27 January 2015

One Ton Revisited 2015 - Update

The One Ton Revisited regatta gets underway in just under a month's time and will be hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. The most recent entry, Kevin Kelly’s Impact, has brought the number of yachts to eight.
Impact - the latest entry for the 2015 One Ton Revisited regatta
Impact is a John Lidgard 'Imp' design with Kelly a stalwart of the Panmure Yacht & Boating Club. Her crew for One Ton Revisited will include Andy Ball and Ian McKenzie as well as sailmaker Kenny Fyfe. Ball was tactician on Ian Gibbs’ Swuzzlebubble when she finished fifth in the 1977 Half Ton Cup, in Sydney. He filled the same roll when GibbsSwuzzlebubble III finished top individual points scorer in the 1981 Admiral’s Cup. McKenzie is the son of the late John McKenzie, former commodore of the RNZYS (1975/76) and a highly respected offshore racer in his hard-chine Spencer design Sirius, while sailmaker Fyfe is a former, multiple R-Class champion who has raced everything else from Quarter Tonners to Bob Graham’s 48ft Davidson design Snow White II.

Wai Aniwa - arrived in Auckland from Wellington over the Auckland Anniversary weekend
Impact will join other entries listed in the previous update, being Panther, Pacific Sundance, Rainbow II, Result, Revolution, Wai Aniwa and Young Nick. Rainbow II has been undergoing an extensive refurbishment and is due to be re-launched at Pier 21, Westhaven, on 2 February. The group weigh-in to obtain IRC ratings will be held on 3 or 10 February.

Rainbow II at Pier 21 with mast stepped and ready for launch on 2 February
The skipper's briefing gets underway at 1610hrs on 27 February (RNZYS), followed by a cocktail welcome function. The series of five races starts on 28 February and finishes on 7 March. The prizegiving will be a public affair, using the Volvo stage and hospitality facilities in Viaduct Harbour. Trophies will be handed out by Bruce Marler, who was the commodore of the RNZYS and a driving force behind the decision to send Rainbow II to Heligoland to challenge for the One Ton Cup in 1968 and 1969. Prizes will be awarded to the overall winner of the series, to the highest placed 'classic' and 'modern' One Tonners, and the yacht that gets the most guns in the series. There will also be a Prix D'Elegance award for the best presented yacht and crew. 

Pacific Sundance has had a new paint job in readiness for the One Ton Revisited regatta
The latest press-release for the One Ton Revisited regatta advises of another event associated with the series:

"The dramatic events that, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, surrounded Chris Bouzaid and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron winning and then defending the One Ton Cup, were the launch pad for this country’s remarkable rise to dominance of world ocean racing and its attendant marine industry.

Some 25 years later, they culminated in New Zealand and the Squadron winning yachting’s greatest prize – the America’s Cup.

Not many people realise that those first faltering steps to sailing pre-eminence also launched two more Squadron members – Peter Montgomery and Bill McCarthy - on to an unsuspecting sailing public. Both became household names throughout New Zealand – Pete as the “voice of yachting” and Bill as sportscaster and then television presenter of TVNZ’s national news.

The S&S design Young Nick
We’re bringing all three back together – Bouzaid, Montgomery and McCarthy – to present a special evening that will be a precursor to the One Ton Revisited regatta (25 February to 7 March inclusive). Peter will be MC and Chris the guest speaker as we take a trip down the One Ton Cup memory lane that will feature rare footage of the 1969 and 1971 One Ton Cup events assembled and presented by now-video producer and editor Bill.

Then, as a special bonus, another Squadron member, Larry Keating, will give us a sneak preview of his yet-to-be released international television series that, in high definition, reveals the America’s Cup as it has never been seen before – great history and tradition, powerful players, intrigue and dirty tricks, warts and all.

It should be a night to remember!!!"

In addition to the passage and Gulf courses, organisers will be staging short-course harbour races in conjunction with the Volvo pro-am races on 12 March and 13 March, and with the Volvo In-Port race on 14 March.

Regatta details are available from the

Click on the 'One Ton Revisited 2015' label below to get the latest race results, and click here to see a TVNZ Sports feature (4 March) on the regatta.

26 January 2015

One Ton Cup 1975 - Dockside photos

Following my recent article regarding the 1975 One Ton Cup, I was very pleased to be contacted by US yachtsman and naval architect Steve Kelley, who has kindly provided his gallery of images of a number of the top yachts that contested the series. The images are of excellent quality and provide an interesting view of what were the latest offshore racers of the time.
Above and below - Ted Turner's Vamp, a Doug Peterson design featuring a deep forefoot, straight keel, flat garboards and 'pintail' stern, based on the design that had won the previous edition of the One Ton Cup. Vamp finished third in the One Ton North Americans, before her sixth place in the One Ton Cup (photos courtesy Steve Kelley)

One Ton Cup winner Pied Piper (and winner of the preceding North American One Ton Championship), another Peterson design - skipper Lowell North sitting to the right (photo courtesy Steve Kelley)

Above and below - George Tooby's Scott Kaufman design America Jane III. She was much fancied for the 1975 One Ton Cup, after blasting the competition in the earlier Block Island Race Week in strong conditions that suited the big 38 footer. However she performed weakly in the North American's and nearly missed being invited to the Cup itself. America Jane III bounced back however to finish third overall (photos courtesy Steve Kelley)

View of deck detail - America Jane III
Above and below - another Peterson design, Kindred Spirit, sailed by Bob Bartom and Skip Purcell - note the twin foredeck hatches and inner forestay set on a sliding track. Kindred Spirit finished fourth in the One Ton North Americans, and repeated that placing in the Cup (photos courtesy Steve Kelley)

The crew of Kindred Spirit prepare the yacht for the 1975 One Ton Cup

Above and below - the Ron Holland designed Artemis which finished fifth on the One Ton Cup. Artemis was not shy to apply technological innovations - in addition to her Kevlar reinforced mainsail, she used an innovative and lightweight boom, with hydraulic vang, an inset clew track and powerful Harken mainsheet system (photos courtesy Steve Kelley)

The earlier S&S design America Jane II (above and below) sailed by Burke Sawyer finished 15th overall in the One Ton Cup (photos courtesy Steve Kelley)

And another of Kindred Spirit below:

22 January 2015

One Ton Cup 1975

The 1975 One Ton Cup was sailed off Newport, Rhode Island, under the sponsorship of Ida Lewis Yacht Club, in early September of that year, and contested by 20 yachts from eight countries.
Pied Piper - North American and World One Ton Champion 1975 (photo histoiredeshalfs)
The series was taken convincingly by Lowell North and Dick Jennings sailing a new Doug Peterson design, Pied Piper. The pair had sailed a near flawless series in the North American championship two weeks prior, which had also been attended by nine of the One Ton Cup fleet, and went on to post a 1/5/1/1/2 series in the Cup to beat second placed Peterson design Gumboots (Germany), the defending champion, by just under 8 points, with another US yacht America Jane III (Scott Kaufman design) third.

Gumboots - 1974 One Ton Cup winner (photo Robert Foley/Yacht Racing)
Although there were several other contenders, including the new Holland design Silver Apple (Ireland), the real battle lines were among the top three as the series wore on. There was almost always a first division and then the rest of the fleet - the difference was small but difficult to break, with ten yachts rounding a mark in the offshore races after 50 miles just three minutes apart. Racing was also a complete test for the fleet, with light to moderate airs predominating, but a real New England blow featuring in the final race to expose those less prepared.

Gumboots and America Jane III in light conditions in the 1975 One Ton Cup
The 1974 One Ton Cup held in Tourquay had been won by Gumboots, a development of his previous breakthrough design Ganbare that had finished second in 1973. The success of Ganbare paved the way for One Ton design to settle on a smaller and lighter type of yacht (but still of relatively heavy displacement in today's terms), with reasonably pronounced forefoots, flat-ish garboards and narrow sterns. America Jane III was perhaps the most different of the new boats, as it was heavier, very broad aft and deeper, and seemed able to carry more sail as the breeze increased. It was evident at this stage that the future of S&S types such as Mach II, and the earlier America Jane II, were really in doubt, given their lack of speed in the series. Masthead rigs remained universal, with many sporting hydraulic backstays and forestays, as well as vangs and other items of gear.

The new Kaufman America Jane III (right) alongside the smaller S&S America Jane II (photo histoiredeshalfs)
Earlier in the summer, East Coast One Tonners had also competed in both the Block Island and Larchmont Race Weeks. This provided time for changes in sails, tuning, ballast arrangements and rating in the pursuit for improved performance. Later, and between the North American championships and the Cup, America Jane III, Silver Apple and another Peterson design Kindred Spirit (US) all put chainsaws to their keels to remove lead. America Jane III, which had removed about 460lbs of lead, and Kindred Spirit increased their sail area, and Silver Apple removed their solid propeller in favour of a folding one.  
America Jane III in power reaching conditions (photo histoiredeshalfs)
America Jane III
became more tender and reduced her rating by about .35ft - she raised it back to the One Ton limit of 27.5ft by adding length to her spinnaker pole and girth to her spinnaker, and about 2 feet to her LP (genoa overlap). Before she made these changes she had performed so poorly in the North American championship that she was almost dropped from the invitation list for the Cup. Her subsequent results in the Cup series, at least after her disastrous first race where she placed 15th, proved that the changes were successful.

The US yacht Artemis, designed by Ron Holland, finished fifth overall (placings 5/6/5/9/9) (photo histoiredeshalfs)
Silver Apple also benefited from changes to her keel and ballast, but not by as much. Kindred Spirit ran out of time to add sail in response to her lightened keel, but did not suffer significantly as a result, even though she sailed with a sub-optimal rating of 27.4ft.
The first race was an Olympic course sailed in light to moderate airs, and the shift off the Point Judith shore determined the preferred side of the course. However, tactics played second fiddle to boat speed, and in this regard Pied Piper asserted herself early. The second race was a little windier and sailed on a windward-leeward track. There were no real surprises, other than Pied Piper finishing fifth and the race being won by Kindred Spirit, which after a second in the first race was leading the series at this stage. America Jane III bounced back from her poor placing in the first race with a second placing.

US yacht Kindred Spirit challenged early but finished fourth overall (photo Robert Foley/Yacht Racing magazine)
The middle distance offshore event started in light airs and conditions remained shifty throughout. Fog closed in on the second day's dawn and rounding marks became a real test for the navigators. The fleet assumed their normal order, with Pied Piper winning, ahead of America Jane III and Gumboots.

Pied Piper (left) and America Jane III 'bloop' their way downwind (photo Robert Foley/Yacht Racing)
The third inshore race, race four, started in a dying breeze, which eventually gave out as the entire fleet reached the 'windward' mark with spinnakers up. A new breeze then arrived with force, building to 30 knots by the finish. America Jane III managed a second, behind Pied Piper, despite a port-starboard incident with Silver Apple - the force of the collision was such that Silver Apple's stem fitting was damaged beyond repair, and she was unable to start in the final race. America Jane III was holed, but she was able to be repaired.

Ted Turner's Vamp, chasing Mach II (middle) and Pied Piper (yellow, to the right) (photo histoiredeshalfs)
The final long offshore was held in strong winds, with seas up to 8 feet and 35 knot winds and fronts crossing the fleet on three occasions. Damage was relatively light, however, with Natael II (Italy) breaking a forestay fitting and Fortune Hunter (Australia) losing part of her rudder. America Jane III powered through for the win (for series places of 15/2/2/2/1), with Pied Piper second, and Gumboots finishing in her customary third place (with series placings of five thirds).

Pied Piper was the most consistent boat in the fleet, benefiting from excellent helmsmen and an experienced crew which included Tim Stern and Rod Davis, and she was quickly bought after the series by Ted Turner (who owned and sailed the Peterson designed Vamp to sixth place in the series). She featured a very effective rig, designed by Lowell North who worked closely with Stern on its development. Her genoas appeared to marry well with her forestay curve, and could bend her mast with great control. This allowed her to carry a mainsail with more shape for lighter air and reaching, while still permitting her to flatten the sail for stronger winds. The control over her mast bend was such that the crew rarely needed more than a flattening reef to depower the rig in heavier air. Turner planned to contest the SORC with Pied Piper the following year, but in the meantime took the boat to Australia for the 1975 Southern Cross Cup where she lined up for a close contest with the new Farr design Prospect of Ponsonby.  She later competed in the 1979 One Ton Cup, which was again raced in Rhode Island, but by which time she was well off the pace.

The crew of America Jane III sheet on after rounding a leeward mark (designer Kaufman grinding) (photo Robert Foley/Yacht Racing magazine)
The early threat posed by Kindred Spirit faded after the second race, and although leading the series at this stage she faded to fourth after posting 6/8/7 in the final three races. Ganbare (Italy) contested the series with a largely Italian crew. She was competitive in the light going but otherwise outclassed and finished 16th overall (from a 16/16/8/15/DNF series), which indicated the level of progress that the One Ton fleet had made in the previous two years.

The fleet start one of the races in light airs during the 1975 One Ton Cup


4 January 2015

Screw Loose (Holland Half Tonner)

With the success of Wild Rose in the 2014 Sydney-Hobart race, and favourable conditions that led to the predominance of the smaller and mid-sized yachts in the corrected time results, it is perhaps timely to recall a much earlier edition of the race when lighter winds had also brought success to those yachts at the back of the fleet. Screw Loose, a production Holland-designed Half Tonner, just 30 feet long (21.7ft IOR), was the smallest yacht to ever win the Tattersall's Cup in the benign conditions that characterised the 1979 Sydney-Hobart race.
MASH leaves the Mundle factory at The Spit, Sydney (photo courtesy Michael Spies/Doug Sharpin)
Screw Loose had started life as MASH, a customised Holland Half Tonner built by Doug Sharpin (from the 'Golden 30' mould) for the 1977 Half Ton Cup. She was built in lightweight vinylester at Rob Mundles facility at The Spit in Sydney Harbour, and was given a taller rig than her production sisterships, with a double spreader spar supported by running backstays. The name MASH was an acronym of Mundle, Anderson (John Anderson, the 1972 Gold Medalist in the Star class and North Sails representative), Sharpin and Holland.

However, by the time of the the 1977 Cup series, held in Sydney, her design features of moderate to heavy displacement, masthead rig and narrow stern, that had been a successful combination in the 1976 Half Ton Cup, had been outclassed by the new fractional-rigged centreboarders in the 1977 series. MASH was well off the pace and finished a lowly 12th place overall (the Cup was won that year by Farr's Gunboat Rangiriri, while a Holland design Silver Shamrock III finished a close second). The boat was considered too light (relative to its designed displacement), and lacked stability and suffered upwind. Some improvements were achieved when the crew carried lots of drinking water in the bilge.
MASH is seen here at Rob Mundle's facility at The Spit, alongside a standard production Holland 30 (photo courtesy Michael Spies/Doug Sharpin)
Tasmanian sailor Bob Cumming bought MASH in late 1978, for just under $30,000, for local offshore racing (and re-named her Screw Loose), but was told by the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria (ORCV) that they would not accept its entry for the annual race across Bass Strait, as ORCV officials did not consider the yacht sufficiently seaworthy for the potential rigours of such a crossing. It is understood that the boat had suffered some gear failures in her early days, and the ORCV may have been aware of this. However, Cumming set out to prove them wrong, and strengthened the hull with additional ring frames and put in his entry for the 1979 Sydney-Hobart. Six weeks before the Sydney-Hobart, and after her entry had been accepted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), Screw Loose developed a serious leak in an overnight club race from Cumming's home club at Devonport (on the north coast of Tasmania). Although the yacht was the subject of a search and rescue operation, she managed to make it to port without outside assistance. 
Screw Loose charges downwind under spinnaker and blooper (photo courtesy Michael Spies/Doug Sharpin)
It is apparent that had the CYCA been aware of some parts of Screw Loose's history, she may never have been accepted as a starter in the Sydney-Hobart, particularly in the period soon after the 1979 Fastnet race disaster. The CYCA was unaware that Screw Loose was the former MASH, nor did they know of the rejection by the ORCV for its entry in the Bass Strait race, nor of the serious leak and subsequent seach and rescue alert during the Devonport club race.  A special committee did screen all entries, but somehow Screw Loose slipped under the radar, although one or two other entries were rejected. As it turned out, light conditions meant that Screw Loose or other yachts avoided any problems, but had there been a blow it could have been a different story (a similar type of oversight occurred with tragic consequences for the yacht Business Post Naiad in the stormy 1998 race).

But as journalist Peter Campbell reported at the time, none of that background should detract from the sailing skill and fine seamanship demonstrated by Cumming and his crew, who sailed Screw Loose brilliantly. They sailed the boat to the limit as the fleet came surfing southwards before a continuing nor'easter which gave them a spinnaker run for almost the entire race.
Screw Loose at the Sydney-Hobart race start (photo Histoiredeshalfs)
It had been the Frers-designed maxi Bumblebee IV that took line honours in the race (against a then record of 147 entries), and initially looked to have no chance on corrected time. But as thick fog continued on the Tasmanian east coast, and the fleet ran into lighter and lighter winds, her prospects for the line and handicap double began to improve dramatically. Bumblebee IV held her time against the bigger Admiral's Cup yachts, then the Two Tonners and One Tonners, until the Half Tonners began to sweep across Storm Bay and up the Derwent before a fresh sou' easter.

Cumming and his crew finished almost a day and a half after Bumblebee IV (in four days, 23 hours and 3 minutes), taking almost 109 hours to complete the journey, with an average speed of 5.76 knots, to claim her Sydney-Hobart victory. She scored a narrow four minute win over Sydney yacht Wheel Barrow, a Carter 30, followed by Tasmanian Half Tonner Apali taking third another six minutes later. In the cold morning hours and through to dawn the Half Tonners kept crossing the finish line and Bumblebee IV slipped further down the list on corrected time, finally finishing 15th overall. Half Tonners took out the first eight places, and 11 of the first 15 places. Such a sweep of the results by small yachts would not be repeated in later editions of the race, although the later Half Tonner Zeus II (Peter Joubert design owned by Jim Dunstans) won in 1981. Screw Loose was also the first Tasmanian yacht to win the race on corrected time since Westward won in 1948.

Screw Loose was later owned by Wayne Brighton in the mid to late 1980s and was the New South Wales Division 3 (displacement) JOG champion. The boat was then sold to Chris Walmsley in 1988, who also campaigned Screw Loose with some success in Papua New Guinea. She made the trip from Cairns to Port Moresby without mishap, but lost her mast during a coastal race in Moresby. The boat was hard running when the rig went over the bow. The rig was retrieved and repaired with an internal sleeve, and the crew were back racing in a couple of weeks.
Screw Loose circa 2010 (photo mysailing.com.au)
The distinguished history of Screw Loose had become a distant memory by 2010 by which time the Hobart champion had became a roost for resident sea birds in the Royal Papua Yacht Club Marina in Port Moresby, and appeared somewhat neglected. Fortunately, it was reported in 2011 that a new owner had decided to refurbish the yacht in Airlie Beach, and fit her out as a comfortable cruising sloop. It is not known if the refurbishment was completed.


This article has been compiled from a variety of sources including Peter Campbell's article 'Surprise victory for a Half Tonner', The World of Yachting 1980-81, Editions de Messine, Paris;  'Tiny Sloop Packs Mighty Wallop', The Age, 1 January 1980; Michael Spies and Doug Shaplin; and 'Screw Loose sails again in the Whitsundays', Ian Grant, mysailing.com.au (13 Sept 2010).