The deal with heel
So, what’s she like to sail? Although our test was only the third time the black 3Di sails had been hoisted on this very first 50, it did not take long to answer: utterly addictive.
We had relatively light winds; largely between 5 and 10 knots. But this is a vessel that needs little encouragement to create her own wind, especially once some heel is induced. Her optimum heel angles are high (20-25º upwind and 15-22º reaching) to gain maximum waterline length and righting moment for minimum wetted surface.
Seeing a hull in build from below makes it easier to appreciate how the 50 is designed to sail at a high degree of heel. She has very sharp bow sections, together with a long yet minimal wetted surface that extends to the chined quarters when heeled.
For the first half an hour or so I sailed her like that upwind as if in a trance. In just 5 knots of true wind, we were making 7-7.5 knots, sliding along with barely a wake. I was astonished. Five knots true! An owner would scarcely ever need to fire up the engine!
Enjoyment escalates with the addition of the vast kite. We were quickly matching the 7- to 10-knot true wind speeds, the base of the white, red and blue kite kissing the water as we pointed up to around 60° apparent.
At this angle the bottom leading edge of the windward rudder is exposed, baring the sawtooth profile that Juan K compares to the tubercles of a whale. The rudders are a development of those designed for Rambler 88: “As the boat is always sailed heeled, the tip of the windward rudder is touching the water, so you have to design the rudders to be sailed like this – in and out of the water.”