With my own boat in the water now and slowly but surely making her ready to sail, more and more people contact me which is great fun and interesting. In this, owning a First 27 SE – better known as Seascape 27 – I get more contacts to the racing scene, many great people and sailors, sending congrats and invitations. Races like the Silverrudder or Vegvisir become thinkable and in this the whole range of stories and people. One of which is Hans Genthe, a German sailor widely known for his addiction to speed, his love for lightweight race boats and his ideas. Hans Genthe initiated one of the most interesting race boat projects in the 30 feet-class, the Aeolos P30, which I found exciting and fascinating.
Contacting Hans, who lives and works in Dubai, was a no brainer and I am grateful he agreed – although in the midst of launching the prototype of Aeolos – to have a chat with me on the origins of this project and the status quo. Here is what I talked about with Hans.
Talking to Speed Sailing Addict Hans Genthe
NO FRILLS SAILING.com | Lars Reisberg: “Hans, thanks for taking some of your precious time to talk to me, that is very much appreciated! First of all, let´s have a quick self-portrait: What would you describe is most important in sailing for you – in relation to your career as a keen sailor?”
Hans Genthe: “That is a quick one, I shall say: I am just looking for fun in sailing. Just fun: That is the reason why I only have people around me who I really like. Regarding boats, I love the light and quick ones – on heavy boats I surely become seasick.”
NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “Which boats have sailed extensively on races – and which experiences and learnings have you been able to derive from racing these boats, their pros and cons? And which of these finally inspired you to start the Aeolos project?”
Hans Genthe: “I have been active predominantly on FD-boats, ASSO and BB10, the Farr 280, Rainbow 42 and the Rogers 46. Of all these boats a bit of each is incorporated into the Aeolos. But I must say that especially the Farr 280 is an absolute fantastic boat! I took a lot learnings from sailing the Farr, of which being relatively unprotected whilst sailing is her biggest con in my eyes. If you come from sailing FD-boats like myself, sailing the big yachts seems slow to you. I liked ASSO, which had 1.1 tons on 10 metres: A cool boat but also very demanding. Most sailors I know never ever had the experience how much fun one could have with a boat that is not that heavy. With ASSO we absolutely managed to survive 40 knots true with ease – whilst even boats made by big brands would have lost their masts. You should not put too much extra weight on these boats and sometimes also shift a gear down, which was my “secret” when I won Silverrudder 2018. Always have sail area in the wind according to the circumstances, a conservative tactic and a very reliable boat. This in essence is why Aeolos is so much reduced to the minimum, is so incredibly lightweight whilst being sturdy like a tank. That is quite different to what the market is mostly offering.”
NO FRILLS SAILING.com : “Could you please go into more detail on how you developed Aeolos concept, maybe from the first sketches on paper to CFD-analysis, hull design and rigging? Which people and companies did you have on your side during development?”
Hans Genthe: “I´d say I am an all-rounder. I did study naval architecture for a couple of semesters and I spent a lot of time in my sailing life digging deep into yacht design – but I am a generalist. All of my ideas therefore have been checked by professionals and professional institutions which was of utmost concern for me. I am happy that I was able to create a very passionate team and not without a certain sense of pride I shall say that these guys are among the best in the world in their specialties: Fluid Engineering Solutions for flow simulations who have developed software for the most successful design offices worldwide; or Max Gurgel of Vmax Yachting, Solico, which I consider a very, very skilful composite engineering company and of course Elvström Sails who helped in rating and sail optimization. Just to name a few … with these guys I am realizing many more projects besides Aeolos, like a 45er and our M40 power boat.”
NO FRILLS SAILING.com : “Let´s talk about the Aeolos itself. In which state of the build is #001 now?”
Hans Genthe: “We have nearly finished working on the moulds and will start building the first boat very, very soon. Regarding the process, we have set up milestones. It all began with the concept and 3D-model of the boat. We then took it to the guys who did the CFD analysis and rating optimization. After that we entered the next phase which is the actual building of the moulds – we are nearly finished here as I said – and last not least the most important one, the structural engineering phase which is then transitioned in the building phase, which is now in full bloom.”
NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “Can you go into more detail on the Aeolos, regarding sails and rigging? Why did you choose Elvström as you partner for this area?”
Hans Genthe: “As you may know, I am a true speed-junky. I wanted to squeeze out as much speed as possible. With Max and Hannes we have been able to optimize the rating of the boat to a max, although I am always a bit annoyed by rating rules. These guys managed to do it without slowing down the boat which was great fun to witness. My briefing was that the boat should be optimized for the conditions of the Baltic Sea: All planning boats currently offered on the market won´t be sailing all too good especially in light conditions and I wanted to change that. The great thing about Aeolos and her hull is that you need to sail heeled in order to get her to planing mode. Then her long keel fin is almost working like a canting keel and the wetted surface of the hull nearly hasn´t any curvature under water at all. But also when sailing upright the boat has not much wetted surface at all. Regarding Elvström: I am working with these guys since five years now and together we have developed kind of 100 designs for different sails. I like working with them because they are committed to their goal and quickly adapt to my ideas and intentions. But they are also offering honest feedback. What I like most is that, once a design is approved, the sails come out of production right on spot – the way we have designed them. They are very well organized and a great partner.”
NO FRILLS SAILING: “You said that Aeolos is optimized for the Baltic Sea and will mostly sailed in race mode single or double handedly. Which CE category will the boat have and which client group do you have in mind buying the boat?”
Hans Genthe: “I´d say that Aeolos is ideal for sailors coming from dinghy-sailing. These guys are into fast sailing and are not accustomed to sail in heavy boats. Baltic Sea, Solent – that is the area Aeolos will perform well, as well as demanding inshore sailing areas like the Lake Garda in Italy. Aeolos of course has CE Cat A approval which is a sign of safety. I wanted her to be reliant – I prefer stability and sturdiness over comfort. For every piece of luxury equipment a ship is taking on, you have to make it stronger, which is a vicious circle.”
NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “I´ve read in forums and got to hear in conversations, talking about the Aeolos, that people often compare the boat with the Dehler 30 OD. Did you have this particular boat in mind as well when developing your concept? Where would you say are similarities and where are the differences?”
Hans Genthe: “Well, the Dehler 30 OD is a completely different concept, I´d say. I just wanted a very, very quick boat. Period. When you are building a quick boat, you build it very reduced and light. In consequence, the price paid for the material won´t be much higher as in a heavier boat. That is why I was able to choose Carbon fibers for Aeolos. Here in the Emirates I found Notus Composites being a perfect partner for the project who agreed to make a low-temperature prepreg. This enables us to exert full control over the whole process of boat building because the resin is distributed very, very evenly throughout the whole garment. That means even better quality and again, a lighter boat. The prepreg could even revolutionize boatbuilding in itself because we get better working safety, much less offcut, less hazzle with glueing and simple, repeatable working processes.
NO FRILLS SAILING: “Looking at the interior there are so many clever concepts and ideas. The whole boat´s internal looks almost like a spaceship to me, I like the “lounge”, the Gennaker-socket and found the idea of the WC intriguing …”
Hans Genthe: “One premise of Aeolos is that all sails are ready for hoisting at all times. That is why we´ve incorporated a dedicated Gennaker-hatch for the 110 Square metres light wind sail, the heavy winds Gennaker is situated near the entryway, Code 0 and heavy weather Jib are located in the cockpit – that is saving so much tim, but isn´t honored by the rating. If you look inside, we have the berths which will have the same heeling as the boat but less room for the head when sleeping. Therefor you can find a good night´s sleep safely and sure that nothing bad can happen. Well, that isn´t honored by the rating as well. You mentioned the toilet. Well, speaking of this, I can say that I myself have to use it “big time” once per day – that is simply my circadian rythm. On the Farr 280 that was, to put it frankly, a torture and I often got completely wet. That is looting power and motivation and can be very frustrating at times. On Silverrudder 2018 I am sure the whole WC-process cost me up to 10 minutes in total. That is also a factor not honored by the rating. I would guess that is the reason why toilets are often placed so badly within the boats, making them unusable in heavy weather. I´ve incorporated the system used on Open 60 race boats: Bags.”
NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “I loved the ideas regarding the transportability of Aeolos with lifting keel, foldable bowsprit and so on – can you go into more detail here as well, please?”
Hans Genthe: “Yeah, sure. I wanted to boat not to use up time for transport and making it ready. If this is provided, the sailor has more time practicing sailing. By the way, this is also not appreciated by the rating system. Anyway, if look at the time differences between the sailors in one design classes you might conclude where most potential for optimization lies: In the actual sailing training!
NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “Looking at the projected price for Aeolos of just under 100.000 Euros ex VAT ex works in the UAE this is a very, very low price. Especially for an all-out Carbon racer. Can you explain how you managed this and what a race-ready boat in Europe will be costing at the end?”
Hans Genthe: “Well, the boat is very simple, especially in the inside. Again, light weight means less stuff inside and on the boat. Everything making the boat fast and everything offering some recovery whilst sailing is made of the finest material and products supplied by the market. The rest is reduced to almost zero. Sailors wishing for more comforts can have it done easily. The hull is monolithic and everything is perfectly accessible. I´d say that the boat, sail ready, will be like 140.000 Euros in Germany.”
NO FRILLS SAILING: “Hans, you are living in Dubai, Aeolos is built in the United Arab Emirates. Why did you choose this production location?”
Hans Genthe: “Well, that is an easy one as well: The people here are super motivated! The government of Dubai is absolutely keen on supporting new businesses and ideas. Everything connected to founding a company, from legal stuff to renting production halls, machinery, employees, accounting and finally taxes … that all is much, much easier than in Germany. A plus is the climate because it is always warm here and you can do a lot of things in the outside. People here are very, very friendly, open and welcoming – I´ve got so many support here. If you can shake off your western arrogance and be open to a different culture, you can move mountains here. Of course it took me some time and a couple of mishaps too, but I´ve learned to adapt.”
NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “Last not least, Hans, when can we expect to see the first real pictures of #001 under sails? Are there “real” clients and orders in the books already and maybe projected participations in races?”
Hans Genthe: “We are working hard to get the first boat in the water by end of June, of course provided we have no setbacks by Covid 19. We are lucky that most people here are already vaccinated so I am pretty optimistic about keeping true to the schedule. That means we can start testing the boat in July, although it will be awfully hot here by this time. Aeolos number 1 will remain in the Emirates, but Jan Hansen, our dealer plans to be very active in regattas in Northern Europe. I myself plan to sail as much as I can with Aeolos P30 here in the Emirates. If and how many races I will be able to participate is relying on Covid-restrictions in Europe again and of course on the income I generate with my company. We are setting up a composite architecture bureau and a production line with some 200 employees, which is much work load for me in the coming months. Additionally, we have the P45 sailboat project and 2 contracts to build power boats as well. Right now I calculate with finishing and delivering one Aeolos P30 per month. Six units have been ordered yet which means they can be seen right in time for season 2022 in Europe. “
Hans, thanks so much for this insight! All the best to you and your team and I am looking so much forward seeing Aeolos in the water – hopefully soon here in Germany!
Also interesting to read:
How to design a boat, talking to Umberto Felci
Dehler 30 OD, a thorough walkthrough
Racing for the first time? Sailing pro Tim Kroeger in how to tackle it