4 January 2013

The IOR Maxis - 1980s

After appreciating the long, narrow and undistorted lines of the current record-breaking 30m yachts like Wild Oats XI and Rambler 100 (see previous post), it is interesting to look at what the state-of-the-art used to be, represented here in a collection of photographs of yachts from the former 'Maxi' class (70.0ft IOR), most of which have been taken by Larry Moran during the SORC series in 1983. 

The photos feature Jim Kilroy's Holland design, the champion Kialoa IV, and her main competitors Condor (also by Holland), the German Frers Boomerang, the much modified Guy Gurney Windward Passage, and the Holland Sassy. These yachts were generally around 23-25m long, with a displacement of upwards of 30,000kg. The early development of kevlar and mylar sails were tested to the limit in the class at the time, sometimes joined to dacron in the lower parts of the sail (as shown on Kialoa IV) to assist with sail handling, resulting in some interesting sail patterns.

Condor to weather of Kialoa IV (Larry Moran photo)

Kialoa IV powers to weather (Larry Moran photo)
Condor works her way through the Gulf Stream
Boomerang (Larry Moran photo)
Kialoa IV and Windward Passage duel in lighter conditions (Larry Moran photo)
Windward Passage (Larry Moran photo)
Sassy (Larry Moran photo)
Another entrant into the Maxi-circuit at the time was the Gary Mull design Sorcery, and I have located a published profile drawing of this yacht which illustrates a fairly typical design approach in this class - heavy displacement, masthead rigged and large planform keels.

Sorcery (Larry Moran photo)
The mast-head rig was preferred until some of the Whitbread technology from the fractional rigged maxis in that race transferred to the Maxi-circuit in the shape of the Frers design Windward Passage II, the Farr design Longobarda and the later monster maxi (26m), Bill Koch's all conquering Matador2.

Windward Passage II

Matador2 demonstrating her prowess over the rest of the Maxi-fleet in the early 1990s

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