10 June 2013

Candu II (Whiting Half Tonner)

Ian Gibbs' mounted a series of campaigns to lift the Half Ton Cup in the course of his offshore racing career, commencing in 1974 with Tohe Candu (the former Titus Canby), and ending with Swuzzlebubble in 1979. The Tohe Candu effort was the first international effort with a New Zealand design (by Bruce Farr). 

After a disappointing result in the 1975 Cup with his Ron Holland design Measure for Measure, Gibbs decided to return to the light displacement route for the 1976 series with a new design by Paul Whiting, being a Half Ton version of the 1975 Quarter Ton Cup winner Magic Bus, and a near sistership and forerunner to the New Zealand Half Ton champion, Newspaper Taxi.

Candu II on launching day, note the hollow for'ard sections, long and wide stern and pronounced skeg

Candu II was conceived in the midst of preparations for the Magic Bus Quarter Ton Cup campaign (held in Corpus Christi, Texas), and followed the Whiting template established with his smaller Quarter Tonner, with a pronounced maximum beam, hollow waterline for'ard, offset with deep bow sections at the forward depth (FD) station and a long flat transom. The design also continued the use of a long shallow skeg extending beyond the after inner girth station (AIGS), as a method to shorten the rated distance between this measurement point and the after girth station (AGS). 

This view of Candu II shows her broad and tapered stern
The rig details and deck layout were a scaled up version of the approach used in Magic Bus, with a 102mm tapered tube section, stepped well for'ard and designed to be equally as bendy as the mast on the smaller Quarter Tonner. The rig featured the same big mainsail and small foretriangle ratio as Magic Bus, except that the foretriangle was even smaller on Candu II. In place of the normal inboard engine, Candu II carried an outboard weighing around 120lbs. This was because the increase in weight and drag from a shaft and propeller unit available through the engine propeller factor (EPF) measurement was considered by Whiting to outweigh the sail area advantage on this size and concept of boat.

Candu II was built in nine weeks on a crash schedule to be launched in mid-winter 1976 and in time for the Half Ton Cup series to be held in Trieste, Italy. Gibbs still owned Tohe Candu, and two days after her launching, Candu II was to compete against Tohe Candu to decide which yacht Gibbs would take to Trieste. Candu II was victorious and left soon after for the Half Ton Cup.

The outboard auxiliary solution was put to the test during the pre-contest measurement process. This involved boats having to motor a measured mile and recording their speed against their rated length. Many crews spent a great deal of valuable tuning time on engines - ten boats failed the first test, and three were barred from starting the series. Candu II, with the longest rated length, had to achieve the highest speed, and after a week of work on the engined passed by just 0.2 of a knot. 

Candu II works out to weather of Idro
Whiting had to pay for Candu II's long length by trading off sail area, and the yacht was the outlier on both measurements in the 70 boat fleet. One of the more interesting boats to arrive in Trieste was Tuscany B, a former Quarter Tonner which had been cut in half and 'patchworked' together to give her the additional length necessary to achieve a Half Ton rating (21.7ft, instead of 18.0ft). The weird looking Half Tonner was nicknamed "The Italian Job", and was one of the few boats in Trieste to be lighter than Candu II, although this light displacement had to be traded for both length and sail area. Tuscany B finished tenth overall.

The converted Quarter Tonner Tuscany B, with bowsprit and a style of stern scoop not unlike that of the last of the America's Cup IACC yachts.

Unfortunately the regatta itself was plagued by very light winds and short, choppy seas which proved frustrating for the crew aboard Candu II. Prevailing calms wreaked havoc with the scheduled start time of 10am, and the earliest any race got underway was just after midday. The light weather was a disappointment for all 70 crews, particularly since good day breezes had prevailed before the contest began.
Another light air start in the 1976 Half Ton Cup series

The series was won by the Holland design, the first of a series of yachts named Silver Shamrock, skippered by Harold Cudmore. She was a specially prepared production hull, with 500lbs less weight in her lay-up and a slightly bigger rig, although she was still one of the heaviest yachts, and with the largest sail plan she was undoubtedly the best prepared boat for the light conditions that prevailed, but some doubted that she would have been the fastest boat if the wind had blown. Defending Half Ton champion, Tom Stephenson, from Australia, sailed a sistership named Southern Shamrock, and finished fifth overall.
1976 Half Ton Cup winner Silver Shamrock - her stern sections contrast markedly with those of Candu II below

Candu II was by far the best reaching boat of the series, and no other boat could even begin to match her on that point of sail. Although not fully tuned, Candu II also proved fast on the wind over about 10 knots, with good pointing ability and boat speed. In 5-10 knots she could hold her own but sailed dismally under 5 knots and in the peculiar chop in the area. The light air and flat running conditions that prevailed in both ocean races were thus not Candu II's forte, and Gibbs and his crew did well to finish sixth overall in the 70 boat fleet.
Candu II on a reaching leg in Trieste, her favoured point of sail
The speed of Candu II was acknowledged at the prizegiving when title-winner Cudmore remarked on the untapped potential of the New Zealand yacht in a breeze, suggesting that the experience of sailing Candu II in the light air series "must have been very frustrating, much like sitting on a rocket but unable to light it."

Candu II as Vice Squad, circa early 1990s (est)
 Candu II returned to New Zealand and was the benchmark for Gibbs' new Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble, designed and built for the 1977 Half Ton Cup. She was raced in Auckland and later sold to a Wellington sailor and named Vice Squad, then Can Do Too in the mid-1990s. Extensive modifications in 2000 included a bigger rig, which was moved aft, and a longer keel with a bulb providing improved stability. A Brett Bakewell-White designed rudder was added in 2001 which made the yacht more responsive on the helm. She was renamed Candu II in 2004.
Candu II racing in fresh Wellington conditions in November 2005

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