|Epic Lass (left) on launching day (photo Gibbs Family Collection)|
The yacht was a development of Bruce Farr's dominant One Ton design, Design #136, which had formed the basis of New Zealand's outstanding 1983 Southern Cross Cup team. Epic Lass, and her sistership Swuzzlebubble V, were designed and built with a view to competing for New Zealand in the 1985 Admiral's Cup series, and were twin versions of Design 138, optimised for the lighter airs expected in Europe being slightly shorter in length (approx 7in), lighter (approx 190lb), with a fractionally lower ballast ratio, and carrying more sail for the same One Ton rating of 30.5ft IOR.
|Design 138 in profile|
|Epic Lass in light airs during the Auckland Anniversary Day regatta, January 1985 (photo Dan Nerney/Yachting New Zealand magazine)|
|Epic Lass during the 1985 New Zealand Admiral's Cup trials|
|Epic Lass sails downwind during the 1985 Admiral's Cup trials|
|Epic Lass sails upwind past North Head and into the Rangitoto Channel|
|Epic Lass during the 1985 Admiral's Cup trials, approaching a windward mark off Westhaven behind Canterbury Export, Exador and Swuzzlebubble V (photo Rob Tucker/Sea Spray magazine)|
|Epic Lass during final warm-up trials in Auckland before being shipped to Europe|
|Epic is loaded aboard New Zealand Pacific for her trip to England|
Epic finished eighth with an 22/35/7/11/19 series. She was lucky to have completed the series - in the final leg of the second race the barrel fitting at the bottom of her forestay let go - there was no securing split pin and the whole thing unwound and finally pulled out. Epic quickly bore away and ran off while the crew managed to re-attach the stay and they then belatedly completed the leg and finished the race. Her fourth race result was affected by a 20% penalty after being involved in a mark rounding contact with French yacht Coyote. The points lost between these two events cost her a potential third place.
|Epic in the thick of the action during the 1985 One Ton Cup|
|Epic battles it out downwind with other One Tonners during the 1985 Admiral's Cup|
|Epic rounds a mark in a group of One Tonners|
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, the country's best result in the regatta up to that time. Epic had a reasonably strong series, and like Exador, she was one of the best in the fleet upwind, but lacked the legs two-sail reaching. It was hard work though, and the crew had, somewhat caustically, referred to her as 'E-pig' - in response to the difficulty they had keeping her in the groove.
|Epic and team-mate Canterbury working along the Solent shoreline during the 1985 Admiral's Cup (photo Alan Sefton/Yachting New Zealand magazine)|
|Epic heads off downwind at the start of the Fastnet race (photo Roger Lean-Vercoe/Sea Spray magazine)|
Sometime after her Admiral's Cup campaign Epic was bought by US yachtsman Don Wittenberg, and sailed her out of Greenwich, Conneticut. She sailed for a few years in the mid-1990s in Marblehead before she was relocated to Chicago. Chris Upton ran the boat in stages over this time, and has good memories of regularly racing the boat against other One and Two Tonners on Long Island Sound. Upton recalls that she loved to go upwind, but was a bit of a dicey proposition downhill - "we had a complete yardsale downwind doing 16 knots before wiping out".
|Epic, now Big Time, at the Erie Yacht Club|
|A recent photo of the interior of Big Time|
|Big Time safe and secure for the winter|