14 November 2014

Indulgence V (Andrieu Three-Quarter Tonner)

The Daniel Andrieu designed Three-Quarter Tonner Indulgence V was another in a long line of yachts to the same name owned by British yachtsman Graham Walker. Andrieu designs were typically very attractive yachts, and Indulgence was no exception, featuring a slightly curved sheer, rounded transom line and a distinctive cabin window. Her French design origins were complemented by her construction, carried out to a very high standard by B&B, located in Trinite-sur-Mer.

Indulgence was designed and built for 1986 Three-Quarter Ton Cup (24.5ft IOR), which was organised by the RORC and raced in Torbay, and which she rounded out as winner, albeit by a close margin. She was skippered by Eddy Warden Owen, one of the British 12-metre helmsmen of the time, and carried sails by the British Banks loft. 
Perspective view of the lines of Indulgence
Deck plan of Indulgence

At the time, the IOR was facing increasing criticism for being over-complicated in its concept, over-expensive in its application and for producing ratings that were sometimes unable to be repeated in subsequent measurements. But for the 1986 Three-Quarter Ton Cup, the inherent strength of the rule became evident on the basis of the number of entries (26 yachts from ten nations), with the top five boats coming from the boards of different designers, and the racing being as close as in a one design series.
Indulgence under construction at B&B, Trinite-sur-Mer (above and below)

So despite Indulgence's high powered crew and 'no expense' spared construction, she didn't have it all her own way, being pushed to the very end by the Niels Jeppesen designed production X-3/4 Ton Frontrunner, steered by sailmaker Ib Anderson, who's firm Diamond Sails also provided her sail wardrobe. This all Danish team, who also formed the backbone of Andelstanken's win in the One Ton Cup that year, were no strangers to the event having won in 1985 in Green Piece and twice before that in the X-3/4 Ton predecessor, the X-102.

Indulgence on her way to winning the 1986 Three-Quarter Ton Cup
Indulgence chases Frontrunner around a wing mark
Whilst Indulgence and Frontrunner were the most consistent fleet leaders, often by an enviable amount, there were three others who were not far off the pace. One of them, the new Humphrey's Decasol, skippered by David Howlett, at times looked like a possible candidate for second place overall. Decasol won the short offshore race but otherwise she took third place too often and that was where she finished overall, followed in fourth by German yacht Flurshaden, which had placed second in 1984 and third in 1985.

The Humphreys designed Decasol - third overall

Indulgence went on to race in the 1987 edition of the series, held in Nieuwpoort, Belgium (contested by 15 yachts from seven nations). She had been sold to an Italian yachtsman (skippered by Vittorio Codesca), but still showed plenty of speed one year on and her crew had high hopes of retaining the Cup. The regatta was held in a wide range of conditions, from mirror-like seas which saw yachts kedging in  the tide to a full gale in the short offshore race which ended in retirement for five yachts and damage on three others. 

Indulgence during the 1986 Three-Quarter Ton Cup

The first race was in light airs, and had to be shortened, and Indulgence V finished 7th, which would prove to be her best placing. The long offshore race was also shortened, prior to the start, simply by deleting the first and last marks from the course to reduce the distance from 240 miles to 190. This caught out a few navigators because they failed to cancel the last buoy's waypoint from their Decca sets. After a long and trying race in light airs, they sent their yachts off on a needless 24-mile leg only to come into the finish line from the wrong direction. One of the yachts was Indulgence, which had led at every mark, so the subsequent disqualification from the race was a huge disappointment, and essentially put her out of the running for overall honours.
Indulgence during the 1986 Three-Quarter Ton Cup
The Indulgence crew bounced back from their error by sailing a faultless third race, the second Olympic triangle. As before, she led the whole way round, ahead of second placed Ramasjang from Denmark. A consistent series thus far by Ramasjang saw them into the lead overall.
The winner of the 1987 Three-Quarter Ton Cup, Jelfi-X, passes behind team-mate Escapade (6th overall)
A lack of wind delayed the start of the short offshore race, and when it got underway it still took an hour to sail the mile to the first mark, where the fleet kedged to avoid being taken back to the start in the strong tide. But when the wind arrived it did so strongly, a Force 6-7 north-westerly which built into a Force 8 gale. Series leader Ramasjang was soon dismasted when her backstay failed. Race leader Prudential Bache was under pressure from Indulgence V who was threatening as night fell. But her series came to an end when her mast collapsed without warning. The latest X-3/4 Jelfi-X (representing the Netherlands) took up the running to stake her claim to the series, and a third in the final race secured the Cup. Indulgence V, forced to retire from the short offshore and unable to start the last race, finished 13th overall.

Sources for this article are based on articles held on the Histoire des Halfs website (where you can read more articles in French) and Sailing Year (1987-88)


1 comment:

  1. Escapde seen in the last photo is for sale in Ireland. She had been based in Dun Laoghaire for a number of years but up in Carlingford now

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