New boat test: RM 970

How many lux­u­ries would you be will­ing to give up for a crack­ing sail­ing boat? Gra­ham Snook tests the RM 970 in La Rochelle to find out

Yachting Monthly - - VIEW FROM THE HELM -

‘She’s a real sailor's boat with a great cock­pit lay­out.’ Gra­ham Snook went to put her through her paces

What sort of boat would a Vendée Globe Race win­ner buy? Well, if you’re François Gabart, the Vendée’s youngest win­ner, it’s an RM970. If that doesn’t con­vince you that this quirky ply­wood boat is worth the once over, she's also the 2017 Euro­pean Yacht of the Year in the fam­ily cruiser cat­e­gory. Whether she’ll suit your fam­ily is a ques­tion only you can an­swer.

Per­for­mance

The last RM I tested, the smaller 890, reached over 9 knots in 20 knots of ap­par­ent wind and I was re­ally hop­ing for a nice breeze on this test, too. Sadly we set off in a true wind top­ping out at 0.7 knots. Luck­ily the sky was clear and the sun was hot so we soon had a light sea breeze fill­ing in. When the breeze did ar­rive it be­came ap­par­ent that the wind an­gle sen­sor wasn’t cal­i­brated, so all ap­par­ent wind an­gle read­ings are ap­prox­i­mate.

In the light con­di­tions I was im­pressed with how re­spon­sive and light she was the helm. She had Goïot steer­ing, which worked like a dream – the only damp­ener on the ex­pe­ri­ence was the Ray­ma­rine au­topi­lot ram squeak­ing an­noy­ingly when the arm came out of its hous­ing, but there was just one R-spring clip to dis­con­nect the arm from the steer­ing sys­tem and si­lence it. The steer­ing was well bal­anced, smooth and felt great; nicely ma­noeu­vrable with­out be­ing twitchy. It was easy to sail her to make the most of the wake of pass­ing ships.

She cruises along nicely with the stan­dard Volvo D1-20 en­gine, do­ing 4.5 knots at 2,100rpm.

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