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3300 feet and climbing

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 26 Jul 2020 15:00 PDT
Introducing the Sun Fast 3300 © Jeanneau America

At a time when the world's passenger fleet is effectively grounded, Jeanneau's Sun Fast 3300 climbs ever skyward on the way to a potential berth at Paris (Marseilles) 2024. Actually, now that we mention it, Jeanneau is talking very actively with World Sailing regarding the equipment selection for the 2024 Mixed Two-handed Offshore event.

Yes, if we take our aviation analogy even further, then we see that the super-successful Sun Fast 3300 has left the runway, and is on a nice climb to a wonderful cruising altitude where the sun shines above any clouds, where there is no turbulence, and stiff tail wind to drive you on to your destination.

Even after a six week lockdown in Europe, there have been over 40 Sun Fast 3300's delivered to four continents in the last 12 months, with 13 in France, nine in Great Britain, four in the USA, three in Melbourne, and one each now living in Tokyo and Perth. Plus there are another 20 or so to be delivered in the next four months (including two more to Melbourne and one to Hobart). With those sorts of numbers, it won't be long before the Sun Fast 3300 will be soon applying for international status with World Sailing, and that of course means a class World Championship soon thereafter.

This would surely see Jeanneau's Sun Fast 3300 go on to meet the criteria laid down for the 2024 Olympic vessel. Especially so given that the boats are going to have to be funded by the manufacturer, and most importantly, built in a very short time frame after the announcement. Words like gravitas and critical mass do come to mind swiftly...

Based on feedback from 3300 owners in the USA, as well as North Sails' President Ken Read, Jeanneau have just announced an ORCi optimised version of the 3300 for the USA market. Effectively, it now becomes the factory's base boat, with the changes to specification including cloth doors to the forward head instead of timber, removal of the saloon table, and a porta-potty to replace the marine toilet and holding tank. The saloon table and marine toilet with holding tank can now be added as an option, but as an added bonus, the factory have also upgraded the two Harken 40.2 primary winches to the Performa 46.2 model.

Now the next Sun Fast 3300 going in to join that interesting little cluster in Melbourne for an Olympic campaign, is getting a number of custom upgrades, including some new products in development from Ronstan. Rohan Veal from 38 South Boat Sales said, "It's kind of a turbo kit, with new blocks, top-down furlers, and even roller cars for mainsail, so that you don't have to go the mast to pull down the bolt rope main when reefing. There are also some new B&G electronics coming, which we are hoping to have fitted as soon as they are available."

"This boat will be optimised for IRC, with North Sails tailoring a custom package for it, along with the new Cyclops Marine - Smart Tune load cell sensors from Sydney Rigging, that are purposely designed for small keelboats and very affordable. One of the Sun Fast 3300s in Great Britain has been using one, and it's proving to be a very valuable tool."

"All in all it looks very positive for the 3300 here in Australia, as we will have seven on the water before the end of the year. Based on further interest received, I'm planning to order two more this week to secure the 2020 pricing that is available before the end of July. For anyone interested, but not quite ready to commit to a new 3300, we are offering a $500 option to buy a 2021 Sun Fast 3300 at a fixed price of AUD265,000 including a number of factory options, delivery, GST and commissioning at Sandringham Yacht Club. There is no requirement to exercise the option, however it only locks in the price for the first two customers to pay the balance of a 10% deposit."

"The package is ideal for the short-handed club/inshore racer, as it includes an alloy mast and boom, lead fin keel, twin rudders, an asymmetrical spinnaker rigging kit, long carbon bowsprit, a factory fitted autopilot ram, upgraded Harken Performa winches, Harken one-touch winch handles, a 12v fridge and Cat 5 safety equipment. Other factory options are available, such as a carbon mast, and water ballast. Sails and electronics would need to be organised by the owner on arrival. You do have to be quick however, as this offer definitely expires on the July 31, 2020."

So the darling of the short-handed circuit has finished on the podium at every single race around the globe over the last 15 months since being launched. This includes the recent Dhream Cup in France that attracted a stellar fleet of 27 double-handed crews, and all the best short-handed French sailors. There were two British Sun Fast 3300 teams racing, and one off those was a mixed crew with Dee Caffari on board a brand new boat that was undertaking its maiden offshore race. They ended up finishing second by 14 seconds on corrected time after two and half days of racing.

The other short-handed 3300 rated one point higher, and was leading overall on corrected time for last half of the race, but made a few tactical errors when beating to the finish, and ended up finishing third in the double-handed division by less than four minutes. I have no doubt we will be seeing plenty of the immediately identifiable Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300 in the lead up to the 2024 Olympics.

Back to the future - Part One

Back at the end of May, we ran The Great Escape, which featured the new Pantaenius Breakout Regatta. Thankfully, at the time we highlighted the need to be the early birds with that one, for it is fully subscribed to the maximum allotment of 60 boats, with a large waiting list also on the books.

As is their way, the team at Pantaenius Sail and Motor Yacht Insurance have been, and will continue to be, 100% behind it and committed to its success. They are always hands on, as you would have seen if you have been to even just one Sail Port Stephens regatta. So keep your eyes open for a COVID safe sausage sizzle, and anyone who has been to those before knows exactly to expect. Actually, given the times and the name of the event, I would not mind they are looking and thinking hard about taking it somewhat upscale - just saying...

Interestingly, 50 of the 60-boat fleet are in that 38-50 foot cruiser/racer club and family kind of bracket. Everybody is definitely excited by this inaugural event, and I reckon that based on the uptake this year (bearing in mind cabin fever), that there is a suggestion that this event may have its own legs, and perhaps move a bit later (say into September), just ahead of Sydney clubs' Open Days.

We'll see what we see, and clearly the organisers are not trying to conflict with anyone, so I am sure they're very looking closely at the calendar. In the meantime there is the 2020 Pantaenius Breakout Regatta for all to enjoy from August 8. Happy sailing crews...

Back to the future - Part Two

Moving forward to the middle of June, Let's go racing looked at some new vessels on the way to enliven our love for racing. One of these was the Mark Mills penned MAT 1340, which aims squarely at the recent changes in the IRC rule, such as that finally a quick 40-something stands a chance of doing well in the real world, and it is not a case of commiseration drinks at the bar each week, even though you sailed the pants off it.

All in all it is a terribly exciting development, for until now you either had to go 52 and up (for which there is a waning market right now), or be really small, and that meant it wasn't going to be a lot of fun going uphill to receive your reward when you finally got a chance to send it when the breeze finally went abeam or aft. Yes, the furniture stores bang smack in the middle certainly had ring-fenced the property.

In the intervening time between Let's go racing and now, Mills has been refining hull forms and displacement. KND, who also do similar work with Botin Partners, are a key component of this. At any rate, it is expected that there will be an announcement in two to three weeks time about what the boat is going to really look like. We'll look forward to that!

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John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS

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