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.


  1. Actually it's sold to Danish crew and sails under the name kiwi again. It has been refurbished, and contend in the (around sealand)sjælland rundt in 2019 (27 to 20 of June)