Melrna, nice to have your company while looking at the Rally. Yes that was a good night and I wish I was there
The British Girls on the Elan 37 had a great night and almost closed on the back of the pack. Knowing that they had started with more than a 100Nm handicap, that's a dam good performance even better if we consider that they have one of the smallest boats in the Rally.
Great also for the Portuguese Jeanneau 49 that left behind that XC45 and also a great night for the guys on French X-40 and on the British First 40 Lancelot II. Their position at the head of the race among big boats confirm the big offshore potential of the First 40 (and X-40) that I had already noticed on the Sydney-Hobart. Of course they are also great sailors for sure. Another First, a British 40.7 are also making good speed, as a British Dufour 45e and a Oceanis 50.
Even if my major interest lays on affordable mass production boats there are also some medium height boats doing a great race: A Duch Standfast 56, two British Swan 46mk II,a Spanich Swan 56, a Norse Sweden 45 a and a Xc 45.
If we take a look at the brands that are doing better, I would say Jeanneau is doing great. Besides the Portuguese one has another 49, Kotari, a British one making a hell of a race as one, another British49DS (Buterfly) and also a Canadian Sunfast 43. There are also some 53DS doing well.
Among the older boats, Swan are the most impressive.
But the ones that impresses me more are recent X-yacht boats. The total number of X-Yachts produced is tiny if compared with Jeanneau, not to mention Benetau, Dufour or Bavaria but their number on this rally is disproportional high and almost all if not all the boats are doing very well:
I had already talked about the Xc 45 and about the incredible good performance of a French X-40 and a small Italian x-362. To them we can join the Norse X-43 Exqui and some bigger boats that are also doing extremely well. Look at the two X-55, one Turkish, the other Canadian, a Spanish 46 and a Dutch X-612.
Dam good boats the X-Yachts in my opinion. Great cruising interiors even on the performance line, fast, strong and seaworthy boats.
Let's have a look at some videos and some information about X-Yachts:
They have three lines of boats: Racing, performance cruising and cruising.
The Xc-45 belongs to the the line of cruising boats, boats that have similar characteristics with the Halberg-Rassy , I mean the more modern HR, but X-yacht have a technical superior build and I am talking about the hull, not about interiors.
All the others belong to the line of X-Yacht performance cruisers, also vulgarly called cruiser/racers, but this ones, contrary to many boats in that category are very good cruising boats with a great interior.
The X-55 was 2007 European boat of the year and even if I cannot find any decent movie, the interior and boat characteristics can be seen here. Look at that interior: This is not a race boat, but as they say, a performance cruiser.
I have already talked here about Faurby yachts that are beautiful and very traditional sailboat, one of the last narrow cruising sailboats.
They are modernizing the boats and they have done that without taking away its character. They are faster but they look even better. take a look at the 396:
I have already been inside of several Faurby and has it was to be expected its interior space is not as big as on more "normal" 40ft but the boat is so nice and so cozy that somewhat that seems not matter. See if you understand what I mean:
They say that each Faurby is different and made with the same care of an art work and it is true that the quality and finish are among the best I know, better than HR for sure but it will cost a lot more than a mass market 40ft and if that space can be enough for a couple, for a family with kids a boat like the Jeanneau 409 offers a lot more. Take a look at some 360º photos, that you cannot find on Jeanneau site, and compare:
A dam good job in what regards showing the boat interior. I don't understand why Jeanneau had not bought that and put it on their website
Regarding boat performance, only few guys would prefer the one from the Faurby. There is probably one point of sail here the Faurby is better and that is really close to the wind. The chances are that the Faurby points a bit better and having less wave drag will be faster and more comfortable in what regards sea motion (less slam). Of course, we would have to discount to that comfort the fact that the Faurby will sail most of the time much more heeled than the 409, particularly upwind, close to the wind.
With lots of wind downwind, going fast, the 409 will be more easy to control and probably a bit faster.
All this put together explains why modern cruising boats are much more nearer in concept to the Jeanneau than to the Faurby. Only some performance cruisers, like the First, Salona, Jboats or Gtand Soleil go for an intermediate solution, in what regards beam.
Erik Stromberg, the American that was responsible by the Jeanneau 409 development explains here the main design criteria of the boat:
I had the pleasure to have a talk with EriK when I was undecided between this boat and a more sportive Salona and I was surprised with the level of knowledge, with the modesty and honesty that he revealed.
Of course, at the time I did not know he was an important guy on the Jeanneau development. The dealer unable to answer to my kind of technical questions went for help and brought Erik to talk with me. I believe that the very well designed line of modern Jeanneaus, including in what regards sailing, has a lot to do with him. On that chat I have understood that Erik is not the typical manager but is also a good sailor with a lot of experience, that he tests the boats and that he works directly with the boat designers on the boat development.
Just to give you an idea, from the talk I understood that when the model is new Erik does delivery trips as a Skipper with the new jeanneau. I guess that it is not only for the pleasure of sailing but also to see what can be bettered on the boat. Not a typical boat manager for sure. I was very impressed with him.
Take a look again at the Faurby 396 and to its sailing performance. Notice heeling.
Really fast sailboats, the ones that are most used for racing but that can be still used for cruising have kind of a spartan interior. Regarding the hull they have normally less beam than the Jeanneau 409 and more than the Faurby, with the exception of those that are made for solo sailing on trade winds, like the a 40class boat or a class 950.
But not all. As an example of a very fast narrow boat (like the Faurby) we can chose the J111, even if this one is only a 37ft.
Has I have already said, the J 111 was elected the boat of the year by the readers of the French Magazine Voile, and this is not a sail racing magazine, but a sail generic magazine with a big incidence in cruising. Why they found this boat incredibly good? Not mainly by its interior for sure, but by the way it sails, upwind and downwind. I guess that the interior also had scored points: it is not bad for a very fast boat and will permit cruising. Have a look:
Fast but also sailing with a lot of heel and requiring a good hand on a wheel an a good weigh distribution to sail very fast downwind.
Other very fast boats like the Ker tend to have about the same length to beam ratio as the more recent Salonas (more beam than the J111) and are as fast as the J111 but a bit more stable and easy to sail downwind. Here the Ker 11.3 (the new 11.5 has a bit more beam):
But of course this is really a race boat with an interior more spartan than the J111, the correspondent boat would be the ker 37 but I cannot find any decent movie of that one. The hull in what regards length to beam ratio is not very different.
Anyway you get my drift, faster all around boats have normally more length to beam ratio (less beam) than the Jeanneau and less than the Faurby. Jason ker had made an interesting comment regarding beam and speed on modern race boats and he knows of what he is talking about:
"With roughly the same LOA and DSPL, the Ker 11.5 hullform differs in being considerably more powerful through having more beam and draft. Ker explains that the adoption of this more powerful hull is possible because the more modern hullform exhibits significantly reduced
wave drag, which compensates for the greater frictional (wetted surface) drag; his own CFD and VPP studies show the Ker 11.5 and the Ker 11.3 (with the same sail plan) producing similar corrected-time performance in the light (6kt) wind range.
Ker believes that while adding sail area will always make a boat more competitive in very light winds."
On a next post we will look at cruising boats that sail faster than the Jeanneau or the Faurby but that are slower than the Ker or the J 111. They are normally less beamy than the Jeanneau and have about the same length to ratio of a Ker but will be considerably slower than those boats mainly because they are heavier and the hull design is different normally with more rocker.
So we have talked about modern cruisers given the Jeanneau 409 as an example, about more racing oriented boats that can be used to do some spartan cruising like the J111, the Ker 37 or the Santa Cruz 37, let's talk now of what are called performance cruisers, boats that are more oriented to cruising but that can be used to club racing or if specially prepared can even have a good performance at semi-amateur racing.
The ones that normally have slower older boats like to call this boats "racing boats". That makes not sense because these boats are designed firstly to cruise and then to have good performance. They are more sportive than the cruisers like jeanneau. Comparing to cars it is a bit like calling a Corvette, or better, a Porche Panamera (because it can carry a family) a racing car. Makes no sense. those cars, like this type of cruising boats, have all the amenities that make cruising a pleasure and that are stripped out, for weight, on a racing car or in a racing boat.
That "preparation" is many time supplied by the shipyard that can make the hull lighter and stronger, different bulkheads, lighter interior, carbon mast, special keels and so on. The price of a really competitive oriented racing one and a more inexpensive cruising version can be very substantial but at least on these boats you have a hull designed for sailing fast and have the choice to make your own boat, buying from the options the ones that seemed more important to you, like for example a stronger lighter and osmosis proof all vinilister/epoxy hull, a lead keel and so on.
Normally these boats are narrower than the Jeanneau and have a superior B/D ratio. They are faster than the Jeanneau but slower than the previous racing boats. As I have said before they are slower because they are heavier, not only on account of all extra weight a cruising interior will add but because they are normally made with less hi-grade materials than the true racing boats and the reason is price. Look at the price of a Santa Cruz 37, a Ker 37 or a J111. They are much more expensive than a First or a Salona.
The cruising amenities and comfort of these boat's interiors vary from model to model and are normally a bit less spacious than less sportive cruisers like the Jeanneau 409 (they have a narrower hull) and normally for having the same space of a smaller cruising boat you have to have a slighter bigger boat. The difference is not so substantial like the one between the Faurby and the Jeanneau, but there is a difference.
Take a look for instance to the interiors of the Salona 41 and the First 40 and compare it with the one from Jeanneau and the one from Faurby:
In what regards sailing these boats make a difference mainly in what regards sailing in light wind or in heavy weather with waves. With waves the much superior wave drag of the jeanneau will make it slower much more at each wave. They have also a more comfortable motion upwind and will be more faster downwind because they are lighter but I doubt they will be easier to sail and as stable downwind.
The main difference besides speed will be on the pleasure of sailing: the feeling of having a boat with a very precise steering, a boat that will accelerate with each puff of wind, a smooth and fast boat, giving that idea of perfection, the absolute opposite of an indifferent boat that will make only less 0,5K but that you would leave on autopilot because there is no fun in sailing it.
Some of these kind of boats:
Next we will see if the Jeanneau 409 is after all a beamy boat among its pairs and also a special reference to performance cruisers that have is hull shape derived from solo Ocean racers.
Meanwhile lets have a look at the ARC rally and to the boats that are doing good. All that have been refereed before are going well, let's today make a reference to some that are also going fast and that I had not talked about, but let me first talk about Vaquita, the Austrian class 40 Aquilaria:
This is Vaquita, a fast cow even with very weak winds. It is amazing how the boat has been able to go at the same pace as the two Maxi racers on the Rally. Vaquita has 40ft, the Maxis about 80ft.
Another class 40, a Pogo is also going strong even if not so well but well ahead of any other 40ft boat, including a well crewed First 40. This confirms that type of boat is practically unbeatable on the kind of sailing he was designed for, the trade winds with short crew. The First 40 can beat a class 40 on a mixed wind race here is not a match.
Regarding cats what we see is that fat cats like the Lagoon are not faster than fast monohull cruisers of the same size, not even on the trade winds were they sail better. If there was some upwind sailing they would not be a match for a good monohull sailboat of the same size.
However less fat multihulls are doing very well. I have already talked about the two that are going faster on the head of the Rally, let me talk about some other production cats that are going very fast.
The mote impressive is a Greek Outremer 49 that It is wrongly marked on the tracker as a monohull. A great Cat that has a justified reputation as an offshore fast boat and that is showing that here.
In a bad year, with many lives lost of sea, storm after storm, Sven is arriving where he had planned, at Martinique on the French Caribbean after 50 days of sailing.
With all this bad weather over the Atlantic, that lead to the postponement of several races, I was worried with its fate.
Well, I am very eager to hear him telling about this voyage. What a story, what a feat!
In a age where many are entering to retirement houses for old people this guy just made a boat with its hands and crossed the Atlantic in it!
Guys like this one make us all good, specially to the ones that are already "very experienced", I mean that are not young anymore. After having saw this I just fell that I have many years of sailing ahead, many more than what I thought before this achievement .
From those the fastest is a X 362 (1838 nm to finish) the X 362 is a performance cruiser with some years but still a fast sailboat. It is followed closely by a Dufour 385 that is also a some years old boat and not one from the Dufour performance line. A very good performance for both boats an their crews.
The next small boat is a Sweden 38, very near a Hanse 370 a Sigma 33 and a Sweden 36 (at 1904nm from the finish). Dam good boats the Sweden, also a good performance by the Hanse and a very good from the little Sigma, a performance boat from the 70's that shows that is still fast and seaworthy.
52 nm back we will find another performance boat from the 70's, a Okso 33 and more 24nm back another one, this time the Hero 101 a 3/4 tonner. Not much money needed to have a relatively fast and seaworthy boat. Very nice performance for this oldies, almost classic boats.
Near the Okso (1949 mn to finish) an amazing OVNI 36ft. And I say amazing because this is a 36ft aluminum centerboarder, an heavier boat designed not to be fast but to be strong. a Voyage boat. The very good performance of these boats on the trade winds and its robustness explains why the OVNI are the French preferred voyage boat (there are also an OVNI 445 going fast).
Between the two last oldies, at 19nm from the OVNI a Halberg Rassy 37 and near by a very badly sailed Pogo 10.50. Not far a HR 36 (1984nm to the finish).
There is also the girl's boat, an Elan 37, but they have started more than half a day later so we cannot compare. They are now 82nm back from the HR 36.