The starting points for the Dieter Blank-designed Life 7.5 really were images of the 82-foot Wally Highland Fling, except that the Life had to be handy and affordable. Topping the wish list of Peter Keerberg, the Swedish initiator of this project, were speed, simple handling, Wally-like looks, trailerability and a price that wasn’t too high.
On paper at least, the Life looks promising, with a hull shape that includes hard chines and the maximum beam extremely far aft, all of which hints at high reaching speeds, especially because the 850kg boat will be powered by 88sq m of sail area, including the gennaker. Upwind under main and jib it’s still 45sq m. By comparison, a Melges 24 is 40cm longer and weighs in at 810 kg, but only sports 77 and 33sq m of sail area, respectively.
To carry so much horsepower, the Life draws a generous two metres with 400kg of keel weight. Of that, 350kg is in the bulb of the hydraulically operated lifting keel that reduces draft to 60cm for trailering. The minimum draft in the water is approximately 80cm, because the twin rudders can be removed but not swiveled up.
Other specialties are the Wally-style coamings and a clean deck with trim and control lines being led aft in covered channels that drain automatically. The rather flat hull features a small coachroof, which limits living space below deck. With four berths, room for a small stove and sink, the comfort level aboard the Life should resemble that of a Folkboat.
This sportster is being built in Poland, with E-glass sandwich laminate and resin-infusion under vacuum. Sales and distribution are handled by Keerberg’s outfit Life Yachts in Sweden.
To rein in cost, a set of strict one design rules is being drawn up, limiting the number of sails that can be carried aboard to main, jib, gennaker and Code 0. The goal is to sail so-called raid regattas along the coasts of Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
The base version will be offered with aluminum mast, Dyform rigging and teak in the cockpit for €49,400, but there also will be options for a carbon fibre stick and rod rigging. For more details see Life Yachts.
Mainsail 28sq m
Jib 15sq m
Gennaker 60sq m
This article was re-published with kind permission of YACHT, Europe’s largest sailing publication.