Post of the Week
Well, actually this post is from last week, but it is a pretty good summary (although Melges may not much like it) from anarchist Eyesailor of some popular and soon to be popular sportboats.
The Melges 20. The emperor has no clothes!!!!!! This will be a very controversial one. This boat does not work well at all. Melges have taken 18 inches off the rig but the hull shape is too tender for a no-hiking boat. The rig is stiff and does not de-power. It does not go well upwind. Discussions around the dock centered on the view that it is overpowered upwind and underpowered downwind. We also noted that it buries its bow downwind in the worst manner. Other comments from the dock included "it hobby horses through the chop" (didnt notice it myself). Speed downwind? The SB3 was faster. Upwind? The Viper just walked by us upwind. Good ergonomics inside the cockpit do not rescue a flawed design!
Sorry guys…but after the brilliance of the M24 and the M32, this one does not measure up. More work needed.
The Laser SB3. It may be polyester and aluminum but it works. With the main bladed out by the backstay, the SB3 marched upwind in this breeze with no problem. It turned the corner and had a satisfying planing experience. It is clearly heavier and clunkier than the hiking boats. The loads are higher and more beef is needed to sail than the hiking boats. I still hate the disabled hand rails but in the non-hiking category it sails better than the M20. There is a distinct change in tune from the Laser reps. Instead of pitching it as the all-conquering Laser SB3, they have more grounded ambitions of launching some one design fleets but also participating in sportsboat multiclass racing on a handicap basis. Read on.