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Posts Tagged ‘bieker’

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HR_20170305_DSC6086_©LaurensMorel_w

While there will always be ratings complaints whenever two different boats race, it’s excellent to see the high-performance cruising cat fleet playing nice with one another for the always-enjoyable St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.  Here’s one Gunboat 60 sailor’s breakdown of the performance and variables between the Gunboats, HH, Outremer, and the blazing fast and nosey Bieker 53 Fujin, shot above by Lorens Morel with a decent gallery here.  Hit the thread to talk to crews from many of the boats, and thanks to SA’er ‘pyrat’ for the report. DISCLAIMER: SA has ties to every boat in this fleet, with Gunboat (and Outremer, a related company) and HH both advertising here, and Paul Bieker a long time SAer, which is why we’re not giving any opinions, and instead relying on a Gunboat sailors’ report.  Got your own report from a Caribbean regatta? Send it in and see your name on the world famous Front Page.

Fujin is an entirely different beast from the rest of the class. Primarily, she’s about 10 tons lighter than the lightest GB, and something like 18 tons lighter than the HH… Fujin to me is much closer to a true racing multi than ‘what the rest of the world’ considers an offshore/luxury/cruising multi. That said, they cruise and sail that thing offshore and big props to them – very cool boat, very well sailed, and they deserve the trophy and then some – so no hate here at all, just saying, when you get past by that thing upwind (from a GB60) at nearly double your own boat speed, you realize that it would be silly to try and gauge your performance against their mark. I think it is equally as silly to try to handicap that machine with a GB, HH, or Outremer. Its like trying to rate a Swan 60 against an IMOCA 60.

The Outremer is an impressive boat for roughly a third of the price of the larger cats. She stuck on our hip boat-for-boat every race, and corrected out on top of us each time. I will point out that it was a very heavy weather regatta, and she likely benefitted from a smaller rig & sail plan vs the GB’s who required a reef some days, but still, props to them for sailing well and keeping the pressure on us on the water.

The HH was a monster upwind – walking over the entire fleet every windward leg (except Fujin) – but a total dog downwind. Word is that the next one (hull#3) is a different beast from this first one, and that ‘dog’ will not be among the adjectives that describe her on any point of sail. Very curious to see how she goes.

The most interesting matchup of the regatta for me was the two GB60’s. Flow has gone a bit further than Arethusa in the way of turbo’ing the boat (larger & lighter mainsail, primarily), but is still very much a comfortable/luxury cruising cat, and absolutely walked away from Arethusa on every leg. Both boats were well sailed without any major fuckups, slow-downs, or penalties. While it could be argued that Arethusa has fewer miles on the course and is further back along the learning curve with performance multi racing, the gap between the boats was surprising and impressive. Props to Flow for pushing the boat hard and showing everyone what’s capable on a 60 (or any of the NID boats). Hoping to see them, and eventually Arethusa, give the HH’s and faster 62’s a good fight in the future.

As far as ratings go – I think the new attempt is neccessary, well-intended, and properly backed. The leaders of the OA are going about it in the right way and spending the neccessary time, money, and effort on the algorithm. The behind the scenes meeting of the minds was impressive and eye-opening. The idea is to end this old argument (see above!!) about cruising vs racing multis. It is a fair argument to say that it is silly to go ‘so far’ with turboing a boat but not actually go all the way to ‘fully stripped race boat’. Most of the owners know that and agree. BUT they bought a fast boat because fast is fun, and the racing scene is addictive and competitive, and they want to have a chance against the other boats in the class, so an arms race is inevitable. If the new system works as it is supposed to, the owners who wish to live comfortably aboard their cruising boats for regattas (no stripping weight) will be able to compete fairly against the owners who DO go all the way towards full race boat. In that way, you can make the fast/cruising cat class whatever the hell you want to suit your preferences! To the naysayers who grumble that it is absurd to race around with an interior – look the hell around!! How many boats would be on the line at ANY of the Caribbean regattas if only dedicated racers were allowed? And how many sailors would get to experience racing? And learn to sail their boat better/faster? Get real guys!

 

March 10th, 2017 by admin

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It may look a bit like vaporware from a futuristic basketcase, (and it certainly isn’t going to win any ‘Prettiest Yacht Awards’) but in fact this is nothing of the sort; it’s a 53-footer from the desk of ultra-fast BMW/Oracle/Team USA alum Paul Bieker, it’s already under construction at Gold Coast Yachts in the Virgin Islands, and it’s a ‘high-performance cruising cat’ for the Seattle-based wners of the current J/125 Hamachi, though the new fish will begin her career racing in the Caribbean.

For more on the boat or to ask the new owners about it, head to the Bieker blog, and then over to the thread; or just read on.  Bob Perry’s been doing design reviews in magazines for decades, so let’s follow his lead; here’s a review of the design from one of Sailing Anarchy’s most verbose designers, Chris Ostlind.  

Personally, I like that Paul and Eric have pulled design cues from Polynesian boats while subtly mixing the forms with modern thinking. The raised Manu forms at the bow tips are very definitely Polynesian in execution and I feel that they serve both functionality, as well as providing a counter point to the same conformed styling we see in so many boats derived from “conventional wisdom” ideology.

There is a distinct, wave piercing capacity in the bow forms, while not giving away that precious interior volume that a cruising cat needs to provide the kinds of creature comforts that are the hallmark of a great cruising cat. The Manu shape at the bow gives a pronounced cutwater shape that parts oncoming seas and that philosophy holds down the length of the bow as it makes use of the beveled edge that gracefully submits to the need for a flat surface for going forward safely. That same shape enhances aero efficiency by allowing the wind and water to slide over the form rather than be forced to make abrupt changes of direction, which guarantee form drag losses. The shapes also enhance the strength of the bow through styling engineered geometry and that can ultimately save laminate weight in the build and potentially help with costs, while reducing weight in the ends of the boat. All kinds of thinking strata involved here.

Render8The riskiest component of the design, to me, is the incorporation of C-boards to give foil assist. At typical cruising speeds and realities, these boards are maybe a nod to current fashionable ideas more than they serve as a real boost to sailing that most cruisers are not going to be doing while underway. That’s another argument for another time, though. I get that the shapes of the boards can be incorporated into the hull shapes with a beneficial result on interior volume, so perhaps that is really what the creators are after here and the lifting foil aspect simply came along as an interesting side application. The T-foil rudder are definitely a good idea for a cruising boat as they allow for a more stable ride overall with little of the penalty issues that the forward boards entail.

The deck house is a nod towards the history of the Polynesian voyaging Cat, to be sure and I fid it refreshing in its approach and as a counter point to all the Space Station looking cats we see in huge numbers. I find the uniqueness of this take on a design to be a terrific statement in stepping away from the drudge of “me-too” cat design that tends to make all the boats in the marina look like Accords and Camry’s… and it gets the sailors out into the elements a bit where they can enjoy much better forward vision and a sense of really being able to look around and take in what is happening to their boat in the environment. Yes, it’s going to take a real special person to own and operate this boat, but I think that’s exactly what the design team were shooting for. Something interactive, rather than simply another layer of structure that typically stands in the way of the experience of sailing in the weather, sun and wind. A lot of existing cats of this size are like tooling around in a medical waiting room, where this boat will be putting the owner, sailor directly back into the place where it all started several thousand years ago; definitely an attempt to reconcile our collective willingness to encounter a sterile sailing experience and call it good.

A pleasure to behold and contemplate.

 

August 21st, 2014 by admin

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