18 April 2013

Pacific Sundance (Farr One Tonner)

Pacific Sundance was one of an initial trio of new boats to Bruce Farr's Design #136, a 12.2m (40ft) development of Farr's fast 37 footers (Migizi and Freefall, Design 124) that had shown great speed at the SORC in 1983 and were the first of a new generation of Farr IOR designs. The design was finalised in April 1983 and was the first response to the change in the ORC rules that increased the IOR limit for the One Ton class from 27.5ft to 30.5ft. 

Design 136 was pitched to excel in the lumpy and windy Australian and New Zealand conditions, with less sail area and more length than boats intended for Northern Hemisphere racing, but it went on to do well everywhere. The boat was considered to be extremely stiff, with small straightforward trapezoidal keels. The design proved a phenomenal performer upwind, and in their day were fast reaching and OK running.  
Pacific Sundance during the 1983 Southern Cross Cup trials (photo Diana Littler/Sea Spray)
Pacific Sundance was commissioned by Del Hogg for the New Zealand Southern Cross Cup trials held in late 1983, following Tom McCall's decision to press ahead with the first of the new design, Exador. These two yachts were joined by sistership Geronimo (Owen Chantaloup), and all three were built from the same mould at Cookson Boatbuilders, utilising a PVC core and some kevlar.

As noted in an earlier post on Geronimo, the three yachts all benefited from the one-design nature of their tuning programme, and were able to edge out the only other real threat in the Hitachi-sponsored trials, from Neville Crichton's Frers 43 Shockwave. Pacific Sundance was the top performer, and Geronimo and Exador finished second equal, and thus the New Zealand team for the Southern Cross Cup in 1983 was comprised of three Farr One Tonners. 
Spinnaker hoist at a top mark during the 1983 Southern Cross Cup series (above and below)

Pacific Sundance heads off on a reaching leg, team-mate Geronimo behind and approaching the top mark
The 1983 team made up for disappointing New Zealand efforts in 1979 and 1981, with a devastating and all-conquering performance, taking wins in three out of five races. Pacific Sundance finished as first yacht overall in convincing fashion - skippered by Geoff Stagg and Peter Walker, Pacific Sundance posted a first, third and fourth among 27 yachts in the three inshore races. They also won the 180-miler, and the Sydney-Hobart race finale - in fact she nearly won the Sydney-Hobart overall, but ran out of wind just 40 miles from the finish.  
Pacific Sundance leads team-mate Geronimo during the 1983 Southern Cross Cup (photo Diana Littler/Sea Spray)

Geronimo and Exador finished the series in second and fourth place overall, cementing a solid win by the New Zealand team, by a massive 100 points over second-placed New South Wales. This was an even more dominant performance than 1977, and on a par with New Zealand's first win in 1971
Pacific Sundance sails on a flat run during the 1983 Southern Cross Cup series
The next year Pacific Sundance, Exador and Shockwave were selected for the New Zealand 'A' team to contest the 1984 Clipper Cup. This was a powerful line up, and the team lead the series from the first race. Pacific Sundance and Exador were going so fast in the final Round the State race that they were running first and second on corrected time and the Clipper Gold Cup looked to be New Zealand's. However, disaster struck when Exador was engulfed by a rogue wave off South Point (on Hawaii's Big Island) that tore out her rig. The loss of Exador from the running dropped the team to second overall (just 12 points behind the US White team of Camouflage, Checkmate and Tomahawk).
Pacific Sundance during the 1984 Clipper Cup (photo John Mallitte/Sea Spray)
Pacific Sundance on a reaching leg during the 1984 Clipper Cup (photo NZ Yachting)
Pacific Sundance works her way upwind during the 1984 Clipper Cup
Pacific Sundance was sailed in San Francisco in the mid-1980s (as Sundance), including the 1986 Big Boat Series, and she raced in the 1988 One Ton Cup in San Francisco, where she was sailed by Chris Dickson and finished in a creditable eighth place, given her vintage by that time, and was one of seven Farr designs to finish in the top ten.
Sundance (as she was known for a while) during the 1986 San Francisco Big Boat Series
Pacific Sundance in a broach during the windy conditions of the 1988 One Ton Cup in San Francisco

Pacific Sundance now races actively in Auckland, and featured in the 2013 Three Kings offshore classic and competed in the 2015 One Ton Revisited regatta in Auckland.
Pacific Sundance during a RNZYS winter series race in May 2014 (photo Ginger Photography)
Pacific Sundance finishing the 25 November 2016 White Island Race (photo Suellen Hurling)


  1. Pretty sure I just found three sales from Pacific Sundance all marked up as NZL 5281 look to be in reasonable condition. If anyone is interested call (06) 342 9658. Looks like they have been sitting in a shed for sometime but stored dry. I could get photo's etc.

  2. Thanks, hopefully the current owner will spot this post!