As hard as I work to make sure I know about all the newcomers at the boat shows, there are always a couple of surprises. That was the case when I saw the A35 and A40rc making their U.S. debut at the Annapolis show last fall. These high-performance lightweights from French builder Archambault have been tearing up racecourses all over Europe and the Caribbean. Along with the King 40, Santa Cruz 37, and the Andrews 28, they make up a new wave of mid-sized, high-performance keelboats. One thing that caught my eye with both Archambault boats was their simplicity. They have all the go-fast features you want on a high-performance boat — lightweight construction, carbon rig, narrow-chord keel with a deep bulb — but also have a clean, no-nonsense deck layout, a super-spacious cockpit, and a decent interior. They are designed to be raced under the IRC rule, but could double as super-fast cruising boats. www.archambault-boats.