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.

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