroumded by: Amel 54, Jeanneau 52.2, Lagoon 440, Hanse 461, Jeanneau 53, Oyster 53, Franccini 55, Oyster 54, Oceanis 45, Oyster 45, Amel 54, Northweind 60, Tayana 55, Malo 46, Jeanneau 54.
The Dufour 385 is a mass production cruiser and one not especially suited for bluewater cruising, the Dehler 36 is a good performance cruiser, the Moody 38 is an older boat, a good offshore cruiser and also an heavier boat, the Hanse 325 is a new Hanse, an inexpensive boat and one that most on this forum would say that is just a coastal boat without any offshore capability.
Well this year the ARC was one of the editions with stronger winds and worst seas, and there it is the little light cruiser, not properly sailing defensively
, surrounded by 50 and 60ft boats, doing a fast Transat without apparently any problem.
From those, let’s have a look at the two that are still in production, The Southerly 38 and the Hanse 325.
Let’s start with the Southerly:
The Southerly weights 9,921 kg with a fixed ballast (on the bottom of the boat) of 2100kg and a swing keel with 1702kg. It is also a beamy boat (3.99) with a powerful and modern hull (two rudders) that generates enough RM and stability to carry a large spinnaker (81sqm) and a substantial sail area upwind, for a 38ft cruiser (73sqm).
It is amazing how a boat with these characteristics can be on this position. It is only possible because this had been a particularly windy Transat but off course, also because the boat is very well sailed and it is a great design (Sthephen Jones). Long gone the days were Southerlies were typical English boats, Ugly, Slow and well built
This one is not only strong but also beautiful and relatively fast. I would say that this is the only major brand that I know of that manages to have an in house designed interior that besides being of quality is also well designed.
This is a boat that I like very much but inevitably an expensive boat. If you have the money and need a small boat with a reduced draft and offshore capability, this one is a very good option. It will make any owner proud