5 June 2013

Propaganda (Farr One Tonner)

Design 182 from the Farr office was commissioned for a pair of One Ton yachts, Propaganda and Fair Share, built to compete for a place in the 1987 New Zealand Admiral's Cup team. The design featured a long and powerful hull shape to deliver strong upwind and reaching performance, and displayed a hull with a minimum of distortions and a relatively easy run in her aft sections.

The name Propaganda was going to be used for a racehorse but backers Adrian Burr, Peter Tatham and Bevan Woolley decided to build a boat instead. Propaganda was built by Cooksons utilising an advanced mix of Kevlar, Nomex honeycomb and carbon fibre, and following European trends of the time, titanium deck and mast fittings were added. As a result, Propaganda was a little lighter than anticipated. This made the yacht too stiff, which was a trait that was penalised under the IOR. Instead of rating at the One Ton level of 30.55ft IOR, Propaganda came in at 31.2ft. so 1,000lbs of lead was removed from the keel in order to reduce stability sufficiently to get the rating down to 30.6ft. 
The lines of Design 182
Propaganda under construction at Cookson yachts
Propaganda on launching day
Propaganda during the 1987 New Zealand Admiral's Cup trials
With Brad Butterworth on the helm, Propaganda was able to make her way into the New Zealand team, joining the trials winner Goldcorp (Davidson One Tonner) and Kiwi (Farr 44).  After the trials, and to try to improve Propaganda's rating, the Farr office recommended that some 660lb be put back on the keel. Surprisingly, no rating increase occurred other than a small CGF (Centre of Gravity Factor) adjustment, which resulted in a final rating for the Admiral's Cup of 30.59ft. 
Propaganda hull profile and deck plan

Fair Share missed team selection, but her skipper Peter Lester joined Propaganda as helmsman to free up Butterworth as tactician. The crew then set about delivering a winning campaign. Sails came from the North's Auckland loft, set on a Sparcraft mast. Local Windward and overseas Sobstad and Diamond sails were bought in as quality and speed checks.
Propaganda seen here motoring to a start during the 1987 Admiral's Cup (photo www.shockwave40.blogspot.com)
Propaganda prepares for a start in the 1987 Admiral's Cup series, just to leeward of the Danish One Tonner Andelsbanken, and to windward of Australia's Swan Premium 1
Spinnaker hoisting action aboard Propaganda during the 1987 Admiral's Cup
Propaganda went on to spearhead a dominant New Zealand performance in the 1987 Admiral's Cup, becoming the top yacht in the series with an impressive 19/1/1/5/4 record and leading her team to its first, and only, win in the prestigious event. The New Zealand team was matched only by the English team, which included it's own version of Propaganda, the Lawrie Smith-skippered Jamarella.  
Propaganda leads Spanish yacht E2525 and the bigger Pinta around a busy windward mark

By the second inshore race, Propaganda was starting to establish herself as something a little special - she was deliberately more upwind oriented than other Farr One Tonners, but the way she lifted clear of the pack marked her out. In the Fastnet race, and with the New Zealand team needing to defend a 109 point lead, Propaganda and Jamarella rarely lost sight of each other, trading tacks, gybes and sail changes for more than 600 miles. 
Propaganda works her way upwind during the the 1987 Admiral's Cup
The One Ton Cup
Propaganda was bought by Michael Fay and David Richwhite and went on to compete in the 1988 One Ton Cup, held in San Francisco shortly after Fay's unsuccessful 'Big Boat' America's Cup challenge in San Diego. Propaganda was skippered in the series by Rick Dodson, while US sailor John Bertrand joined the boat as tactician. The yacht was upgraded with a new keel and rudder two months before the regatta, and the crew spent three weeks working up in San Francisco Bay against the sistership Fair Share (which although missing out on the Admiral's Cup team had finished third in the 1987 Southern Cross Cup). Their tuning programme revealed that Propaganda's mast was overly flexible in the winds of the Bay, and so the jumper struts were extended, and rigging was replaced with ultra low stretch cobalt rods.
Propaganda reaches away ahead of the fleet during the 1988 One Ton Cup
Propaganda went on to completely dominate a fleet of 24 talent-packed boats, winning four of the five races. It was a remarkable performance, emulating the four win record set by Chris Bouzaid and Rainbow II in 1969. Fair Share finished sixth, amongst eight Farr yachts to finish in the top ten. Both yachts went on to compete in the San Francisco Big Boat Series, Fair Share gaining the upper hand and finishing second, just ahead of Propaganda
The Propaganda crew prepare to hoist the spinnaker in windy conditions on San Francisco Bay during the 1988 One Ton Cup (photo Philip Macalister/Sea Spray magazine)

Propaganda is off! Another downwind shot from the 1988 One Ton Cup (photo One Ton Class Facebook page)
After the series Fay and Richwhite announced that they would build a second, larger Farr design to campaign alongside Propaganda in the New Zealand trials for the 1989 defence of the Admiral's Cup. With no new boats to speak of, Propaganda and the new Farr 44 Librah were joined by Fair Share. The One Tonners were worked up together in an America's Cup style two boat sail, rig and appendage testing programme. Both yachts were revamped in the stern area to take account of changes to the IOR that allowed for a more upright transom, which allowed crew weight to be carried further aft. Design and rating wise it was necessary however to include a 'false' narrow extension of the transom forward to the point of AGS (after girth station). 
Propaganda is seen here motoring up the Hamble River during the 1989 Admiral's Cup series (photo www.shockwave40.blogspot.com)
Unfortunately for the New Zealand effort, questions over the rating of some boats, including Propaganda and Fair Share, blew up between the first inshore race and the Channel Race, following a protest by the Australian team. As a technical protest, it centered on the update to the way the changes to the stern were measured. The protest was eventually narrowed down to just the New Zealand boats, and was initially rejected. However, because of different interpretations within different national authorities, a ruling was issued by the Offshore Racing Council which meant that the changes to the decks of the New Zealand yachts would modify their hull date, resulting in a small rating increase, and a subsequent re-scoring of their results. 
The remodelled Propaganda in trials in Auckland ahead of the 1989 Admiral's Cup
Propaganda enjoyed a noteworthy performance in the second inshore race, when Rick Dodson secured the best start of the fleet after three general recalls, rounding the first mark in 12th place and still snapping at the heels of the 45ft Pinta after three hours of racing.
In the end, however, the New Zealand team did not quite have the edge that they enjoyed in 1987, and finished in a disappointing, but still respectable, third place overall, behind Britain and Denmark.
Propaganda arriving at Lymington Marina during the 1989 Admiral's Cup (photo www.shockwave40.blogspot.com)
Propaganda was later bought by a Japanese yachtsman, and she went on to compete in the 1990 Kenwood Cup, where she was skippered by Rick Dodson and finished in 11th place with placings of 33/6/8/12/8/5. The reason for the 33rd in the first race is not known.

Propaganda is currently located in Hakata, Japan, and a recent photo can be seen here.

1 comment:

  1. Really a nice story !
    We state that the best IOR boats never went at their top at first shot ...
    Regarding the 660 lb added, if the rating was a tiny bit higher only, my idea is that this weight was not at the back of the keel but mostly at the head just underwater. At the back the stability would have been increased so much that the rating would have been up to 31 feet and more...