28 January 2014

Road Warrior (J/41 One Tonner)

Road Warrior - 1984 Newport-Bermuda Race
Road Warrior is one of about twenty J/41's that were built by J/Boats between 1984 and 1987, and were notable campaigners in the IOR scene in the US over that period. The J/41, designed by Rod Johnstone, was designed to rate as a One Tonner (30.5ft IOR), but first came to prominence in the 1984 SORC, when Dazzler finished third in Class E and third overall, while a fractional-rigged version Alethea finished fourth in class and fifth overall. The masthead design carried a bit more ballast than the fractional variation, while Alethea carried a larger headsail and smaller mainsail than other fractionally rigged boats of the size.


Dazzler had some interesting duels with Diva during the SORC, which was one of the first of the new breed of fractional lighter displacement yachts designed by Joubert/Nivelt. Dazzler was sailed by Bill Shore and Perry Harris, and breezed home in the heavily weighted Lauderdale race ahead of Diva, Allegiance (an Alan Andrews-designed One Tonner) and Alethea. Dazzler held onto her overall lead for two more races until Diva and Allegiance had a memorable first and second in the Miami-Nassau race, separated by just 3 seconds. 


The J/41's followed up their 1984 SORC success by taking the first three places in the  USYRU North American One Ton Championships, with Charlie Scott's Smiles winning, followed by Road Warrior, owned and skippered by America's Cup yachtsman John Kolius, with Dazzler taking third. Smiles went on to win that years' Onion Patch Trophy, while Road Warrior finished third.  
The Main Bear (left) during the 1985 SORC
Smiles went on to win the 1985 SORC overall - a large calm some 60 miles from the finish of the Miami-Nassau race benefited the smaller boats such as the One Tonners and gave Smiles a significant points edge over her larger competition. Indeed, the weather in the 1985 series was lighter than usual and this ideally suited the J/41, with its notable rocker, fine ends and low wetted surface. The win by Smiles was an impressive result for a production boat and caused some consternation for the many custom boat owners. Scott had even finished Smiles himself, although he went to some effort to centralise the deck equipment and the internal arrangement amidships to minimise weight in the ends.

Despite their initial success, the J/41's represented the end of the competitive masthead boats at the One Ton level, and after the 1985 season were considered something of an anachronism in the emerging trend towards fractional rigs in top level racing at the time. They were not widely regarded as the fastest boats on the track, but were marketed at the time as being easier to sail than their fractional competition. Consistency was emphasised, with higher average speeds across the wind range considered to compare favourably to the "moments of blinding speed interspersed with unbelievably slows" of their competition. 
Jack Knife (photo One Ton Class Facebook page)

The fine ends and slightly bow down trim of the J/41 in IOR mode (photo J Boats)
The J/41 performance assessment at the time commented that "fractional designs (including J/41s so rigged) have the edge when jib reaching and occasionally downwind under 5 kts TWS (when gybing angles are tighter downwind), but the J/41 is unbeatable upwind over 10 kts AWS or downwind over 12 kts TWS. The exceptions are in conditions over 25 kts AWS upwind where small rig Farr 40s excel or in some marginal surfing/wave conditions when close spinnaker reaching." 
One of the many J/41's, Merrimac (photo J Boats)
The J/41's were also noted for their structural integrity, when five survived the rough 1984 Bermuda Race, and two survived the SORC that year without failure. Construction nevertheless pushed the limits of the time, utilising vacuum bagged unidirectional  aircraft-grade Baltek Contourkote sandwich and 1/8th inch unidirectional carbon fibre skins for increased rigidity and impact resistance in critical areas. 

Road Warrior missed the 1984 SORC but raced in the 1985 event as The Main Bear, and was later renamed Lorimar. She is now owned by a Dutch yachtsman Jan Kuffel who bought the boat in 2008 in Long Island and she is now called Red Gull after her sponsor. Red Gull regularly lines up in IOR regattas hosted in the Netherlands against other older boats such as 45 South II, Canterbury, Container, Caiman, Jamarella, Lady Be, Morningstar, Marionette, Pinta and the like.

The happy crew of Red Gull, now sailing in Europe (photo Jan Kuffel)




10 January 2014

Infinity (Holland 47)

This post features a selection of photographs of the Ron Holland-designed 47 footer Infinity, taken by Larry Moran during the 1983 and 1984 SORC. Infinity was owned by US yachtsman John B Thomson Jr, and finished fourth in Class B in the 1983 series (after placings of 6/7/1/5/1/3), behind a trio of Frers 51 yachts Carat, Bla Carat and Zero, and finished 33rd overall. In 1984 she came up against the likes of the Frers 50s Morning Star and Retaliation, and the Peterson design Artemis in Class B, and finished eighth, and was 42nd overall. 

Infinity was in some ways a standard design approach for Holland, with a reasonably high freeboard, masthead rig, medium displacement and a flush deck, which was not dissimilar to many of her competitors during that era. She featured a straighter transom than his previous designs which arguably gave the yacht a more elegant appearance than some of Holland's earlier boats that had a pronounced curve in the transom profile. Infinity sailed in the 1983 SORC with a rating of 36.2ft IOR, and this was reduced slightly for the 1984 series to 36.1ft. 


Infinity and Ichiban cross tacks during the 1984 SORC
Infinity at the Truman Annex after the Ft Lauderdale to Key West race in early 1982, with Aries alongside (left), and Locura and Rolling Time (right) (photographer unknown)


Infinity goes into a death roll (photographer unknown)


2 January 2014

Stress (Norlin One Tonner)

Following a recent article on the Peter Norlin designed One Tonner Agnes I have been contacted by the current owner of the last of Norlin's 'A-series' of yachts, the One Tonner Stress, which has prompted this post  regarding her origins and racing history based on some excellent insights and photographs from Markus Norlin and her current owner, Polish yachtsman Zbyszek Kania.

Stress was built with GRP over an Airex core by Sailing Progress for the 1977 season, commissioned by Goran Winberg and Borje Blumenthal. She was essentially a development of the Agnes lines, but with slightly less drawn out displacement in the bow and slightly larger. 

Stress achieved immediate success in her first season - the overall winner of the Round Gotland race (against 200-300 boats) and a host of other local regattas in Sweden and Finland. She was winner of her class in Cowes Week that year, performing strongly in the light winds that prevailed, and she then went on to finish second overall in the Channel Race. Her result in the light airs Fastnet Race was not as impressive, as stronger winds came in for the smaller yachts after Stress and other top boats had finished.
Stress during the 1978 One Ton Cup (photo courtesy Markus Norlin)
Stress had measured in at just 27.2ft IOR, just below the One Ton limit of 27.5ft, and so for the 1978 season, and the One Ton Cup of that year, her bow section was replaced with one with a finer entry, extending her waterline and increasing her rating by 0.3ft. 
The original lines drawing of Peter Norlin's Stress
Peter Norlin at the helm of Stress
At the 1978 One Ton Cup, held in Flensburg, Germany, Stress opened her campaign strongly, with a first place in the opening race, and followed this with a fourth in the second race. But after this she stood no chance against the lighter fractional rigged yachts as the breeze arrived. Stress finished the series in seventh place overall, but won the Bummerlunder Cup for the best yacht in the inshore races, and was the top scoring masthead rigged yacht. 

Startline action in the 1978 One Ton Cup - Stress leads off towards the pin end of the line - Danish yacht Heatwave is visible two boats back with second placegetter Bremen just to windward (photo courtesy Markus Norlin)
Stress in her preferred light air conditions during the 1978 One Ton Cup (photo courtesy Markus Norlin)

Stress (left) in close company during the 1978 One Ton Cup, with Heatwave (D2892) and Export Lion (KZ-3398) to leeward and ahead.
After that Stress was sold by her original owners to a Swedish doctor Stephan Brandstedt, who raced her in the 1979 Fastnet Race. In the severe conditions that prevailed the mast was lost and the crew sought shelter in Cork, Ireland. She was then sold in 1984 to Johan Listrup and she was renamed Sylvia 2 (after his wife and mother), and the yacht went on to scored further victories in the Round Gotland race in 1984 and 1986, and in other years, up to 1991, she dominated Class 3 in this famous Swedish race. 
Sylvia 2 during a long offshore race off Sweden during the 1980s
Her present elliptical rudder was built in 1985 by Listrup's son, Jens Listrup, and based on rudder drawings from the Norlin One Tonner Big Foot. The previous owner had already modified the original rudder but this was very heavy, while Jens utilised the original aluminium shaft and corrected the previous asymetric shape to a more efficient (and symmetrical) design, saving 100kg in the process.
The Listrup family also built these impressive 1:10 scale models of Stress
Sylvia 2 was sold to a Polish sailor Bruno Salcewicz in 1996. She is now raced by another Polish sailor, Kazimierz Kuba Jaworski, who had also won the monohull division in the 1980 OSTAR. Kania has renamed the yacht as Mist and she now sails on the Baltic Sea, and is looking in good condition after a recent refurbishment in Poland. 
Stress in her more recent configuration, seen here in Poland in 2013 (photo Zbyszek Kania)