21 March 2013

Container (Judel/Vrolijk One Tonner)

This post follows an earlier feature on the 1985 Admiral's Cupper Container, and the earlier 1981 and 1983 yachts of the same name, all of which were owned by German Udo Schutz and named after his industrial container business. The dominance of One Tonners in the 1985 Admiral's Cup saw a flurry of new One Tonners for the 1987 edition. In response, the RORC introduced a minimum aggregate rating for each team of 95ft IOR, as well as an adjustment to the Time Multiplication Factor curve used to generate the time allowances that would provide some easement for bigger yachts. 
Container powers upwind during the 1987 Admiral's Cup
Thus Schutz' choice in 1986 to commission a new One Tonner (30.54ft IOR) for the 1987 Admiral's Cup was not an uncommon one, but with another One Tonner in the team, Saudade, a bigger yacht was required to meet the minimum team aggregate which was a position filled by Diva, rating 34.4ft. 

View of Container at her Cowes berth during the 1987 Admiral's Cup (photo IanW)
 The new Container, designed by Judel-Vrolijk, as was usual for the German teams of the era, was built by Schutz's boat building arm of his business, Schutzwerke. This was a new style of Judel/Vrolijk One Tonners, but came into the Admiral's Cup with experience only of 5-10 knot and 25-30 knot breezes, and it took her crew until the middle of the third Admiral's Cup race to get their VMG numbers right.

Container helmsman Gerd Eirmann liked plenty of weather helm, something that did not match the characteristics of the yacht's keel. The crew finally found that by easing the running backstay, the rig was depowered, the keel worked better and the VMG came up to target by jumping a full 0.3 of a knot.

Container finished as 11th yacht overall, a respectable result but not enough to save the German team from one of their most disappointing results (fifth), their series undone by calamitous results in the third inshore race when Diva and Saudade both came to grief at the fourth weather mark, incurring significant points penalties. It was the year when New Zealand finally won the Cup, by following the approach of previous German teams that combined fast boats with sailing in a way that minimised risks, mistakes, protests and penalties.
Container 87 - note the more upright transom enabled by IOR changes and allowed crew weight to be placed further aft when needed, and below, clipper bow profile, and stowage of spinnaker pole on boom


The backstay and cockpit arrangement on Container (photo IanW)
Container in more recent times, but still flying her original North's 'Gatorback' no.3 headsail and Ulmer/Kolius 'Tapedrive' mainsail
Schutz's next Container for the moved up the scale to 50 feet, and that will be featured in a future post (here).
Container as seen recently (March 2016) in Santander, Spain (photo G Arnal)

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