In the latest issue of Sails we examine the latest design trends in cruising monohulls and performance catamarans, and the best tech to ensure a safe and efficient journey o the water. We also preview the Sail Port Stephens Regatta, which is attracting the cream of the crop of racing yachts to its waters.

To read this edition of Sails Magazine pick up a copy from all good retailers or subscribe online. 

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Editor’s Letter

As I write this the sailing community is just hearing of another tragedy on a round-the-world event, this time on the Volvo Ocean Race.

John Fisher was lost overboard from Team Sun Hung Kai/ Scallywag on 26 March, approximately 1400 miles west of Cape Horn. The conditions at the time were fairly average, by Southern Ocean standards – 35 knots from the west and a water temperature of nine degrees.

The Southern Ocean is an unforgiving proving ground like no other. Even though John had a survival suit, the amount of time and labour involved in slowing the boat down, changing modes to head back uphill cannot be underestimated. I have no doubt David Witt and the Team SHK/Scallywag crew did absolutely everything they could before the heartbreaking decision was made to turn around and head for Cape Horn.

Our thoughts are with them, with John’s family in Adelaide and the members of the Christies Sailing Club, which was his local.

I didn’t have the privilege of sailing with ‘Fish’, but I have sailed with some of his former Team Ragamuffin crewmates, who describe him as “a very competent seaman, and a very nice guy.”



In the tight-knit offshore community where there are rarely more than a few degrees of separation, we feel the loss of a fellow sailor keenly, as it reminds us all too starkly of the potential hazards we can face out there. We will publish a full tribute to John in our next issue.

The Volvo crews know the risks all too well and we respect their professionalism, but it would still be devastating for them.

MAPFRE’s Sophie Ciszek acknowledges the dangers in our exclusive interview in this issue. She says in bad weather she mentally over-prepares for the looming battle, that way there would appear to be a reserve tank of physical, mental, and emotional energy if the ultimate test manifests.

The technological advances in boat-building over the past decade involving the use of composite sand improved production techniques are now being distilled in the new breed of performance cats emerging from yards such as DNA, Gunboat, Outremer, McConaghy and Seawind. Kevin Green helpfully provides us with a guide to these fast and extremely roomy craft.

The benefits of computer-aided design and cutting-edge materials are also transforming the cruising monohull market, where the gap between racing and cruising designs is narrowing. New offerings such as Beneteau’s Oceanis 51.1 and Solaris’ 47 boast enviable performance and comfort – dare we say, luxury – in a configuration easily handled by a couple.

And, finally, one of the highlights of this summer sailing season has been the SuperFoilers. I caught the last event on Sydney Harbour and was enthralled by the spectacle of these foiling speed beasts. Our congratulations to the Series winners Euroflex and all the crews that were out pushing the boundaries of the sport.

See you on the water.


Editor Sails Magazine