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.

1 comment:

  1. Het Richard !

    The right typing of Bullit's architect is Fauroux and no Faroux :)