15 April 2013

Diva (Joubert/Nivelt One Tonner)

Diva was the standout new boat in the 1983 Admiral's Cup. The yacht, owned by Patrick Faure and Bernard Moureau, represented a continuation and extension of the French approach to Half Ton designs of the period, combining shorter length (39ft LOA) and fractional rig with clean hull lines ending in relatively undistorted stern sections. Diva was designed by the French pairing of Bernard Nivelt and Michel Joubert to rate as a One Tonner (30.5ft IOR), close to the minimum size allowed for the Admiral's Cup. She was designed to excel in light airs with a large sail plan, supported on a Franspar mast and flying North sails from the San Diego loft. 

Diva was constructed in Kevlar foam with carbon fibre longitudinal stringers - building commenced in February 1983 and she was hurriedly launched on 1 May for the French trials - she missed the first race but won all the others convincingly, sailed superbly by Yves Pajot and a crew of Half Ton sailors, along with designer Nivelt. 

Diva was joined for the French Admiral's Cup team by another Joubert/Nivelt design, Passion (32.0ft IOR), which had been built for the cancelled Two Ton Cup at Le Havre. A Frers 41 Ossian (32.4ft IOR), the ex-Mea Culpa, completed the French lineup. Diva started the series strongly, with a second and fifth in the first two races. Her series looked to have ended in disaster when she ran over a mooring off Ryde Sands, off Lee-on-Solent, early in the Channel Race, and the mooring cable became firmly lodged between the keel and rudder. The light airs that plagued the race benefited the minimum raters, however, and once the Diva crew had escaped from their entanglement the unsettled wind allowed Diva to work up to fifth place by the Nab Tower, although she slipped to eighth at the finish.
Diva leads some bigger yachts on her way to second place in the first race of the 1983 Admiral's Cup
The Diva crew work to extricate themselves from a mooring cable soon after the start of the Channel Race
Stern view of the 1983 Admiral's Cup top scorer, Diva
A feature of the Fastnet race finale was the match race between the top placed Diva and the Castro design One Tonner Justine IV, skippered by Harold Cudmore for the Irish team. Justine IV led Diva most of the way to Fastnet Rock, but Diva slipped ahead to round minutes ahead. On the run home when the wind increased to 30 knots Justine IV lost track of Diva's navigation lights and Pajot's crew arrived home an hour ahead of the Irish. Cudmore successfully protested Diva for not showing their navigation lights, and a 5% penalty was awarded, but she was still the top boat of the series.  

Unfortunately Diva's stand out performance was not matched by her team-mates who were completely outclassed, while a crew dispute saw Passion not race the Fastnet, and France finished the series in a lowly 12th place (of 15 teams).

Diva during the 1984 SORC
Diva was bought by the German team manager Berend Bielken in August 1983. A month later the new crew broke the rig, and it wasn't until the end of the year that they could get in some good sailing days in the North Sea before shipping the boat to Florida to contest the 1984 SORC. 1984 was the year of the new One Tonners (sailing in Class E) and Diva came up against the likes of Alan Andrew's Allegiance, Ted Irwin's Razzle Dazzle and the J41 Dazzler
Diva holding off Razzle Dazzle during the 1984 SORC

Diva began a late run in the fourth race, coming through in the last three races with results of 1/2/2 in class, and 2/6/14 in fleet, to be the first European yacht to win the coveted Governor's Cup for top yacht overall. She finished second in class behind Allegiance, and was the first fractionally rigged yacht to win the SORC.
Diva - overall winner of the 1984 SORC, and second in Class E (photo Larry Moran)
Diva went on to race in the 1984 One Ton Cup sailed off the South Brittany coast in France, where she finished tenth overall with placings of 17/5/8/12/10.
Diva - circa mid-1980s



5 comments:

  1. Hello Richard !

    The name of the owner of Diva is as you know Bernard Moureau (U wrote B.Mourea.) 5th line.
    B.Moureau is a fan of JN one off, he sold her last one "Gaïa" two years ago. He owned too "Espace du Désir" One Tonner after Diva.

    Chorus

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  2. Thanks a lot for this story about Diva. I would have liked add an "architectural" point of view ... This boat has been, in my opinion, the most innovative of her IOR time. So different of "classic fleet with S&S, Peterson and Holland" and so close to NZL school.(Just point out some Davidson lines like :), rather than Farr.)

    Chorus

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  3. Congratulations for this great website !
    Where is DIVA now ? Is she for sale ?

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  4. Yes anyone knows where Diva is now ? I am curious too!

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  5. Diva sank off the coast of South Norway in the late eighties, as a consequence of the bow section of the hull splitting open. The crew was saved after a couple of hours in the life raft.

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