27 February 2014

One Ton Cup 1984

Sirius II, third overall
The One Ton Cup series experienced something of a renaissance in 1984, following the decision of the Offshore Racing Council in 1983 to increase the One Ton rating from 27.5ft IOR to 30.5ft. It also benefited from a central European venue, with 24 entries attending the regatta run by the Societe de la Trinite sur Mer on the South Brittany coast.

French yacht Passion 2, designed and skippered by Philippe Briand, was the outstanding boat of the series, and marked a general dominance of the event by the French, not just French-crewed yachts but in terms of designers, builders and riggers, and followed on from the success of Diva, the Joubert/Nivelt 40 footer that was top boat in the Admiral's Cup a year earlier.

Passion 2 had won the French selection series and dominated the One Ton Cup, although she had only a modest start in the first race in light, fluky conditions over an Olympic course in which she finished fifth. She won the next race in perfect 12 knot breezes, but only after some very close racing, mainly against the German yacht Sudpack, a new Judel/Vrolijk design.
As elegant as she was fast, the 1984 winner of the One Ton Cup, Passion 2
The third race was the short offshore, which was started in a near calm and Passion 2 was able to overhaul Super Stroumpf, a First 40 Evolution, soon after the first mark. Briand held the lead from there on to the finish, while mid-fleet placings changed constantly throughout the day and night. The racing was so close that 22 of the 24 yachts finished the 26 hour race within 30 minutes.
Close downwind action during the 1984 One Ton Cup, with Coyote leading Cifraline III

Passion 2 to weather of competitors in the 1984 One Ton Cup (Coyote to leeward and Regardless ahead to the right)
This win put Passion 2 at the front of the overall results. She lead from Sudpack, but the next race was the windiest, with up to 21 knots and Sudpack ran into difficulty when rig tension began to crush the composite construction beam supporting the mast. Sudpack was the most extreme of the new boats, with a measure beam (B) of 3.8m (right), and was finished only four days before the start of the series and competed without a full sail wardrobe.
The 1984 One Ton fleet head downwind (Sudpack leading from Passion 2, Sirius II and Jade)
Sudpack, the widest of the One Tonners in 1984 - construction problems in the fourth race forced her out of the final race and she finished 12th overall

The distinctive topside flare and curved sheerline that borrowed much from Briand's earlier winning Half Tonner Free Lance
The increased breeze suited the new Farr design Sirius II, owned and crewed by the Spanish Navy and assisted by Geoff Stagg, and she went on to lead the race from start to finish, to make amends for only average placings of 7/4/9 in the previous races. The win was all the more impressive for the margin of one minute, over another First 40, Coyote. Passion 2 finished fifth.
Passion 2 chases Sudpack downwind during the 1984 One Ton Cup
Sirius II (above and below) - enjoyed the breezier conditions of the fourth race

Passion 2 - above and below
The surprise boat by the end of the fourth race was the vintage Holland design, the masthead rigged Regardless which had been a top contender in the 1979 Admiral's Cup.  Regardless was lying a remarkable second overall and had put together a solid series with placing of 3/7/5/4.  The boat had benefited from a new mast, rigging, deck gear, carbon rudder and new sails to bring her up to 1984-standards. Experienced observers were heard to mutter, "if Regardless wins, she will set IOR design back five years!". 

The last race, the double points long offshore (255 miles), began with the overall result still wide open and the promise of more light weather. Passion 2 came again to the fore, rounding each mark consistently ahead, but with Coyote in close company. After 40 hours of racing, Passion 2 took the gun, and a clear 24 point lead to win the One Ton Cup. French yachts filled four of the top five places, with only Sirius II getting in on the act in third. Cifraline 3, a Daniel Andrieu design, finished second. Regardless finished a lowly 17th in this race, and had to settle for seventh overall.

Another view of Sudpack, from astern and showing her wide beam
One of the four First 40 Evolutions in the 1984 One Ton Cup, Fair Lady, and seen below to leeward of Sudpack

It was also notable that, with the series being the first under the new 30.5ft IOR rating limit, that the top Admiral's Cup and SORC yacht of 1984, Diva, finished tenth, and the second Admiral's Cup boat, Sabina, finished 18th.  In addition, series production yachts did reasonably well against the custom boats, with Fair Lady, Coyote and Super Stroumpf, all First 40 Evolutions, finishing fourth, fifth and ninth, and Alliance, a new X-Boats One Tonner from Denmark, finishing eighth. Diva, in German hands for the series, finished tenth.
The Danish X-Yacht Alliance (above and below) - finished 8th overall (placings 10/8/14/13/4)

Cifraline 3 rounding a windward mark

Stern view of Passion 2
Entries from England had disappointing results. Jade, the Humphreys masthead One Tonner, won the opening race to raise English hopes, but 11th was her next best result. The new Jade would make amends, however, in the 1985 series.
Jade rounds a windward mark ahead of Coyote

22 February 2014

Rubin XI (Judel/Vrolijk Two Tonner)

Rubin XI surfs downwind
This post features a number of photos from a collection contained in a German yachting magazine that followed the design, construction and launching of Rubin XI, a Two Tonner commissioned by German yachtsman Hans-Otto Schumann for the 1989 Admiral's Cup. The German teams had been dominant in the Admiral's Cup during the 1980s, winning the 1983 and 1985 events. However, they had slipped off the pace in 1987, and were keen to re-assert their previous form for the 1989 series.  

Rubin XI was the latest in a long line of Rubin's that had been part of nine previous Admiral's Cups, and Schumann had been part of winning German efforts in 1973 and 1985 (Rubin G VIII).

Computer generated lines plan for Rubin XI
In early November 1988 3:1 scale models of the new yacht are ready for testing, including the latest elliptical keel profile here being attached (photo Heiner Mueller-Elsner).
Rubin XI was designed by the German design duo of Frierich Judel and Rolf Vrolijk, who had delivered most of their country's Cup winning designs throughout their earlier winning campaigns. She was approximately 44 feet in length, designed as a Two Tonner (34.5ft IOR), but her rating was optimised at 34.33ft for Admiral's Cup competition. The hull and appendage designs were subject to extensive computer analysis and tank testing, and construction utilised the latest in carbon fibre technology.

The design is tested in November 1988 in a 300 metre long tank testing facility (photo Heiner Mueller-Elsner).
By December 1988 construction is well underway at Yachtwerft Wedel - the hull is baked at 180 degrees celsius overnight in an aluminium furnace to cure the carbon fibre layers (photo Heiner Mueller-Elsner).
Construction proceeds apace during January 1989 - the mast support structure being put in place (photo Heiner Mueller-Elsner).
Mid-February 1989 - deck fittings and winches are put in place (photo Heiner Mueller-Elsner).
3 March 1989 - construction and rigging are completed, and Rubin XI, weighing approximately six tonnes, is ready for launching in Kiel (photo Heiner Mueller-Elsner).

Rubin XI in trials before the 1989 Admiral's Cup (photo unknown)
Unfortunately, and despite their apparent promise and no compromise approach to preparation, the 1989 German effort did not deliver the results that had been expected of it. In a year where the new 50 footers were dominant, Germany had arrived with 2 Two Tonners (Rubin XI and Pinta) and a One Tonner (Becks Diva) and it was an unsuitable combination. Worse, the capricious breezes of the first race spelt calamity for the German team - by the time a sea breeze filled in the whole German team were well down the placings and Rubin XI finished in last place (42nd). It followed this with placings of 26/12/23/9 and a 17th in the Fastnet race to finish 21st overall. Becks Diva was the best placed of the German team finishing 12th, while Pinta was 26th to give the team a disappointing eighth place in the series.

Rubin XI heads out to race in the 1989 Admiral's Cup (photo Shockwave40 blog)
Rubin XI made another appearance for the 1991 Admiral's Cup, or at least, parts of her did - the deck, winches and rig were married to a new hull to create Rubin XII, but was jokingly referred to as Rubin XI 1/2. The team was again unsuccessful in 1991, finishing fifth (Rubin XII was fourth in the Two Tonner division) but Rubin XII formed part of the team that bounced back in 1993 to win the series by the slimmest of margins, by just 0.25 points.

Rubin XII sails back to the marina after a race during the 1991 Admiral's Cup (photo Shockwave40 blog)
Rubin XII was later bought by a yachtsman from Northern Ireland and she was renamed Hesperia IV.

Hesperia IV ex-Rubin XII

9 February 2014

Feltex Roperunner (Farr 40)

Feltex Roperunner (photo Farr Yacht Design)
Feltex Roperunner was designed by Bruce Farr for a syndicate headed by Don Lidgard to contest the New Zealand trials for the 1981 Admiral's Cup. Design #82 was, as noted by Farr, conceived as an all-out Admiral's Cup yacht with no concession to any other style of racing or unnecessary creature comforts. The minimum Admiral's Cup rating of 30.0ft IOR was decided on not only for minimum capital outlay, ease of handling and a size of boat where optimum performance can be gained very easily in a light-ish displacement yacht, but also because over the years minimum rating appeared to have offered the best chance of producing the top all-round performance in typical conditions experienced in the Admiral's Cup (the top individual yacht in the previous regatta was another minimum-rater, the Peterson designed Eclipse).

Feltex Roperunner came up against a range of new boats for the hotly contested trials, but notwithstanding the world championship victories of Farr's yachts in 1977, new rule penalties against light displacement designs had seen something of a change in designer preference amongst New Zealand skippers by 1980. Feltex Roperunner was the only Farr design in the trials, and Ron Holland designs had come to the fore, represented by the minimum raters Swuzzlebubble III, Epiglass New Zealand and Spritzer, and the larger Monique. These yachts came up against the S&S 46 footers Marac and Ngaruru, and the Davidson 50 footer Outward Bound (designed for the Whitbread round the world race).
Feltex Roperunner was built at the Marten Marine yard in a hi-tech Kevlar and Klegecell layup
Despite the changes to the IOR, Feltex Roperunner's hull form remained typically Farr with powerful stern sections (although more conservative than Farr's earlier efforts), moderate beam and a fine bow to handle a short chop to windward, and as light in displacement as the new displacement/length factor of the IOR Rule would allow, consistent with all-round performance objectives. Indeed, Feltex Roperunner was significantly lighter than the Holland designs (12,000lbs compared to 13-14,000lbs), but in broad terms appeared to have traded this for length, being about a foot shorter. The boat featured a large fractional rig, designed to enhance her light weather performance and to give more power out of crowded start-line situations.
Feltex Roperunner during the start of the 1981 Auckland Anniversary Regatta (photo Sea Spray magazine)
Feltex Roperunner sailing downwind in light airs during the 1981 Auckland Anniversary Day regatta (photo Sea Spray magazine)
In response to some initial observations that the hull of Feltex Roperunner looked more distorted than that of the Holland boats, Farr commented at the time that “Our boats look bumpier because they’re wider aft, but really they are fairer than the competition. In fact, the boat is quite sweet at the aft end, the only unfairness being in the topsides where we have rounds and hollows adjacent to each other."
Feltex Roperunner on the wind and approaching a windward mark and displaying reasonably undistorted stern buttock lines (photo Farr Facebook page)
Feltex Roperunner (right) leads Swuzzlebubble III into Auckland Harbour on a tight reach during the 1981 Admiral's Cup trials. Spritzer can be seen to leeward, and Marac ahead
Feltex Roperunner's initial performance looked promising, and she, along with Swuzzlebubble III and Epiglass New Zealand, proved the most consistent in the observation trials. However, in the subsequent selection trials she faltered, and her series results of 3/4=/7/1=/5/4, for fourth overall, were not as consistent as the trio of Swuzzlebubble III, Epiglass New Zealand and Marac that clinched selection. At times Roperunner went like a champion, as in the short offshore race when she tied for first place with Swuzzlebubble III, but on other occasions she didn't seem to handle the chop as well as the finer-sterned Holland yachts. Her campaign was not helped when she hit the rocks off Rangitoto in the second harbour race while she was leading the group of minimum raters.
Feltex Roperunner is set up well to windward of Spritzer and Swuzzlebubble III in a harbour race start off Westhaven (above), but Swuzzlebubble III has soon slipped ahead (below)

Gibbs’ faith in Holland was well rewarded with Swuzzlebubble III finishing as the top individual boat in the Admiral’s Cup, although the team itself finished a disappointing fifth overall. The overall demise in New Zealand’s offshore prowess was further underscored later that year in the Southern Cross Cup when the renamed The Roperunner, Ngaruru and a new Davidson yacht, the 38 foot Southern Raider, finished a lowly sixth, of eleven teams. 
The Roperunner to windward of the Davidson-designed Szechwan during the 1981 Southern Cross Cup series (photo Seahorse)
The team was selected following trials in Wellington and appeared sound enough, but in the light breezes and sloppy seas off Sydney it was a failure. The team were further handicapped when Southern Raider was forced to retire from the Sydney-Hobart race following structural problems after heavy squalls on the first night. The Roperunner salvaged what she could, finishing 13th in the Cup fleet (following placings of 12/7/20 in the earlier races), but Ngaruru could do no better than 28th, of 30 boats.

The Roperunner during the 1981 Southern Cross Cup series
The Roperunner did not return to New Zealand, and went on to race in Australian offshore regattas for some years. She displayed some longevity and perhaps improvement following further tuning, and The Roperunner finished a creditable 15th overall in the 1983 Sydney to Hobart race (of 158 finishers), the year that the new generation Farr 40's like Pacific Sundance came to the fore to win the Southern Cross Cup for New Zealand. This effort was no doubt a significant factor that led to The Roperunner being crowned the Blue Water Champion by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia for the 1983-84 season.

Update March 2016: The Roperunner is based at the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club.


5 February 2014

NZ One Ton Cup trials 1971

Wai Aniwa during the 1971 NZ trials
The 1969 edition of the One Ton Cup was the last to be held under the RORC rule. The victory by Rainbow II in the 1969 event meant that the RNZYS won the right to host the next contest in New Zealand. The change of hemispheres made the timing awkward, with the regatta to be held either in six months or eighteen months. With the IOR coming into effect in January 1970, and because the One Ton rating would move up to 27.5ft (from 22.0ft under RORC), it was decided that an 18 month gap between events was preferable. As a result, the first One Ton Cup under IOR would be contested in New Zealand in February 1971.

The introduction of the new IOR rule meant a rush to the design board to come up with new yachts for the regatta, both in New Zealand and in those countries intending to challenge for the trophy, including Germany, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland. The conversion from the RORC rule to IOR lead to a general reduction in ratings for a given design, making it necessary for existing boats to increase their rated sail area, or take up other measures that would bring up their ratings to the relevant class limit. That meant a busy summer for measurers, converting and optimising yachts designed to the RORC rule to measure as One Tonners under the new IOR.

Young Nick working up before the trials - she benefited from longer lead up time compared to her rivals (photo Sea Spray magazine)
The introduction of the IOR had at first steadied the situation arising from the type-forming and optimisation going on under the RORC rule. In the first couple of years designers were still adapting to this complicated rule, but boats were becoming more sophisticated. The changes also induced a trend towards bigger boats, leading designers to over-react in the same direction and resulting in a new ‘maxi’ breed of One Tonners, yachts approaching 40ft in length and up to 7,700kg displacement, typified in New Zealand by the Dick Carter design Wai Aniwa, and the S&S design Pathfinder

Escapade being launched from Steel Yachts and Launches yard on the Tamaki River, 6 August 1970 (photo NZ Yachting & Boating magazine)
The trend towards increased displacement at this time was initially not so much to increase or decrease its value, but to spread it out to the ends, particularly aft. This had the effect of increasing the prismatic coefficient in response to reductions in the area and depth of the immersed mid-section. This trend probably began through attempts to flatten off the boat at the inner depth point, thus achieving a greater depth value for a given displacement. Although bows became finer, displacement and buoyancy in the for’ard sections was redistributed to create notably deeper bow sections. 

Preparation for the trials included the need to complete the many measurements involved in obtaining an IOR certificate. Here triallist Concord (sistership to Rainbow II) is subjected to the inclining tests in the still waters of the Tamaki River required to measure her stability (photo Sea Spray magazine)
The growing size and displacement of the new boats indicated to some that the authorities had made a basic error in setting the One Ton rating at 27.5ft. Certainly in the New Zealand situation, the rule made many former One Tonners just a little too small and a lowering of the rating to 27ft or less would have allowed more boats to have been competitive. Rainbow II had been sold to a Bermudan yachtsman. But she was a relatively short yacht and would have been of doubtful value even if she had been available.

Other than increased size and length, other expensive developments which featured on the new boats included aluminium hulls and hydraulic boom vangs. Wai Aniwa (above), skippered by Chris Bouzaid, even utilised a pivoting keel, designed to provide greater lift to windward, and allow deeper sailing angles downwind (the photo to the right shows Wai Aniwa being lowered onto the central pivot shaft). She was built in aluminium and was finished only days before the trials. S&S designs were to the fore in this era, and two new boats were commissioned from the famous New York office, Young Nick, and an aluminium sistership Escapade. Other new yachts included the John Lidgard-designed Runaway, the C&C design Mustang and the Carter designed Outrage.These new boats joined eleven other One Tonners of varying sizes, shapes and pedigrees for the trials series.

Escapade during the 1971 trials (photo Sea Spray)
Young Nick was the early favourite, and lived up to expectations by winning the first thirty-mile trial race with some ease. But the second race, the medium distance ocean event, went against all predictions when it was won by the diminutive Moonlight, a modified Townson 32 class yacht sailed by the explorer Peter Mulgrew, by just 30 seconds from Wai Aniwa.

Moonlight leads Wai Aniwa downwind during the 1971 trials (photo Gary Baigent collection)
Young Nick followed up the disappointment of a disqualification in the second race by winning the third, by a massive five and a half minutes, and took out the next short race as well. 
The S&S design Young Nick powers upwind during the 1971 trials. Note the then-fashionable bendy boom (photo Sea Spray magazine).
After four races Moonlight, consistently in the running, was leading on points from Escapade and Wai Aniwa. But it was Wai Aniwa that revelled in the eased sheets work of the final long ocean race, which she won comfortably from Runaway and Escapade. Young Nick sneaked into fourth while Moonlight faded from contention with a disappointing seventh. Thus, and based strictly on the trials points results, the selection committee picked Wai Aniwa, Young Nick and Escapade for the New Zealand team to contest the 1971 One Ton Cup.