Not every sailor wants or needs a large-screen chartplotter mounted on a binnacle or bulkhead, and for these sailors there is now a wide range of smaller, much less expensive digital charting alternatives.
At first I couldn’t help asking myself whether the sailboat market really needs another high-strung IRC racer-cruiser like the Aquila RP45. But one look at this carefully engineered, well-built racer was all it took to answer that question with an emphatic yes.
Often it’s an evenhanded blend of design attributes rather than extreme features that make for a good sailboat. The Dufour 445 Grand Large offers just such a combination of moderate draft, displacement, sail area and freeboard.
Beneteau’s new Oceanis 41 delivers more than a just a change in hull form and an uptick in Euro styling. This new entry in the long-lived Oceanis line is fun to sail, easy to dock and makes a comfortable home afloat.
Some might say that seamanship has been sidelined by technology, with safety and security more dependent on button pushing than sail changing. There may be some truth to this. But at the same time, there’s no question that today’s technology does fill some very real needs.
When it comes to Wi-Fi’s role in shuttling navigation and performance data around a boat, there are two schools of thought. One approach lashes a wireless router to a proven digital charting system; the other links Wi-Fi capability to an iPad or some other tablet packed with navigation apps.
Each year SAIL presents the Pittman Innovation Awards, recognizing the most innovative and interesting new products on the market. Our team of judges went through the fall boat shows looking for the latest and greatest in new gear. Here’s what they came up with.
The new Farr 400 is all predator, a no-holds-barred one design that can ghost through 5-knot holes and still stand tall in 25-knot gusts. As the heir apparent to the Farr 40, this all-carbon lightweight speedster reveals an up-tick in commitment to performance and an upgrade in the commitment to technology.
In 1982, I mounted four ARCO Solar M-55 monocrystalline panels to a stainless steel frame above the dodger on my Ericson 41 sloop, Wind Shadow. On sunny days during the hours closest to noon, my amp meter indicated an 8 to 10 amp charge. Before and after the midday feast, the flow tapered to 2 to 6 amps.