Well, I guess Paulo is enjoying outfitting and sailing his new sled. Updates and pics please!
Well,I have been to occupied to post (Cres on the background)
But while I am at anchor waiting for the night wind (they give winds up to 60K on the North Adriatic) let me give you Guys some more impressions about the Comet 41 now that I have sailed it for some days.
First let me point out that given to my cruising style I am not one of those that sail with a light boat. Well, not either one of those that sail with a lot of stuff. Let me clarify this because I think it is important:
I have now a lot of time and I am cruising extensively in an area where a day at a marina costs over 100 euros for a 41ft boat so I want to stay out of Marinas. In fact since I started sailing ( 12 days ago ) I did not visit any and I still have a bit little less than half water tank (400L full), also because I have a salt water tap.
Of course this implies to have a lot of provisions aboard (not always is easy to find a place with a supermarket near and carrying large loads, even with a small shopping trolley is not a piece of cake. To give you an idea I left San Giorgio with 90L of bottled water, 10L of Beer and 10L of wine. You can imagine the rest of the groceries, tins, preserves and fruits. So, normal stuff for a cruiser that wants to stay out of Marinas (I am at Mali Losinj today, the first Marina in 17 days).
Regarding mods on the boat, besides a new 20 Kg Spade (that is being very useful right now) I only improved the electrical system and Batteries.
Expensive stuff but I can say right now that it was very well spent money. Basically I changed the existent calcium Batteries for Mastervolt AGM increasing the capacity of the in house bank from 300 to 375 Ah, changed the alternator (60 A) for one with 120A. Also mounted a Mastervolt controller and a Mastervolt battery mate. I am very satisfied with the set-up. Basically I go out of port or shelter on engine, let it run 20m and when arriving where I want to stay take the sails a bit earlier and motor another 20m and that is enough for the day. I have to say that I have leds all over the boat and that even so I use a lot portable solar lamps (IKEA). Most of the consumption is due to the refrigerator.
So about sailing: First of all let me tell you that I am not a great sailor, I mean I learned to sail alone (still learning) and when I pick a new boat, that is a powerful boat I want to learn the boat slowly and not go full blast right away. I sail alone with my wife that is more a cook than a sailor and that scares easily…and the last thing I want is to scare her especially now that she is making an effort to learn something about sailing.
First days the wind was weak and I could find out that the boat (as I expected) satisfied my needs. I am sailing with a main and a small 100% genoa (I have on the boat a 135%), good Mylar sails, and even so I can sail with 4/5K wind and with 7/8K the boat sails around and over 7K, loaded and all. That was just one of the main things I wanted from a sailboat and it is right on the spot.
Regarding max speed, it is easy to go over 8K and near 9. I have not reached yet 9k. I guess the weight has more importance when going over hull speed and also as I said, I don’t want to scare my wife. But speed is not only main speed and on the only two occasions I had “competition” while sailing the boat behaved properly. On the first, close on the wind I left fast behind a Bavaria 46 (44?) that in some hours was just a tiny speck on the horizon and on the second one I could hold ground to a light trimaran Corsair 27. True, he finished ahead but barely 200m, on a 15Nm leg it is not much. The wind was about 10K true. I could go closer to the wind and If it was always like that I would have come clearly ahead, but after turning a cape it was full blast all the way (90ºwind) and he could go a bit faster (I was doing 8.5K).
After that I had a nice day with downwind sailing with not too much wind. The boat glide effortlessly between 6.5 and 8.7 leaving all the other sailboats behind including an Hanse 400 that was motorsailing.
All nice in what regards sailing? Well no. The first time I had to reef I found out that the previous owner had the reefing points all wrong and the best I could have was a baggy main. Even so the boat was going well (7.5K) but I am sure it can be a lot better. I have remade all the reefing and put a third one. I have tried the first and the second one and the shape of the sail is just nice so next time I need them things will go a lot better.
The traveler is just beautiful to handle but the winches to control the mainsail (German sheeting) are just too ahead to be comfortable to handle them from the steering wheel, at least without going over it (it is a big one) to the other side,. As a plus one of the winches is an electrical one and makes a fast regulation a breeze, but again the commands are away from the wheel. I have a remote control for them but I had not time to play with it.
When hard pressed and near the limit the boat gives plenty of warning. It is funny because the steering seems lost but then if you pull hard the wheel you regain full control again. It is so easy that I did not yet broach the boat. But with all that sail with gusty wind you have to reef or have someone at the main to let go and catch again. Well, North Crostia is the place for gusting wind /I never saw anything like that, the normal situation is an average wind with gusts twice that wind) The traveler is just not enough. I guess I have to learn how to steer the boat on the inside side of the wheel to be able to do all by myself.
Comparing with the Salona 41 that I sailed last year I would say this one is a bit stiffer ( the guys from Salona can put more ballast on the boat if you want) but the sensations are very similar.
Unfortunately the comparisons with the Salona go sour in what regards the engine. The Salona has a Yanmar 54hp that had plenty grunt and power. The boat could make 8K, the fast cruising speed was 7K and at 2000RPM the boat was making over 6K. On this one, a Lombardini with 40hp, at 2000Rpm the boat is making 4.5K, to get to 5.5K you have to go to 2400RPM and at max power the boat barely goes over 6K. That’s really the weak point on this boat. I don’t know if that has to do something with the propeller (a folding max prop) but certainly has to do with the power. Those extra 14hp make a huge difference.
Next year I will try to have the money to mount a Burton’s autoprop to see if I can at least have some more speed at 2000rpm, but I am sure that will be only an improvement not a cure.
Continuing that comparison with the Salona, I would say that all around this is a better quality boat (it is also more expensive) but I would say that in many aspects that will from Salona to learn with their clients and improve continually the boats gives fruits that lack on this boat. This boat has a very nice interior with quality all around but then it has also many little stupid details that should have been modified with the boat production. Some examples:
You cannot jump the outside “door” when it is closed. If you had bad weather and had it closed you would have to take half of it away to pass to the interior. The lock is so odd that my wife finds it difficult to open it from the interior. The boat doesn’t have any handlebars on the outside and on the interior it lacks a decent sea berth. It has the space for it but is just badly designed. The saloon table is a nice fixed one, but it prevents (even to my wife that is small) a decent access to the interior places. It would not be expensive to design a system to permit sliding the table one way or another to gain an easy access to the interior places.
These are just some examples I could give a lot more. But of course this is a semi custom boat so if you buy it new you can order a lot of changes if you really know what you want.
On the positive side the interior is just nice and cosy and the boat offers a better storage space, a very good weight distribution and also a bigger black water deposit.
Well, just the first impressions. I will post more about it when I know the boat better. Overall my wife and me are very satisfied with what we’ve got.
Best regards to all,