8 December 2012

Titus Canby (Farr Half Tonner)

Back to the boat that signalled the start of a new era - Bruce Farr's first keelboat, the Half Ton design Titus Canby.  This yacht was designed for Auckland sailor Rob Blackburn - he required a yacht around 8m that would have a low building cost.  The basic design concept heralded something quite new - light displacement married to broad aft sections, and fine for'ard sections for cutting through the Hauraki Gulf chop.  A modest length of 8.1m allowed a fair and easily driven hull that would not require a larg sail plan. The idea was to achieve a boat that would have enough weight for stability but still be light enough to plane and surf downwind. Titus Canby looked very different to the types of boat popular at the time, and was relatively high wooded and blocky looking, with a long cabin almost equal in height to the yacht's freeboard.

Farr designed a fractional 7/8th rig for Titus Canby with a small headsail and, for the times, a relatively large main. At the time that the design was being conceived the RORC rule was being phased out in deference to the new IOR. Small adjustments were made to the design of the yacht so that it could be made into a Half Tonner. This led to a little more beam amidships and more depth in the midship area.  A careful arrangement of the for'ard girth stations around the stem knuckle allowed the FIGS measurement point to be pushed slightly aft relative to FGS which helped the Forward Overhang Correction measurement. 
Titus Canby sails to weather on the Hauraki Gulf

The stern of Titus Canby was cut off almost vertically to achieve a lower rated length.  But to achieve a Half Ton rating Blackburn had to cut lead out of the trailing area of the keel and replace the missing area with wood, and place 8kg of lead under the foredeck.

Tohe Candu circa 1976 (1977 DB Yachting Annual)
The formula worked and the performance of Titus Canby in the 1972 South Pacific Half Ton Championship exceeded all expectations, and a five minute win in the opening 40 miler was a stunning first effort by a crew that were still learning her idiosyncracies. A 14 minute win in the 180 mile ocean race cemented an overalll victory. She was later bought by Ian Gibbs, who renamed the yacht Tohe Candu had her shipped to Europe for the 1974 Half Ton Cup in La Rochelle. Although she was dominant in a warm up series in Cowes against 40 English Half Tonners, she finished eighth overall in the Cup itself in generally light conditions. However, the campaign was significant in that it represented the first New Zealand design to compete in international competition. 

Tohe Candu returned to New Zealand and survived several rule changes to remain extremely competitive in local racing even five years after the lines were first put to paper. This was helped by a new taller 3/4 rig for the 1976 Half Ton Championship which extracted a little more potential from the boat. Tohe Candu almost won the series, initially finishing just over one point ahead of Peter Spencer's S&S design Cotton Blossom but relegated to runner up after a controversial points award by the race committee that went in favour of Cotton Blossom.

The yacht has reverted to her original name and races out of the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington, with a PHRF of 0.685.
Titus Canby as she is today (Farr Yacht Design)
Titus Canby during the March 2017 Port Nicholson Line 7 Regatta (photo Chris Coad/SailWorld)

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