30 May 2013

Diva (Judel/Vrolijk 44)

The German yachts known as Diva came onto the Admiral's Cup scene in 1985, but not to be confused with the French One Tonner Diva, the wunderboot that took individual honours in the Cup in 1983.

The 1985 yacht, Diva G, was designed by Freidrich Judel and Rolf Vrolijk for her owners Peter Westphal-Langloh and Freddy Diekell. The 44 footer, rating 33.6ft IOR, was designed in response to the moves by the RORC to introduce a minimum aggregate rating for teams in the Admiral's Cup from 1985 onwards, and thereby put an end to three boat teams made up of minimum (30.0ft IOR) raters. Diva G was built by Yachtwerf Wedel in Kevlar and glass on a foam sandwich core. She represented the arrival of a new style of fractionally-rigged yacht, with laminated sails and improved spar technology making rig control a better proposition at this size. 

Diva G was part of the winning German team in the 1985 Admiral's Cup. While she did not quite match the results of her smaller team-mates (Outsider and Rubin G VIII), she held her own against another small boat onslaught and recorded a respectable 11th place overall. Much of her success was due to the way in which she was handled, with near immaculate crew-work, and because she was skippered by Berend Beilken, who had been in almost every German Admiral's Cup team since 1973.

Diva G powers downwind during the 1985 Admiral's Cup
Diva G during the 1985 Admiral's Cup (photo Beken)
Diva G seen here at the beginning of a race during the 1986 Sardinia Cup
A new Diva was commissioned by Westphal-Langloh for the 1987 Admiral's Cup. The new boat was another Judel/Vrolijk 44 footer, rating 34.4ft IOR. Westphal-Langloh was again successful in making the German team, alongside Container and Saudade, even though Diva had been in the water for just a few weeks before the trials. However, the yacht then picked up debris in her propeller while passing through a narrow channel en-route to England, ran aground, and spent a night on the sands off Helgoland as a consequence. Diva's keel was straightened back to true with hydraulic jacks, but she was not 100% right.

Diva surges along on a reaching leg, with team-mate Container visible just ahead on the opposite gybe
The chances of a successful defence of the Cup looked in doubt after Diva's problems, and team-mate Container suffered from a lack of tune in moderate conditions. The German effort was further undone at the fourth windward mark in the third inshore race, when Diva found the path to the layline blocked by Austria's Pinta and Original Beckmann, and Italy's Marisa Konica. Beilken tried to tack underneath and squeeze up to the mark attempting to extract height out of a low-area/high-lift keel before it was working efficiently. He failed. A few minutes later team-mate Saudade under-estimated the tide and hit the mark.

Diva's error dropped her from 16th to 24th in the race, and she went on to finish in 26th place in the individual standings, as part of a fifth place overall by the German team.

Above and below - deck and cockpit detail on Diva (photo Ian Watson)

The photograph below shows Diva G now on display at the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhafen.

25 May 2013

Exador (Farr One Tonner)

Exador 1983 (Farr Yacht Design)
Exador is another of the Bruce Farr-designed trio of 40 foot One Tonners that burst onto the New Zealand and international ocean racing scene in 1983. Exador was commissioned by yachtsman Tom McCall, and his commitment to building the first of Farr's new Design 136 convinced Owen Chantaloup and Del Hogg to proceed with sisterships Geronimo and Pacific Sundance with which to campaign in the 1983 Southern Cross Cup trials.  

The three New Zealand yachts all benefited from the one-design nature of their tuning programme, and all secured places in the New Zealand Southern Cross Cup team. The team put on a devastating and all-conquering performance in the Southern Cross Cup, taking wins in three out of five races to take the Cup with a big lead over the second placed New South Wales team. Exador finished fourth overall, behind Pacific Sundance (first) and Geronimo (second), with Exador also finishing ninth in the 160 boat fleet that contested the Sydney-Hobart race that was also the final race in the series. 
Exador on a downwind leg during the 1983 Southern Cross Cup (photo Diana Littler/Sea Spray)
Exador in the 1983 Sydney-Hobart race (photo Farr Yacht Design)
1984 Clipper Cup
The next year Exador, Pacific Sundance, 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, with Exador finding the conditions much to her liking and taking four wins in the first four races. 

Both Exador and Pacific Sundance 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). 

Exador in the 1984 Clipper Cup (above and below)

McCall nearly sold Exador, for business reasons, to the US (via an offer through Geoff Stagg of the Farr office) on the eve of the 1985 New Zealand Admiral's Cup challenge evaluation series. Fortunately, quick footwork by Auckland businessman Mike Clark kept the champion yacht in New Zealand. Skippered by Graeme Woodroffe she was the form yacht of the trials, and in lighter trim and with new sails she was an easy selection for the team, alongside Epic, another Farr 40, and Canterbury, a Davidson One Tonner. 
Exador in close company with Swuzzlebubble V during the 1985 Admiral's Cup trials
Exador begins another windward leg during the 1985 Admiral's Cup trials (photo NZ Yachting)
In her new team livery before heading overseas for the 1985 One Ton Cup and Admiral's Cup

Exador approaches a windward mark in the 1985 One Ton Cup, behind Alliance (right) and just ahead of Panda (left)
Exador during the 1985 One Ton Cup
All three New Zealand yachts competed in the 1985 One Ton Cup curtainraiser, held in Poole before the Admiral's Cup. With so many Admiral's Cup teams fielding One Tonners, the series was well attended and closely fought. Exador had a solid series, but after incurring a significant penalty in one race slipped from a possible third place overall to fourth behind Jade, Highland Fling and Panda. Exador then went on to lead the New Zealand Admiral's Cup team from the front, finishing as fifth yacht overall to help secure the team's third place amongst 18 teams, its best result in the regatta up to that time.

The evergreen yacht went on to earn a place in the 1985 team that was selected to defend the Southern Cross Cup, joining Ian Gibb's Swuzzlebubble V, and Tom McCall's Farr 43 Switchblade. Unfortunately, New Zealand split its strongest performers between two teams, and Swuzzlebubble V proved to be off the pace, while in the second team the Peterson 43 Barnstorm undermined the top individual yacht of the series, the Davidson One Tonner Mad Max (later Goldcorp). Nevertheless, Exador sailed strongly, and was the only boat in the New Zealand A team to match pre-regatta expectations, finishing as third yacht overall (with placings of 4/5/9/4/6).
Exador beats upwind in the Rangitoto Channel during the 1985 Admiral's Cup trials
Exador again showed her pedigree and incredible longevity by forming part of another champion New Zealand offshore team, alongside two Farr 43's Thunderbird and Equity, which won the 1986 Kenwood Cup. Exador had sailed well in the New Zealand trials, sporting some new sponsorship and renamed Paxus Exador. This injection of funds allowed a refit and new sails. A weight-saving exercise, including lighter floorboards and a new boom, and some re-trimming for Hawaiian conditions, gave the yacht a new lease of life and she went on to win Class D. Paxus Exador was also looking good for overall fleet honours, but large holes in the Round the State race caught many of the smaller boats, Paxus Exador included.
Exador sporting new livery for the 1986 Kenwood Cup trials
Exador blazes upwind in the conditions she was designed for, circa 1986
By the time of the 1986 Kenwood Cup, Exador had been sold to Japan's 'Harry' Takeda, a move that was met with some sadness in New Zealand sailing circles. An editorial in New Zealand Yachting magazine at the time lamented that it was hard to imagine any other yacht matching Exador's record across such a large number of regattas, an ever-present campaigner in the New Zealand's 1983-85 Champagne Mumm World Cup victory.

Exador is currently based in Vladivostok, Russia, where she sails at the '7 Feet' Yacht Club (see photo above). In 2012 she finished second in the 500 mile Sea of Japan race, and finished fifth in 2013. The owner's are proud of Exador's rich and distinguished history, and are doing everything possible to maintain her in top condition.


21 May 2013

Bullit (Fauroux Quarter Tonner)

Bullit, the Jacques Fauroux design that won the 1979 Quarter Ton Cup, was in the news again recently, after winning the Quarter Ton division in the 2013 Vice Admiral's Cup, hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club. Bullit (now with an IRC rating of 0.905 instead of her original 18.55ft IOR) has been another impressive restoration project by Peter Morton, who had previously returned Anchor Challenge to her former glory (and then some!) and went on to win the 2009 edition of the revived Quarter Ton Cup, and did it again in 2012 with Bullit.  
Bullit on her way to winning the 2013 Vice-Admiral's Cup (photo Fiona Brown)
This latest win in the Vice-Admiral's Cup, against 14 other top Quarter Tonners, augers well for Bullit's chances in the Quarter Ton Cup which will be hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club on 15-17 July (update - Bullit has won the 2014 Quarter Ton Cup). 

Bullit is the name of two of the seven yachts built from the same mould - Morton's Bullit won the Quarter Ton Cup in San Remo in 1979. The second Bullit had a longer stern scoop added and she made quite a splash when she arrived in New Zealand for the 1980 Quarter Ton Cup, hosted by the Panmure Yacht and Boating Club. 
Bullit viewed at her arrival in Auckland for the 1980 Quarter Ton Cup (photo Alan Sefton/Seahorse)
The local fleet were comprehensively beaten by the lightweight flyer, which at the time demonstrated that European design thinking had overtaken the New Zealand style of boat. Bullit featured more of a dish shape, with less depth and more beam, a longer stern overhang and an ability to surf downwind much more easily than her rivals. Fauroux had created a boat of the same measured length as the New Zealand boats, yet with less hull depth and more beam, while giving nothing away in terms of sail area.  
Bullit rounds a weather mark just ahead of Hellaby, her dish shaped sections are clearly evident
As another point of difference, the boat carried no internal ballast, all her 1,060lbs of ballast was carried in the keel, and her all up weight was some 140lbs less than the Farr design Anchor Challenge, sailed in the 1980 series by Roy Dickson. The long stern overhang, that gave the yacht some 2ft of extra length, would incur a rating penalty the following year, but the boat was designed only to win the 1980 series.
Bullit eases her way downwind - a long transom left little room for the cockpit! (photo Gary Baigent/Sea Spray)
The moment of truth arrived after the top mark in the first race. Bullit rounded second, behind Australian entry Bashful, but by the wing mark was 38s ahead, and went on to finish a full six minutes ahead of the second placed Hellaby, the latest Davidson design and sailed by Tony Bouzaid. After a repeat performance in the early stages of the second race, sailed in fresh conditions, one of Bullit's spreaders failed and the crew were forced to reduce sail, finishing third behind Hellaby and Anchor Challenge.
Bullit nurses her damaged rig on her way to the finish line in the second race (photo Gary Baigent/Sea Spray)
Bullit was able to reinforce her superiority in devastating fashion in the 140 mile intermediate race, where she beat the second placed Hi Flyer (another Davidson design, and sailed by Helmer Pederson) by almost 47 minutes in the 24 hour long race. The race was sailed in 15-20 knot winds which suited Bullit perfectly. She repeated the performance in the fourth race, steaming away on the reaches and runs after rounding the first mark in fourth place.
Bullit approaches the start area during the 1980 Quarter Ton Cup
The 220 mile long ocean race was sailed in very fresh conditions, with 40 knot gusts at the start and a forecast that did not provide much hope for an improvement for a fleet faced with two roundings of Channel Island. Again, Bullit set a blistering pace in the initial downwind work, but many of these small boats suffered knockdowns and a nervous, if not scary, time while out in the vicinity of Channel Island.

On the beat from Channel Island Bullit's mast began S-bending, and had to nurse the yacht on starboard tack and soon fell behind Anchor Challenge. The following morning, however, Bullit was close behind and, carrying just a storm spinnaker and reefed main, she sailed through the lee of Anchor Challenge and went on to finish the race in a little under 42 hours and took the win by a margin of 31 minutes.  
The second placed yacht in the series, the Davidson design Hellaby, sailed by Tony Bouzaid
Bullit's victory would have been greater had she not suffered rig and internal hull damage which forced her to slow down - they wanted company in case something drastic happened. With the victory in the final race Bullit secured the Quarter Ton Cup for France, with 116.5 points, well clear of second placed Hellaby on 106.25 points, just 0.75 points ahead of Anchor Challenge

The 1980 Bullit is understood to be currently located in Tahiti, as seen in the photo below.

19 May 2013

Smir-Noff-Agen (Farr One Tonner)

Smir-Noff-Agen was a centreboard One Tonner designed by Bruce Farr (Design #63, 27.5ft IOR) for a syndicate headed by Don Lidgard for the 1977 One Ton Cup, held in Auckland, New Zealand. Smir-Noff-Agen joined three other Farr centreboarders The Red Lion, Mr Jumpa and Jenny H All these yachts were to a similar design but various small differences were apparent on the rating sheets, with Smir-Noff-Agen sporting a larger mainsail and smaller jibs to reflect the crew's background in skiffs and dinghy sailing, and a simple deck layout to minimise variables in sail-setting, especially at night. 

These new generation One Tonners  were considered experimental at the time, combining light displacement and high ballast ratios with the use of a deep and efficient centreboard and a more flexible and complex rig than Farr's earlier fixed keel One Tonners. The yachts were a significant development of Farr's earlier keelboats from 1975/76 and after the rulemakers failed to close the centreboard loophole exposed to great effect by the Britton Chance design Resolute Salmon a year earlier, a centreboard was chosen rather than a keel, although the fins on the Farr yachts weighed about 750lbs, despite the fact that this was discouraged by the IOR. 
Smir-Noff-Agen heads downwind under spinnaker, shooter and reefed main - NZ One Ton Cup trials 1977
Smir-Noff-Agen faced an early challenge over sponsorship advertising, and changes were made to the yacht's signwriting before the New Zealand One Ton Cup trials began, but the name survived. Challenges to the stability of the new centreboarders were also met in the case of Smir-Noff-Agen by undergoing a pull-down test, with the centreboard half-retracted, which she easily passed.  
Smir-Noff-Agen undergoing a pull-down test in Westhaven, September 1977 (above and below)

Lidgard and his crew went on to contest the trials to determine the New Zealand six-boat team for the One Ton Cup. She started solidly with a second in the first and second races, but lost her rig in the middle distance race. The mast was repaired in time for the fourth race which she won, and followed this with a second in the long ocean race to qualify for the team in third place overall.  
The crew are in for a long night after a failed spreader caused Smir-Noff-Agen's rig to come down in the middle distance offshore race (photo DB Yachting Annual)
Smir-Noff-Agen also entered the Southern Cross Cup trials, to select the New Zealand three-boat team that would compete for the Southern Cross Cup to be held in Sydney at the end of the year. In a mixed boat fleet Smir-Noff-Agen had a close tussle with other centreboarders that dominated the results and joined the Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble and Jenny-H for the trip across the Tasman. 
Smir-Noff-Agen during the One Ton Cup trials, with The Red Lion about to try to cross on port (photo DB Yachting Annual 1978)
The Southern Cross Cup trials showed Smir-Noff-Agen to be a touch quicker than her sisterships, and her new status as favourite of the Farr yachts looked well founded after she won the first race of the One Ton Cup. She couldn't follow this up in the second race where she finished fifth and then sixth in the middle-distance race, and a loss of rig tension was the suspected culprit. With a tightened rig she looked good early in the fourth race, but had to retire when a forestay fitting was discovered to have parted, and talk of sabotage ensued.
Smir-Noff-Agen crosses behind The Red Lion during the 1977 One Ton Cup (photo Farr Yacht Design)
Smir-Noff-Agen sailed an impressive race in the final long ocean race to claim the White Horse Trophy, and finished in third place overall. Her win in the long offshore was despite a near calamitous broach in the gale-afflicted race - Lidgard had called for a spinnaker in 50 knots on the leg between Channel Island and Flat Rock - the boat recovered from the resulting wipeout, but this event was nevertheless used as evidence of the safety deficiencies of the yachts by those at the time who were not in favour of the new light displacement trend that offshore racing was taking. 
Smir-Noff-Agen sailing to windward, with Smackwater Jack to leeward (photo Farr Yacht Design)
Smir-Noff-Agen made her own way across the Tasman for the Southern Cross Cup (after a controversal process to obtain the necessary Category 1 safety certificate). In Sydney and in a fleet of mixed company, with teams made up of anything from Half Tonners to Maxis, the New Zealand team was dominant.
Smir-Noff-Agen competing in the 1977 Southern Cross Cup series
The New Zealand team went into the Sydney Hobart race finale with a massive 130 point advantage over the second placed New South Wales team. Atrocious conditions in the Sydney Hobart meant, however, that this points buffer became the New Zealand teams' buffer as Smir-Noff-Agen retired with damage to the rib frames for'ard after falling off a large wave, and then Swuzzlebubble also withdrew after Ian Gibbs and his crew decided that the conditions were too extreme for a small Half Tonner. Jenny H continued on, though not without their own problems with another failure in a for'ard frame. Haslar and his crew nursed the boat through the worst of the storm and managed to finish in fifth place, and securing the Southern Cross Cup for New Zealand and finishing as the top yacht overall.
Scallywag before the start of the 1982 Sydney to Hobart race
Smir-Noff-Agen was later sold in Australia and became Vanguard. She was later re-named Scallywag II (this was confusingly close to the new name of Jenny H which had been re-named Scalawag by her new US owners). Her most notable result in later years was winning the 1982 Sydney-Hobart race. Later she became Best by Farr, and she was recently laid up in Mermaid Beach (Queensland Gold Coast). 
Scallywag II on her way to winning the 1982 Sydney to Hobart race
Photos of Smir-Noff-Agen under construction and on her launching day can be seen here.

Smir-Noff-Agen was shipped to Dubai in 2016 and is undergoing a full restoration. More here.

16 May 2013

Resolute Salmon (Chance One Tonner)

My earlier post on Jiminy Cricket and 45 South II covered the 1976 One Ton Cup series, held in Marseilles, France. The winner that year was the Britton Chance design Resolute Salmon, a big hefty One Tonner which was able to offset a poor showing in the ocean race finale by amassing a strong points advantage from her convincing results in the previous four races. Resolute Salmon flew the US flag for her One Ton Cup campaign, although she was Italian owned, had been built in France and was rigged and worked up in Cowes, England.

Although Jiminy Cricket and 45 South II raised some interest in Marseilles with their light hull forms and small fractional rigs, it was Resolute Salmon that was perhaps the most radical of the 43 boats that comprised the 1976 One Ton Cup fleet. She represented the polar opposite to the Farr boats in every way. Firstly she was a centreboarder, to take advantage of a previously unexposed loophole in the IOR, with stability obtained through internal ballast in a deep hull, and combined with a large engine. The centreboard approach was popular in the shallow cruising grounds of the east coast of the US, and gained a benefit under the IOR (through a negative DC measurement) to recognise their usually slower shallow keel/centreboard configuration used in such waters. However, when designed as an efficient dinghy-style daggerboard (that weighed just 250lbs), the foil provided a more effective lifting surface, and one that could be retracted on downwind legs for less wetted surface. 

Resolute Salmon on a broad reach during the 1976 One Ton Cup
Resolute Salmon works her way to windward during the 1976 One Ton Cup (photo Sail magazine)
Secondly the midship depth of Resolute Salmon was carried well forward into a very deep forefoot. The full forebody moved the bow wave forward and the corresponding stern wave further aft. By filling in the stern overhang, the lee quarter wave was delayed and, combined with a beamy powerful hull shape, the yacht became quite stiff to windward which allowed her to carry her lofty masthead rig.  
Resolute Salmon sailing downwind in moderate conditions and showing her large quarter wave
Resolute Salmon in light two sail reaching conditions (photo Jonathan Eastland)
While Resolute Salmon was a heavy displacement yacht (some 14,000lbs compared to the 8,400lbs of the Farr yachts), she was very lightly built in Western Red cedar, with carbon fibre reinforcing. This meant that a large amount of internal ballast had to be carried to achieve her flotation marks, which provided a very high ballast ratio. This ballast took the form of two giant paving slabs sitting on the floor of the cabin just behind the mast. The combination of these various design characteristics, helped by a highly professional crew led by Dick Deaver, who first saw the yacht just three days before the series, meant that the yacht was particularly fast in the light winds and sloppy sea conditions that prevailed off Marseilles.

While quick in light airs, however, Resolute Salmon was an absolute handful downwind in any kind of breeze and big following sea. In such conditions, Resolute Salmon had a very nasty habit of trying to turn herself inside out in violent broaches. While she had a high ballast ratio, as Farr commented at the time the power of that ballast was just below the centre of buoyancy. This meant that she had to heel ten degrees or more before the ballast stiffened the boat up. Resolute Salmon would therefore start a rhythmic roll very easily and it got to the point where the boat was out of control before the hull became stiff enough to support it. 

Nevertheless, Resolute Salmon was able to post some solid placings in the windier races of the series, with fourth in the first and fourth races, and winning both the abandoned and resailed second race and the middle distance race. Although she had established a solid points buffer going into the long ocean race, Resolute Salmon was one of several yachts that failed to properly navigate their way around the Borha meterological platform, some 100 miles out into the Mediterranean Sea. Resolute Salmon and others were too far from Borha to see it in the hazy conditions and sailed past it and carried out out to sea. They salvaged a 20th place which was enough to win the Cup with a 4/1/1/4/20 scorecard. The defending champion, the Peterson design Pied Piper finished second, while another US yacht, the Kaufman designed America Jane III completed the US podium sweep in third.
The Scott Kaufman designed America Jane III (third overall)
Resolute Salmon does not appear to feature in any subsequent regattas - she did not travel to Auckland to defend her title in 1977, nor to Flensburg, Germany, for the 1978 regatta. Later changes to the IOR meant that centreboards were no longer a viable proposition, and this heavy style of yacht also became outdated by the time of the 1979 series. Recent photographs indicate that she is still maintained in sailing condition, and still sports her original centreboard, and is understood to be lying in Italy.
Resolute Salmon as seen in 2006
Resolute Salmon has been refurbished and is sailing again, seen here in November 2016 (photo One Ton Class Facebook/Raffete Barbera Photographer)