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Reproduced From SAILOR magazine dated June 1,1985 Issue 9

Diva 39

Long, sleek, and fast, the Diva
breaks with Swedish tradition only a little.


American sailors might need to bend their mind-set a little to fully appreciate the long, sleek, and sexy looking Diva 39. Not so Steven Anderson. Two summers ago, he went to Sweden and got swept off his feet by this beauty. He bought one and returned to the States bent on starting a Diva movement. "My uncle had traded in his Westsail 32 for a Diva, and I spent about two months racing the boat. lt goes like gangbusters and is full of smart, simple ideas - like the halyard-tail storage bin in the cockpit and the self-tacking jib."

In spite of the clever details and her good looks, so far only two Divas are in the U.S., and a few more are on the way (about 140 of them are sailing in Europe). Why? Steve thinks that people typically glance her over at the shows and conclude that she's a race boat. "That's something we've tried hard to overcome. I put pictures of the interior out on the deck, and people began to come aboard and go below. They see Honduras mahogany and the varnished teak-and-holly sole, then yell out to their friends on the dock, 'You've got to come and see this!"'

The Diva is unmistakably Scandinavian, slim for her length. Dealer Peter Covert describes her as "an overgrown BB 10-Meter." Although she is initially tender, compared to modern beamy cruisers, the form remains well-balanced at large angles of heel. She is quite light by traditional Swedish standards and carries her ballast in the bottom 75 percent of the keel. The resulting low center of gravity gives her a very good range of stability relative to modern race boats.

Reports indicate that she'll heel to about 20 or 25 degrees, beating to windward in any kind of breeze, then stiffen up considerably. She'll track like a freight train, with virtually no weather helm, and slice through seas, pounding only a little. To windward in about 13 knots of true wind, the Diva should point to about 30 degrees apparent and clock along at 7.5 to 8 knots. Shoppers will have to weigh the advantages of more typical wider boats - flat sailing, damped rolling, and shoal-draft options - against the Diva's easily driven and forgiving nature. She should be an excellent sea boat, especially for a short-handed crew, but whether she is faster than beamier racers or the hotter racer/cruisers has yet to be seen.

The Diva's proportions and weight seem very well-balanced - any narrower and she'd push the radical edge -but you'll still put a reef in the main pretty quickly, and the genoa will be useful only in very light air. Her fractional rig (a big main, that you can play in the puffs, and a self-tacking working jib) drives the boat well in light air, and it's serviceable throughout the normal working wind range. Crew perched on the weather rail will have negligible effect on stability, and you won't need them for grinding in genoas or setting a big chute. You'll be able to easily race or cruise shorthanded.

The interior layout is both functional and well-appointed - for a 32-footer! Stefan Rudqvist, factory liason, says, "We're looking for customers who are interested in good performance - say, someone who's owned a J/24 and is ready to move up -who is looking for a 34-footer. We can offer him this 39-footer at the same price." What is in the interior shows good utilization of space. Anderson says, "It is similar to what you'd find in a boat like the Elite 32, but elongated."

The long bridge deck helps make the interior work. Combined with wide cockpit coamings, it gives headroom in the aft-cabin and places the companionway nearly amidships, which prevents the interior from appearing tunnel-ish and claustrophobic. Headroom is provided where it is needed - in the galley, for example - and shaved away where it is not. This saves weight, windage, and the Diva's svelte lines.




"Diva is a special boat," says dealer Paul Van Dyk. "She doesn't fit into any convenient category." Comparing her to other boats may be difficult, and shoppers will have to decide from scratch what they want. If they want sparkling performance and good looks in a 39-foot package that's equivalent belowdecks to an American-styled 32-footer, the search is over.

- Stem Callahan

Bernt Lindquist is half of the Diva design team. The cabin design and layout is important to him; headroom isn't. "I try to tell them (customers) that they have no use for it because you sit here (main salon) and sleep way in the back."

Reproduced From SAILOR magazine dated June 1,1985 Issue 9

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