31 October 2013

Kenwood Cup 1990

Japanese yacht Tiger
The 1990 edition of the Kenwood Cup was notable for the first ever win by Japan in an international teams ocean racing championship. The defenders Australia dictated the pace from race one, the series went to the wire when the Australian team faltered in the double-points long race, and the Japanese kept their team act together to edge ahead for the win by just 21 points.

The Japanese team comprised the Farr 50-footers Tiger (skippered by Peter Lester), and Will (skippered by Geoff Stagg) and the Farr 44 Swing (ex-Librah). The Australian team featured the David Pedrick designed maxi Drumbeat, the Farr 50 Heaven Can Wait and the Frers 50 Cyclone. Rigging troubles aboard Heaven Can Wait in the short ocean race, and on Cyclone for the long offshore, opened the door for the Japanese, who also experienced their own problems. A new super-lightweight rudder on Will sheared off three hours into the long spinnaker run during the long offshore, and with just the rudder stock and 2 feet of blade Will completed the run without her spinnaker, and the subsequent 120 mile beat, salvaging 14th place for herself, and overall victory for her team.

Shortly before disaster, An dices with another Japanese One Tonner, Will Jr
Another view of An before tragedy struck

The series was marred by the sinking of the Japanese yacht An, a new Farr One Tonner, during the middle-distance Molokai race which resulted in the drowning of one of her all female Japanese crew. An struck a reef at the eastern end of Molokai and sank in about 30 feet of water, and the crew member became entangled in ropes as the yacht sank.  

Tiger, with a large New Zealand contingent aboard, helped sweep the Japanese team to triumph in the 1990 Kenwood Cup (photo Daniel Forster/NZ Yachting)
The series attracted 34 yachts, a drop from previous years and reflecting the loss of grassroots IOR fleets around the world.  It was saved somewhat by the emerging force of Japan, which fielded three teams of high quality yachts and a dozen individual entries. The New Zealand effort was never a serious threat, although the lead yacht in the team, Matenrow (right), a chartered Japanese One Ton yacht skippered by Tom Dodson, emerged as the top yacht overall. While she had finished on equal points with Heaven Can Wait and Tiger, Matenrow was awarded the top spot after a comparison was made of accumulated corrected times.

New Zealand entry Matenrow rounds a leeward mark during the 1990 Kenwood Cup, and below rounding just behind Propaganda which was another Japanese entry

 Bravura - a broken boom put paid to her chances of being top yacht overall and she ended up 12th overall

The series was generally dominated by the 50 footers, and it was only the top two One Tonners, Matenrow and Irving Loube's top One Tonner Bravura (US), and winner of the previous Kenwood Cup, that were able to mix it with the larger boats on corrected time. 
NZ Natural (Graeme Woodroffe) drops her spinnaker during one of the inshore races of the 1990 Kenwood Cup
The other two yachts, Starlight Express and NZ Natural (ex-Emotional Rescue) were decidedly uncompetitive under IOR, and finished 23rd and 27th respectively, leaving New Zealand in a lowly fifth place in the Kenwood Cup results. The US also fielded a weak team, with Bravura joined by two archaic yachts, the Mull-designed Sorcery, a veteran of three Kenwood Cups, and the Frers 44-footer Camouflage, which was one of the top boats in 1984. This team finished fourth, and like New Zealand were well adrift of the top two teams.

Footage from this series can be seen in the following clips:

28 October 2013

Kiwi (Farr 43)

The Bruce Farr design Kiwi was the 'big boat' of New Zealand's 1987 Admiral's Cup team. Although only 43 feet long, the successful teams of previous years had been fielding teams of three One Tonners, and organisers brought in an aggregate minimum rating limit of 95.0ft IOR to ensure that each team would have to have at least one yacht of around 34.0ft.

Kiwi was commissioned and campaigned by a group headed by Peter Walker, who sadly has recently passed away after a long illness. Walker had been an associate of Bruce Farr when his office was still in New Zealand, and who had been instrumental in earlier successes on other Farr boats such as Gunboat Rangiriri.  

Kiwi was built by by Franklin yachts in Christchurch. Compared to other Farr boats of a similar size, such as Drake's Prayer, Kiwi was longer in rated length terms, heavier and had a much less distorted hull. She also had less freeboard and a noticeably less pronounced coachroof. Compared with her near sistership from Australia - Peter Kurts' new Madelines Daughter - Walker claimed his boat was heavier and stiffer, yet was pitched more towards reaching and running. 
Kiwi under construction at Ian Franklin's yard in Christchurch
The yacht sported a tall fractional Sparcraft mast, flying North sails. Use of Sparcraft rigs was a common feature in the Admiral's Cup hopefuls for 1987, with masts having been the weak point in New Zealand's IOR yachts in preceding years. The sections were manufactured in Britain, using alloys that were glued-and-riveted rather than welded, ensuring additional weight saving, and these were then shipped to New Zealand for installation.
Kiwi on her launching day - a smooth hull and showing the latest in Farr's thinking on appendage shapes
Kiwi's afterguard was completed by Tom Dodson on the helm and Tom Schnackenburg on tactics, and the crew included Tony Rae and Andrew Taylor from KZ7. With just five boats entered in the New Zealand trials, and none of comparable size, Kiwi was worked up in something of a vacuum. However, early adoption of a velocity prediction programme supplied by the Farr office proved invaluable.
Kiwi preparing for a start during the 1987 Admiral's Cup trials
Kiwi rounds a leeward mark during the New Zealand Admiral's Cup trials
Racing in the Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta, 1987

Kiwi sailed a 5/2/2/4/1/3/2 series, the features of which were her win in the long offshore race and second in the short offshore race where she had been able to stretch her legs and build a sufficient corrected time buffer over the tight group of the four One Tonners Goldcorp, Propaganda, Fair Share and Swuzzlebubble V. The fifth place in the first race was an aberration, a windless affair with Kiwi barely able to beat the One Tonners over the line, having found herself caught in a hole around Rangitoto. 
Kiwi leads Propaganda and Goldcorp off a startline during the 1987 Admiral's Cup trials
Kiwi powers upwind during the 1987 Admiral's Cup trials
Kiwi went on to train intensively with her new team-mates Goldcorp and Propaganda before they were shipped to Europe for the 1987 Admiral's Cup (and the 1985 One Ton Cup), and with final preparation she went into the regatta with a rating of 34.47ft. The team performed consistently, and stayed out of trouble to emerge mid-regatta as the leading contenders, just one point behind Britain, the pace just too hot for the rest of the 14-nation fleet.  

Kiwi had suffered in the Channel Race in which the results went according to rating, with the minimum-raters cleaning up. That apart however, Kiwi was a model of high consistency with inshore race results of 8/3/9. She enjoyed a titanic struggle with Britain's Indulgence, Denmark's Original Beckmann Pletfjerner and the superbly consistent US entry Sidewinder for big-boat honours.
Kiwi chases the French 44 footer Corum downwind during the 1987 Admiral's Cup
Kiwi in power reaching conditions during the 1987 Admiral's Cup, ahead of USA's Blue Yankee (right) and astern of Australia's Swan Premium III (left)
New Zealand set up their victory with a superb performance in the fourth race, spearheaded by Kiwi with a fifth, Propaganda (sixth) and Goldcorp (eighth) which sent them into the 605-mile Fastnet finale with one of the biggest points leads in the 30-year history of the series. 
Foredeck work on Kiwi during one of the inshore races of the 1987 Admiral's Cup
Kiwi approaches Fastnet Rock (photo K Soehata/NZ Yachting)
Kiwi was tasked with covering Graham Walker's 34.51ft-rating Indulgence, and did all that was asked, matching her British rival and finishing five places ahead. The One Tonners also stayed close enough to their British opposition Jamarella and Juno, to ensure an overall team victory, the first and only win by New Zealand in what was the most prestigious of the international offshore racing regattas of the IOR era. With individual race placings of 8/19/3/5/20, Kiwi finished as seventh yacht overall. See the official film of the event, featuring the New Zealand team, here.
Kiwi tied up at the Queen Anne Battery marina after the Fastnet race, with team-mate Propaganda alongside (photo Shockwave40 blog)
Kiwi sailed in the Swedish team for the 1989 Admiral's Cup - and with a new keel and mast, a slightly lower rating of 34.26ft and sailed by Star yachtsman Jorgen Sunderlin, she was their best yacht, although something of a shadow of her former self with a final placing of 28th overall, with results of 39/30/24/20/21/25. But much worse placings by her team-mates Greve Duckula and Full Pelt saw the Swedish finish well down the results at 12th overall.
Kiwi, sailing for Sweden in the 1989 Admiral's Cup, leaving Lymington Marina (photo Shockwave40 blog)
Kiwi, now named Vincemus, is presently located in Norddeutschland, Germany, and is for sale here.
Kiwi, now Vincemus and located in Germany is for sale.

18 October 2013

Canterbury (Davidson 40)

Canterbury started life as Canterbury Export, a new export venture by Canterbury Marine Exports, based in the South Island of New Zealand, to contest the 1985 Admiral's Cup trials. The new yacht was designed by Laurie Davidson, his first properly campaigned IOR boat from his board to be seen in New Zealand for some time. The boat was a stripped-out Kevlar hulled version of Canterbury Marine Export's standard production racer/cruiser which were being sold in the Seattle area of the US, following an earlier boat called Night Rider, and was designed to perform well in Seattle's predominantly light airs.

Although optimised and equipped for top level IOR racing, Davidson commented at the time that Canterbury Export was not designed as an Admiral's Cup contender, rather "she was designed as an IOR hull that would make a nice racer/cruiser. The boat was originally envisaged as a One Tonner to the new One Ton rating (30.5ft), and was 39ft and 3in long. Then it was stretched to 40ft, so the sail area went down a bit. Then we put a big rig on when they said they wanted to try for the Admiral's Cup team. It has all the attributes for light weather."  
Canterbury Export at the start of the 1985 Auckland to Tauranga Race

Canterbury Export arrived in Auckland at the last minute, to join a small group of other team hopefuls, the veteran performer Exador, Farr 40 sisterships Epic Lass and Swuzzlebubble V, and the Peterson 43, Barnstorm.   
Canterbury Export during the early stages of the 1985 Admiral's Cup trials, with Barnstorm astern

She was skippered by Roy Dickson for the series, with Tom Dodson calling the shots, and by the sixth race of the nine race series looked to have cracked the Farr stranglehold, with excellent light air speed, as her designer had predicted. But the selectors remained unconvinced.

The trials series was closely fought, but Canterbury Export, with her light air speed and general all round ability, and Exador selected themselves, Although Canterbury Export looked strong in light airs, selectors had some doubts about her ability in stronger winds and so called for another three races before making their decision about the team, while two more races had to be added to the evaluation schedule to determine whether Epic Lass or Swuzzlebubble V would be selected. Epic Lass made the cut, and all three yachts were subsequently repainted in matching livery for their European campaign, which was to include the 1985 One Ton Cup, held in Poole which would provide an excellent shakedown before the Admiral's Cup. Canterbury Export was changed to Canterbury to remove any potential for Rule 26 sponsorship-related protests.
Canterbury Export works her way to windward during the 1985 Admiral's Cup trials
Canterbury joins Epic and Exador (beyond photo) aboard New Zealand Pacific for the journey to Britain (photo Tony Bishop/Sea Spray)
With so many Admiral's Cup teams fielding One Tonners, the series was well attended with 38 boats from 16 countries, and was very close as a result. Canterbury allayed any fears that she might be off the pace in fresher breezes by proving to be absolutely competitive as her crew warmed to the challenge. Unlike Exador and Epic she kept her nose clean and was tenth on overall points going into the final race - and had her moment of the regatta when she briefly lead the fleet midway through the third race. 
Canterbury races downwind during the 1985 One Ton Cup (photo Roger Lean-Vercoe/Sea Spray)
The final race was held in very fresh conditions, which kept some boats at their moorings and saw others return after venturing out of Poole Harbour. Ten minutes before the start, Canterbury's mast buckled under compression while she was manoeuvring under mainsail only. Dickson managed to get the boat across the line for starting points but then brought Canterbury back to the dock. So Canterbury finished the lowest of the New Zealand contingent, at 15th overall after a 6/11/22/13/RTD series. The mast, which had collapsed about three feet above the gooseneck, proved unrepairable. Dickson had to make hasty arrangements for a replacement with the start of the Admiral's Cup only eight days away. 

After the One Ton Cup the New Zealand team looked good to be one of the frontrunners, along with the powerful British and German teams. The series started well enough for the team, with Canterbury holding her own in the mid-fleet scramble of One Tonners, finishing 17th. Canterbury posted a solid eighth In the fresher but highly variable conditions of the second race, but later came unstuck in the protest room. Canterbury had protested Australia's Intrigue for a mark-rounding incident, but was herself penalised 30%, dropping her to 23rd, although the team retained second place overall behind the new leaders Germany.
Canterbury in the thick of the action at a wing mark during the Christchurch Bay race
The third race, the Channel Race, was held in gale conditions with a strong ebbing tide that kicked up a short, vicious sea, and led to many retirements from the fleet. Canterbury finished in 18th place, and the New Zealand team were humbled somewhat by the reaching speed of the British boats in particular, and dropped back to third overall, although British team yacht and One Ton Cup winner Jade lost some points after one of her leeward runner blocks clouted two of Canterbury's crew. Exador had done well to finish tenth after experiencing some mast compression problems. But Canterbury had a disastrous race n the third inshore race, held in Christchurch Bay, finishing 43rd. She made amends somewhat in the Fastnet Race finale, with a 16th, and helping New Zealand to third place overall.
Canterbury crossing the Shingles Bank during the 1991 Fastnet Race
The speed of the European boats was something of a revelation to the New Zealanders, but the team manager Rob Green was impressed with his team's overall efforts, saying that all three crews "sailed beyond the capability of their yachts".

Canterbury rounding Fastnet Rock during the 1991 Fastnet race
Canterbury was later sold and enjoyed a second career in Irish hands and campaigning with the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association, winning overall honours in the Association's 1987 season. At around this time she may have been fitted with a new keel of highly elliptical shape and which was very much in vogue by the time of the 1987 Admiral's Cup, as well as a new elliptical rudder.  She is presently located in the port of Andijk in the Netherlands, and is presently for sale.

Canterbury crossing the Shingles Bank during the 1991 Fastnet Race
Canterbury as seen recently (May 2017) in Andijk, Netherlands (photos courtesy @sailingstyle)

A video of Canterbury sailing from 2009:

15 October 2013

Maxi Worlds 1987

The third edition of the Maxi Yacht World Championships were held in Newport, USA, in June 1987. These championships began in 1985 with four boats and grew to nine boats across two divisions by the time of the 1987 series. US regulars Kialoa V, Ondine VII, Matador and Boomerang were joined in the maxi group by the Swiss yacht Milene V. The mini-maxi division saw the Italian yacht Il Moro di Venezia and Emeraude of France join the US yachts Obsession and Cannonball.

Matador, Kialoa V (US-13131) and Obsession (US-40704) in tight startline action during the 1987 Maxi World Championships
After five days of racing it was Jim Kilroy's Kialoa V that reigned supreme, making up for a disappointing fourth place in the 1986 event. Kialoa V arrived fresh from a class win in the SORC, the crew had settled into the boat and got everything together and dominated the regatta. Ondine VII showed improvement all round, while Matador and Boomerang were beginning to show their age, with Milene V just not up to the performance of the US maxis.

Matador and Boomerang in a tight tactical situation in the tricky waters of Buzzards Bay, Newport

Il Moro di Venezia surprised many by coming out on top of the mini-maxis, with a mix of regular and borrowed crew. Obsession, although new in 1986, could not break through and had to settle for second place, along with Cannonball.

Ondine VII breaks off on port while Obsession (left) and Boomerang continue on starboard

10 October 2013

Admiral's Cup 1989

Norway's One Tonner Fram XI
These photos follow my earlier post about Librah and the New Zealand campaign to defend the Admiral's Cup in 1989. For the 1989 series the Royal Ocean Racing Club had resolved to reduce the previous hegemony of the One Tonners by changing the time multiplication factor (TMF) in favour of the 50-footers, and to reduce the points loading for the offshore regattas. Meanwhile the burgeoning 50 Foot class had undergone further development with the advent of its own dedicated World Cup circuit, essentially becoming scaled-up One Tonners - the change to the TMF and performance gains by the 50-footers was considered to represent something like a 20-30% improvement relative to 1987 generation yachts. 

1989 thus became the year of the 50-footers, with the new breed of these Admiral's Cup 'maxis' leading to line and handicap wins in five of the six races, and taking the four of the top five places overall. The Farr 50 Jamarella (rating 40.0ft IOR), owned by Alan Gray, led the charge for the British team (alongside the Castro 45 Juno IV and the Andrieu One Tonner Indulgence VII) with a superbly consistent 1/3/2/3/2/4 series that made her top individual performer in the 42-boat fleet (from 14 nations), and spearheaded Britain's first cup win since 1981. 
Jamarella - top yacht overall in the 1989 Admiral's Cup

The Castro 45 Juno IV (K-504, 35.17ft IOR) sailed in the winning British team, finishing 13th overall

French yacht Xeryus De Givenchy, a Farr 44 (33.9ft IOR), finished in 24th place (the French team finished fourth overall)
Gray built Jamarella expressly to compete in the newly established 50 Foot World Cup circuit and because he felt that the TMF changes could allow a 50-footer which was not just a useful team yacht but potential series top scorer. "Bruce Farr, Morgens Brinks (the Danish manager) and myself were the only three people in the world who thought a 50 could do it" claimed Gray at the end of the series. 
The results of the Channel Race, with the 50's dominant - Will first, Andelsbanken second and Jamarella third

Denmark had realised the potential of the 50-footers early and were quick to secure the German 50 Container in its team alongside Andelsbanken IV - this was a potent combination (along with their Farr One Tonner 4K) that nearly secured Denmark's first ever win in the series. However, the loss of Andelsbanken IV's forestay in the fifth race saw the team drop to second place overall. 
The Danish 50-footer Andelsbanken IV, a Jeppeson design finished sixth overall, and is seen here to windward of the top overall yacht, Jamarella
Mean Machine (Netherlands) finished as the second top One Tonner, in 8th place (photo Seahorse)
Unfortunately, the new emphasis on these Admiral's Cup 'maxis' did nothing for the affordability of the Cup for many countries. However, the vagaries of determining what mix of boats were best for future campaigns was addressed by establishing new rules for the composition of teams for the 1991 event, with a requirement for teams to field a One Tonner, a Two Tonner and a 50-footer, and results would be scored within each class. 
 Beck's Diva, part of the eighth placed German team, rounds a leeward mark behind team-mate Rubin XI
The Japanese yacht Will, one of the top 50-footers - another Farr design and built by Cookson Boats, finished second overall with placings of 8/1/4/6/4/5, although the Japanese team finished in seventh place
Stockbroker's Container, which finished fourth overall, fends off the 43-footers Pinta and Rubin XII downwind
Australia's Hitchhiker III, a Farr One Tonner, was chartered to the Irish and finished in 32nd place (the Irish team ended the series second-last, at 13th overall)
Will sails upwind in fully powered trim with all crew to weather
Jamarella arriving at Lymington Marina during the 1989 Admiral's Cup (photo shockwave40)