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The GT35 to Appear at Southampton Boat Show

David Harding, Technical Editor at PBO magazine, is pretty strict when he forms an opinion on a boat that he tests. While I'm sure he would never take an over-derrigitory stance (horses for courses and all that), he admits he has "... written a few boat tests that cynics might paraphrase as 'it's white, it's plastic, it sails after a fashion, it might hang together for a year or two and I wouldn't buy one, but good luck if you do.' The GT35 is at the opposite end of the spectrum."

Citing the GT35 as a "potential world-beater" in the Summer Issue of PBO, David launches forth into a test report that is nothing short of rigorous. It's a must read by anybody who is looking for a yacht to go cruising, near or far.

OK let's pause there a second. Going cruising, near or far? What I wanted for GT Yachts was to produce something real, yachts that carried a true meaning for the owner, allowing aspirations to be realised. There's very little point in my view in developing a dream and then tooling up with the wrong equipment. Dreams are, as a direct consequence, doomed to failure. Comfort and safety are the two primary elements in cruising, closely followed by power.

Now, comfort is a tricky thing to realise on a monohull sailing yacht that generates stability through heeling. What is clear is that we would all like to sail as upright as possible. Fortunately this is how a yacht likes to sail too. An upright yacht is a fast yacht; gets you home quicker when you most need it. Hence the need for a low centre of gravity, as we all know. But how many people, understanding this, then go and buy a yacht with a cast iron keel? It's singularly the biggest risk to achieving that dream. Combine a low centre of gravity with a well designed cockpit and coachroof and your yacht is then a very comfortable place indeed. If designed properly, the cockpit and coachroof not only provide your comfortable sailing accommodation, they also contribute to the stability characteristics. David Harding recognised this when he comments on the stability curve "... the maximum righting arm is at the unusually high angle of 70°. A peak at between 50° and 60° is more common. The Angle of Vanishing Stability is a similarly impressive 144°, matched by the lowest inverted stability you will find on almost anything other than a lifeboat." For a naval architect like myself, this is absolutely paramount in design. To design a yacht that falls short of giving people the maximum pleasure under sail is to fall short of primary responsibility.

So, how do I present a yacht at a boat show whose biggest attributes are only exposed when she's at sea? It's this question that has driven sailing qualities as a primary design aspect out of modern yacht design. Boat shows are static it's got to be said, so the boat must simply look good and appeal in terms of styling (subjective, granted) and marina living. It's fortunate that the GT35 does indeed look fantastic thanks to Stephen Jones, but she won't appeal to those who prefer to lounge around in a marina at zero heel angle.

So with all that in mind, my objective at the first boat show - with a boat - is to get people signed up for test sails. This is the only way I will be able to expose the real nature of this "world beater". As one prospective owner put it while behind the wheel "I bloody love it, I want one!"

See you there. Marina berth M281.


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