10 August 2014

Red Rock IV (Frers 43)

Red Rock IV (photo Beken - sample sheet)
Red Rock IV is a 43 footer (rating 34.4ft IOR), designed by German Frers and built by Marland Marine for owner E Mandelbaum to form part of the Argentinian team to compete in the 1979 Admirals Cup. She sailed in the series alongside team-mates Acadia and Sur II - Acadia having missed a place in the US team. 

The 1979 series was windy throughout, and after placings of 31/25/38/17 in the inshore and Channel races, Red Rock IV went on to finish 6th in the storm lashed Fastnet Race of that year (to finish 15th yacht overall, and top yacht in the fifth placed Argentinian team).

Red Rock IV seen here to windward of top Australian yacht Police Car
Red Rock IV featured on the cover of Argentinian yachting magazine 'Gente'
Red Rock IV is now owned by English yachtsman Rob Newman in her new home port of Portishead, Bristol Channel. Newman has extensively modified this big heavy yacht for single handed sailing, and in 2014 he competed in the Celtic Challenge, the Solo Offshore Racing Club's signature event for the season which started from Falmouth and finished in Plymouth. The Celtic Challenge comprised five races up to 310 miles long, taking in the Southern Irish ports of Kinsale, Sherkin Island, Bear Island and Dingle, and included a rounding of one of the most well known of offshore racing turning marks, Fastnet Rock.

Red Rock IV sailing in the Celtic Challenge 2014
The Celtic Challenge also formed a qualifying event for the even bigger challenge of the 2015 AZAB (Azores and back) race, which Newman has also entered. He reports that Red Rock IV performed fantastically well in South Irish sea, and his video footage shows that he is able to sail this big boat downwind with apparent ease (and time to film!), even though she was originally designed to be handled with a full crew and still retains some of those IOR rolling tendencies. 
Red Rock IV sailing downwind in the South Irish sea (photo Rob Newman)
Update July 2015: Newman has finished the 2015 AZAB race, and his race is nicely documented in the two YouTube videos below, that cover each leg of the race. Newman also reports that:

"My strategy was not to push too hard and to get there and back without any major problems. I pushed a little harder on the return leg and did better as a result, but completing the race was more important for me than position. As is the case with many races, making the start-line can be difficult, and so it was in my case. My original insurer didn't want to cover the race so a new insurer meant a new survey and an extra list of work to do. The boat was in great condition but my polars and calibrations could have been better. For future races I will definitely get my polars and sail crossover better organised.

I thought my IRC handicap of 1.063 was quite tough for single handed but it didn't affect the way I sailed or thought about the race. I would be keen to know the IRC handicaps of any similar aged Two Tonners. I'm keen to do AZAB again and perhaps the round Britain and Ireland (double handed)."

Newman adds that the organisation of the race was fantastic and great thanks to the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club and Club Navale in Ponta Delgada.

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