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)


  1. I am not sure where you got your information, but you are very well informed. Just a couple of clarifications as follows:

    We really did not "work the boat up" in Cowes. UK marine hardware stores were not well stocked in the 70's, so the boat was not fully rigged. I sent Dick a list of what we needed and we planned on setting things up before the Worlds (not smart, but all we could do). We did sail in one Channel Race, but dropped out due to lack of wind. We did get to anchor in the middle of the Channel for a few hours which was an adventure.

    Dick did arrive in Marseille three days before the Worlds and we spent the 1st day rigging the boat with the hardware he brought. The 2nd day we went sailing, looking at every sail, 8 of which we saw for the first time as Dick brought them with him. Early in the day we came upon Tin Man and decided to do a little speed testing. After about 5 minutes we broke off because we appeared very fast upwind. From there we headed offshore away from the other boats. Around 10 miles offshore, Dick casually asks Brit if the tiller should spin around 180 degrees without any effect on direction. The rudder was set on a tube within a tube and the welds broke. We sailed the 10 miles back to the old harbor using a #3 and a reefed main to steer (another adventure). The 3rd day was used to haul the boat and fix the rudder. So basically Dick sailed the boat for just a few hours before the first race. Again, not the best.

    The crew was hardly all professional. There were 2, 19 year old kids ((I was one of them) Carlino, the Italian owner (who was a really great fellow, but had not sailed much) Brit Chance (who was a very good yacht designer) Ross Walker (who was a very good sailor and tactician, but not a pro) and Robbie Haines (who was very good at sail trim, clearly a pro, but). Basically we were a green crew that had not sailed together, on a brand new boat with brand new sails in a place none of us had sailed before, sailing at a world championship with 50 other boats. Not the best of circumstances and except for one thing. Dick was driving the boat and calling the shots.

    The last race was as you described except that the 1st and 2nd boats to finish were French entries. Knowing that, we asked around and discovered that the French Navy had a ship on station at the offshore mark and they kept a radar plot as evidence that all the boats rounded, which they showed me. All the boats zig-zagged around looking for the mark except the 2 French boats, who made a beeline right for it. It turned out that the buoy had humans living on it and they used a radio to call home on a specific schedule, so the French boats used their RDF's to zero in on the buoy. Local knowledge they did not share.

  2. One other thing; America Jane III was by far the best prepared and best looking boat at the 1976 Worlds. A real class act. If the wind had stayed up the whole time, they would have easily won, but their light air performance was about the same as the Farr boats. A young Gary Weisman was on the boat and I think set her up and drove, which explains allot.

  3. Thanks Douglas, thanks for the first-hand clarification about Resolute Salmon's campaign, that's great information!