I sailed on both boats last Thursday, invited along with the sailmakers and hardware guys to help evaluate sail sizes, rigging and set up for input to class rules. Pix herewith in no particular order.
Wind was 10-12 then quickly built to 16 with a max of 18. I based the wind speed on the consensus of four professional sailors that were on board at the time. The boat cruises along nicely downwind in that breeze – between 12 and 14 knots of boat speed. I based that on my GPS which was in my pocket.
The boat feels very balanced with good bite on the helm. We were approaching the top end of the sails at 18 but both sets of upwind sails were made oversized and a little fuller than the boat wants, especially the jibs in my opinion. Once the sails get sorted, the boat will go upwind in 20+ very happily.
Downwind the boat was very easy to sail, the rudder is plenty big and the balance is right. At one point in time sailing up wind we just bore off with sails still in, not something you can do on a lot of boats these days. Al J. nailed the rig height, it will not change. Also got the keel weight correct, the boat is light and stiff.
The boat feels plenty stiff when you get on it at the dock, the sail controls are all in their normal positions forward of the helmsman, everything is easy to pull on. There is no hatch for the engine, it goes below deck. The new little electric motor, the Torqeedo, might be the best bet.
The lifelines are low. It is my understanding that you will be able to have legs out upwind under developing class rules. Sailing upwind heeled over, you could sit quite comfortably up on the high side. You won’t gastro-impale hike like you do on a M-24 – they planned it that way. Legs are in downwind, plenty of room in the cockpit.
We sailed with three on one boat and four on the other, the goal is to be similar in crew weight to an Etchells, three big or four small, your choice. Good times!