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2014 ANNAPOLIS TEST SAILS: Garcia Exploration 45, Seascape 27

Sun, 2014-10-19 21:41

Day two of this year’s test-sailing program looked to be a bit snotty weather-wise, with the forecast early on showing wind gusting to 30 knots, rain, and a good chance of thunderstorms. Great conditions, in other words, for trying out the new Garcia Exploration 45. As things turned out, the weather was actually a bit more moderate than that, but we still enjoyed sporty conditions out on Chesapeake Bay during our first test sail, with the wind blowing about 20 knots true.

We sailed the whole test with two reefs in the Garcia’s mainsail and tried out both working headsails. I was little surprised to learn the boat doesn’t have a true cutter rig. You can either sail with just the staysail rolled out (as in the photo up top), or with just the jib out, but not with both. Strictly speaking, I guess that makes it a “solent rig.” You can also fly a bigger Code-Zero-type headsail on a continuous-line furler, or an A-sail in a sock or on a furler, from the very beefy bowsprit.

One nice heavy-weather feature on this boat is the super-strong heavily insulated companionway hatch/door that can be dogged down tight for maximum security. Right here is the part of the test where Brad Baker and Pete McGonagle of Swiftsure Yachts closed me in down below so I could experience how quiet the interior is when things are boisterous outside. And yes! It was very peaceful in there

That’s Zuzana Prochazka on the helm and my compatriot from SAIL, Adam Cort, cowering in the shelter of the hard dodger. With her twin rudders, the boat has a very easy helm. Very soft, but still accurate. I guess you’d have to pretty much put the mast in the water to load it up much. One issue for Zuzana, however, was that she could not see over the tall coachroof when standing behind the wheel. She had to steer sitting out to one side or the other to get a clear view forward. Even for me, at over six feet, dodging small obstructions like crab pots was hard when steering from the cockpit

This is where you want to be when dodging lots of pots, or when it’s pouring rain out, as happened at the end of our sail. From the forward-facing nav desk at the front of the deck saloon you have a nice clear view ahead and can both steer and control the engine. One thing I noticed was that the nav seat was the only comfortable place to sit in the saloon when our test boat was heeled on starboard tack. Subsequent boats will have a strong backrest on the bench seat on the port side of the table to ameliorate this

Here’s the bulletproof companionway as seen from the other side. The overhead sliding hatch in the coachroof is a nice feature when it’s real stinky out. Our test boat also had a frame for a canvas dodger that can be raised to increase shelter in this area. Note too the strong integral handholds and tether attachment points

With the full jib and double-reefed main we hit speeds over 7 knots no problem and were very comfortable doing it. The boat has a smooth easy motion, which I have noticed is usually true of integral centerboard boats like this. My theory is this is because you are closer to the ballast, which is up in the hull in the bilges rather than many feet underwater at the end of a keel. I particularly liked that the side-decks are very secure. With lots of handholds on the high coachroof, moving forward while underway was a piece of cake

I was a little worried about my second test of the day, aboard the Seascape 27, a sliver of a sportboat that looked to be something of a handful in strong wind. My Slovenian hosts, however, were downright enthusiastic about our prospects, and the weather, in any event, actually moderated a bit after the big rain squall that went through during the end of my outing on the Garcia. By the time I got out on the Seascape, the true wind was blowing just 13-15 knots, though the seas were still a bit lumpy.

Here we are skating along at an easy 7-9 knots. I found the boat has a great helm–smooth, not at all quirky, and very accurate, which made it easy for me to scull the boat through the 4- to 5-foot seas

This is the reacher, as my friends called it, flying from the retractable carbon sprit up forward. It has a big positive luff and you can’t get too close to the wind with it. During the boat’s first test of the day, back when it was blowing 20 in the morning, boatspeed reportedly hit 15 knots under this sail

Later we switched to this big asymmetric spinnaker, which had stayed in the bag during the morning outing. We made 9-10 knots running off on a broad reach under this puppy

Heading back to the barn under power. The hideaway outboard well in the middle of the cockpit worked great in practice. The boat’s construction is not at all radical–just fiberglass vacuumed over a foam core, with some carbon in the center structure that carries the mast and keel loads. Plus the rig is carbon. Base price is just $70K

And here’s the trailer she rode in on. The boat has a swing keel, so can be easily hauled off to the nearest regatta. Full price with sails, electronics, and the trailer is about $120K

If you want to read more detailed write-ups on both these boats, keep an orb glued to future issues of SAIL. Meanwhile, I’m switching into offshore-passage mode and will soon start sailing Lunacy south for the winter, so if you want to read about that, keep the other orb glued right here.

Scrapping in La Rochelle

Sun, 2014-10-19 18:51

By Kimball Livingston Posted October 19, 2014 – Lead photo by Icarus Sailing Media

Halfway through, the 2014 Student Yachting World Cup belongs to England to lose. Accounting for a discard race apiece, Ireland and Italy on Sunday edged the USA into fourth, and that is the group that appears to be headed toward a battle for podium finishes.

Racing continues at La Rochelle, France in a fleet of 12 matched keelboats. The breeze has been light to killing light so far. But that may change.

Representing the USA for the second time is the California Maritime Academy, qualified off its win at the Kennedy Cup in Annapolis. Before the team left for La Rochelle, I had some time with Cal Maritime skipper Dillon Lancaster, who recalled that he was—

“A freshman the first time Cal Maritime went to the World Cup. That team set the bar high for us, and we’ve been looking for a repeat since.”

In addition to the win at the Kennedy Cup, the Keelhaulers pulled of a four-peat last March at the Harbor Cup in Los Angeles, so something’s working.

“We had a strong crop of freshmen that came in together,” Lancaster said. “We’ve kept pretty much the same team together to the point that we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and we can read each other’s minds. This year, we won pretty much every keelboat event we went to.”

As a team, they also finished second at the Kennedy Cup in their sophomore and junior years, so barely missed making this journey before.

But Cal Maritime is unique in the California State University system, with only 1100 students and an engineering-centric curriculum that is much more experience-oriented than its sister schools. In job placement and early earnings statistics, it’s a clear winner, but experience-oriented has its issues too.

“We ship out on the Golden Bear—this isn’t a normal school—and it’s hard to keep a consistent practice schedule.”

Cal Maritime explains it this way: Each summer, cadets in their first and third years depart with licensed faculty officers for two months during the Annual Training Cruise. During these periods at sea, intellectual learning, applied technology, and leadership development blend daily as cadets apply what they have learned in the classroom, in the lab, in the Corps, and on the waterfront.

Offshore coach Parker Mitchell clearly has a successful workaround working, and I have a hunch the Keelhaulers results in La Rochelle right now would be better if the breeze were a bit more like home. Breezy. Offshore coach Parker Mitchell set the team up with a Mumm 30 for part of their practice. The deck layout is similar to what they would find in La Rochelle, and they had the team’s notes from the excursion to France four years ago.

Lancaster started his sailing at the age of seven at King Harbor, Redondo Beach, in Sabots. He ran into team tactician Scott Doyle at the same time, “And we’ve been on the water together since day one,” he says. “We did high school sailing against each other, the Governors Cup, everything.”

That tight team that started out together as freshmen (“We did go to a rugby player to get a mast man; we said, ‘Ryan, we need you.’ “) will be moving on, of course. Lancaster, in fact, is already graduated with a work history. “They let us sail in the World Cup because we were students when we qualified. I came back in September after three months of working on tugs north of the Arctic Circle. That’s when the offshore team really started cooking.”

For those into video, here is Day Two:

Yr humble reporter finds himself watching developments through Facebook, where the regatta reported on Sunday: “The day’s wind was so low that a break was taken after the first race. People could enjoy some bathing and diving. As the wind didn’t blow again, every one landed back and waited at the race village, playing cards, sunbathing, drinking fresh beers or eating crepes.

“Around 4’o clock all crews went back sailing for a second race. Not every crew in fact as the Japanese team missed the call and didn’t compete for that race. That’s a shame as they had done a really good first race. France sailed well today putting England in the shade.”

[I may have excised a few exclamation marks from that copy]

From a Keelhauler’s post we get, ” After hours of postponement on the water and on shore, they dropped the AP at 3:40 and back out we went. A nice breeze of about 5-6 knots was waiting. A general recall was called as the anxious fleet wanted to get racing. The breeze was dying and a huge right shift left us on the wrong side of everything. We fought back to 5th just behind Ireland and Italy (our closest competitors) but lost Scotland at the finish ( a shortened course at the second windward mark. Just halfway through the regatta and hoping to have a better second half. Oh, and England took yet another bullet.”

I’ll be off the farm for a couple of days, and the best I can do now is leave you with:

The outlook for Monday according to weather.com: Winds southwest 10-20. Chance of rain 100%.

Roepers’ Plenty takes Farr 40 Worlds

Sat, 2014-10-18 18:48

Posted October 15, 2014

It was an early-arrival, late-starting and slow final day, but the 17th Farr 40 Worlds made it to seven races, with Alex Roepers’ Plenty slipping in race seven to its only double-digit finish.

With four firsts in seven races, Plenty wrapped with a ten-point lead over Australians Lisa and Martin Hill and Estate Master.

Terry Hutchinson called tactics aboard Plenty, in waters where he has has success before.

Nineteen boats sailed the regatta, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club.

Bermuda Gets Through Gonzalo

Sat, 2014-10-18 18:38

Posted October 15, 2014

The organizers of the Bermuda Gold Cup report of their fleet of IODs—

Hamilton BERMUDA, October 18, 2014 – The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club has announced that the Argo Group Gold Cup is still set to sail, albeit on a compressed schedule, starting Wednesday, October 22. Using the one-day-delay plan announced last Wednesday, the Argo Group Gold Cup will be compressed to five days of racing and organizers will take advantage of the fine weather expected after Gonzalo. Winds predicted to be in the 20kt range each day will help get the full event completed for the competitors and spectators.

Stage 6 of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour had been threatened by the category 3 hurricane that struck Bermuda on Friday night [October 17] with predicted winds of over 130 mph. Saturday morning island officials were accessing the damage and later in the day reopened the causeway that links the Bermuda International Airport to the Hamilton end of the island, points South and West.

Past Commodore Brian Billings, Chairman Argo Group Gold Cup sent the following communication to the competitors today [Saturday]:
Commodore Kempe spoke with the Governor of Bermuda this morning who expressed his hope that the storm will not stand in the way of the Argo Group Gold going forward in true Bermuda style.

The Argo Group Gold Cup organizing committee met at 3:00 this afternoon to review our status and we are happy to report that we are proceeding as planned to host the Argo Group Gold Cup with practice on Tuesday and racing beginning on Wednesday October 22th .

The causeway to the airport is now open and flights are expected on schedule Sunday. British Airways has re-booked many of the people due in Saturday to Sunday’s flight.

There was minor roof damage at the club which will not impact our facilities. The terrace and our famous bar will be open for business as usual Monday.

We need 8 IOD’s [International One Design sailboats used for match racing]. We normally have two spares. One of our spare IODs was damaged and we working on a replacement. Our Race Committee boat Cleopatra was unharmed as were our fleet of inflatable umpire boats.

We are checking with all our hosts to ensure that they can accommodate the competitors. While some hosts have had damage and may be running on auxiliary power or candlelight, almost all are ready to welcome our guests and backup arrangements are in progress where there is a problem.

We look forward to a fabulous hurricane party in the form of the 2014 Argo Group Gold Cup!

As previously announced the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup will remain on its original schedule Oct. 23-26. The juniors sail up to 5 races a day in the Great Sound for three days. The final day they race one last race on Hamilton Harbour doing the halftime break in the Argo Group Gold Cup finals.

The Family Festival of Sail, the initial event of Argo Group Gold Cup Week , was originally scheduled for Sunday Oct 19 in Barr’s Bay Park adjacent to RBYC. The festival is rescheduled to October 26 and will be part of the finals day celebration.

Thirteen countries are represented in the 2014 Argo Group Gold Cup. The matches will be sailed with the same 20-team format used in 2013. This Argo Group Gold Cup format is unique on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. It allows for two 10-team groups. Skippers in each group are ranked and divided by Alpari World Match Racing Tour officials and the organizers at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

Rankings in the groups are based on AWMRT and ISAF rankings and other performance factors. Each group will sail a 10-team round-robin. Each group’s top four teams move directly to the Quarter Finals. Ranking are updated to Oct. 15

Skipper ISAF Rank Nation Racing Team
Canfield, Taylor 1 ISV USone
Williams, Ian 2 GBR GAC Pindar
Richard, Mathieu 3 FRA LunaJets
Hansen, Bjorn 4 SWE Hansen Sailing Team
Robertson, Phil 5 NZL WAKA Racing
Monnin, Eric 6 SUI Swiss Match Race Team
Swinton, Keith 9 AUS Team Alpari FX
Gilmour, David 10 AUS Team Gilmour
Linberg, Staffan 11 FIN Alandia Sailing Team
Morvan, Pierre-Antoine 12 FRA Equipe de France
Berntsson, Johnie 16 SWE Stena Sailing Team
Poole, Chris 19 USA Riptide Racing
Herreman, Arthur 20 FRA MATCH THE WORLD
Stanczyk, Marek 32 POL www.470sailing.org.pl

So Long, Drydock 1

Sat, 2014-10-18 14:39

Posted October 15

There’s nothing new about seeing odd ships at Pier 50, on San Francisco’s southeastern waterfront. But this weekend, if you see one that’s sinking, it isn’t. The M/V Tern has come for our drydock.

Ken Watson’s pic, above, shows the Tern in a different place, on a different mission. The word from Coast Guard Public Affairs:

San FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard is enforcing a safety zone Saturday morning for the motor vessel Tern, a 590-foot vessel, that will transport the Port of San Francisco’s Drydock 1 to a green certified ship recycling facility near Shanghai, China.

The Tern will lift the 4,200-ton drydock out of the water on Saturday, at approximately 9 a.m. at Pier 50.

The Tern is a semi-submersible heavy-lift vessel, which partially sinks itself so that cargo may be floated over its cargo deck. The Tern then de-ballasts to lift the cargo out of the water to complete the heavy lift operation.

The San Francisco-based drydock is 128-feet wide and will be slightly wider then the Tern.

While it may appear to be a ship sinking in the bay, it is actually a planned operation by the Port of San Francisco.

The Coast Guard will enforce a 500-foot safety zone to ensure that the vessel is effectively able to conduct their heavy lift operations.

Following a couple of days of sea fastening, the Tern will depart on Tuesday for the recycling facility near Shanghai.

Things Go Bump

Sat, 2014-10-18 11:59

Yann Riou/Dongfeng Racing

Posted October 15 by KL

During lunch just yesterday there was talk of collisions at sea between fast boats and the increasing mass of junk floating around in the ocean.

I don’t have numbers on this, but it’s my strong perception that, every transpac, there are more people arriving in the islands talking about hitting things, having to back down to clear debris, etc. This comes up because the Volvo Race story of the day goes —

ALICANTE, Spain, Oct 18 – Dongfeng Race Team lost the lead in the Volvo Ocean Race early on Saturday after the boat hit an unidentified object and broke their rudder.

They lost the lead but replaced the decimated part and they were soon back sailing at 20 knots.

The problem enabled Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing to take the lead but the rest of the fleet were still hot on their heels.

The Chinese team’s problems began at 0210 UTC when a ‘violent impact’ hit the boat.

Dongfeng’s onboard reporter Yann Riou picks up the story: “We had two options, installing the emergency rudder or removing what was left of the old rudder and putting the new one in place. We decided to go for the second option.

“Thomas (Rouxel) put the diving suit on. He jumped into the water… removed what was left from the old rudder (not much) and we put the new one in place.

“We are all disappointed… it does not look very fair but there’s nothing to do about this.”

It has not been plain sailing for Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi crew either. They reported narrowly missing a net yesterday afternoon but the winds were so light that they were able to take avoiding action.

Team Brunel and Team SCA were not so lucky and were held up briefly after debris caught in their keels.

The Dutch boat even had to send a swimmer into the water to dive down to remove a strip of rubber from their keel.

The women’s team also showed an irregular track and reported running into a fishing net, leading to more lost time behind the rest of the fleet who are now some 50 miles ahead of them.

The seven-strong fleet were expected to arrive in Cape Town in the first leg from Alicante at the beginning of November but their estimated arrival may be delayed after light winds in the Atlantic held up their progress.

What Does It Take to Restore a Lake?

Sat, 2014-10-18 00:46

San Francisco, CA, is on the leading, bleeding edge of environmental goodism — and we need more, much more of that, intelligently applied.

SF’s Mountain Lake Park is connected to the underground system, including Lobos Creek and it’s natural spring, that feeds 80 percent of the fresh water to the Presidio. This is playground central to one of the best family neighborhoods of the city.

Highway 1 roars past on the northern reach, with cars coming from, or going to, the Golden Gate Bridge.

Long ago, the first Spanish military mission camped here—because there was water—before establishing their first version of “The Presidio.”

And here is the story, as delivered by longtime SF Chronicle science writer David Perlman:

Recovering Mountain Lake Park.

So It’s, Like, Mid-October

Sat, 2014-10-18 00:06

By Kimball Livingston Posted October 17, 2014

And in case you didn’t know, come mid-October, all bets are off for breeze on San Francisco Bay.

And it’s not only “like.” It really is mid-October.

The seabreeze season has come and gone.

The Farr 40s have come, and they’re not gone yet.

One more day of racing remains for the 17th Farr 40 World Championship title, and Saturday promises to be better than Friday.

Friday was a long un-day of un-racing.

Even the pinnipeds were unimpressed, almost as unimpressed as if they had just heard the news that we’re probably still two months away from knowing the venue for the next America’s Cup match.

San Diego or Bermuda. Bermuda or San Diego.

(Not the thing most on anyone’s mind at the moment among our friends in Bermuda.)

Hey there, Gonzalo. Now go away.

At the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, they’ve pushed back the start of the Argo Group Gold Cup to Wednesday next, and they’re hoping, of course, that they still have boats to sail.

The Gold Cup is stage 6 of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, and Bermuda had a brush with Hurricane Fay only last Sunday, October 12. Now, less than a week later, here is Gonzalo. Probably, there will be boats to sail.

International One Designs.

Bermuda being the one stop on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour where the fleet on offer is comprised of boats that do not not not turn on a dime.

Italy’s Francesco Bruni won the Gold Cup the last time around. Ian Williams and Taylor Canfield, past winners both of the Tour, have the Tour lead going into Bermuda with Williams six points in front. The Briton, Williams, will be arriving on short time from the Farr 40 Worlds racing in San Francisco, where he’s been sailing as tactician on Helmut Jahn’s Flash Gordon 6.

And while we’re almost on the subject, here’s the latest un-update from the Farr 40 Class:

The breeze that usually makes San Francisco such a popular place for sailors was noticeably absent for the penultimate day of competition at the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship. A low pressure system had siphoned most of the air off the Bay, and with the fleet drifting around on the Berkeley Circle for several hours, the Race Committee took the decision to abandon attempts to run a race.

Basically the breeze didn’t cooperate,” said Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio. “We had a fairly nice forecast for the day of a southerly between 8-12 knots. We got out there for a noon start and waited around until about 1:30-2:00 p.m. and we finally got what looked like a nice sea breeze, a nice little westerly. It filled in for about 35 minutes and we started to set up a course and as we were doing that the breeze died and the Bay went back to glass. We brought the boats back up to the west of Alcatraz hoping that if the sea breeze came in later in the day we’d at least be closer to it.”

The ripple effect is that the starting time for the final day of racing, Saturday, October 18, has been pushed forward an hour to 11:00 a.m. Regatta organizers hope to run three races before the 3:30 p.m. cutoff time after which a race cannot be started per the sailing instructions.

New York’s Alexander Roepers, on Plenty, goes into the final day of the championship with a 1-1-1-6-4-1 scoreline for 14 points, and an almost unassailable 18-point lead on his closest competitor, Australia’s Martin Hill on Estate Master. Italy’s defending Rolex Farr 40 World Champion, Alberto Rossi on Enfant Terrible, is third overall with 33 points, followed by Andrew Hunn on the Australian-flagged Voodoo Chile, with 34 points. With 39 points, three-time Rolex Farr 40 World Champion Jim Richardson of Newport, R.I. and Boston, Mass., rounds out the top-five in the 19-strong international at the helm of the Australian-flagged Kokomo.

The day ended . . .

And that would have been enough breeze, if only it had been around all day.

By the way, in case you missed it—

Photo © Avila Gonzalez/San Francisco Chronicle

2104 ANNAPOLIS TEST SAILS: Bavaria Cruiser 46, Xc 35, Beneteau Oceanis 35

Fri, 2014-10-17 18:30

Just back from test-sailing boats après-show this past week at Annapolis. Five boats in two days in fairly strong conditions, with the wind blowing 20 knots at time. Once I even saw gusts to over 30. This is ideal! Normally we get light wind, which makes it harder to get a good sense of how boats behave. My first boat on day one was the Bavaria Cruiser 46, which really is just a new updated version of the Bavaria Cruiser 45. The hull and underwater appendages are the same, but the deck and interior have been modified. As you can see in that photo up top, she has a very wide butt and an enormous fold-down transom.

I shared my test-sail with John Kretschmer of Sailing magazine (whose most recent book, Sailing A Serious Ocean, I highly recommend), and unfortunately we spent much of our time aboard trying to get the sails to set properly. The boat had just been set up and had never been sailed before and still needed a good bit of tweaking to get going anywhere near her potential. This is actually fairly common, and we try to work around it as best we can, but here’s a hot tip for builders and dealers: to get the best reviews, prep the boat first if you can.

Fortunately, in this case I had previously tested a Bavaria Cruiser 45 in Grenada that had been meticulously prepared by James Pascall of Horizon Yacht Charters, so I knew exactly what the boat is capable of. She’s a powerful modern cruiser, quite fast for a boat of this type, and easy to control on the wind, in spite of her wide transom, thanks to her twin rudders.

John at the helm. The twin helm stations are comfy to steer from, with neat flip-up foot chocks in the cockpit sole that help keep you in place when the boat is heeled. There are winches right by each wheel, but they are under-sized. You need to go electric, or order bigger winches, or both (just in case you lose power)

Our test boat had the standard in-mast mainsail (spars are by Selden), which is controlled by twin mainsheets in a bridle. This is not the same as a double-ended “German” mainsheet–they are actually two single-ended sheets, which allows you a bit more control over sail shape. Of course, there’s a vang to help with that, too

One of the changes in the boat’s interior is this optional island twixt the galley and saloon table. This replaces a short bench seat. The island provides better support for a cook working underway, with easier-to-access storage cabinets, and improves traffic flow for those moving forward. There’s a flip-up jump seat at the base of the island so you can still seat extra people at the table. Also, the new interior has no nav station, but you can order the saloon table with optional nav desk drawers at either end

My second boat of the day was the new Xc 35 from X-Yachts of Denmark. X-Yachts is well known for their fast racer-cruisers, and this is their take on a straight cruising boat.

This boat has a fuller hull below the waterline than other performance boats from X-Yachts, to increase tank volume and ease the boat’s motion. It’s still narrow compared to other modern cruisers and sails extremely well. I think most folks would call it a cruiser-racer, and you could certainly race it if you wanted

This is Forbes Horton, one of our hosts for the test sail. (Coincidentally, I learned during our outing that he once almost bought my old boat Crazy Horse!) The boat has twin steering stations, but only one rudder. We pressed it as hard as we could sailing upwind (with a full main in 20 knots of breeze) and it never let go of the water. One problem on the test boat was that there was nothing to hold on to in the cockpit when the boat was heeled. You definitely want to order the optional cockpit table, and I’d like to see granny bars over those low-slung wheel pedestals

I shared this test sail with the Boat of the Year evaluation team from Cruising World. That’s editor-at-large Tim Murphy, me old roommate (who also, coincidentally, crewed on Crazy Horse the first time I ever took her offshore), in the foreground and that’s editor-in-chief Mark Pillsbury behind him

The interior of the Xc 35 is a bit cramped compared to most other modern cruising boats, but this is the price you pay for superior performance under sail. I particularly liked this versatile saloon table

And the boat does have a proper nav station, which is something you don’t see on many new cruising boats these days

Below the cabin sole you’ll also find a super-strong steel hull grid to carry the mast and keel loads

And here’s a revolutionary concept: plenty of appropriately sized winches! The boat comes standard with two winches on each side of the cockpit–the ones aft, by the helm stations, are just for the double-ended mainsheet (led under the side-deck, as you can see here), and the ones forward are just for the headsail sheets. No clutching or un-clutching of lines is required to simply handle sheets, which is the way life should be IMHO. One very nice feature on the mainsheet is that with crew working both winches you can pick up the sheet really fast. All other control lines are handled with another pair of winches on the coachroof

The last boat I sailed on day one was the new Beneteau Oceanis 35, a slightly smaller version of the Beneteau Oceanis 38 that rang lots of people’s bells last year and won many awards, including a Best Boat nod from SAIL.

Like all boats in the latest Oceanis iterations, this one has twin wheels, twin rudders, and a big mainsheet arch forward of the cockpit. The transom, of course, folds down, and those helm seats you see fold up out of the way when you want maximum access to the water

I shared this test sail with Zuzana Prochazka, seen here steering the boat on a broad reach. This boat, too, hadn’t been properly prepared, and the standing rig was way out of tune, but it sailed pretty well in spite of this

Like the 38, the Oceanis 35 is all about its unconventional versatile interior. Our test boat had the two-cabin Weekender layout, which we’re told is by far the most popular of the several options available. It features this super wide-open saloon space, plus one segregated stateroom aft that has a huge athwartship double berth

It also (drum roll, please) has a very large segregated shower room. Not a stall, a room. You could have a party in there!

You can look for more detailed reviews of these boats, plus our picks for this year’s Best Boats, in upcoming issues of SAIL magazine.

2104 ANNAPOLIS TEST SAILS: Bavaria Cruiser 46, Xc 35, Beneteau Oceanis 35

Fri, 2014-10-17 18:30

Just back from test-sailing boats après-show this past week at Annapolis. Five boats in two days in fairly strong conditions, with the wind blowing 20 knots at time. Once I even saw gusts to over 30. This is ideal! Normally we get light wind, which makes it harder to get a good sense of how boats behave. My first boat on day one was the Bavaria Cruiser 46, which really is just a new updated version of the Bavaria Cruiser 45. The hull and underwater appendages are the same, but the deck and interior have been modified. As you can see in that photo up top, she has a very wide butt and an enormous fold-down transom.

I shared my test-sail with John Kretschmer of Sailing magazine (whose most recent book, Sailing A Serious Ocean, I highly recommend), and unfortunately we spent much of our time aboard trying to get the sails to set properly. The boat had just been set up and had never been sailed before and still needed a good bit of tweaking to get going anywhere near her potential. This is actually fairly common, and we try to work around it as best we can, but here’s a hot tip for builders and dealers: to get the best reviews, prep the boat first if you can.

Fortunately, in this case I had previously tested a Bavaria Cruiser 45 in Grenada that had been meticulously prepared by James Pascall of Horizon Yacht Charters, so I knew exactly what the boat is capable of. She’s a powerful modern cruiser, quite fast for a boat of this type, and easy to control on the wind, in spite of her wide transom, thanks to her twin rudders.

John at the helm. The twin helm stations are comfy to steer from, with neat flip-up foot chocks in the cockpit sole that help keep you in place when the boat is heeled. There are winches right by each wheel, but they are under-sized. You need to go electric, or order bigger winches, or both (just in case you lose power)

Our test boat had the standard in-mast mainsail (spars are by Selden), which is controlled by twin mainsheets in a bridle. This is not the same as a double-ended “German” mainsheet–they are actually two single-ended sheets, which allows you a bit more control over sail shape. Of course, there’s a vang to help with that, too

One of the changes in the boat’s interior is this optional island twixt the galley and saloon table. This replaces a short bench seat. The island provides better support for a cook working underway, with easier-to-access storage cabinets, and improves traffic flow for those moving forward. There’s a flip-up jump seat at the base of the island so you can still seat extra people at the table. Also, the new interior has no nav station, but you can order the saloon table with optional nav desk drawers at either end

My second boat of the day was the new Xc 35 from X-Yachts of Denmark. X-Yachts is well known for their fast racer-cruisers, and this is their take on a straight cruising boat.

This boat has a fuller hull below the waterline than other performance boats from X-Yachts, to increase tank volume and ease the boat’s motion. It’s still narrow compared to other modern cruisers and sails extremely well. I think most folks would call it a cruiser-racer, and you could certainly race it if you wanted

This is Forbes Horton, one of our hosts for the test sail. (Coincidentally, I learned during our outing that he once almost bought my old boat Crazy Horse!) The boat has twin steering stations, but only one rudder. We pressed it as hard as we could sailing upwind (with a full main in 20 knots of breeze) and it never let go of the water. One problem on the test boat was that there was nothing to hold on to in the cockpit when the boat was heeled. You definitely want to order the optional cockpit table, and I’d like to see granny bars over those low-slung wheel pedestals

I shared this test sail with the Boat of the Year evaluation team from Cruising World. That’s editor-at-large Tim Murphy, me old roommate (who also, coincidentally, crewed on Crazy Horse the first time I ever took her offshore), in the foreground and that’s editor-in-chief Mark Pillsbury behind him

The interior of the Xc 35 is a bit cramped compared to most other modern cruising boats, but this is the price you pay for superior performance under sail. I particularly liked this versatile saloon table

And the boat does have a proper nav station, which is something you don’t see on many new cruising boats these days

Below the cabin sole you’ll also find a super-strong steel hull grid to carry the mast and keel loads

And here’s a revolutionary concept: plenty of appropriately sized winches! The boat comes standard with two winches on each side of the cockpit–the ones aft, by the helm stations, are just for the double-ended mainsheet (led under the side-deck, as you can see here), and the ones forward are just for the headsail sheets. No clutching or un-clutching of lines is required to simply handle sheets, which is the way life should be IMHO. One very nice feature on the mainsheet is that with crew working both winches you can pick up the sheet really fast. All other control lines are handled with another pair of winches on the coachroof

The last boat I sailed on day one was the new Beneteau Oceanis 35, a slightly smaller version of the Beneteau Oceanis 38 that rang lots of people’s bells last year and won many awards, including a Best Boat nod from SAIL.

Like all boats in the latest Oceanis iterations, this one has twin wheels, twin rudders, and a big mainsheet arch forward of the cockpit. The transom, of course, folds down, and those helm seats you see fold up out of the way when you want maximum access to the water

I shared this test sail with Zuzana Prochazka, seen here steering the boat on a broad reach. This boat, too, hadn’t been properly prepared, and the standing rig was way out of tune, but it sailed pretty well in spite of this

Like the 38, the Oceanis 35 is all about its unconventional versatile interior. Our test boat had the two-cabin Weekender layout, which we’re told is by far the most popular of the several options available. It features this super wide-open saloon space, plus one segregated stateroom aft that has a huge athwartship double berth

It also (drum roll, please) has a very large segregated shower room. Not a stall, a room. You could have a party in there!

You can look for more detailed reviews of these boats, plus our picks for this year’s Best Boats, in upcoming issues of SAIL magazine.

The cost of cruising: interview with SailLoot

Fri, 2014-10-17 01:01

How much does it cost to go cruising? How much / how long did you save in order to go? What do you spend every month as a cruiser? What about earning money while cruising? Questions along this line are among the most common that we get on Totem.

We recently had a chance to do an interview with Teddy J from SailLoot, and talk about ALL those issues. To listen in, you can stream it below, pick up on his site, or check out the SailLoot itunes channel.

Teddy has his eye on living aboard and cruising with his his wife, Megan, and their dog, Barley (yes, he likes beer!), and is asking all those questions to fuel his own planning. How much did we save put into the cruising kitty during those years of active cruise planning? What did we do professionally? How did we save money? What did we do for work in Australia? What are the expenses like while cruising? What do we spend the most money on?

Here’s the thing: everybody does this differently. His first interview, posted a couple of weeks ago, was with our friends on Delos. Brian and Karin have a really interesting story and concrete experience to share, and like us, are making cruising work with an eye on the longer term. And while we have some fundamentals in common, we have made some different choices along the way in how we’re financing, and what it costs. Every new episode from SailLoot will have new insights that help others visualize their dream and how they can make it a reality.

We answered his questions honestly and from the heart. But you can’t answer everything in an hour! I’m working on follow up posts about cruising and finances, so if there’s more you’d like to know about how we saved to go cruising, what it costs, and what we do for income- ask in the comments, or drop an email through our contact form.

Teddy was a lot of fun to talk to, and although I’m sure he would like to have gone from high school garage band to rock star, when that didn’t pan out I’m glad he hung onto the recording equipment to start up a podcast series specifically on finances and sailing. As a guy who just wants to cut the docklines too, what better way to figure it out while sharing it with the rest of the world? Everybody wins!

Teddy is a sailor, a traveler, and a planner. We fully expect share an anchorage someday, and meanwhile, we put our own challenge to him. What is it? Listen to the podcast and find out for yourself!

Financial planners know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.

Furuno DRS4W 1st Watch WiFi Radar: Niche or breakthrough product?

Wed, 2014-10-15 08:30

Written by Ben Ellison on Oct 15, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

One of many technologies I was glad to learn more about at the NMEA Conference was Furuno’s unique DRS4W 1st Watch Wireless Radar. While it was introduced in Europe last March, FurunoUSA still hasn’t listed it online and for a while I thought they might not carry it at all. Furuno’s regional distributors seem to have some leeway in this regard, which apparently is why the Furuno MaxSea PC Radar system that Kees Verruijt covered for Panbo is not available in North America. In recent comments to that same 2013 entry you’ll find some strong reservations about the DRS4W concept and even myself writing “I don’t see the problem the Furuno WiFi Radar is solving.” My skepticism wanes as I learn more but still 1st Watch seems like a confusing bundle of limitations and possibilites. Let’s discuss…

The Panbo commenter “Kaz” also slammed the DRS4W on his Marine Review blog, and I suspect that what really got under his skin was this marketing video showing a young couple happily using Furuno’s standalone Marine Radar iOS app in the open cockpit of their cruising sailboat. There are no normal instrument or chart displays in sight and certainly no reference to the problem of seeing an iPad in bright sunlight. And when the couple are shown ogling the app down below it’s at a settee not an existing nav station where adding standalone radar on an iPad might make sense. The video just doesn’t look much like real boating, and hence doesn’t make the case for how the 1st Watch fits into a full fledged navigation and collision avoidance routine.

It’s also easy to question the value of eliminating the data cable when you do have to wire the DRS4W for 12 or 24 volt power. In fact, the Furuno DRS2 I’ve been long testing on Gizmo — which seems to be a very different radar fit into the same sleek 19-inch diameter casing the WiFi radar uses — came with a nice combined Ethernet and power cable that was easy to split and connect once I’d fished it down the mast.

Seeing WiFi Radar at work underway wasn’t all that impressive either. Note, for instance, the South Florida glare on the iPad (though reflections often seem to look worse in photos than real life). And I was surprised that the app went to sleep if it wasn’t being used, and since the DRS4W smartly goes into standby mode when no connected app is active, it took a while to get it back up again. On the other hand, the new radar does use at least some true color to indicate target density and the interface is as easy as advertised. It’s slick, for instance, to get look ahead and/or offset radar imaging just by dragging the screen around with a finger tip.

I’m not sure that 1st Mate Wireless is easy radar to understand, though, especially for the younger, less experienced boaters it seems aimed at. Chart overlay, for example, would help a user understand that much of the long red-hard target above really is the Sanibel Island bridge, appearing curved only because its high center section is further away the radar scanner than the bridge’s low ends. Heck, even an old style standalone radar can usually be set up with a NMEA 0183 connection that let’s radar and chart screens share target and/or waypoint icons to help the user relate the two.

But then I got thinking about what’s possible with the DRS4W. The Furuno guys at NMEA weren’t able to answer a lot of my questions — they do have a huge line of other products, some of them as opposite and esoteric as Ice Radar — but they did say that we’ll learn more about what the DRS4W can do at the upcoming Fort Lauderdale Show. What if the already excellent Nobeltec/MaxSea TimeZero charting app could integrate the 1st Mate? (If a current iPad has the horsepower to overlay radar?) What if the DRS4W could join an existing boat WiFi network, or host one, so that the two supported iPads could also get AIS, GPS, Heading, Depth, Wind, etc. data? (The good folks at Pacific Yacht Systems don’t think that’s possible, but let’s note that the TZT displays remain the only WiFi MFD’s that can easily join a boat network instead of just creating one.) What if the DRS4W includes some of the lookalike DRS2’s remarkable advanced features that just haven’t been activated yet?

What if Furuno allows other apps developers to work with the DRS4W radar stream, or even just those making specialty apps that wouldn’t compete with TimeZero? What if the next iPad model has a non reflective screen that makes it more useful in sunshine, as rumored? I’m just riffing here, but isn’t possible that a DRS4W combined with a small NMEA 2000 sensor network, a WiFi gateway (like, say, what’s already built into the Vesper XB8000 AIS transponder) and a couple of iPads could be a pretty elegant and economical navigation system, no MFD involved? I can even picture the results, though what you’re seeing below involves a remote desktop app and a whole lot of expensive and power-hungry hardware.

What do you think? Is Furuno’s WiFi Radar an interesting niche product or a major leap into the future?

Click here to read comments about this Panbo entry, or add your own.

LIVE Podcast: Ocean Sailing Forum, Part 1

Mon, 2014-10-13 23:02

Part 1 of the World Cruising Club ‘Ocean Sailing Forum,’ live from the Annapolis Sailboat Show. Andy moderates a panel including SAIL’s Charlie Doane, Paul & Sheryl Shard from ‘Distant Shores,’ and Jennifer & Scott Brigham of the Valiant 40 ‘Pendragon.’ They discussed all things ocean sailing, from boat selection to watch planning, seasickness, fears, joys and more! Check for Part 2 later this week.

Anything to Fix Today?

Mon, 2014-10-13 18:32

Last Christmas, Indy wanted two things: a disco ball, and a tool kit. (She also wanted a dragon, but I’m afraid that was never in the cards.) Indy got her disco ball. And she got her tool kit. And, boy, was she excited.

Ever since, Indy has been looking for projects. Her current career goal is to become a mechanical engineer, so the kid needs some practice. Admittedly, non-emergency repairs were thin on the ground while I was in charge of the boat. But she pulled out the ratchet set whenever she could, just to make sure the pieces were still in order.

When we got ready to move to Papua New Guinea, Indy insisted the ratchets come with us. I winced a little; our bags were heavy enough as it was.
“I’m going to build things with Daddy,” she explained.
“Like what?”
“A treehouse,” she said firmly.
“That sounds good. But we might not have any trees in our backyard.”
She shrugged. “We’ll build a tree, then build a treehouse.”
So I packed the ratchet set.

As we waited for our visas in Brisbane, Indy’s plans grew. She, Stylish and I stumbled across American Ninja Warrior one evening, fell in love with the awesome Kacy Catanzaro, and became hooked on the show.
“I am going to build Mount Midoriyama in our backyard!” Indy announced.
“That sounds fun,” I said. I looked forward to telling Erik that he would be building a giant obstacle course over a pool behind our new place.
“Yeah,” said Stylish, “and all of the kids in town can come train on it.”
And let the lawsuits begin.

Once we settled into our house, Indy started looking for projects in earnest. I had visions of her going door-to-door, looking for bolts to tighten. Luckily, the girls’ new bicycles soon needed adjustments.

“Can I help?” I asked.
“No.”
“Please?”
Indy rolled her eyes. “Okay, okay. You can hold the frame steady.”

But there are only so many bicycle wheels to tighten in this old world. Indy needed a project. The girls did a little brainstorming, and one of them though of Zippy, the bat that flies around under our house.
“We’ll make a bat box!”

Problem is, the only tools we have here are Indy’s ratchets. So, bright and early Saturday morning, Indy and Erik walked into town to find wood and tools.

And, voila. A beautiful bat box for Zippy and her family.

“I need more tools,” Indy declared.
“I think that will have to wait until we get back to the boat, honey,” I said. “Tools are too heavy to carry around in our luggage.”
Indy considered. She brightened. “That’s okay. I’ll just ask Santa at Christmas.”
Poor Santa. He is going to have a very heavy sleigh this year.

Dismasting in the North Pacific

Mon, 2014-10-13 13:48


Photos courtesy of Jolyn and Ken Zielesch, aboard cruise ship Rhapsody of the Seas

Bill Edinger, founder and President of Spectra Watermakers (and my boss), set out earlier this year on a five-month sailing sabbatical to French Polynesia aboard his Norm Cross-designed 45-foot trimaran, Defiance. He, family, and guests sailed to the Marquesas, Tuamotus, Society Islands, then up to Hawaii, all in a very seamanlike manner.

On the final stretch from Hawaii to San Francisco they hit the edge of the Pacific High, as returning sailors are wont to do, and motored for a day or two. This is when disaster struck. In Bill’s own words:

“Sunday the seventh we were motorsailing along in light wind. I was just coming off my 12:00 to 3:00 AM watch and was down below starting coffee for Kevin who was next up when we heard a loud bang. We both ran on deck to see the mast canting aft by about 30 degrees. I yelled to Kevin that we needed to get a halyard forward to keep the mast from coming down. He ran forward but before either of us could do anything the mast came all the way down. It seemed slow as the boom and vang collapsed on the top of the dodger and the mainsail sort of cushioned the fall. The mast of course was hanging out over the end of the port ama (float). The good thing of course is that no one was hurt.”

“The toggle on the forestay had failed. Unfortunately this is the only stay going forward. When the boat was re-rigged a while back this stay was upped a size to 1/2″ dyform wire which should have been bulletproof. I can only think it failed from shock load fatigue as the mast pumps a little fore and aft in a seaway.”

The offending toggle:

“We retrieved the mast by cranking it onboard forward with line and winches. Every few inches we had to stop to see what lines and rigging were hanging up and clear them before moving on. The mast appears in good shape. The main was a total wreck as we needed to cut it away, and the jib furler was over the side and dragging behind. We tried to save it but in the end had to cut it loose. Boom looks salvageable. The dodger was wrecked on one side and the port rails bent. Once we got the mast onboard we started lashing everything down and dismantling what rigging we could to clean things up. Over the next day we refined things by supporting each end of the mast with some milk crates and shims to keep the mast from rocking back and forth on the cabin top.”

“The Radar seemed undamaged so we rigged up a mast using our dinghy floorboards, mounted the antenna on deck just above the maststep and managed to get it working fine. I also retrieved the VHF antenna and jury rigged the VHF radio and AIS which is working so so.”


“I have to say the teamwork was fantastic. The whole crew was focused and calm throughout the whole ordeal.”

“By the time we got everything cleared up it was late morning and we re-started the engine and got going again. We figured we had enough fuel for about 500 miles but had over 1100 to go. I called the coast guard and reported that we had a non-emergency situation but would be needing fuel to get all the way back to San Francisco. They had us checking with them every four hours or so and by the middle of the second day called us to report that the cruise ship Rhapsody of the Seas would divert from its course to deliver us fuel by late afternoon.”

20140909_000614.mp4 from Bill Walton on Vimeo.

“Around 3:00 PM the cruise ship delivered 100 plus gallons of fuel (as well as a bunch of fresh fruit and other goodies thrown in!). We were definitely the show of the day as 1000 or so passengers lined up to watch the fuel transfer by three guys in a RIB-type boat. As soon as the third and last trip was made the whole crowd broke out in cheers!”

A happy ending and a story to tell for those aboard the cruise ship. Bill and crew motored through the Golden Gate a week later.

And a happier ending that they saved the mast! Dismasting stories always seem to involve “cutting away the rig,” and I always think that was at least $10,000, more like $30,000 with a mast like Bill’s, sinking to the bottom of the ocean. In rough seas you’d have no choice, but I always figured I’d give it the old college try to get that mast aboard somehow. Still, I thought 60-foot mast on a 45-foot trimaran for 1000 miles of motoring through a nasty part of the Pacific…this should be interesting. It wasn’t until I saw the pictures that I understood the diagonal approach to seagoing mast storage on a trimaran.

Terminology Moment: When your mast falls down on the open sea, by accident, this is called dismasting. When you take it down on purpose, say by a crane in a boatyard, this is called demasting. Please make a note of it.

Once I heard about this I immediately heard three more stories about masts that came down while just motoring along, from the shock loads of the seas. I wonder what the percentage is of masts lost in this manner compared to masts lost in full combat mode?

Jump Seat for Young Hearts

Mon, 2014-10-13 11:20

By Jane Eagleson, Team Alvimedica Photo by Robin Christol

Alicante, Spain, October 13, 2014
When Dr. Cem Bozkurt jumped overboard off the back of Team Alvimedica´s Volvo Ocean 65, it wasn’t just for the thrill of it. It was to jump start a new initiative to raise funds for charities devoted to children’s cardiac health.

An hour after the start of the Volvo Ocean Race last Saturday afternoon, Bozkurt launched from the ‘Jump Seat’ on Team Alvimedica as he waved goodbye to skipper Charlie Enright and his crew on their race to Cape Town.

“It was great fun, a thrill to share the excitement of the start with the team,” said Bozkurt. “But the main reason for me to do this was to call people for a caring initiative. As a part of our commitment to pioneering care in the field of cardiology; we will support local cardiac health charities by auctioning the Team Alvimedica ‘Jump Seat’ at each leg departure around the world and donate the proceeds to the selected charity.”

For the Alicante departure, Alvimedica launched the initiative with a 10,000 Euro check donated to the Menudos Corazones Foundation based in Spain. A group of children who have benefited from Menudos Corazones, along with their parents, came to visit Team Alvimedica in the Volvo Ocean Race village over the weekend.
María Escudero, President of Menudos Corazones, thanked Bozkurt and Alvimedica for their donation, commented: “At Menudos Corazones Foundation we are working hard to help kids with congenital heart disease. This wonderful donation from Alvimedica during the Volvo Ocean Race, starting in Alicante, will improve the life of these kids and their families, at home and at the hospital. A big and deep thanks from our hearts. When you sail, we will be sailing with you.”

Menudos Corazones Foundation is a non-profit-making organization whose mission is to carry out programs and activities necessary for improving the quality of life of children and young people with congenital heart defects and their families. With professionalism and approachability, Menudos Corazones accompanies and supports patients and families in those sometimes complicated situations that arise when someone has a child with a heart defect. More information at www.menudoscorazones.org

Team Alvimedica is the youngest entry in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015, the world’s toughest and longest sporting event. The crew is led by American skipper Charlie Enright, age 30. Alvimedica, the European based medical devices company, is the team’s owner. Founded in 2007, Alvimedica is a fast growing challenger in the global field of interventional cardiology, committed to developing minimally-invasive technologies. This is the team’s first entry in the extremely challenging 39,000-mile race that started October 11, 2014 from Alicante, Spain and features stopovers in 11 ports around the world.

Information as to how to bid on the Jump Seat will be available on TeamAlvimedica.com.

And the race goes on . . .

Amory Ross/Team Alvimedica

South America Dominates Sunfish Youths

Mon, 2014-10-13 10:52

A report from the Sunfish Class in advance of the open World Championship

ARAPAHOE, NC – Holding a slim two point lead going into the final race of the nine race series, David Gonzalez Arria of Venezuela stayed ahead of his closest competitor and finished third in the race to win the series. Alonso Collantes of Peru was seventh in the final race to finish second overall. Finishing strong in the last two days of racing and rounding out the top three was Daniela Rodriguez of Ecuador. John Birkett also representing Ecuador was fourth and Chase Carraway of the United States finished in fifth. Thirty seven competitors from six countries participated in the championship. The Youth World Championship was open to qualified sailors under the age of 19.

The 2014 Sunfish World and Youth World Championship is organized by the International Sunfish Class Association. This year’s championships are being held at Camp Sea Gull and Camp Seafarer. The residential camp venue offers a unique opportunity for sailors, their families, coaches and support crew to stay on site.

The Youth World Championship will be immediately followed by the Sunfish World Championship with seventy two sailors. New Sunfish sailboats are being chartered to all sailors by Triton Yacht Sales. Twelve races are scheduled in the World Championship running from October 13 through 16 with October 17 as a reserve day if necessary.

2014 Sunfish Youth Worlds final results, top 15

1 David Gonzalez Arria VEN 4469 20.00 3 2 4 3 1 (11) 3 1 3
2 Alonso Collantes PER 4472 26.00 1 1 (38q) 2 2 6 4 3 7
3 Daniela Rodriguez ECU 4443 28.00 8 4 (13) 5 3 1 2 4 1
4 John Birkett ECU 4465 36.00 7 6 (12) 1 4 2 7 7 2
5 Chase Carraway USA 4456 53.00 6 7 3 9 (26) 5 9 8 6
6 Andres Boccalandro VEN 4466 55.00 5 (16) 7 8 5 7 6 9 8
7 Marc DeLoach USA 4420 57.00 (38q) 15 1 7 7 3 8 6 10
8 Juan Sebastian Martinez COL 4442 57.00 10 (14) 8 4 6 10 5 5 9
9 Andres Regal PER 4470 69.00 2 5 11 16 8 (19) 10 12 5
10 Lucas Murdoch PER 4471 77.00 16 3 6 13 9 4 14 (18) 12
11 Paula Varona DOM 4439 96.00 4 8 5 (38q) 17 17 17 14 14
12 David Shatwell PER 4464 98.00 22 12 2 12 10 (24) 12 13 15
13 David Graf USA 4446 112.00 15 9 18 11 (24) 16 11 19 13
14 Levi Hencke USA 4462 117.00 19 13 10 15 13 18 13 (21) 16
15 Carolina Penagos COL 4468 120.00 (23) 17 9 10 12 8 19 23 22

2014 ANNAPOLIS BOAT SHOW: Jimmy’s New Boat

Sun, 2014-10-12 12:04

Not surprisingly, one of the big draws at this year’s U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis has been the new Garcia Exploration 45, developed by French builder Garcia Yachts in cooperation with bluewater sailing guru, author, and ARC founder Jimmy Cornell. I’m a big fan of Garcia, which has been building boats for 40 years now, both because they build in aluminum and because they do it exceedingly well. In the last several years most of their boats have been large stratoshperic custom jobs, well beyond the reach of mere mortals with less than a couple of million to spend, so it’s heartening to see them again building something a bit more accessible.

Jimmy and I have some history, as I first met him crewing around in his America 500 cruising rally way back in 1992, so he was happy to show me around the boat this past Thursday shortly after the show opened. After retiring from the rally racket some years ago, he took to roaming the planet in aluminum centerboard Alubats and spent some time cruising in high latitudes. So he had some pretty specific ideas about what he wanted when he approached Garcia about building his next boat.

Jimmy holds forth on the stern of his latest Aventura. Like its predecessors, this is a boat with an integral centerboard and lots of internal ballast stashed in the bilges. Jimmy likes centerboard boats for sailing in very strong conditions, as he says they’ll skid away from breaking seas when the board is pulled up

Jimmy wanted a boat for cruising both in high latitudes and in the tropics so specified a deck saloon layout with lots of windows affording a catamaran-style wrap-around view of the world. He claims this is the first true deck-saloon centerboard boat ever built. You can steer the boat by wire from the comfy nav station there, where there’s also a throttle control for the engine, so you can run things from inside when you want. On the left down there you can see two of the four single bunk berths on the boat, which is what Jimmy favors for sleeping offshore. There are also two double staterooms, so the boat can sleep eight people total

The galley is straightforward and fairly simple, laid out to port alongside the saloon

A nice high-latitude feature–a pair of super-long stern lines stored on reels inside a dedicated transom locker

People I talked to either loved or hated the overhanging hard-dodger coachroof. You can count me in the former group. To achieve the complex shape, the coachroof is a molded composite structure, the only bit of the boat that isn’t aluminum. There’s also a very bulletproof compnanionway door

This is what Jimmy got most excited about when showing me the boat–a true midships chain locker hidden behind the door in the head just forward of the mast. The chain (Jimmy carries 100 meters!) is pulled aft through a pipe by a midships windlass hidden under a deck hatch

The next most interesting boat IMHO is this fairly simple Slovenian-built sport-boat, the Seascape 27.

It is quite affordable, comes with a carbon rig and sprit, and despite having easy-to-manage controls (it looks like it truly can be sailed singlehanded) seems to be fairly competitive–as evidenced by the fact that it took 1st place in the doublehanded division of this year’s Mackinac Race.

It also has a number of clever features, the most prominent of which is a center-cockpit outboard well.

Engine deployed and ready to work. This is an 8-hp four-stroke Tohatsu, which seems to be the largest mill you could fit in the well. What’s nice, of course, is getting weight off the transom

Engine hoisted and put to bed with the hull aperture closed

Engine sleeping under the cockpit floor, ready to run again when needed

There’s also a surprisingly cozy interior, just big enough I’d say for spending a weekend aboard

Other intriguing vessels include:

This delicious Morris Ocean Series 48GT, which also seemed very popular with the tire-kicking crowd on Friday. Not exactly a new boat, as this is a design Morris Yachts first introduced a number of years ago, but this example has some unique features, including a taller rig, exchangeable keels (one for cruising, one for racing), and lots of rig refinements

For example, this hydraulically controlled traveler, controlled from the helm, that you can instantly dump from behind the wheel with a touch of a foot-switch

And being a Morris it of course boasts a comfortable interior with some very fine joinery

The Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600, an affordable modern race boat from our friends in France

Not the kind of cockpit you normally find on a Jeanneau

And yes, the interior is quite stripped down, with such features as this attractive holding tank left out for all to admire

The new Beneteau Oceanis 35, smaller sibling to the award-winning Oceanis 38 that was introduced last year

The trick with the new Oceanis range is a total rethinking of what a sailboat’s interior can be. This is just one of several creative alternatives

The Dragonfly 32 Supreme, a nice high-end folding cruising trimaran from Denmark

It has a suprisingly large interior for a small tri. There’s a big double berth behind the sliding companionway stairs, a decent saloon with table and settees, and another double forward

Finally, from the Now I’ve Seen Everything Department, I wanted to share a few details from the Balance 451, a new catamaran that took me by surprise.

The most severely reversed “wave-piercing” bows I’ve ever seen on a cruising cat. Waves will run screaming home to their mothers when they see these puppies coming at them

A huge barbecue rig, essentially an outdoor galley, located about the same distance from the cockpit table as the galley in the saloon

Largest shower stall ever spanning the full width of one hull aft. There’s room for the whole family in there!

There’s lots more to see, and the show is still on! Running through tomorrow. Feel free to go take a look for yourself. As for me, I’ll be back on the scene starting Tuesday for some post-show test sails, so stay tuned for that.

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