26 November 2012

Newspaper Taxi (Whiting Half Tonner)

Newspaper Taxi was designed by Paul Whiting in 1976 with an eye towards a challenge for the Half Ton Cup, to be sailed out of Sydney in December 1977. Newspaper Taxi was a development of Whiting's earlier Half Tonner Candu II, and was designed to take account of  the November 1976 changes to the IOR, the first in a tranche of rule amendments that sought to check the emerging trends in the New Zealand-style of yacht of light displacement and wider sterns. 
Newspaper Taxi on launching day - Westhaven, Auckland
 The broad aft sections of Newspaper Taxi were therefore designed to mitigate the new penalties in this area, and were offset in part by a shortening of the yachts' length between girths, and the forward depth measurement was pushed to the limit. A shortening of measured length allowed for an increase in sail area, yielding a better all-round yacht than Candu II.

The most obvious difference from Candu II was that Newspaper Taxi was a centreboarder. The advantages of this concept had been demonstrated by Resolute Salmon in the 1976 One Ton Cup, and Fun had provided more evidence of this at the Quarter Ton Cup as well.  The centreboard weighed only 92kg, and the boat otherwise relied on internal ballast and crew weight for stability. 

The engine was also designed for rating advantage - the 12hp diesel was positioned for'ard of the mast and slightly to port so that the shaft could clear the centrecase.

While Whiting chased everything possible regarding hull shape and appendages, Murray Ross pursued rig developments and new handling techniques and gear, with the same careful attention to detail that Ross had employed so successfully on the Quarter Tonner Magic Bus.
Showing her windward form in light airs, Half Ton Championship, Auckland 1977 (J Malitte)
The Whiting/Ross led team aboard Newspaper Taxi went on to produce a near flawless performance in the South Pacific Half Ton Championships held in April 1977 and hosted by the Royal Akarana Yacht Club. The series featured a wide cross-section of Half Ton designs, with 20 boats entered, the product of ten different designers, and only three boats had competed in the previous year's contest. 

A clear lead at the wing mark in the NZ 1977 series (J Green)
Newspaper Taxi asserted a demonstrable speed advantage in all conditions, combined with immaculate boat handling. She won four of the five races, losing first place in a close tussle with the custom Farr 920 Cotton Blossom which jumped on a rare tactical error by Ross in the fourth race.

While Newspaper Taxi had been designed and built with the Half Ton Cup in mind, the Whiting/Ross team elected to contest the One Ton Cup to be held in Auckland in November 1977. Newspaper Taxi was sold to an Australian yachtsman and is thought to have finished in ninth place in the Half Ton Cup.
At the Half Ton Cup - Sydney, Australia (December 1977)


  1. Hi,

    I am based in NZ and I was wondering if anybody know the boat history past 1977? If she still floats it would be cool to see her back in Auckland.

  2. Hi Niko, I think she lost her rudder and sunk somewhere in Australia. Her Quarter Ton predecessor Magic Bus is currently being restored in Auckland.