Tuesday, March 8, 2016

J/112 E Review

It's refreshing to see that J/Boats is paying more attention to style and aesthetics with their "E" series of boats. The company has always produced good looking boats but I think of them as being good looking in the sense that they are always well proportioned and functionally efficient.  However, in the E series they have gone beyond their tried and true, but somewhat pedestrian "form follows function" aesthetic standards. As I look at the stylistic progression from the J/97E to the 122E and now the new 112E, it is clear that they are taking the artistic aspect of yacht design more seriously and I think that is a very good thing.

Another interesting aspect of the newest E boat is that while the 97E and 122E were both upgrades of existing boats, it appears that the 112E is an entirely new boat. When I first saw it, I thought it was based on the J/111 or J/109, but one look at the deckplan told me it was neither of those boats. I've included deck drawings of all three below so you can compare them.

The "E" designation signifies "Elegance and evolution in performance cruising design."

The hull of the 112E is thoroughly modern, but notice that it does not have chines, twin rudders or an extremely wide stern. Those things are, in many cases, design gimmicks that don't contribute materially to the boat's performance or seaworthiness. That is not to say that those design features are always wrong, but in a boat of this type they would add nothing of value.

The underbody of the 112E shows fine waterlines forward and a deep keel that incorporates a cast iron fin and lead bulb. The rudder is made of fiberglass with a stainless steel stock. With a displacement of 11,300 pounds, the 112E has a displacement/length ratio of 152, which makes it light enough to surf and husky enough to sail to weather in heavy air. Its moderate overall proportions combined with the deep keel and powerful rudder will impart good manners in a seaway and will make the boat easily handled. These are just the things you want in a cruising boat.

J/112E Deckplan
The deck of the J/112E is just about perfect for a performance cruiser of this size. The cockpit is designed for sailing efficiency and reasonable comfort, and it's nice to see that they did not try incorporate a fixed table into it. The steering wheel is fairly large and some people may want two smaller wheels, but I prefer the arrangement shown here. The mainsheet traveler is on the cockpit sole and the sheet is led to a pair of self tailing winches on the coamings. Halyards and control lines are led aft through a gang of clutches to self tailing winches on the cabintop. Everything on this deck is straightforward and simple. This boat is going to be an absolute pleasure to sail.
J/111 Deckplan
Not quite as well designed as the 112E

J/109 Deckplan
Not quite as well designed as the J/111
I  guess this is what J/Boats means by "Evolution in performance cruising design." 

The cockpit looks spacious and comfortable, and I like the molded-in toe-rails. The backstay adjuster is hydraulic, which is probably okay, but I would prefer a block and tackle system for simplicity and reliability.

The spars are aluminum. Performance would be enhanced by a lighter carbon mast, but of course it would also increase the cost of the boat. I'm sure you could have a carbon rig built for the boat if you wanted to seriously race it, but why not just buy a J/111 instead?
The chainplates are out at the sheer so jibs are limited to about 105%. With no big genoas to trim, this is a versatile sailplan that can be easily managed by a couple, yet with a sail area/displacement ratio of 25 it's capable of delivering plenty of horsepower when needed.  The boat is equipped with a retractable sprit and the sailplan drawing shows masthead spinnakers so downwind performance will be superb.   
The slightly sprung sheer and stylishly shaped cabin-side windows look better in reality than in the drawing. 

E stands for elegant too.

The accommodations plan looks ideal for a boat of this size and type. I lived aboard a 36 foot Beneteau with very similar accommodations for over a year and can attest to the practicality of this layout. If you only race or daysail your 112E you probably won't find the dedicated chart table very necessary, but if you actually go cruising, you'll find many uses for it in spite of the fact that nowadays you can do all your navigating and weather predictions on your IPad. The V-berth is snug for two adults but a good place for a couple of kids. The large dropleaf table in the salon will seat six for meals and offers convenient storage. The head is large for a boat of this size and includes access to the very large storage compartment under the port cockpit seat.

Practical accommodations make for efficient cruising comfort.

The salon looks like a comfortable place to lounge, and the settees appear to be long enough to serve as sea berths if fitted with lee cloths. All photos courtesy of J/Boats.
J/Boats has used the SCRIMP process for molding hulls and decks for years. SCRIMP is a trade name for vacuum infusion. You can find out more about the process online, but the key things to know about it is that the process results in high quality fiberglass parts with the optimum resin-to-glass ratio and a high degree of precision in the finished part. It also has the benefit of being environmentally responsible.

I don't know what the price of the 112E will be, but if I was in the market for a new boat, this one would be at the top of my short list of must-see boats.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Morris M29 Review

As you may know, Morris Yachts was recently acquired by the Hinckley Company. When I learned of the sale I thought it was another example of smaller boatbuilders in the US being swallowed up by the bigger ones. In  my opinion this is a necessary evolution, a sign of the changing economic times. It takes deep pockets to survive in this business, and this is true not just because boatbuilding is becoming more and more technology driven. These days environmental regulations demand expensive equipment and methods, the cost of industrial space continues to rise, qualified labor is both scarcer and more expensive, insurance costs are going up every year, and the list of challenges for boatbuilders continues on. So I was not surprised to see that Morris was taken over by a bigger and financially stronger company. In fact, you may recall that Hinckley itself was acquired a few years ago by Scout Partners, LLC an investment firm based in New York. It could be argued that absentee ownership of these companies does not bode well for the creativity and innovative drive of these companies, but I don't think that is necessarily so. It takes money to innovate, experiment and develop new products, and I think enlightened ownership that is dedicated to preserving and supporting companies like Hinckley and Morris can help them maintain the levels of excellence they have been known for. At least that's my hope. 

I thought it would be fun to take a critical look at one of Morris's current products, the M29. This boat was designed by Sparkman & Stephens in 2008 and is the smallest of Morris's M line, which includes 36, 42 and 52 foot models. I have to say I'm partial to this baby sister of the bunch because in  my opinion, it comes closest to delivering the pure, undistilled essence of sailing pleasure.    

Morris 29
Could anything be sweeter than sailing this little gem on a Sunday afternoon?

Here are some numbers:

LOA:         29'-2"
LWL:         20'-10"
BMAX:      7'-4"
Draft:         4'-6" or 3'-8"
Disp:          4,735 lb
Ballast:      1.958 lb
Sail area:    395 sf
D/L:           214
SA/D:        23.6

In studying the hull of the M29, notice that the waterline length is about 70% of the overall length. Those long overhangs in the bow and stern, combined with the narrow beam will give this boat a very easy motion in a seaway, but more importantly in a boat of this type, give it lovely proportions. It will not sail nearly as fast as a modern 29 footer with a plumb bow and wide transom, but it will sail more beautifully. And while speed is important, so is beauty.

M29 reaching under mainsail and asymmetrical spinnaker.
Photos courtesy of Morris Yachts

The M29 looks like a classic yacht above the waterline, but below it has fairly racy features including a deep fin keel and carbon fiber spade rudder.  The mast is also made of carbon fiber, clear indications that Morris is taking performance seriously in this boat.

The deck is of classic proportions, with a short cabin trunk and graceful coamings around the generously proportioned cockpit. With such a small cabin trunk, a sliding companionway hatch becomes problematic.  There's just not enough room for it, so it has to be made removable. I've grappled with this problem on several of my smaller designs over the years.

Morris has done away with winches on the M29, using 2:1 purchase on the main halyard and a block and tackle system for the jib sheets. This limits jibs to the small self tacking unit shown in the drawing above. This is probably a good trade-off, given the boat's very generous sail area. The jib sheet is led under the deck to a bank of cam cleats built into each cockpit coaming. I have not used this type of arrangement before so I can't attest to its efficiency, but it does make for a very clean deck layout.

Headsail controls built into the cockpit coamings
Back in the 1970's, when I was in the early years of my career as a yacht designer, I was commissioned to design a similar boat and it was amusing to pull the old drawings out of my archives and compare them to the M29, The design brief was for a traditional sloop of 26 feet, to be built of cold-molded mahogany. The client wanted the boat to have classic lines but was not particularly concerned with what it might look like below the waterline. So I designed the boat with traditional looks and a fast underbody. 
Gryphon 26, "Cinnamon Girl" circa 1979

Deck Plan
The M29 embodies the same approach as the G26 about thirty years later.

The Morris M29 has a basic accommodations plan that includes a pair of settee berths and a Porta-Potty, which is all that's necessary for this daysailer. I like the reliability of the inboard diesel.

Just enough accommodations for an overnight

Cinnamon  Girl
The boat was given a deeper keel and rudder in 2003

Cinnamon Girl
Still going strong in 2014

Color Profile
The deep keel is probably a bit much for this boat. 
Morris also offer an M29x version, which includes a bowsprit, deeper keel and more sail area. According to data I've seen, the model x is about 18 seconds per mile faster than the standard M29. This boat reminds me of 1969 Jaguar XKE roadster. It's exquisitely beautiful with plenty of horsepower straight out of the box. The extra deep keel and tall rig are a bit like replacing the Jaguar's beautiful 3.8 liter engine with a Chevy 327 V-8. It'll be faster but not quite as perfectly balanced as the original.

The M29 a wonderful example of classic design and very high quality execution. It's expensive, but what a sweet ride! 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Beneteau Oceanis 38 Review

A few weeks ago we were sailing off Long Beach, California and noticed a new Beneteau Oceanis 38 sailing along on a similar course to ours. It was the first time I had seen one under sail and I must say it moved along nicely on a close reach in about ten knots of wind. We bore off onto a parallel course and sailed for a quarter mile or so with them. The boat looked good and moved well under what appeared to be a 105% jib and roller furling mainsail. I regretted that I didn't have my camera at the time.

In studying the hull, the first thing I noticed is that it's quite beamy and slab sided with hard chines running nearly the length of the hull. The sheer is straight and it appears that the waterlines below the chines are finer than the plan view of the boat would suggest.
With its straight sheer,  vertical transom and stem, the Oceanis 38 looks husky and seaworthy. Unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy of Beneteau.

The hull was designed by the firm of Finot/Conq which has vast experience with this basic hullform, including the Pogo 12.50 and other very successful offshore racers with very wide beam and hard chines.

Pogo 12.50, also designed by Finot Conq.Notice that the boat is heeled about 15 degrees and the starboard rudder is almost completely out of the water. Photo courtesy of Finot-Conq.  
The stern of the Oceanis 38, a more conservative approach to hard chines than the Pogo.

The Oceanis 38 is offered with shoal, deep and lifting keels. Upwind performance will suffer with the shoal version. Both of the fixed keels are cast iron with a molded-in bulb. This is another boat with a very large fold-down transom panel. I like the looks of the Pogo a bit more, but given the intended purpose of the 38, it's probably better to have the "Tailgate".

This view shows the slippery proportions of the hull below the waterline along with those of the shoal keel. The rudders look bigger than shown in the drawing. I like the way the boot stripe is terminated about four feet forward of the transom.  Photo courtesy of Yachtworld.com
The deck design of the Oceanis 38 incorporates some interesting innovations. The cabin trunk is fairly low and sleek, with hard edges and squared off windows that complement the squarish proportions of the hull. The arch at the aft end of the cabin trunk provides a base for the mainsheet and support for a dodger and bimini. With this arrangement there is no need for a mainsheet traveler and the sheet is led to a cabintop winch.

The Oceanis looks husky under sail. I think it will show good speed reaching and running, but suffer a bit going hard on the wind.
With over 13 feet of beam there is lots of room on deck and the cockpit is huge.
The cockpit is a study in straight lines and hard edges. Notice the cockpit table. It's massive and incorporates large drop-leaves and plenty of storage capacity. Instrument displays and engine controls are located at the helms. Having the mainsheet blocks located up on the arch opens up the cockpit for lounging and entertaining. It could also be considered a safety feature since there is no chance that a guest would get fouled in the mainsheet or hit by the boom. Jib sheeting angles are wide, but that's probably alright on this boat because its proportions are designed more for comfortable cruising than sailing hard on the wind.

The mast is deck stepped and, with the chainplates out at the sheer, it will accommodate jibs of up to about 105%. The standard mainsail is set up with a stackpack arrangement, with in-mast furling optional. Notice that the backstay is split with an adjuster on the port side. The stemhead fitting is designed with the anchor roller about 18 inches forward of the stem of the boat,  which probably isn't far enough to prevent the anchor from bouncing off the hull occasionally.

Beneteau offers three main interior options, Daysailer, Weekender and Cruiser. The daysailer includes a V-berth, galley sink and refrigerator but no stove, a head, chart table, a large quarter berth platform without a mattress and plenty of storage space. There are no bulkheads between the companionway and the forward end of the v-berth, so the boat is pretty wide open. I'm not sure who this configuration would appeal to, but it does offer the possibility of starting out with a bare bones interior and adding more later.

The Weekender comes in two or three cabin arrangements. The galley is the same as the Daysailer, but I believe you can order the stove with this version. The major difference is the inclusion of the quarterberth. Again, this is a wide open layout.

Weekender version is wide open from  the companionway to the bow.

Two-cabin Cruiser version incorporates a bulkhead between the salon and V-berth as well as a full galley
The cruiser version also comes with a single aft cabin or twins. I'm not sure who would buy the fairly sedate Daysailer version of this boat. At 38 feet, I would want my boat to be capable of spending at least a week at the island, and I don't see why you couldn't day sail the Cruiser just as easily as the Daysailer. It would be interesting to know which version of this boat is the best seller.

In the Oceanis 38 Cruiser version a bulkhead divides the forward cabin from the salon. 
The Oceanis 38 offers an interesting contrast to the Varianta 37. In this boat Beneteau seems to be trying to appeal to a variety of customer types, ranging from bare bones to full cruise by the use of multiple furnishing and outfitting options. The Varianta went for a basic but fully outfitted boat with much more limited options. As the number of choices for boats in this size range increases, each brand must find ways to differentiate itself from the competition. It will be interesting to see how the Oceanis fares in this competitive market segment.

Friday, December 4, 2015

ClubSwan 50 Review

For roughly the last fifty years Nautor's Swan yachts have represented the epitome of quality and performance. Their yachts tended to be a bit heavy for my taste but always embodied classic elegance of design, very respectable performance and very high quality construction. In 1998 the company was acquired by an investor group led by Leonardo Ferragamo, a director of the fashion empire of the same name. I think that since he came aboard, the Swan brand has reached new levels of style and elegance.

In the early years Swan relied on the firm of Sparkman and Stephens to produce their designs. Later they turned to German Frers for the majority of their boats. It was a good choice since Frers had been with the S&S firm at the time they were engaged with Swan, and was arguably their best designer.

Frers left S&S in 1968, eventually returning to his native Argentina where he took over the family design firm while Swan engaged Ron Holland to design their boats.  In the 1980's Frers reconnected with Swan and since then has produced a long string of beautiful designs for them, including the 45' and  42' one-design racer/cruisers and the elegant Swan Regatta 60. So it is somewhat of a surprise to me that Swan turned to Juan Kouyoumdjian for their newest design.

Interestingly, Juan K, as he is known, is also an Argentine, although his design firm is located in Valencia, Spain. I had heard a few months ago that he was working on a new design for the company and expected it to be an incremental development of their current design trend of lighter racer cruisers with plumb bows and elegant appointments. I was wrong.

Swan unveiled the new design a couple of months ago with a series of drawings and renderings which I downloaded and include below. As you can see, the new boat is a significant, one might even say radical, departure from what we think of as the Swan Style. The ClubSwan 50 is intended to be a high performance one-design racer with accommodations for distance races and, as Swan calls it, sports cruises.

Let's start with the hull. The first thing that catches the eye is the reversed bow and sheer. Students of yacht design know that reversed bows have been used on racing catamarans for the last fifteen years or so. The purpose of this shape is to maintain maximum waterline length while reducing the weight and windage of the bows. This makes a lot of sense on boats that frequently fly the weather hull or, as in the case of the AC72 cats, simply fly.  This shape is harder to justify on a ballasted monohull, especially when it is fitted with a large bowsprit that pretty much negates any weight or windage savings. Regardless of any performance benefit, the reversed bow profile is certainly a strong aesthetic statement that is complimented by the reversed sheer. The reversed sheer enables the designer to keep the freeboard at the bow and stern minimal yet still provide enough headroom amidships with a cabin trunk of minimal proportions. This is a design feature more often found on smaller boats than the CS50. There is a pronounced chine aft that appears to run nearly to the bow in the renderings. Bear in mind that we are dealing with renderings and not photos of an actual boat, so the finished product may be different from what we see here. Notice the flare in the aft topsides. I don't know what hydrodynamic principle would require this shape but, again, it makes a strong aesthetic statement.

New Club Swan 50. A bold step forward for Nautor.
The fairbody line of the the CS50 shows a very shallow hull with the knuckle of the bow just at the waterline, while the stern is lifted slightly above it. In the stern view, notice the arc-like shape of the hull at the transom. I think this boat will surf easily and leave a very clean wake when driving upwind. I'm not a huge fan of twin rudders unless they make a meaningful contribution to the performance of the boat. In the CS50, they are relatively small so that when heeled, the weather rudder will usually be out of the water, so at least it won't be much of a drag most of the time.  Still, if I were to order a CS50 for myself, I'd ask them to show me the hydrodynamic data that prove twins are better than a single centerline rudder. The keel is exactly what we would expect on a boat of this type, a deep carbon fiber fin with a lead torpedo shaped bulb.

Here are some numbers:

LOA:  50.00'
LWL:  45.93'
BMAX;  13.78'
Draft (deep): 10.50'
Draft (shoal): 7.22'
Disp: 20,503 lb
Ballast: 7,496 lb
Sail Area (upwind): 1,527 sf
Sail Area  (downwind): 3,185 sf
D/L: 94.47
SA/D: 32.74

With a SA/D of nearly 33 and a D/L of 94, there is no doubt that the CS50 will be as fast as it looks. I am intrigued by the rig proportions. Notice that the three-spreader carbon mast is located significantly further aft than we usually see on high performance boats. I don't have any rig numbers but the "J" dimension is clearly longer than "E", which means that the jibs on this boat will be quite large relative to the mainsail. In the sailplan below, the boom doesn't quite reach the transom and the traveler appears to be at least a couple of feet forward of it, but in other drawings and in the literature, the traveler has been located all the way aft. Either way, this is a powerful rig that will take a full crew to get the most out of. On the other hand, the brochure states that when it's just the husband and wife aboard, they'll hoist the main to the second reef and unroll just the small jib, which should provide adequate performance for a leisurely daysail. Of course all the winches will be electric so the hoisting and trimming will all be done by pushbutton. With the main hoisted to the second reef the square top of it will pass inside the twin running backstays so you won't have to ask the wife to scamper over and tend them when you tack. Sounds pretty civilized to me.

Interesting proportions of the CS50 rig.

The deck of the CS50 leans more toward racing than cruising. There are minimal coamings from the companionway to the aft end of the seats.Aside from that, I don't see any concessions to cruising comfort on this deck except for the short cockpit seats.  The transverse jib tracks are located on the cabin top and the chainplates are all the way out at the sheer, leaving the decks uncluttered. There doesn't appear to be a provision for leading jib sheets to the cockpit winches so I assume they are led to the cabintop winches. I was aboard a  new Swan 60 a few months ago and on that boat many functions such as vang, outhaul, traveler controls, etc. were managed by pushbutton. Indeed, the panel of buttons at the helms was extensive. This kind of arrangement might free up those cabintop winches for the jib sheets but I think a better solution would be to move the tracks to the deck and use barber haulers to move the jib clews inboard and out, and lead the sheets back to the cockpit winches.
The cabin is wedge shaped and somewhat reminiscent of the old Swan wedge decks. Somehow I can't quite picture an inflatable dinghy stored on that foredeck even though there is certainly plenty of room for one.

 The cockpit is huge, with plenty of wide open space for the working crew. The companioway hatch is sloped at about 45 degrees. I'll wager that the production model may well end up with a more conventional sliding hatch and seahood. The aft part of the deck is basically cantilevered out from the hull with sharp radii where it joins the hull.  This is not a particularly strong arrangement and there appears to be a strut that that supports the aft-most part of the deck. Notice that this bit of deck supports the mainsheet and spinnaker sheet winches. I'm  sure J&J Design, who are listed as the project engineers, carefully analyzed this area and designed the laminates and geometry to resolve the high loads this area will experience when the boat is pressed.

The transom is wide open with the traveler  located as far aft as possible. The companionway hatch is set at an angle and the aft end of the weather deck appears to be supported by a strut near the transom. 
Beam is carried straight aft to the transom. 
Notice how small the rudders are relative to the keel. They appear to be no more than about 50 inches deep and are angled outboard about 20 degrees. They will probably be deeper than that in the production boat.  In this drawing the boom extends well beyond the twin running backstays. 

Accommodations in the CS50 are Spartan by Swan standards but I would feel quite comfortable spending a month or two living aboard this boat. The head runs the full width of the boat, or more precisely, is split by the centerline passageway, with the toilet and sink to port and a nice large shower to starboard. I really like this arrangement. In the bow you'll find what appears to be a queen size berth along with lockers and shelves. Notice that it is set roughly eight feet aft of the bow, forward of which appears to be a crash bulkhead and lots of empty space. Swan states that all of the forward cabin furnishings can be easily removed for racing.

Simple, efficient accommodations.
The main salon is wide open, with very large settees to port and starboard, and a decent sized dining table on the starboard side. If I owned a CS50 I'd want to entertain a lot, so I'd have Nautor make sure the table will accommodate at least six diners. Aft to port is a smallish galley suitable for basic meal preparation. Notice the generator just aft of the galley. I think it might be a good trade-off to eliminate it and expand the galley a bit. Opposite the galley is a quarter-cabin with what looks like a king size berth and a hanging locker. This will be the nicest place to sleep when the boat is underway. The nav station is...well, there doesn't seem to be one on the CS50. I think this is because in a daysailer and weekender, you really don't need a nav station because all your navigation tools are in the multi-function screens at the helm stations. Still, I'd like to see a chart table/desk on the boat. I don't use the nav station aboard my Beneteau 423 for navigating, but it's a perfect all purpose place to work the SSB radio, manage ships papers and do all those mundane things I do at my desk at home.

I really appreciate that venerable, conservative Nautor has gambled on a truly new design for the 50. Having been a lifelong fan of German Frers' designs, I would like to have seen what that firm's answer to this design brief would have been, but Juan K got the nod instead. This is a bold step for Nautor and my hope is that it will be a huge success for them. I can't wait to see hull number one hit the water. For more information about this boat visit www.clubswan50.com.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Sydney GTS43 Review

The GTS43 was designed by Jason Ker and is intended as a racer/cruiser. It's pretty clear that by racer/cruiser they mean racer that has enough amenities below to accommodate the family for an occasional weekend cruise. But make no mistake, this boat is really all about performance. It caught my eye because the designer and builder have collaborated to create a unique and distinctive yacht that I think is going to attract a lot of attention among those who need a few amenities in their race boats.

The GTS43 looks fast under main, kite and stays'l.

Jason Ker is not a household name in the USA but over the last twenty years this British designer has built an enviable reputation with his IRC racing yachts. The builder, originally based in Australia, has contracted with AD Boats in Split, Croatia to produce the GTS43 as well as the new GTS37. As you may know, this company also builds the Salona line of yachts. AD is owned by the Prevent Group, a multinational manufacturing corporation based in Wolfsberg, Germany that serves a variety of commercial and industrial markets. I think this is a business structure that we will see more of in the future. Yacht building has become so technology driven and capital intensive that for all practical purposes, the small independent boat builders are finding it harder and harder to survive.

The GTS43 represents a very different approach to hull design than more conventional racer/cruisers such as the Beneteau First or Elan lines. In the plan view it looks similar to other IRC inspired racer/cruisers, with a fine bow and wide stern. The same can be said of the boat in the profile view. But where those boats have full, or chined stern sections, the 43 has radically flaired sections aft.

Beneteau First 40. This Farr design incorporates what we think of as a conventional stern shape.
 Photo courtesy of Yachtworld.com

Elan 400  sports the currently fashionable chines.
Flaired stern on the GTS43.  
Why, you might ask, has Ker designed this boat with a stern that is so different from the more conventional Beneteau and Elan, or most other IRC racers. I think the answer may lie with his interpretation of the IRC rating system, or he may simply like the looks of this stern. I don't have a lines plan for this hull but we can make some judgments based on the photos. Let's deal with the stern first. The hull near the waterline is actually relatively narrow by today's standards so there is not a lot of reserve buoyancy there. This, combined with the somewhat slab sided midship sections of the hull leads me to think this boat may have a lower prismatic coefficient than a typical IRC racer. This means the boat will not require a lot of horsepower to get up to speed, but is likely to generate a bigger stern wave, which we refer to as induced drag as it moves through the water at hull speed. One benefit of the very wide stern is that the crew weight can be placed well outboard and aft, where it does the most good in heavy air. Here are some statistics:
LOA: 43 feet
Beam: 13.78 feet
Draft: 9.02 feet
Displacement: 15,320 pounds
Sail area (IJ+PE): 1,029 sq. ft.
Disp/Length: 86.0
SA/D: 26.8

This view provides an indication of the fine waterlines forward and the extreme flair aft. Photo courtesy of Sydney Yachts.

Maximum beam is carried all the way to the transom. The cockpit is spacious and side decks minimal.   

The high SA/D and low D/L indicate a powerful sailing machine that will demand a good helmsman and solid crew work when the breeze is up, but in return it will deliver stellar performance. Of course when it's just you and the wife out for a sail, you may want to tuck in a reef and put the small jib up, which is a small compromise for such a high performance boat.

The cabin trunk is an interesting blister shape, with the aft ends of the cabin fairing into the wide cockpit coamings. The seats are tucked behind the cabin trunk, leaving lots of room in the aft half of the cockpit for working crew. The twin helms are located well aft, but it looks like there is enough space there for the helmsman and tactician.  The mainsheet traveler is located on the cockpit sole just forward of the helms, with the mainsheet winches within easy reach. This is another boat with an Admirals cup type mainsheet arrangement.

The rig incorporates a carbon fiber two spreader mast.  The mainsail luff length is about 60 feet and the foot is 19 feet. This is a big sail that will require some muscle to handle.  The jibs are non overlapping so tacking will actually be fairly easy. Notice the long, fixed bowsprit. It does not include an anchor roller so you may want to ask them to work on that when you place your order for a new GTS43.

I don't have any drawings or photos of the underbody of the boat, but Ker states that the keel incorporates a thin fin and bulb. My guess is that the rudder is also thin, deep and very efficient.

This is the keel on a Ker designed 46 footer. You can assume that the keel on the GTS43 is similar. Photo courtesy of Yachtworld.com

The bowsprit is not retractable.

The GTS 43 is  what I call a "live ballast" boat, which derives much of its righting moment from crew on the rail as shown here.

This boat has reasonably livable accommodations that would make cruising for a week or so tolerable for the family. The forward end of the boat has a snug v-berth which might be a good place for kids.
The dinette in the salon is smallish and offset well to port and the settee opposite is also situated well outboard. This leaves plenty of room amidships for packing chutes, which is important on a boat of this type. There are provisions for pilot berths above the dinette and settee. The nav station is large and has lots of storage space. The galley, opposite the nav station, is small for a 43 foot cruising yacht, but almost luxurious compared to the typical race-boat galley. There is a pair of private quarter cabins aft, each with a hanging locker and a pilot berth. Overall, while this is not what I would call a pretty interior, it is very functional. I could imagine spending a week or so aboard.

The v-berth looks fairly tight.

Lots of light and space in this limited but functional interior.

A single sink, two burner stove and limited counter space. 

It seems to me that the racing world is becoming more separate from cruising.  These days there are many forty foot daysailers on the market that make no pretense of being cruise-able.  This was almost unheard of twenty years ago. I give Sydney Yachts credit for attempting to bridge that gap and producing a racer that can be cruised even if it's just for a week at the island. For more information about the GTS43 visit Sydneyyachts.com