29 December 2014

Wild Rose (Farr 43)

Congratulations to Roger Hickman and his crew aboard Wild Rose, a 29 year old Farr 43 (rating 1.047 IRC), for their fantastic corrected time victory in the 2014 Rolex Sydney-Hobart race, the 70th edition of this ocean racing classic. Wild Rose finished in a time of 3 days, 7 hours and 4 minutes, and took out her corrected time victory by just 39 minutes from Chutzpah (Reichel Pugh 40), and 45 minutes over third placed Ariel (Beneteau First 40), earning her the coveted Tattersall's Cup. 
Wild Rose on Day 4 of the 2014 Sydney-Hobart race (photo Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi/Daniel Forster_Sydney Hobart 2014)
The silverware does not stop there, however, with Wild Rose also taking out Division 4 IRC honours, as well as the IRC Veterans 20 Years division, and first in ORCi Division 4, and second in ORCi overall (to Ariel).

Wild Rose was originally commissioned by Bob Oatley and christened Wild Oats, the first of his impressive lineage of yachts to carry the name, and there is a nice synergy with the fact that Oatley's 100ft super maxi Wild Oats XI took out line honours for the eighth time in this famous race. Wild Oats (the original) was Design #159 in the Farr design list, and followed the success of Design #151 that had spawned such successful boats as Drake's Prayer, Snake Oil and later New Zealand versions such as Switchblade. The Farr 43 had been conceived in the wake of Farr's very successful One Tonners which dominated the 1983 Southern Cross Cup in Australia, the 1984 Pan Am Clipper Cup and other European contests throughout that year. Wild Oats had been a triallist for the Australian Admiral's Cup team in 1985 (the trials were won by Drake's Prayer), and has gone on to compete in the Sydney-Hobart race many times, winning the race overall on IOR in 1993.
Wild Rose in her original guise as Wild Oats, circa 1985 (photo McConaghy Boats)
Wild Rose appeared on the leaderboard early in the 2014 race, along with two other older and lower rating yachts Quickpoint Azzurro, an IRC-optimised S&S 34 and Maluka of Kermandie, the most unlikely of contenders - 80 years old, gaff rigged and just 9 metres long. These early challengers stumbled in the closing stages and the clock ticked remorselessly on, and the 40 footers Chutzpah and Ariel came in fast to grab second and third. As Sail-World observed, the performance of the smaller yachts this year was testimony to the unusual nature of this year's race. Normally the bigger, faster boats race away from the smaller and heavier displacement yachts, and then when they are safely tucked up in port, a monster southerly front is likely to rip through the back half of the fleet for good measure. This year, however, when southerlies made for a more equal fleet, light weather plagued the bigger boats in Bass Strait while further back fresh northerlies whipped the small yachts along in good time. 

Wild Rose surges towards Hobart (photo Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi_Sail-World)
But the 2014 win was not without its dramas. "We had a massive broach in 30 knots this morning with the spinnaker up," Jenifer Wells, Wild Rose’s navigator reported. "We laid her over a couple of times, broke the steering cable and it was looking very dicey. We got out the emergency tiller and pulled the kite down, repaired the cable and we were back racing in 12 minutes." The boat was soon trucking along again and recording bursts of 20 knots over the ground. 

An extensive interview with Hickman by Geoff Waller of Boats on tv, featuring footage from the race aboard Wild Rose can be seen here.

Wild Rose in an earlier Sydney-Hobart race (photo Rolex Sydney-Hobart.com)
According to the official Sydney-Hobart 2014 website, Hickman has long admired Wild Rose since she was first raced by Oatley. There may be no fiercer or cannier competitor than Hickman in the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA). He is famous for driving his boat and crew to the limit. At the conclusion of the 2013 Sydney-Hobart, Wild Rose was crowned Blue Water Pointscore Series (BWPS) champion of the CYCA. She was also in the winning Southern Cross Cup team with Victoire and Patrice, the title riding on the trio's Hobart race results, in which Hickman finished 11th overall for his third consecutive Division 4 win.

Video: Rolex Sydney Hobart Day 5 - Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2014

Hickman’s BWPS season scorecard with Wild Rose reads like a dream: third in the Sydney Gold Coast, followed by consecutive wins in the Flinders, Bird and Cabbage Tree Island races. His worst result for the series was third in the Port Hacking Bird Island race. It was a fifth time in the BWPS winner’s seat - the second as an owner, with Wild Rose. He also claimed the BWPS Cape Byron Series (sailed under ORCi) and the Tasman Performance Series (PHS) of the BWPS. Prior to the 2014 Sydney-Hobart Wild Rose had won Division 2 of the NSW IRC Championship, and one week later was declared winner of Class C in the Australian IRC Championship.

Wild Rose's victory in the 2014 Sydney-Hobart caps off an amazing two years for Hickman and his crew, and demonstrates what can be achieved with an older IOR yacht with good pedigree and constant improvements and optimisation. 

26 December 2014

Big Shadow (Peterson 42)

Thanks to Swedish yachtsman Peter Staberg for these photos of the Admirals Cup yacht Big Shadow, a 42 footer designed by Doug Peterson and built by Baltic Yachts in Finland in 1978 (a production design known as the Baltic DP42). Big Shadow, skippered by S Bjerser, represented Sweden in the 1979 Admiral's Cup, alongside her more famous team-mates Victor Forss' Carat and Midnight Sun (J Pehesson). Big Shadow had a disappointing series, with placings of 33/31/23/41 before retiring with rudder damage in the tragic storm-tossed Fastnet Race. Although Carat and Midnight Sun managed to finish the Fastnet, weak performances during the previous races meant that the Swedish team finished a lowly 15th overall (of 19 teams).

Big Shadow sailing downwind during the 1979 Admiral's Cup, with Brazil's Indigo just ahead and Australia's Impetuous to windward (photo courtesy Peter Staberg)
Big Shadow again seen sailing downwind alongside Schuttevaer, another Peterson 43ft design (Doug Peterson Tribute Page)
The Baltic DP42 was based on the lines of the successful Peterson designed Serendipity 43's (Design #77) such as Acadia, Lousiana Crude and Scarlett O'Hara. The hull of the DP42 was shorter by just inches, but otherwise featured the same powerful stern (in 1978 terms) for reaching performance, a fine entry for upwind performance and flat bilges for form stability and reduced drag. Baltic made some other modifications to suit production objectives, including a full, custom-designed interior and a wider fin keel (to accommodate a sump). Big Shadow was the prototype of the DP42, with a racing deck layout rather than the more cruising-oriented cabin provided on the production versions.
A US version of the Baltic DP42, Adrenaline (photo Larry Moran)
It is understood that Big Shadow also competed in the 1979 edition of the SORC, with a rating of 33.1ft IOR. Her home port is Gothenburg and today is used only for cruising in Scandinavia.
Big Shadow sailing in 2014 (photo courtesy Peter Staberg)

19 December 2014

One Ton Cup 1972

The 1972 One Ton Cup was held in Sydney, and was contested by 15 yachts representing nine countries. Designs from the Sparkman & Stephens were well represented, with no less than ten yachts from this famous design office, two from US designer Dick Carter, and one each from Joubert, Rodgers and Gary Mull. 

Wai Aniwa training in blustery conditions on Auckland Harbour, 1972
With the contest being held just across the Tasman, and with a number of yachts still available following the 1971 series hosted in Auckland, three yachts were selected to represent New Zealand. No new yachts were launched, but Chris Bouzaid skippered his 1971 'Mk II IOR' Carter design, Wai Aniwa to win the trials, finishing with a 6/2/1/1/1 series. After her disappointing fifth place in the 1971 One Ton Cup, Bouzaid had set out to modify and improve Wai Aniwa under the new Mk III rule - her mast was increased in height by 0.6 metres, her genoas limited to 150% LP and 680 kg of ballast was added. The changes had earlier been proven when she led New Zealand to victory in the 1971 Southern Cross Cup, where she finished as top individual yacht, ably supported by team-mates Pathfinder and Runaway. In fact, the team finished with an unprecedented, and unrepeated, 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Sydney-Hobart classic to secure the series. 

Pathfinder sailing in the New Zealand trials
Wai Aniwa's original pivoting keel had caused some issues, turning 90 degrees in one practice race and bringing the yacht to a shuddering halt, and was fixed in place before the New Zealand One Ton Cup trials, and a larger mainsail was fitted (requiring a longer boom). 
Wai Aniwa during New Zealand trials
The One Ton Cup team was completed by Pathfinder (Roy Dickson), runner up in the trials (4/1/2/2/3), and Young Nick, skippered by Peter Mulgrew, was third (1/3/4/3/5). Mulgrew's previous yacht, the diminutive Townson 32 Moonlight, finished sixth. The fourth placed yacht, Gil Hedges' Escapade, was chartered by an English team, skippered by Rodney Hill.
Ydra in winning form during Cowes Week 1972 (photo One Ton Class Facebook page)
Ydra (pronounced "Ee-dra", and named after a Greek Island) was the pre-series favourite. She was the latest design from Dick Carter, based on the Mk III version of the IOR that had been formulated to reduce the emphasis on beam and encourage more depth amidships. She was constructed in aluminium and built in Germany by Abeking & Rasmussen. Her clean flush decks gave her an appearance well in advance of all her rivals.Carter commented at the time that particular emphasis was placed on combining upwind capabilities with downwind performance. In order to achieve strong light air performance across all points of sail, Carter specified a large sail plan, with maximum emphasis on a large foretriangle, with a number one genoa programmed for 160% LP.

Profile and general arrangement plan of Dick Carter's Ydra
  A most notable feature of Ydra was the emphasis on operation efficiency. This included the provision for spinnaker poles to be stowed in tubes below deck, with opening ports on the for'ard side of the cabin trunk, to enable faster handling of the pole. The foreguy was permanently attached to further maximise handling speed. Carter noted that there was also great satisfaction in eliminating poles from the deck, both from an operational and aesthetic viewpoint. Another interesting development was the use of a solid vang, which allowed micrometer adjustment allowing very accurate control of the mainsail leech.

In her first series, the 1972 Cowes Week, and skippered by 1968 Cup winner Hans Bielken, she was completely dominant, taking six firsts and a third. She also had to carry a DSQ for being over the line early in one race, and a DNF after a collision with a larger yacht). She trained for one more month in Germany, before being shipped to Australia. Yachting journalist Jack Knights proclaimed Ydra to be the fastest One Tonner in the world and all those that saw her perform in that regatta fully expected a great performance in the Cup. 

The 1972 One Ton Cup consisted of five races, as was normal for these level rating events, including a medium offshore (1.5 points) and a long offshore (2x points), and a winning campaign could not afford a poor result in the longer races. What was not typical was that the offshore races were aligned along the coastline south of Sydney. As a result, navigation was not a major factor as nearly all the racing took place within sight of land, and visual bearings were the order the day. The main tactical consideration was to determine what the Southerly Set was doing (speed and direction).

The 1972 One Ton Cup fleet assembled in Sydney, Australia
In the first race Ydra sailed away at the start, demonstrating superior windward ability to such an extent that after five miles in light winds she was over two minutes ahead which she extended to 12 minutes by the finish.  However, in the long offshore she stripped her forestay turnbuckle and this put her out of contention for Cup honours, and she finished with results of 1/2/2/DNF/1. Wai Aniwa sailed a conservative series, and the result came down to the final ocean race. Wai Aniwa and Australian yacht Pilgrim (the ex-Italian yacht and S&S design Kerkyra IV) raced neck and neck throughout the race, Bouzaid and his crew finally leading Pilgrim into Sydney Harbour by seven minutes to reclaim the One Ton Cup for New Zealand.
Wai Aniwa finishes one of the ocean races in tight reaching conditions
So Wai Aniwa won the series with placings of 3/4/3/1/4, Pilgrim was second (2/1/7/2/7) and Pathfinder was third (8/3/1/4/10).

Second placed Pilgrim (Australia)
Wai Aniwa was a two year old design, to the Mk II version of the rule, but such was Chris Bouzaid's proficiency as a sailmaker, tuner and skipper of an offshore yacht, that it was difficult to draw a conclusion that Wai Aniwa's win marked a victory of Mk II designs over the first attempts of Carter and S&S at Mk III designs. Although Wai Aniwa won the series, Ydra was considered the faster boat, and also benefited from having a sail-maker at the helm, Hans Beilken. 

Ydra with spinnaker and big staysail set
However, it was apparent that Carter and S&S were designing quite different boats for Mk III than their earlier efforts under Mk II. This could be seen in the design contrast between Wai Aniwa and Ydra. Wai Aniwa was rounded for'ard with dish-like midship sections and slack bilges. A long flat run hull finished in a deep bustle and skeg with the rudder faired in. Ydra was slab sided in her for'ard sections, and was noticeably beamy, 0.3 metres wider than Wai Aniwa

The extreme beam of Ydra is evident in this photo
The Mk III version of the IOR had come about as a result of criticism, particularly in the US, of Mk II, the original version of the rule issued in 1970. The most publicised change inherent in Mk III was in the depth formula (D), and it was claimed that the extra depth measurements and loading of the inboard depth measurement in particular (MDI) would curb the tendency to extreme beam which was becoming evident. 

The differences between Wai Aniwa (solid line) and Ydra (dashed line)
It was therefore interesting to find that the two newest designs in the fleet, and the only ones designed to Mk III (Ydra and the S&S Columbine) were about a foot wider than the beamiest yacht in the 1971 contest, the S&S Kerkyra IV

Ydra sail plan
The trend to extreme beam was even more startling, given that the designers of these new boats were both involved in the original drafting of the IOR. It was apparent that the new depth measurements were not sufficiently attractive to encourage the design of narrower, deeper yachts, and this was considered disappointing at the time, as beamier yachts were viewed as being difficult to handle, especially downwind. One positive development was that, based on Ydra and Columbine, the stern buttock lines could be made lower and wider under Mk III without undue penalty. 

In terms of sail plans, there was no apparent move towards larger mainsails, and only Wai Aniwa had taken extra mainsail area under Mk III. Most other mainsails were very close to the minimum permissible area, but the aspect ratios of foretriangles were slightly higher than in 1971. 

The next competition for the One Ton Cup would be held in 1973 in Sardinia, where Ydra would herself be surpassed, but once again the series would prove that having the fastest yacht was only one part of a winning campaign...

Footnote: Ydra is current understood to be located in northern Germany - if anyone knows of her actual whereabouts one of the followers of this blog would be very grateful! Leave a comment or send an email to rb_sailing@outlook.com.

15 December 2014

Kiwi 24 (Holland Quarter Tonner)

The following photographs are of the Holland designed "Kiwi 24" Fat Cat. The Kiwi 24 was a stock Quarter Ton design. This sequence of photos were taken by Tad Belknap during a local race on Lake Ray Hubbard (Dallas, Texas) while he and Gary Carlin were evaluating a stern extension on a near sistership Business Machine. Belknap and Carlin had started Kiwi Boats, and had developed the use of space-frame construction, firstly in Business Machine and later on the famous Holland 40 Imp.

Fat Cat begins a roll to windward (photo courtesy Tad Belknap)
Above and below, Fat Cat rolls further to windward and crash gybes (photos courtesy Tad Belknap)

The stern extension to Business Machine was judged to be a success (photo at right on the same day), and she went on to finish second in the 1976 Quarter Ton Cup, held in Corpus Christi (won by the Whiting design Magic Bus). The photos below show Business Machine under construction (and the fitting of the internal space frame), the new stern extension and while sailing in the 1976 Quarter Ton Cup.

Business Machine under construction (photo courtesy Tad Belknap)

12 December 2014

New Zealand Endeavour (Farr Maxi)

New Zealand Endeavour (Farr design no.274) was Grant Dalton's entry in the 1993/94 Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, a successor to Dalton's previous maxi, Fisher & Paykel. New Zealand Endeavour and her near sisterships Merit and La Poste (design no. 278) were born of an extensive research and development exercise by the Farr office. When planning for the boats began in early 1991 it was expected that the costs of that research would be spread over five programmes. However, as global economic conditions declined at that time, research was scaled back, although it remained very thorough, covering weather analysis, tank testing of 14 hull variants, velocity prediction development, appendage development, rig analysis and construction optimisation.

This Maxi class of 1993 took their lead from Steinlager 2, Peter Blake's all conquering ketch from the 1989-90 edition of the race (design no. 190). The new boats were 25.9m long, only slightly longer than Steinlager 2, but with a shorter waterline and much lighter in displacement (27,660kg compared to 35,150kg), with less rated sail area and similar rated beam (it is interesting to compare these displacement figures with the less constrained design of the 1995 ILC maxi Sayonara, of 24,400kg). Rated sail area was traded away to achieve a long light hull, while the rigs were developed to produce more power for their rated area. Appendage drag was drastically reduced through the use of smaller keel foils married to large bulbs, and more slippery hull sections ensured less drag for an equivalent stability and IOR rating.
Profile and deck plan for New Zealand Endeavour (Farr Yacht Design)

The bow profile was a modern interpretation of the clipper bow, having the function of a bowsprit but without the rule complications that use of a bowsprit might entail, a conservative position adopted as one of the lessons from the failed New Zealand America's Cup campaign in 1992. 
New Zealand Endeavour is turned over at the Marten Marine yard - the square shape in the keel is the location of the internal ballast slab
The yacht was constructed by Marten Marine and was state of the art - the hull being a complex layup of carbon fibre laminate of five outside and three inside skins, laid on top of three Kevlar skins, which in turn were sandwiched around a 25mm core of Nomex honeycomb and then cured at 80 degrees. More weight gains were achieved in her deck gear - for example the winches were moulded from carbon fibre and milled from titanium and aluminium. The total weight of the winch package was 300kg, compared to 500kg on Fisher & Paykel.
Early trials in the Hauraki Gulf, with main gennaker and mizzen staysail set
Despite carrying less sail, Farr's new 1993 designs were faster in light airs and significantly faster in moderate and strong downwind conditions due to the lower displacement and high effective length. Although New Zealand Endeavour was oriented towards heavier air than her two sisterships (less sail and slightly less displacement), Dalton was keen to ensure that the boat would still be competitive in the light, as a result of losses in these conditions incurred against Steinlager 2 during the 1989 race aboard his previous Fisher & Paykel. The design approach for New Zealand Endeavour also traded off some upwind performance in preference to reaching and downwind speed, but notwithstanding the crew were impressed with her upwind pace in early trials. 
This aerial view shows the large separation between the main and mizzen rigs

New Zealand Endeavour slices upwind in light-moderate conditions in early trials - the clipper bow is a notable feature in this photo. The local Lidgard loft provided Endeavour's working sail wardrobe.
The development of the rig was an interesting area, with analysis of different options of rig separation and sail area distribution leading to a high aspect ratio arrangement for both the mizzen and the main, with taller mizzen masts than the 1989 generation, and substantially larger separation between the rigs. This increased separation resulted in smaller mizzen staysails, but greater efficiency was achieved due to the increased space in which they could be set. 
The mizzen boom extended well past the transom

The use of a ketch rig was a result of the predominance of reaching conditions typically experienced on the Whitbread course, but also because the sail area of the mizzen was treated 'cheaply' under the IOR. Indeed, the official book of the Endeavour campaign records that an even larger mizzen was contemplated, with a mizzen mast of similar height to the main mast, but engineering challenges saw the height of this rig 'moderated' to just 2 metres shorter.
New Zealand Endeavour powers upwind in fresh conditions during her New Zealand trials
The overall impression was that of a more extreme version of Steinlager 2, with a more pronounced and elongated overhang, married to her unusual clipper bow, and a main mast set for'ard and her mizzen boom extending well past her transom. Her sail plan presented an unusual arrangement of small foresails and spinnakers, offset by large gennaker staysails. She was, to all intents and purposes, the ultimate expression of an offshore maxi at the very end of the IOR era.
The official launch of New Zealand Endeavour in Wellington Harbour, November 1992
New Zealand Endeavour was officially launched amongst much fanfare in Wellington Harbour in November 1992, reflecting the corporate location of her principal sponsors, in front of a crowd of more than 30,000 - a thunderous fireworks display lit up the harbour in a ceremony broadcast on prime time TV. 
New Zealand Endeavour power reaching and flying one of her Banks' gennakers
Any early passage to Wellington for the launching revealed the big advantage in the design of her rig, achieving high average speeds over long periods in five-sail reaching conditions. Dalton commented at the time that the performance gain was largely due to the use of assymetric spinnakers, by then permitted under the IOR rules, as amended for the Whitbread maxis, and which were more stable and could be carried closer to the wind.

Her first big test was the 1992 Sydney-Hobart race, which she passed with flying colours, taking line honours in convincing fashion (see video above). She was then shipped to Europe to take part in the UAP Round Europe race and the 1993 Fastnet race. New Zealand Endeavour came up against her maxi competition in the Round Europe (photo right) - Merit Cup and La Poste - where she rounded out the winner, despite finding some chinks in her light air speed due to some sails being off the pace and the boat being optimised for heavier winds.  

Just before the Round Europe race, some delamination was discovered in the bow sections and these were required to be repaired before the Fastnet race, resulting in some major surgery. During this refit new rigs, designed and built by Southern Spars, were stepped, some 25kg lighter than the originals. A new lighter keel was also fitted (500kg) - being smaller in size it also reduced underwater drag. The changes proved successful, and New Zealand Endeavour was the best of the maxis in the Fastnet race, but they lost out to the smaller Whitbread 60s that were better suited to the fresh upwind conditions in the first half of the race.
New Zealand Endeavour at the start of the third leg from Fremantle to Auckland (8 January 1994)

The performance of New Zealand Endeavour in the Whitbread race is well documented - she won the first leg to Punta del Este, lost the top half of her mizzen mast on the leg to Perth, but bounced back to win the third leg to Auckland and the fourth leg to Punta del Este. She finished with the fastest elapsed time of 120 days and five hours, to give Dalton and his crew the coveted Whitbread trophy. Her time was nine hours faster than Yamaha, the first to finish of the new Whitbread 60 class, and some eight days faster than Steinlager 2's record breaking performance four years prior. Merit Cup finished third, 21 hours behind New Zealand Endeavour.
New Zealand Endeavour sails out of the inner Hauraki Gulf at the boisterous start of the fourth leg (19 February 1994)
At full power with spinnaker and her big mizzen gennaker set
The official film of the 1993-94 race can be seen here:

New Zealand Endeavour was recently listed for sale (in Portoferraio, Elba Island in Italy). She has sailed very little in the last six years, apart from an Atlantic crossing in 2008, although she received some extensive refit work before undertaking that crossing.