This one is for you W
Hi! Now you really got me going! I´ve seen the old Barracuda, but actually not the new one! This is something that could actually fit my needs.
To me, both the old and the new Barracuda has a lot in common with the Seaon 96 that I owned. You can actually spot a yellow Seaon in one of the videos. It´s really difficult though to know much about the boat just by looking at the pictures, like interior volume, etc. Hopefully the new one isn´t to small for me inside!
Here are some observations based on my previuos experiences that might apply to these boats as well:
The concept of a light boat gives some great advantages (and some disadvantages!). Handling becomes much easier because you don´t have to carry a huge amount of sail area to attain high speeds. I´d say this boat (the new design Barracuda) will certainly be perfectly fine with an upwind sail area of just 70sqm. I would prefer a larger fore triangle to be able to carry a larger self tacking jib (maybe 25sqm instead of 18sqm as specified) and instead carry a smaller head sail (maybe 45sqm instead of 53 as specified). Self tackers are a godsend when cruising with the family!
My Seaon (around 1600kg) had an 18 sqm self tacking jib, which was a bit small for upwind sailing in light winds, and a 43sqm mainsail. Very easy to handle, but still overall a fast boat. Now, let´s look at the Dragonfly 32. It has overlapping jib (30sqm) and large mainsail (57 or 58sqm, which is a lot to handle!). Almost 90sqm upwind. But the DF 32 is a heavy boat with almost 3500kg, still quite fast though. You really need a winch for that mainsail! If I would buy a DF 32, I would still opt for a self tacker, even though it will be a bit slow in light winds.
One must also remember that a rotating wing sectioned mast (used on Seaon and Barracuda) allows you to use the full area of the mainsail plus adds 3-4 sqm to that. The DF 32 has a rotating round tube section mast that I think prevents you from making use of the foremost 20 cm or so close to the mast. (This is my understanding of this, please correct me if I´m wrong, I´m no engineer!). This means that a main sail area of 53 sqm as specified for the new Barracuda is a lot!
Because of the light build of the Seaon, the feeling I got was never very convincing. I was affraid that things would crack (which they did!), and the interior was not cosy at all! It felt like sitting in a thin shell (which was pretty much what it was!) while inside. Now, the Dragonfly... that´s another story!
Feels like driving an Audi RS6!
It would be nice to see the new Barracuda, and I really hope they will build it and that the finish and build quality is sufficient for me. I would really appreciate a ligher boat than the Dragonfly. Hopefully it won´t end up the same way as a lot of other nice boat designs that never leave the drawing table... I know he has been trying to sell the old boat for a while, but it seems difficult to close a deal. Probably won´t be any new boat before the old one is sold, so maybe I´ll go for the Dragonfly anyway
Edit: I also wanted to share with you something quoted from a test sail of the old Barracuda, from the danish boat magazine "Bådmagasinet":
"The initial acceleration was ok, but it got wilder and wilder. 14-16 knots and we hadn´t even fully trimmed the sails. (...) I steered almost completely downwind while we hoisted the gennaker on the bow pole. The speed is under 10 knots. The gennaker catches some wind and speed increases to 11 knots. "You can steer closer to the wind" shouts Jan (Skov Andersen), and I slowly luff while Christian sheets in the large sail. In the beginning, nothing happens, but suddenly we take off and the boat swishes through the water in a completely wild acceleration. So wild that I bear away again, and the speed drops. "What´s the matter, man? Can´t you sail properly?! Luff again!", says Jan. And the speed miracle appears again, as soon as I steer a bit closer to the wind. "Luff more!", they shout. And when I do, something happens that makes the joy of sailing overcome my fear. We are sailing with water spraying around the lee hull, making 20, 22 and finally 25 knots. The steering is very precise, and I really must say I´m in total control of the boat. But in the same moment I notice that the main hull, which I´m on, flies around 1 metre over the water surface. This is completely amazing."
This is multihull sailing!