It’s official, there will be no keelboats at the next Olympics in 2024, which will be held in the Mediterranean, in Marseille (the IOC has opted for a double medal for kitefoil, male and female). Sailing is safe, say the purists: it will not be contaminated by boats and crews competing in offshore races, i.e. on the high seas.
But the possibility of having a cabin boat suitable for long voyages has given rise to a new generation of very interesting 8/10 metre boats.
In the meantime, a years-long battle has been waged between the World Sailing Federation and many national federations. Not least the Italian one, as its president Francesco Ettorre recently told us (click HERE).
When, years ago, rumours began to circulate that a cabin boat suitable for long-range voyages could be included in the Olympic classes for 2024, the shipyards had a good idea. What better promotion to sell boats than to get ‘normal’ sailors to buy a boat to participate in the Olympics.
Clothing companies such as Nike and Puma have built much of their success on the suggestion of wearing clothing used by Olympic and sports champions. And what about car brands like Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault who use Formula 1 to “sell” their cars better and at a better price?
So there was a real race between shipyards and designers from all over the world to see who could come up with a boat in the shortest possible time that would meet the demands of the Olympics “organisers”, who wanted a high-performance 6 to 10-metre boat that was not too expensive and could be driven by just two people without any problems.
The following is an overview of the extraordinary projects and achievements that are now (for now) orphaned by the Olympic showcase (but not necessarily in 2028…).
Bruce Farr, one of the most important yacht designers in the world, has recently launched his Farr X2 project. 9.20 meters long and 3.15 meters wide, the boat has a displacement of 2,500 kg, 1,000 of which are ballast for extreme stability.
A Slovenian shipyard was the first to set out in the hope of becoming one of the new Olympic boats. It has built the L30, a very light 9.58-metre boat (1820 kg) with a dual cruising and racing soul, powered by an electric motor. An interesting multi-purpose boa.
The Germans at Dehler didn’t give it a second thought, they were already planning to put a new 10-metre boat into production. And so the Dehler 30 OD was born, a high-performance boat that is easy to handle and beautiful to look at. It is also suitable for sport cruising. At 10.30 metres long and 3.28 metres wide, she is one of the most innovative and powerful boats in the field of Olympic contenders. Click here to find out more
Beneteau small-sized offshore racers
The French, backed by their federation and by the fact that the 2024 Olympics were at home, believed a lot in the Offshore Olympics project. Beneteau acquired in 2018 the Seascape shipyardwhich has two sporty models perfect for complying with the Olympic ban. They are the First 24 and the First 27 both designed by small cabin boat wizard Sam Manuard.
As for the smaller First 24, it is 7.30 metres long and 2.50 metres wide, making it trailerable.
7.99 meters long and 2.54 meters wide, the First 27 has a displacement of 1,400 kg and is equipped with a long or short keel.
In September 2019, the other major French shipyard (of the same ownership as Beneteau) also launched a boat of just over 10 metres, perfect for adoption for the offshore Olympic project. Her name is Sun Fast 3300, she’s 10.49 metres long and an impressive 3.40 metres wide. It is certainly an ultra-modern boat that bears the signature of two designers, Guillame Verdier and Daniel Andrieu, who are at the top of their game when it comes to ocean-going hulls for solo or double racing. The Jeanneau Sun Fast 330 is a real “bomb”.
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