November 14th Newsletter: Italy Trip, Mystic Delivery & Ocean Passage South!

The Sly / Grand Soleil 42 in Viareggio.

This past weekend I flew to Italy with a former SSC student and member, James C, who has become one of the most successful racers on the Long Island Sound in his Hanse 375.  James has been looking for something faster, better in light air and larger for cruising with his growing family.  

We have looked at Swan 45’s and 42’s (phrf -3 – too deep and large in the case of the 45) and Xp 44’s (PHRF 18 but too large and too deep), and a number of other options including the Hanse 430e (phrf 63),  J133 (both somewhat slow compared with the benchmark of a Club Swan 42).   I started looking for boats in Europe and came across the Sly 42, which was part of Grand Soleil.  The numbers looked great and according to owners she is actually faster than a Swan 42 upwind.  She would fit in Jame’s club, both for length and draft. Unfortunately, none were ever imported into the US, so we flew to Italy.

The test sail was delightful, really good all around yacht.  The white in the Tuscany hills is marble!

The Sly 42 has 3 staterooms, 2 heads and reasonably nice woodwork inside with outstanding performance.  Construction includes an all carbon grid with carbon fibre hull reinforcements and epoxy resin.   The rig is carbon, with a T keel (there is a torpedo shaped bulb hanging just under the keel blade).  Truly state of the art, even by today’s standards, and in many ways the Sly 42 was way ahead of her time.   

Upwind she can be faster than a Swan 42, an all out raceboat with virtually no interior, as the Sly 42 has a bit less beam, especially at the waterline.   The Sail Area displacement (SA/D) ratio is 27. The Hanse 430e is 22 by comparison, the Hanse 40 is 20, and a typical fast cruiser (along with most of the boats in the SSC fleet) are is in the 18-19 range.  A more typical cruiser, say a 2010 Beneteau 40, has a SA/D ratio of 14.6, and even less with the furling mast which almost all of them had. 

A new Grand Soleil 48.

We also went to the Grand Soleil yard, to see the new Grand Soleils in production.  Grand Soleil is developing a new 44′ yacht for racing and fast cruising, which was also of interest to James.  Since Hanse shut down the Var project, I have likewise been considering a new yacht line I think our members will find interesting and which I can get excited about.  We sold quite a few Hanse yachts to SSC members.  Anyone who has looked at yachts with me knows the importance I place on glassed in grids and bulkheads.  

Hanse still glasses the bulkheads to the hull (and they used to glass the bulkhead to the deck, which was fabulous).  However, with most production yards such as Beneteau and Jenneau, the grids are glued in, often in a way that you can not inspect the grid bonds.   Beneteau and Jenneau for many years have not glassed the bulkheads in, making for a heavier, weaker boat.  Any higher end or performance boat will glass the grid and bulkheads to the hull, as the strength to weight ratio makes it superior to any other method of construction.

A cruising version of the new 48 – no carbon in the grid or laminate.  The grid is mostly glassed in, along with the bulkheads.

Grand Soleil does a very impressive job of glassing or tabbing the bulkheads and grid into the hull.   Everything you would want tabbed in is.  On the more performance orientated boats, bulkheads are cored carbon, while the woodwork is also foam cored to minimize weight. The grid, rudder, mast and some of the hull is also carbon with the performance orientated GS line, which presently includes a 48 and 34.  Of course, what good is a fast boat if she is not beautiful!!  The Italians likewise excel in this area.  

A race version of the 48, showing the carbon grid, chainplates and reinforcements in the hull.  This one is a little further along, the main plumbing and electrical runs are done.

It is interesting to compare a production builder like Beneteau to a semi-custom yard like Grand Soleil.  With Beneteau and most production yards, after the hull is molded, the boat is assembled on a production line and out the door in about 2 days.   

With Grand Soleil, the process takes about 2 months!   Obviously a lot more care is put into the building, and I was pleased to see that Grand Soleil uses tinned copper wire (unlike the production yards) for the electrical system with excellent service points provided for anything you might need access to down the road, like in the steering pedestal.  A boat like Grand Soleil costs 20-30% more than one of the big 4 production yards, but I think it is money well spent.  

We would appreciate if you would check out the Grand Soleil line and let us know what you think.   If we move ahead with them, we probably will bring in a new one in the 38-40′ size range.  

Grand Soleil Website

The Marble Church in Florence.

I had never been around Florence, so Monday evening we wondered around the town.  To say it was stunning is an understatement.  It’s like an outdoor version of the Met.  

If a new boat (or new to you boat) is of interest, please let us know. The former member we showed several boats to last week has an accepted offer on C&C 99. 

We have helped many members and students find their perfect yacht.  With our 40 years in the business and an excellent reputation, we can help you find the best boat for your needs and cruising plans.  Avalon, our Hanse 400 listing has been hauled for the season.  Kimba will be sailed over from CPYC shortly.  

For info on our Hanse 400 for sale, please go to;

Avalon Hanse 400 Listing

For info on our Hanse 430 for sale, please go to;

Kimba Hanse 430 Listing

Fleet Update – Mystic to Norwalk delivery

Almost all the big boats have been winterized.   Ensigns are in service year round and will be moved to the inside shortly.  This weekend we will be bringing the C&C 32 and Contest 36 back to Norwalk.  We are leaving early Saturday morning from Norwalk to drive up to Mystic. There is space if you want to join us on the delivery.  

This Sunday we do the prep class for the Offshore trip, which leaves just after Thanksgiving on the Jonmeri 40.  


SSC is pleased to offer Frostbiting every  Sunday to December 15th, with a New Year’s Race on January 1st 2020!  Rigging starts at noon with the first start at 12:30 pm. The final race will start by 2 pm. 

In the running!

As before, members can race for free as crew.  Non-members or Captains pay $20.  Only members can Captain an Ensign.  Kids race for free.  All crew who are not family members need to fill out a registration form and pay the $20 per person fee. 

This weekend, the conditions look iffy, with winds well over 20 knots, so racing likely will be cancelled.  One design racing is the best way to refine your sailing skills, and learn what makes a boat fast.  We guarantee you will become a better sailor, and of course, the thrill and excitement of racing is great fun.  We look forward to seeing you out there.  Please use our MeetUp page to sign up for racing and check for cancellations;

Sound Sailing Center MeetUp page

Ocean Passage – Jonmeri Update

Last chance to sign on for our Ocean Passage south 2019!  The Norwalk to Bermuda leg is full.  Our Jonmeri 40 ‘Vega’ will be Captained by Martinus van Breems.   The cost for the Ocean Passage (including food) is $2,350, or $1,880 for members.  You will have to pay transportation expenses, along with customs /immigration fees. Note that repeat students pay 1/2 price, and those who have done it more than 2x pay just a share of expenses.  There is no prerequisite for this trip, and this helps meet the ocean experience requirements for the 2020 Newport Bermuda Race, which is coming soon!

The Jonmeri bottom is finally done, and we are now sanding the decks and building the bimini.   The new engine will probably go in tomorrow, and we are making progress on the bimini and all the other projects like the new electronics.  

The St George Walkabout!

Sun., Nov. 29th – Earliest departure from Norwalk/Mystic. Note that we often have a 2-3 day delay (or longer) to find an appropriate weather window.  One of our goals to arrive in Bermuda in time for the Christmas Walkabout in St George on Friday, Dec. 6th, an amazing and delightful event which is basically a huge block party!  A highlight is visiting many of the finest homes in Bermuda.        

Fri., Dec. 6th – Likely arrival in Bermuda,  2nd leg crew should arrive if possible.  There is room on the 2nd leg for 1-2 more.  

Sat-Sun, Dec. 7-8th – Likely departure from Bermuda. 

Thurs.-Sat., Dec. 12th-14th – Likely arrival in St Thomas.  We normally spend the first night upon landfall moored off Caneel Bay, go for a swim and a hike.  A well deserved treat!