Big Pimpin’
Have you ever sailed a cruising yacht and wondered how much faster it might be with a good set of racing sails – and with some of the heavy cruising equipment removed? Claes Eliasson, a Norwegian dealer for Bavaria Yachts and a keen club racing sailor, is leading a team with a mission to find out.

Cruisers are of course designed to have a high load-carrying capacity and the best ones sail fairly well even when heavily laden with optional extras like bathing platforms, bow thrusters, and cockpit tables. But what if the typical options budget was instead devoted to boosting the boat’s performance? How much difference would that actually make?

You need the right boat to start off with. Some cruisers have far more scope for performance optimization than others, and Eliasson knew that he had a good candidate for the project he had in mind when the naval architect Maurizio Cossutti showed him the plans for the Bavaria C42. That boat went on to win the European Yacht Of The Year Award, on the strength of its sailing performance, but Eliasson ended up using its smaller sister, the C38 – Cossutti’s most recent design for Bavaria – as his test boat. Read on.