2014 October 1


The RM890 is a very interesting Marc Lombard design built by RM Yachts of France. One of the most interesting features of this boat is that it is built with plywood and epoxy using a multichine hull form so that flat panels of plywood can be used. It’s a very modern looking boat. I’d call it very Euro even if some don’t like me using that term. It is nicely styled and a handsome vessel, and to my eye it represents a very good example of the turn towards more performance in European production cruiser-racer boats.

Mr. Lombard was kind enough to send me the full lines plan of his design so we can take a hard look at the hull shape. The D/L of this design is 142. The L/B is 2.6. This indicates a very beamy boat. The Capsize Screening Formula was developed by the Cruising Club of American after the 1979 Fastnet race, and is based on the beam and displacement of performance boats, not hull shape or location of ballast. A lower number is considered more stable. The RM890 has a stability index of 2.34 and “Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore Yachts” recommends that this number be under 2. But in this age of light and very beamy boats, perhaps this number needs to be revisited. Perhaps. 

The hull form uses two chines, one well above the DWL and the other starting near the DWL at each end. Max beam is carried almost all the way to the stern but we are getting used to this shape. The sectional shape at the transom is very flat. There is no question that the designer is handicapped by being restricted to conic development, that is, using flat-plate friendly shapes. But a skilled designer can still produce an effective and good looking hull.

You can choose from a twin-keel model with an 4 feet 11 inch draft and a single rudder, or you can get the performance model with a single keel drawing 6 feet 3 inches and twin rudders. I wonder if you can get twin rudders with the twin keel version? I find the keel shaping exquisite. With the slight reverse on the stem profile, this hull is all sailing length. I’m not sure that stem reverse does much for performance but it does look sexy and modern. Note the slight reverse sheerline.

The RM890 is just shy of 30 feet LOA. It would be fun to compare this layout to  the layout of a 30-footer from 35 years ago. Having no bow overhang allows the V-berth to be pushed all the way forward but in this case the designer has avoided “wedge toes” by having a fairly spacious fo’c’sle. There are what appears to be full length settees with a drop-leaf table. The galley to port looks adequate if not luxurious.

The head is spacious with room for a large wet locker accessed through the aft bulkhead. To starboard there is a large double quarterberth. It’s going to be a bit challenging to get into this berth—I just don’t bend the way I used to—but once in you have lots of room. The racy looks of this design are partially the product of not trying to provide full headroom throughout. But you can stand up straight in the galley and that’s all I care about.

The rig is on the big side with a SA/D of 23.43. If that broad-transom hull form picks up a lot of wetted surface aft in light air the rig is big enough to keep the boat moving. Some crew weight to leeward and forward wouldn’t hurt either. The forestay goes almost all the way to the masthead but not quite. The fixed sprit allows the tack of the asymmetrical chute to be well forward for easy jibing.

I like the cockpit. The mainsheet traveler is aft of the tiller head and out of the way while being in the most effective location. The stern is wide open with access to the limited lazarette areas through flush hatches. I see a recess in the transom for either a life raft or a boarding platform. The svelte cabintrunk means that there is quite a bit of open deck space on this boat. The helmsman will be very comfortable sitting outboard tiller extension in hand on that broad stern.

I like the overall look of this boat, and I’m intrigued by the plywood construction in a production boat. I’ll keep my eye out for one so I can take a closer look.