Buoy racers: a yacht that can sail fast yet be safe in a lumpy seaway and comfortable at anchor, the cruiser-racer is often seen as the holy grail of yacht design, reports Kevin Green.
While acknowledging that the fundamentals of physics, fluid dynamics and naval architecture may not have changed, technology has. So looking at this raft of modern cruiser-racers, there's a fair variety of the features to note. Hulls are mostly infused, so they are lighter, leaner and most importantly, stiffer. For the higher-end boats such as the exciting new Premier 45 for instance, carbon is used and the very deep (9 foot) keel lifts. Further aiding stability, lead bulbs are predominant and some are so beamy, such as the Elan 400, that twin rudders are used to keep them tracking. In terms of rigs, most come with carbon options, a bow sprit, and tend to favour asymmetric kites as their relatively slippery hulls can sail the wider angles faster but some can be rigged for symmetricals as well for deeper angles.
Innovative interiors are a feature of this latest crop of boats with specialist designers engaged. Others including the Defiler 38 have introduced a stylish curved veneered interior which not only looks good but has practical advantages as well. Not to be outdone, Dufour's 36 Performance comes with twin doors in the forward cabin allowing the area to be split into separate sleeping bunks which makes the P36 one of most versatile layouts in this selection. Slovenian builder Elan continues to engage Englishman Rob Humphrey's designs but has added interior specialists Gigodesign. The light wood is a complete rethink for the Elan performance range, noticeably the flush-hinged cabin doors with choice of interior finishes and soft furnishings.
The Premier 45 features a composite interior structure which is infusion moulded and styled by Snohetta from Norway. It also has forward facing portlights. Similarly, the new Xp 33 comes with some composite interiors, which can also add rigidity to hulls.
RATING YOUR RIDE
Conforming to the norm, most of these boats are designed to rate well under the predominant cruiser-racer rating system, the IRC. But there are interesting times ahead for the rating systems applying to the cruiser-racers. The cruiser-racer fraternity has been serviced by the British-French administered IRC rule that is the predominant way of rating a wide variety of boats but with a strong emphasis on production ones; or as one grand prix cynic said, "on cruiser-racers from France". Established as a way of preventing designers from exploiting it, the IRC is a secretive rule in that the outcome cannot be calculated by designers. However as we can see from the raft of performance cruisers, there's a form factor of hull shape and sails (non-overlapping headies) that has gradually emerged--looking very like a First 45, for instance--which some say stifles innovation. This innovation or edge is exactly what the higher performance sailors seek, which has led to the popularity of the ORCi rule. Unlike IRC its calculations are transparent allowing designers to calculate outcomes based on known design features. Over the last three years ORCi has gained support internationally to the extent that the 2012 Hobart listed 4o boats, ranging from high end carbon grand prix boats down to general production cruiser-racers. Recognising this change the project team at Beneteau's First range are going back to the drawing board. But the way forward to high performance boats is a specialist (and expensive) new tack that not all production builders find navigable. The waters are further ruffled with the emergence of the latest High Performance Rule (HPR) something Matt Allen, Chairman of Yachting Australia's Offshore Keelboat Policy Committee, told me is being closely monitored.
AZUREE 33 & 40
Importer Allboat Brokerage brought the 33 model to last year's show in Sydney and I found it an interesting yacht to look around. These Turkish built and Italian designed performance cruisers definitely stand out in the marina. An angular and hard chined hull with slab sides to tuck in the vast beam gives the 33 an ultramodern appearance.
The 40 model made it to the finals of the prestigious European Yacht of the Year Awards which is impressive for an inaugural model, however it does have some background pedigree. A collaboration between America's Cup designer Giovanni Ceccarelli and fellow Italian Paolo Ballerini, both yachts combine strong form with good function.
I noted a modern-elegant look to the 33's saloon--light woods and spacious, while the galley had a good-sized fridge and sink. The 33 and 40 are available in fast cruiser and cruiser versions--with two and three cabin layouts respectively. The cruiser is infused GRP on a carbon-reinforced frame while the fast cruiser has carbon-hybrid hull and decks plus keel stepped carbon spars. The sail plan incorporates bowsprits on all boats which increases the fore triangle space, allowing a Code 0. Keels are bulbed for increased stability. The wide beam dictates that twin rudders are used, which also allows enough cockpit space to have two steering wheels, even on the 33. Tall coamings protect the cockpit and on the cruiser version I visited, there was a bimini as well, so these boats are sensibly optioned for Australia.
www.azuree.com.tr / www.allboatbrokerage.com
MODEL Azuree 33 Fast Cruiser DESIGNERS Giovanni Ceccarelli and Paolo Ballerini LOA 9.99m BEAM 3.66m DRAFT 2.1m ENGINE 2Ohp SAIL AREA main: 42m', genoa: 31[m.sup.2], asymmetric: 102[m.sup.2] WATER CAPACITY 170 litres FUEL CAPACmf 96 litres DISPLACEMENT 4,980kg PRICE 130,000 Euro (AZ 40 195,000 Euros) ex factory
BENETEAU FIRST 30
Beneteau is in a transition phase with its iconic cruiser-racer First range. They tell me the First 30 will be the development boat. So, exciting times for this Juan Kouyoumdjian designed 30 footer that is already an able performer. Having sail tested this yacht with its project manager Eric Ingouf. I found it an exciting boat and one that particularly suits my passion for single-handed sailing.
With echoes of the Mini Transat designs the F30 is compact with Juan K's signature chine on the beamy hull which has a full stern section where twin externally hung rudders are designed to maximise control. Construction is by injection moulding GRP with balsa cored wood which remains the most cost effective way of building. Steering is by tiller for pinpoint accuracy around the buoys and keeping things upright is a slim cast iron keel with large bulb.
The cockpit is designed around the skipper with fold--down footrests either side and sheets easily to hand. All running rigging, apart from the topping lift, runs back to the Spinlock jammers controlled by a pair of H40 winches. The two cabin, double berth layout is basic but functional. Removing weight from the insides will be one likely route taken in the revamp. Other facilities below include a moulded showerhead with a manual toilet while a fully specified galley with twin burner gimballed cooker (but no oven) and the 100L top opening icebox finish things off nicely.
MODEL Beneteau First 30 DESIGNERS Juan Kouyoumdjian LOA 9.81m BEAM 3.20m DRAFT Deep keel: 1.90m ENGINE 20 HP saildrive SAIL AREA main 34.11[m.sup.2], genoa (105%): 28.8[m.sup.2], asymmetric: 87[m.sup.2] WATER CAPACITY 180 litres FUEL CAPACmf 30 litres DISPLACEMENT 3,750kg PRICE AU$175,000 / Euro 77,200 ex factory
BENETEAU FIRST 45
A well-proven design, the First 45 remains a cruiser-racer benchmark boat, along with its smaller sibling the First 40CR. Both designs have featured prominently in Rolex Sydney Hobarts' and this year was no exception with ist and 2nd in IRC2. Having raced on several First 45's I can appreciate the power of these boats but for prospective owners looking to maximise the bang-for-buck-with-silverware equation, the First 45 remains a compelling proposition despite its 2009 build.
The Briand designed hull is solid CRP laid up with biaxial and unidirectional glass with an inner structural liner glassed-in while plywood bulkheads are bonded to hull and deck. The decks are infused with balsa core and solid around deck fittings.
The spacious cockpit has racing in mind with Harken 44.2 mainsheet winches aft, 53.2 primaries mid-cockpit and 44.2 halyard winches on the cabin top. The open transom lacks a swim platform (also handy for MOB) so an optional ladder would be good. In cruising mode the teak slatted seats on top of lockers will be welcome.
In terms of accommodation a three double cabin layout with owner's island bed is everything you'd expect from this prolific yard. In the galley the gimballed two-burner gas stove and oven should feed a race crew without dramas and for washing up a deep sink adjoins the front-opening fridge. Atop-opening icebox and ample cupboard and drawer space are other pluses.
MODEL Beneteau First 45 DESIGNERS P. Briand Yacht Design LOA 14.07m BEAM 4.20m DRAFT 2.4m shallow cast iron, 2.75 deep lead ENGINE 54 HP Sail Drive 54 HP Sail drive SAIL AREA main 60.70 [m.sup.2], genoa (105%) 52.50 [m.sup.2]. spinnaker 151[m.sup.2] WATER CAPACITY 570 litres FUEL CAPACmf 200 litres DISPLACEMENT 11.545 kg (deep keel) PRICE AU$390,000 / Euro 221,200 ex factory
Dehler launched its new 38 model at January's Dusseldorf Boat Show, as it continued its line of discerning performance boats that stretches back for five decades. Among the cruiser-racer fraternity the original Dehler 38 was a sought after boat but fast forward to 2013 and the production power of the prolific Hanse Group has transformed this brand into an ultramodern family of performance yachts, as epitomised by the new 38. Among the changes is the curved interior woodwork and new window lines that enhance the sporty look overall look. Saloon space has increased by narrowing the deck while the low profile coach roof personifies the 38's cruiser-racer pedigree. Some clever German engineering has gone into the ablutions with multiple configurations available, allowing crew to access the sink or shower while another passenger uses the head.
The standard layout has a double fore berth with another aft while the bathroom is portside, ahead of the large lazarette. On deck twin wheels and a large open cockpit distinguish the 38 as a cruiser-racer. There are six Harken cockpit winches and the mainsheet traveller is integrated into the cockpit floor while Dyneema halyards are standard. B&G instruments are offered factory fitted.
The overall profile of this Judel/Vrolijk design shows a low profile saloon with tall, upright topsides for increased living space and owners have an extensive choice of options. Windcraft is currently offering some options at a tantalising price.
MODEL Dehler 38 DESIGNERS Judel/Vrolijk & Co LOA 11.30m BEAM 3.75m DRAFT 200 m standard ENGINE Volvo D1-30 28 HP saildrive SAIL AREA main 46.0 [m.sup.2]. furling Jib (105%): racing 35.[6.sup.2]/36.4[m.sup.2] WATER CAPACITY 300 litres FUEL CAPACmf 160 litres DISPLACEMENT standard / race / shallow: 7,000 kg / 6,600kg / 7,300kg PRICE $279,700
DUFOUR 36 PERFORMANCE
Dufour's 36 Performance has just won its category in the European Yacht of the Year awards, which is a big vote of confidence for this French built cruiser-racer. According to importer Jason Antal, the first boats arriving here have had some good performances on the racetrack, including in the RPAYC SOPS Series and recent Sydney Harbour Regatta.
The Umberto Felici GRP hull has a contemporary chine astern, steep topsides and a race orientated cockpit with open transom.
The interior looks fairly conservative but with useful sized settees in the dinette which has a cruising style table behind the keel-stepped mast. Accommodation is good for a 36 footer with a double berth forward and aft. The twin doors in the forward cabin allow the area to be split into separate sleeping bunks which makes the 36 one of most versatile layouts in this selection. In the portside galley a stove oven and plenty of work surfaces with fridge ensure good cruising credentials.
Hull construction is hand-laminated GRP with PVC foam core while the deck is injection moulded with foam and balsa core. A slippery looking underwater profile should ensure the 36 is quick to windward aided by a deep bulbed keel and spade rudder. The hull shape aft has plenty of volume with flatness for aiding running with gennaker or asymmetric kite. Outside shrouds with hull chainplates support the alloy rig, while up front the retractable prodder deploys for an asymmetric kite. (See full review from page 64).
MODEL Dufour 36 Performance DESIGN Umberto Felci LOA - BEAM 3.61m DRAFT 2.20m ENGINE Volvo 30hp Saildrive with 40HP option SAIL AREA Mainsail: 40.6m2 Genoa (114%): 31.5m2 WATER CAPACITY 220 litres FUEL CAPACITY 90 litres DISPLACEMENT 6,400kg PRICE From $240,000
The Elan 400 is the epitome of the modern sports cruiser thanks to its chines, T-keel and twin rudders. Its early siblings are popular race boats in Europe, so this mid-sized model should do well here as it hits the popular 40-foot IRC cruiser-racer category and has the credentials to challenge the aging incumbent, the First 40.
Features of the deck include retractable bowsprit, six winches and an integrated GRP toe rail lends to the refined profile. Designer Rob Humphreys has again opted for twin rudders on these Slovenian boats which allows the 3.87 metre beam to be carried aft to the transom, giving greater directional control and stability plus a large working cockpit. It also allows a wide drop-down swim platform. a definite bonus on this kind of performance boat.
Below decks is fully fitted out for cruising with folding table, starboard dinette and sensibly sized navigation station portside. For berths there's two or a three-cabin layout with one or two heads.
Options include Club, Regatta or Cruising Rigs. Also, a Performance 'T' keel for IRC or ORCI and non-overlapping head sails with retractable bowsprit for asymmetric or spinnaker pole option for short windward
leeward. There's a German mainsheet system and Harken deck gear on a race orientated deck layout, which ensures all is to hand. The first hull had a successful debut at January's Dusseldorf show, so expect one soon in our waters once Elan has appointed a new distributor in Australia.
MODEL Elan 400 DESIGN Humphreys Yacht Design & Elan design team LOA 11.95m BEAM 3.87m DRAFT 2.40m ENGINE 40 HP SAIL AREA main 51.56[m.sup.2], genoa (107%) 37.60[m.sup.2], gennaker 135[m.sup.2] WATER CAPACITY 310 litres FUEL CAPACITY 170 litres DISPLACEMENT 7,500kg PRICE POA
Dubai based Premier Composites has been prolific in recent years with a variety of grand prix yachts including the Farr 400, so we can expect plenty of performance from their new flagship model, the Premier 45. The yard tells me the first one has just been sent to Germany where a lot of interest was shown at the Dusseldorf Boat Show.
Designed by Botin-Carkeek. the partnership that penned Team New Zealand's TP52, the Premier 45 is built with a carbon fibre foam cored hull and deck designed to give high stability and light displacement. The foils are also interesting--a deep draft of nine feet is reduced to six by a lifting keel.
According to the company, the rounded hull design has been developed to excel in downwind conditions and maintain stable handling offshore. Also included in the package is a Southern Spars carbon mast and boom, retractable bowsprit and Harken deck gear while standing rigging is Nitronic rod.
Accommodation will house a race crew of seven in three double cabins--including an ensuite owner's berth forward.
The Premier 45's cruising credentials look good as well, thanks to teak clad cockpit that has sufficient mouldings to lounge on and there's even a swim platform nicely positioned between the twin steering wheels. Stylish touches include throttle controls with B&G instrumentation hidden behind sliding teak doors.
www.pct.ae / www.vicsail.com
MODEL Premier 45 DESIGN Botin--Carkeek LOA 13.72m BEAM 4.15m DRAFT 2.75m keel down & 1.83m retracted ENGINE Volvo Penta 55 HP SAIL AREA mainsail: 69.8[m.sup.2] jib: 50.6[m.sup.2], spinnaker: 190[m.sup.2] WATER CAPACITY 300 litres FUEL CAPACITY 215 litres DISPLACEMENT (light): 8,034kg PRICE Euro 423,381 ex factory
I test sailed this Croatian built Salona 35 recently and was impressed both by the build standard and its snappy performance, not to mention the sharp price. Salona has had representation in Australia for a few years--including Phil King's 44 that made the podium in this year's Hobart--but sales have been limited, so the new 2012 distributorship now run by Sydney based US Yachts is a very positive move. An evolution of the Salona 34 that continues to do well on the European club race circuit, the 35 sports a more spacious cockpit, reworked hull and comfortable below decks.
Built to rate well on IRC (a sistership in Europe has a TCC of 1.001), the tall sided hull has minimum flares all round with just enough rake and shear to make her easy on the eye, while the wedge shaped waterline and flattened-out stern section is intended to ensure she goes upwind and downwind nimbly. Carrying the beam aft to give enough buoyancy to hold the Salona's centralised rig--stepped near the keel--puts the centre of effort nicely where it's most effective. Also, using the full beam at the transom gives the cockpit plenty of room and this is cleverly enhanced by the use of modest diameter (32 inch) twin wheels rotating through moulded slots in the gunwales, which also gives easy boarding and access to the swim ladder when in cruise mode.
The two-cabin layout and saloon is fairly traditional with galley and full sized navigation station aft, along with the bathroom while the lounge-dinette lies forward.
MODEL Salona 35 DESIGNERS Design J & J LOA 10.40m BEAM 3.36m DRAFT 1.75m (shallow: 1.5m) racing 2.15m ENGINE Yanmar 21 HP 3YM20C sail drive SAIL AREA mainsail 32[m.sup.2], genoa 37.5[m.sup.2] WATER CAPACITY 200 litres FUEL CAPACITY 90 litres DISPLACEMENT 5,300kg (5,080kg for infused) PRICE $233,000 (base boat), $279,174 (review boat with options)
SYDNEY YACHTS GTS 37
The re-emergence of Sydney Yachts under managing director Darren Williams has resulted in two new designs, the GTS 43 which has had early success and the upcoming GTS 37. In last year's Rolex Sydney Hobart Warwick Sherman's Occasional Coarse Language Too won it's division for the veteran sailor who is a 12-time veteran of the other Category i race in Australia--the Lord Howe--but was making his first foray down south.
The company has a distinguished history to build on, with the Sydney 38 the most successful Australian One Design ever produced, and the 2004 Sydney 32 carried that tradition further. The new boats, penned by Ker Design, have been built with IRC success in mind and the GTS 43 has also distinguished itself in the light airs of Asia, always a good barometer of an efficient race boat.
Originally built in the company's Nowra yard, they are now built offshore under a manufacturing agreement with Salona Yachts. Both boats reflect the modern trend of combining speed with comfort below decks. These yachts have three double cabins, an enclosed head forward, a fitted galley and a full size navigation area. The L-shaped galley is moulded, along with much of the interior to increase structural rigidity. Other weight saving features include an open plan layout for the stern bunks. Elongated windows ensure plenty of natural light while stainless hand holds run throughout the cabin roof. Continuing the tradition of the Hobart proven Sydney 38, large cockpits offer plenty of room for full race crews or lounging when in cruise mode.
MODEL Sydney GTS 37 DESIGN Jason Ker LOA 11.36m BEAM 3.52m DRAFT 2.3m ENGINE Yanmar 22.4 kW 30 SHP SAIL AREA main 45.1[m.sup.2], jib 35.54[m.sup.2], asymmetric 150[m.sup.2] WATER CAPACITY 100 litres FUEL CAPACITY 110 litres DISPLACEMENT 4,950 kg (total weight) PRICE $318,000
X-Yachts' new pocket performance cruiser, the Xp 33, hit the water recently in Denmark With performance features similar to competitors, such as integrated retractable bowsprit and vacuum infused hull, this boat is squarely aimed at getting you on the podium. The first Australian one is expected in May according to distributor Andrew Parkes who is a regular attendee at European X-Yacht regattas.
First impressions of the Xp 33 is of very clean lines, plumb ends and a European style cockpit with tiller steering for best feel. The retractable bowsprit allows the 33 footer to carry a large asymmetric while the outboard rod shrouds are integrated into a carbon strengthened grid to ensure the brand's famed rigidity is maintained. According to the company, freeboard has been reduced while more beam aft ensures plenty of buoyancy and stability to carry the sail plan and aid running.
As standard the bulbed keel is lead and a deep spade rudder should give the tiller steering plenty of power when heeled. Spars are alloy John Mast as standard but a carbon option is available.
Below deck the interior looks to be a comfortable place with sizeable windows, full galley and dark wood table integrated into the keel stepped mast. The aft berths are open plan while the forward double V-berth is conventionally laid out with manual head adjoining it. The structural bulkheads are made from plywood, bonded to the hull and deck while the furniture is partially crafted in composite materials.
MODEL Xp33 DESIGN X-Yacht LOA 9.99m BEAM 3.21m DRAFT 1.90m ENGINE 20 HP SAIL AREA main 33[m.sup.2] std or 36[m.sup.2] racing, genoa 29.2[m.sup.2], asymmetric 93[m.sup.2] WATER CAPACITY 110 litres FUEL CAPACITY 50 litres DISPLACEMENT 4,300kg PRICE $230,000 (base boat)