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.

1 comment:

  1. Great memories I grew up watching these yachts race on the Hauraki as an 8 year old. I still remember all the names and
    Hull colours