Think high-performance sub-30-foot racer/ cruiser multihull and you think trimaran, or at least I do. But the imminent arrival in the United States of the Rackam Wing 26 Xtreme could quickly change that.
Built in France (where else?) to an Eric Lerouge design, the Rackam was conceived as a racing class; the Basic and Racing versions are pared-down speedsters for adrenaline seekers who don’t mind swallowing mouthfuls of spray at high speeds. The Wing has the same hulls and a slightly smaller sailplan, and the addition of a molded cuddy ups the weight from 1,500 to 2,200 pounds. Instead of the Racing version’s daggerboards, the Wing has molded keels, which make much more sense for a boat aimed at racers who sometimes like to sail with their families. However, thrill-seekers will prefer the pimped-up Xtreme version, which numbers daggerboards and a taller carbon rig among its features.
Provided your family has not yet been seduced by decadent features like standing headroom, showers and fully equipped galleys, they should enjoy this boat. A small dinette in the cuddy converts to a double berth, and there are two bunks in each hull. I suspect, though, that the large cockpit and comfortable-looking trampoline will be the popular places to catch 40 winks in fine weather.
She’s certain to be quick and easy to handle, too. The rig is simple, the jib is on a furler, and with a furling gennaker at the end of her long carbon sprit, she should be lots of fun to sail, albeit not as hairy-chested as her lighter sisters. There’s nothing quite like this boat on the U.S. market, and it could well prove an enjoyable family-friendly gateway to the world of performance catamarans.
Due to be launched in the summer, the Hallberg-Rassy 412 is the fourth in a series of aft-cockpit boats from the Swedish builder that made its name with center-cockpit cruisers.
Longtime H-R designer German Frers, Jr. has livened up Hallberg-Rassy’s conservative image by injecting an extra dose of speed into the new line. Under the tall triple-spreader fractional rig is a hull with sleek underwater lines and moderate displacement. The sailplan is mainsail-driven, and owners can order either a self-tacking jib or a genoa with a slight overlap. Downwind sails can be set on a removable sprit. The polar diagrams show that in the right conditions the boat should easily cruise at 8-plus knots.
A look at the interior layout reveals no surprises; after so many decades of building tough cruising boats Hallberg-Rassy knows what works and what doesn’t. Hence the standard layout is as traditional as these things get; there’s a U-shaped galley that’s equally efficient at sea or at anchor, settees long and wide enough to sleep on and a large chart table—a feature becoming extinct on many production boats. Options include a choice of one or two aft cabins and one or two head compartments.
I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but can I be alone in my appreciation of the latest styling trends in boat design? Take the new Dufour Performance 36, which I think is an extremely sharp-looking cruiser-racer. It combines all the latest go-fast thinking—hull chine, generously flared topsides aft, deep T-keel, plumb bow, retracting bowsprit, mainsail-driven sailplan—into one medium-sized package.
Belowdecks there’s a fully fitted out, traditionally arranged cruising interior, with a forward-facing nav station, a large head/shower, and plenty of stowage. Removable dividers in the two sleeping cabins allow the bunks to be sectioned off for individuals.
The Umberto Felci design was extensively tank-tested before the mold was built, and Dufour seems confident it has the legs to make a name for itself in the midsize performance-cruiser niche that’s dominated by J/Boats.
Photos courtesy of Forum Marine and Hallberg-Rassy