After our tests of the First 27.7 prototype, we is in a hurry to confirm, judging by one of the first copies of the series, the validity of the choice in relation to this innovative vessel. Le Pogo 830, the benchmark for modern cruisers of this size, has proven to be a good sailor.
Moored side by side at one pontoon, it is difficult for these yachts to go unnoticed. And it’s not just their attire: yellow, almost lemon-colored First 27.7 and incredible almond green Pogo 8.50. The focus on these two cruisers is indicative of a renewed interest in multi-purpose yachts among sailors.
The size of these yachts allows for easy handling by a small crew, however the interior space is quite spacious and is quite suitable for a family cruise. Designed without any classification restrictions for racing yachts, these glorious walkers are capable of seducing regatta enthusiasts as well.
To implement their ambitious plans, the creators of these two yachts, Pierre Rolland – the author of Pogo, and the design bureau Groupe Finot – constructor 27.7, logically agreed in the same solution of many technical issues, which gave their creations an amusing family resemblance. Both vessels make the most of the hull length thanks to the vertical stem and trimmed transom, where there is no oversight.
Also, both designers came to the decision to divide the cockpit into two zones: the bow, narrower, for the crew, and the aft part of the cockpit, wider, reserved for the helmsman. The similarities do not end there, the layout below deck is very similar: a wardroom, a two-seater bow sofa, a card table that can be used while standing, a galley opposite.
Also, both boats are equipped with large aft cabins, which are located mainly under the cockpit on the starboard side, and a latrine is equipped on the port side. But apart from these similarities, both yachts have their own characteristics and differences.
The “trick” of the Pogo yacht is its incredible width: 3.60 m – the width of the boat and it will look like a big yacht. Looking at the boats from the side, you cannot say that the Pogo is only 20 cm longer than the First.In turn, the originality of the First is undoubtedly in its lifting keel, which allows you to change the draft from 0.62 m to 2.15 m, neither more, nor smaller! And then, their appearance also makes a different impression. Le Pogo does not hide its origin, its underwater part is made like the hulls for the Mini Transat. First, however, remains true to the tradition of cruising and racing yachts, as intended by its designer.
However, for all its seeming simplicity, we find a good cockpit with teak cans, covered with coamings from the outside. While the Pogo draws attention with its imposing and chunky deckhouse, First displays its classically elegant style with gold accents that accentuate the curvature of the hull and deckhouse.
We can’t wait to see if we are dealing with just different design styles, or whether these two yachts are different in nature. On the eve of the tests, the forecast promised rain. There is no rain. There is no gennaker at 27.7, it’s a shame. In this case, both boats are not equally equipped. Pogo has a regatta set of sails, the First 27.7 has only a cruise sail. And in this situation, it is quite difficult to make a comparison. On one side there are Kevlar sails, on the other, a regular dacron. For First, this is a clear minus that threatens to lag seriously.
Sad of course, but what to do? Fresh breeze and peeping rays of the sun rush us to go out to sea. A few minutes after leaving the channel, both crews reasonably decide to lower their sails. With winds over 20 knots, it is not easy to sail under full sail. But even before the corrugation of the sails, both boats, despite a decent heel, always remained under the control of the helmsmen. First took one shelf of reefs, and one of the crew, staying at the mast, fixes the mainsail in a new position.
The process of corrugating the sails on the Pogo takes longer because the mainsail was left full and the staysail was replaced. But the lost time was quickly made up by the efficiency of the new staysail, and the two yachts converged on the small island of Meaban. We set a course for the entrance to the Gulf, or rather, to the Orei River. The wind is gusty here, but the sea is calmer, which makes it easier to work with a spinnaker. After a couple of voices back and forth, we walk along the oyster plantation, keeping in mind the large draft First.
Our assumptions regarding the sail difference came true and Pogo, with regatta sails, quickly took the lead over First. Moreover, the advantage on the side-hauled course is expressed more in speed than in the sharpness of the course. The next day we were convinced of the good abilities of First 27.7 on full courses and excellent germination on the wave. With an equal sail area (one reef on the mainsail on both yachts and a spinnaker), but a smaller crew size, 27.7 remained out of reach for Pogo.
The First 27.7 on its cruising sails certainly lost on the beydewind course (on a one mile passage more than a minute of break). Regatta season will undoubtedly fix these first impressions. However, we appreciated the First 27.7’s ability to stay on course and its excellent stability on full course. Pogo, in turn, did not disappoint our hopes on a collision course. This boat is difficult to compete on sharp courses. Pogo 8.50 showed excellent yachting results in the last Transquadra Solo regatta.
At port as well as at sea, each of these two yachts has its own character. The First 27.7 looks more confident with its long cockpit and aft boom shoulder, but the shape of the deckhouse suggests that this boat is used more for outing and coastal racing than for cruises on the high seas. It is more of a family yacht, despite the keel lifting system.
The Pogo yacht, being longer and wider, is therefore more expensive. Her deck resembles the deck of a cruising yacht. It is a great fast walker capable of crossing oceans, despite the fact that filling the hull with foam, which ensures unsinkability, significantly reduces living space. These are the main features of these two modern yachts that give us the joy of sailing.