Garcia Passoa 50
Aluminum sail yacht

Version Francaise

Garcia Passoa 50 at anchor, Iles of GlenanThe  Passoa 50 is an ocean going sail yacht permitting fast and comfortable passages, with great autonomy.  Built in aluminum by the Garcia yard using plans by Harle-Mortain-Mavrikios, she affords both the options of setting sail for far reaches at ocean going paces or just spending short vacations in style closer to home.  Her size is optimal for long circumnavigations, easy handling by a short-handed crew, and good maneuverability in tight spaces, while offering an incomparably comfortable and secure living space (bad weather takes longer to catch up!).

The lifting centerboard design opens access to shallow places and poorly chartered areas a boat this size would have no business to be in otherwise.  Shortly after taking delivery of our boat, we dried her during low tide in the port of Roscoff (North Brittany, France).  There were big seas outside and after a long wet and cold closed-hauled navigation from Guernesey we were happy to have a quiet, motionless night (I knew that the bottom was sand) enabling a restful sleep.  Since then we have often anchored in Les Glenan archipelago (South Brittany, France) without having to worry about water depth, more than once drying out on the west side of the Saint Nicolas pier.  Garcia Passoa 50 in Loch Moidart, ScotlandWhile exploring the Scottish lochs we ventured far inland, once at the end of Loch Hourn, and another time at Loch Moidart where we anchored at the foot of Castle Toiram, all the while not having to worry about the decreasing depths.  In Los Roques, Venezuela, we were able to set anchor close in to the coral reefs which protect the lagoons from chop.  There, in Grand Roque, we got our diesel tank filled ($10 for 200 liters) while rafted up to the Normandia in 1.2 meters of water.  The skipper of a local charter boat watched us with apprehension.  Then came the Bahamas where we could access the uncrowded turquoise and emerald lagoons, or anchor in shallow sand banks out of the currents with plenty of swinging room. And finally Newfoundland and Greenland, when looking for an anchorage in bad weather and poorly chartered fjords it was reassuring to know that the centerboard would just lift should we run aground.

The Passoa 50 sports a set of Incidences sails made of Spectra: a fully battened 57 m2 mainsail with large roach for better power in 'by the beam' and downwind point of sails, a 64 m2 roller-furled genoa for moderate wind coverage with high cut clew for better leeward visibility; a self-tacking staysail which is very appreciable in winds above 27 knots of wind and a 135 m2 asymmetric spinnaker which can be poled-out if necessary when running straight downwind.

Incidence spectra mainsail, Garcia Passoa 50It is pointless to try to compare the Passoa 50 with deep-keeled raceboats in close-hauled conditions.  But we have never felt vulnerable, and the heading/speed ratio remains adequate to pull us away from land or other dangers.   In any case, we've found that we're fine if we pay attention to the weather and plan accordingly, sometimes letting the Perkins 92 HP help us out.  Compared with "comfortable" anglo-saxon  boats of the same size, we have often found ourselves in the lead when it was time to make some tacks (to exit the bays in the southwest of Ireland, for instance).  In a close-haul, the Passoa 50 runs at 6-7 noeuds, full and by can expect 7.5-8 knots in 15-20 knots of wind. 

Amazingly, she is very good in light winds.  When we sailed up from the island of Bonaire to Puerto Rico, the wind progressively dropped and headed and the sea became calm.  With 8-10 knots of wind in a close-haul we were still sailing between 5.5 and 6.5 knots.

Close reaching and reaching, she will speed up to  8-9 knots depending on the conditions. Downwind, we easily sail around 9 knots with surfs at higher speeds.  Inside the boat the ride is as soft as velvet.  I've woken up a few times thinking that we weren't moving at all but saw 9 knots marked on the multi-display in our front cabin.  Coming back from Ireland in 2003 under spinnaker with 20-23 knots of northwest winds we were constantly above 10 knots with peaks of 12 to 13 knots on the surfs.  Sailing in Greenland, Garcia Passoa 50I've spent long hours at the helm just for the pleasure of it, enjoying the smoothness of the two rudder drive, with the centerboard up.  Driving a boat fast for a short distance--crossing the English Channel or a Sunday afternoon in the bay with the buddies --is one thing, but keeping it going at the same speed for 24 hours a day, day after day with a small crew is another.  This is where the Passoa 50 is exceptional. The lifting centerboard in the retracted position allows us to keep maximum sailpower and speed without the risk of broaching.  Even under pilot, the hull quickly takes off on long surfs in complete security.  The skipper can then rest and sleep with serenity.

The 92HP Perkins motor, ZF Hurth transmission, and MaxProp 3-blade propeller drive the hull at 7.5 knots at 1800 rpm and at 8.5 knots at 2200 rpm.  On a close-haul, with some help from the mainsail, we can clock at 9 knots.  The tank of 760 litres (190 US Gal), integrated into the bottom of the hull, gives good autonomy and an appreciable level of security in case of uncontrolled grounding (double aluminum walls).

The Passoa 50's top of the line well-dimensioned deck gear (Andersen, Fredericksen, Harken) contributes to facilitating the maneuvers.  The 1500W Goiot windlass effortlessly hoists the 80 meters of 12mm chain and the Delta 25 kg anchor.  When in reverse, she gets steerage as soon as there is a bit of  momentum.

Sailing in Ireland, Garcia Passoa 50The cruising life aboard the Passoa 50 is quite simply exceptional, especially in the tropics.  When crossing the Atlantic we were considering having a custom total-coverage awning made upon arrival in the Caribbean, but once we got to the Antilles we never needed to since the bimini we have--an awning that extends from the aft end of the dodger with zippable side curtains--keeps the large cockpit well shaded, air passes through an opening in the dodger and the interior is well aired.  We've never suffered from the heat.  The good insulation in both the hull and the bridge, in addition to the light color, contribute to keeping the interior cool.  Only the cockpit and the combings are covered in teak, the bridge being covered with anti-slip epoxy paint.  We think a complete teak deck -- though it has a nice feeling and is visually pleasing (when it's new) -- represents a weight penalty and a source of heat which can be very handicapping in warm climates.  The Passoa 50 cockpit with its teak "fold into the floor" table provides a comfortable exterior living space.  We can enjoy morning coffee with panoramic view or dinner with friends (deco spot lights or hurricane lantern--depending on the mood), or just relax and observe the stars.   Behind the wheel are two large lockers for our toys (snorkeling gear, kitesurf and windsurf equipment, etc...), then comes the large swim deck with integrated fold-away swimming ladder and two more lockers for gear.  Even when the swimming ladder is put away it is possible for a swimmer to pull himself up onto the teak swimming deck to get back on board, which represents a serious security factor. 

At anchor in Los Roques, Garcia Passoa 50Access from the cockpit down into the galley/saloon is by an easy three-step companionway which is very appreciated by the navigator or crew on watch when he/she has to take return trips between the nav station and outdoors.  The interior, in varnished elm and white laquer, is light and airy.  The large  window hatches around the front and sides of the roof provide good visibility on the sea as well as a good view on the sails and windvane from the interior.  On starboard the roomy U-shaped saloon seats up to 7 or 8 guests but is also a comfortable sleeping spot well appreciated when passage making. The port holes in the saloon and galley offer a framed view of the anchorage, shifting with the whims of the swinging boat -- an excellent nature observatory.  

Joinery work, Garcia PassoaOn port a large chart table serves as navigation and communication center as well as a desk.  Also on port there is a straight galley with a front opening refrigerator opposite a central bar.  The front cabin is a true "master suite" with double bed on starboard and a leather couch on port well suited for relaxing at anchor, sitting to dress or serving as a leeward berth under sail.  A private head with shower and storage cabinets is found further forward.  Storage space--closets, cabinets drawers, etc.--is generous in all the cabins, toilets and saloon.   Even when preparing for our year-long semi-circumnavigation we did not fill all the storage space.


Garcia Passoa 50 GalleyThe port rear cabin has a double bed, closet, storage space and a small leather cushioned bench.  The rear starboard cabin has two cozy bunks with enough space for adults. The two rear cabins each have four opening hatches and a porthole in the hull.  They are bright and airy with one hatch opening under the dodger and the two others into the cockpit --all working together to assure an excellent aeration while navigating as well as allowing communication between the crew inside and the crew on deck .

The front cabin and rear starboard cabin have Multi ST60 data readers that allow us to have all the important navigational information at the touch of a finger.  A motor compartment complex lies between the two rear cabins--under the cockpit.  Access into the compartment can be made from either cabin, but is quite easy from the starboard side.  The front compartment holds the Perkins motor and the watermaker while the rear holds the 24V Whispergen generator. 

Garcia Passoa 50 front stateroomFound at the navigation center are an ICOM-M710 SSB radio--positioned in such a manner as to be easily tuned while leaning on the table, an ICOM-M45 VHF radio, a tri-data ST60 monitor (depth, speed, distance), a console for the ST6000 autopilot, a Navtex Furuno NX-300 receiver and a Raytheon RL70C tracking radar (in color with vector C-MAP charts).  The navigator has all the necessary information concerning the operation of his boat at his fingertips, and can make appropriate remote changes on the autopilot.  Outside, directly above the companionway, are ST60 monitors from left to right for depth, wind, speed and a multi-meter.   I usually keep the Course on Ground--a highly desirable piece of information--displayed on the multi.  A second RL70 tracking radar display (in black and white and connected with the radar on the nav station) is found on starboard right under the dodger.  When navigating conditions are difficult (fog, nighttime anchoring, etc...), it isn't necessary to go below to read the radar or consult the electronic map.  A GPS Raynav 300, which allows repetition of all navigation data is found on the wheel pedestal (Seatalk centrale or NMEA connection) as well as the ST7000 autopilot control.

The boat is equipped with two ST7000 automatic pilots combined with Lecomble & Schmitt power units which allow for good redundancy in case of mechanical problems.  A three-position switch (Off, Pilot 1, Pilot 2) gives the option of changing from one pilot to the other.  The pilot in use consumes little power as the Passoa 50 is a well-balanced boat under sail.

Garcia Passoa 50 navigation instrumentsThe electricity is designed around the DC concept in 24 V.  Four Gel Sonnenschein batteries offer a capacity of 400AH under 24V for the house and act as a buffer for the onboard electrical needs.  A PowerFirst Shark 220 V 60Hz 1200W inverter gives the option of using regular household appliances (vacuum cleaner, coffee machine, etc...).  Charging the batteries can be done in one of three ways: 1) A 100A auxiliary alternator connected to the motor (for a quick charge, especially at the beginning of the cycle); 2) two PowerFirst Dolphin 50A chargers to be plugged into the dock; and 3) the Whispergen 24V generator. 

The main element of the DC concept is the 24V Whispergen generator (Stirling motor from Whispertech -- 90kg).  This generator assures our autonomy and independence with only 0.7l of diesel an hour.  It makes the noise of a refrigerator, makes no odors, functions when leaning and in rough weather, needs little maintenance (no oil or filters to change), provides 20A under 24V and recharges our daily consumption in 3-4 hours at anchor or 6-7 hours per day during a crossing (counting ST60 central/GPS/Navtex, ST7000 pilot, radar, fridge, lighting and nav lights, music/DVD, computer - 220V, SSB, and breadmaker - 220V).  In addition, though this is not its main role since it is never good to run an engine with no charge, the Whispergen produces hot running water for sanitary use and central heating.

Garcia Passoa 50 at anchor in the CarribeansIt is possible to configure the Whispergen to start automatically at a preset threshold of battery discharge, and to stop automatically when the batteries are charged.  We prefer to start it manually (starter button on the control panel) and let it stop by itself when the batteries are topped.  It has a true battery monitor with amp-hour counter and an amp-meter precise to the 10th of an amp.

The Whispergen allows for great autonomy while sailing or at anchor without need for solar panels or wind mill which affect the aesthetics. We did our Atlantic crossing from Cape Verde to Ste Lucia without having to turn on the motor.

The windlass and engine starter are all powered with a 24 Volts pack of two Gell Sonnenschein totaling 200AH. This pack is recharged by the Perkins 60A 24V integrated alternator, or one of the Dolphin charger when docked.

The autonomy and independence in fresh water is provided by a Dessalator 60l/hour water maker (about 15 US gal/hour) and two fresh water tanks integrated in the bilges for a total capacity of 600l (150 US gal). We never had to dock for water while in the tropics (water there is expensive, and docks are not always yacht friendly) and our consumption included two or three showers per day (on the rear swimming platform, after swimming and snorkeling) for the four of us.

Passoa 50 built by Garcia, 2001. Plans Harl´┐Ż Mortain Mavrikios.

LOA 15.92m (52'2'')
Beam 4.55m (14'11'')
Draft 2.60m - 1.15m (8'6'')
Displacement 17000kg (37500 lbs)
Ballast 4500 kg (9900 lbs)

Aluminum hull  5086H111 and 5083 for plating, and 6060 TS for structure.