Originally Posted by PCP
I don’t understand how you get that impression. The boat tested was the one with the performance package, the racers version, with a bigger mast and more sail, a more nervous boat to maximize performance with a crew and even so:
Out of her element?... She certainly looks every bit the Italian performance cruiser. She has minimum wetted surface, a deep T-keel and a high ballast ratio to support a large sail area…but how she would cope in our less hospitable waters?
…The newspapers were saying that the UK was colder than Iceland with a force 5-6 blowing from the Northeast.
…Despite being what I consider to be a classic Med design, The GS 39 surprised me here by coping with these conditions admirably, pointing high, keeping good speed and most notably not slamming on the shop…provide a soft and comfortable ride through the waves.
..The close-hauled romp back into Southampton waters was enjoyable and spirited giving us the taste of the agility she promises in flat water, but once again, it paid to be quick with the sheets in a gust , as there is little warning of a rounding up.
The only negative comment he makes is about a too neutral steering and off course that is debatable. Like on a sports car if you have a very sensitive steering you have to watch out not spin the car but if you can handle it the pleasure, effectiveness and swiftness are all positive points. I guess that it is a boat that needs time to adapt too. Anyway that makes it a better racer.
Regarding what you say: "humbled at the Hamble"
They say exactly the opposite:
“Humbled off the Hamble”
. Yes I know the English just phrase things oddly
I have read several boat tests of this boat and all said very positive things about it. It would be odd if the British, never minding their more conservative stance, said otherwise.
It is worth to point out the excellent stability curve of this boat with an unusually huge positive stability and very small inverted stability. The AVS is in concordance with that: Almost 140º.
These are the quotes which set a warning tone for me:
"Unlike other recent Grand Soleil models, this boat had so far deprived me of that instant gratifying sensation on the wheel; it felt too neutral. With just the mainsail, we rounded up – not surprising without the balance of a jib
– but it then happened again, not once but numerous times during our trial with no warning from the rudder."
From the conclusion:
"The GS39’s high ballast ratio and tall rig
equals power. I know we were really putting her through her paces, but I’d like a bit more authority over that power personally, rather than the skinny foils Maletto designs for America’s Cup boats."
"It’s a trade-off those looking for a performance edge must get used to – like a tuned-up family sports saloon, the 39 has plenty of grunt, but if you turn traction control off, a spin out is more likely. So you need to helm on numbers, not feel – and there wasn’t any of either – to drive the test boat with her rig
set-up in the conditions we had. It must be remembered, though, that there were only three of us aboard to sail this brand new boat for the first time in 25 knots."
"But she failed to endear herself to me and seemed a bit stuck between fulfilling a racing and a cruising brief."
Don't get me wrong, I think it's an awesome machine, and a very desirable one, but this Hodges is clearly pointing character traits which to performamce cruisers, may also be seen as defects.
It's interesting that as readers, we got very different impressions. Hey, maybe we need an Englishman to settle! But to say the least, it validates that Toby Hodges and YW reviews are serious, objective, transparent, and if there are some real concerns to point out about a tested yacht, they will not compromise and say it like it is.