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Single Stick

by John Curnow, Editor, 9 Jan 21:00 UTC
The new Amel 60 © Berret-Racoupeau Yacht Design

So welcome back, and Happy New Year. May it be joyful, plentiful, fun and safe for you and all your clan.

Many companies start a product line with the biggest one produced first, and then deliver the smaller siblings thereafter. Amel bucked that trend, and launched their 50 first. Soon at Boot Düsseldorf, Amel will more completely unveil their new 60, where a scale model can be reviewed and absorbed, in light of the additional information and specifications they will release at the same time.

Apart from continuing with the total refresh of the look and feel of their products, clearly the most evident alteration from times gone by is the single stick. Solid lifelines and in-mast furling, along with a cutter rig, and full pilothouse, no doubt with extendable awning out aft, all show that she will take the lead of the 50. Perhaps just like the little sister, which uses the main mast from the Amel 55, the new 60 will use the big stick from the current flagship, the 64. We'll wait and see...

Just before going to press, as it were, Beneteau also revealed their new 'baby' of the seventh generation, the Oceanis 30.1. If for no other reason than it was the antithesis of the lead point about Amel, it just piqued my curiosity. A closer look also showed four keel options to match super-sexy items like square top mains and asymmetric bags! When it is trailable, and has the lifting keel with significantly deeper draft than the fixed one, well, it kind of secured this here very paragraph in this editorial. She is to be revealed to the world at Düsseldorf.

Excess Catamarans is Groupe Beneteau's newest brand. They too will be revealing more at Düsseldorf, keeping in mind that the real thing will be revealed at Cannes, later on in the year. Here too there is a product line, which eventually may be up to four models strong. It is not entirely clear as yet if the first will be at the bottom or the top of the register, or perhaps bang smack in the middle, but again, it looks like a lot will be become clearer in just a short while.

The catamaran market is strong, and the space/shallow draft/bang for your buck argument is well versed. Excess have been both clever and coy in the development of their overall picture, but it is clear that there will be no flying bridges, and you will steer from out aft on both sides, to increase the engagement aspect of what you are out there to do.

If most of the volume production catamaran builders do something like 200 units per annum, then Lagoon (the Groupe's existing brand) is really something of a powerhouse at more like 400 units. Ascertaining where Excess will sit in the matrix of weight, pace, specification, comfort, feel, and price has been a little challenging to determine. Suffice to say, it will sit far enough away, both visually and actually, from Lagoon, but not stretch out to say the realms of Outremer. This sits pretty much inside the Groupe's very successful philosophy of more for less, so again, we look forward to more detail as it arrives.

Now they have already begun appointing dealers, which is terrific, and also shows that there will certainly be sales targets. Again, experience indicates that the world's largest boatbuilder knows exactly what's going on, and has a plan for this very exciting market segment. Bring it on, please.

So if all of that has been all about new, then it seems very apt to now talk about end of life. No. Not human euthanasia, even though we do talk about boats as 'she'. Rather, there are now a lot of FRP boats from the 60s, and especially the 70s when production got really ramped up, that are totally beyond this point on the space/time continuum.

It is a global problem, and recently BoatUS talked about a pilot programme up in the North East of the USA. This is great, and don't get me wrong, but it is kind of the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Other jurisdictions are entwined in their own bureaucracy, which is a real shame. Some are trying to kick things off, and we are going to be keeping a good weather eye on this subject, moving forward.

Alas, in a way it is like a tsunami. We recorded the original tremor, the seismic buoys signalled a wave height, and hopefully, the early warning systems enacted the authorities to implement their plans. Yes, there are a myriad of legal and practical aspects to it all, and it can be a bit mind boggling, if you let it. But it is occurring. Soon, more and more will sink on moorings, blow over in yards, literally crumble on trailers, split, wash up and make a mess on pretty coastlines, and whatever. And of course, many are abandoned, with little or no prospect of recovering anything from the registered owner.

Perhaps it was with all of that in mind, that when the images from the South Australian Police of Abby Sunderland's Class 40, Wild Eyes, another spectre was raised. What to do with composite boats? Abby was down in the Southern Indian Ocean near the Kerguelen Islands at time when there were mainly just fish and spy subs in the area. Knocked down, and dismasted, her already ill-fated voyage was officially over.

We won't get into who of the many charging around the oceans at the time did or did not do what, but suffice to say with no more record to go and achieve, the attempts stopped. Abby's own accomplishments at sea were many, and deserved. In the intervening years, she has certainly gone off and did other things, including three and a soon-to-be-born fourth child. She said at the time she wanted to complete the voyage, and maybe she will at some point. It was interesting to read Joe Cooper's comments about maybe she will take on Jeanne Socrates' efforts, provided that Abby gets to that point, and Jeanne completes her circumnavigation, and I hope both occur and I am around to see it all come to pass! (Albeit that me being here for one of those events is highly unlikely read more than improbable, but I can dream...)

Yet our real point here is that talking about re-using glass fibres is one thing. Man-made materials offer us an entirely different conundrum. It has been ages since I had to know more than just the term 'polymers', but if there is to be success of any recycling/appropriate disposal programmes that are going to get up and sweep the world by storm, then we need to address the entire waste issue now. We already have oceans full of plastic, and we cannot just put it in a hole in the dirt, like we are sweeping the problem under the carpet.

David Turton from Seabin is correct when he comments about stopping the problem at the point of origination, not after the fact. The car companies started on a recycling for the future and percentage of build that was reusable almost two decades ago. We, the sailors, also now need to look at the situation holistically.

In finishing the point, we used to paint advertising onto billboards/buildings. Then we printed massive sheets of paper and stuck them on. Now for ages they are all vinyl banners. Single use, and then they're landfill. Some get made into reusable shopping bags, but it is a small proportion. It does however serve to highlight the need for an end to end, or more precisely, a full circle solution, and one we need to have sooner, rather than later...

None of any of this takes away from the fact that if you buy a well-built boat originally, you are producing the smallest possible footprint at the time, and also creating the longest possible lifespan, moving forward. This is a good thing. A very good thing.

OK. Today you will find that we have information for you about preserving fruit and veg for a transat voyage, inspirational stuff with a transpac voyage, ARC, Thailand Boat Show, France with Red Roo, the islands of Bass Strait, training with Mission Ocean, the Pacific, Hugh and Heather Bacon on finding inspiration, cell phones and emergencies, the Ocean Cruising Club providing pathways to get young people out to sea, as well as much more.

So you see, there are stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please do savour... We're really enjoying bringing you the best stories from all over the globe. If you want to add to that, then please make contact with us via email.

Remember too, if you want to see what is happening in the other Hemisphere, go to the top of the Sail-WorldCruising home page and the drag down menu on the right, select the other half of the globe and, voila, it's all there for you.

In the meantime, do you love being on the ocean? Well remember to love them back too. They need our help. Now more than ever! Until next time...

John Curnow

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