23 February 2015

One Ton Cup 1973

The 1973 One Ton Cup was held in early September out of Porto Cervo on the northern coast of Sardinia, an impressive venue that provided a variety of conditions for the 24 boat fleet that contested the series. The Olympic courses were set in the eastern waters of the Straits of Bonnaficcio, while the offshore races were through the Straits and out to the north-western tip of Sardinia. 
The two dominant yachts of the 1973 One Ton Cup, Ydra (to leeward) and Ganbare
The standout yacht of the 1972 series (but which had finished fourth), the Carter designed Ydra, and the new Peterson breakthrough Ganbare, were dominant in a fleet made up of largely older yachts, or simply outdated designs. Ganbare was clearly the fastest yacht, and only Ydra was able to offer any threat. Ganbare represented a new style of One Tonner, a smaller and lighter custom design, that was faster than her competitors on all points of sail, except reaching in fresher conditions.
Ganbare during the US trials
The only races that Ganbare and Ydra did not have an untouchable lead on the rest of the fleet was during the second Olympic course, where it blew 20 to 30 knots, and Winsome V gained the lead after a 20 degree windshift on the first beat and was fast enough in the fresh conditions to hang on for second place behind Ydra, with Ganbare taking third. The crew of Ganbare were happily surprised at the ability of their yacht in the medium to fresh conditions as she had been designed to excel in the light airs typical of her home port of San Diego, and the expected light airs of the Mediterranean. As it turned out, she didn't get to test her light air speed until the final long ocean race, but she performed as expected and soon opened up a substantial lead to win the series finale from Ydra and the Ted Hood centreboarder Robin by over half an hour in a dying breeze.

Ydra in light airs during the 1973 One Ton Cup
But although Ganbare was clearly the fastest yacht, a navigation error in the middle distance race cost her dearly - she rounded the final mark incorrectly and had to accept a 5% penalty, which dropped her from first to 13th in the bonus points race.  This gave Ydra the One Ton Cup, a prize that had eluded her in 1972 in Sydney when her forestay broke in the middle distance race. 
Ganbare in fresh reaching conditions during the 1973 One Ton Cup
Australia's Bonita working upwind in fresh conditions in the second Olympic race (Bonita finished 17th overall)
The Carter 37 Hann sailed by Bouzaid for NZ
 Without Ganbare's presence, Ydra would have been the outstanding yacht for the second year. Ydra was an aluminium prototype of Carter's production 37 design. In winds of over 12 knots and in flat water Ydra was close to Ganbare in performance, but the latter's narrower beam allowed her to slip away in any kind of chop. Ydra only held an upper hand in fresh reaching conditions. The Carter 37 aluminium prototype was also superior in speed in all conditions to the GRP versions of the same design, one of which was chartered by Chris Bouzaid (Hann), then of Rainbow II and Wai Aniwa fame, and defender of the One Ton Cup; a second was chartered by Australian Syd Fischer, the One Ton Cup winner in 1971 (Chloe). 

Both campaigns from downunder were hampered by problems common to charter-efforts - a lack of time. Bouzaid has tried, unsuccessfully, to raise the funds to send Wai Aniwa to Sardinia to defend the Cup, and so the charter was the best that could be done in the circumstances. So although both Bouzaid and Fischer had formidable backgrounds in One Ton Cup campaigns, neither could get their boats going to their full potential. In the end Bouzaid and his crew came out top over Fischer, with a creditable third place, just 1.5 points behind Ydra, mostly due to good placings in the longer races, with Fischer finishing in fifth place.
The appeal for funds for Wai Aniwa's defence of the One Ton Cup was unsuccessful. She is seen here testing sails on Auckland Harbour in preparation for Sardinia.
Ted Hood's Robin, seen here during the US trials series
The next best performing designs were Ted Hood's Robins, his own one racing for the US, and his earlier design sailing for Canada. Both yachts represented a heavier-than-normal approach to the Mk III version of the IOR, and although both were well sailed, they could not match the speed of Ganbare or Ydra, except in light air. The new Robin featured a stiff hull design capable of carrying a lot sail, but which would be described as full-bodied, with her beam carried well forward and aft. Unusually for the time, and indeed even now, Robin sported a gybing centreboard, which was made of steel and weighed 600lbs, and a retractable spade rudder, without a skeg. 

Robin during the 1973 One Ton Cup
Cockpit view (above) and foredeck (below) of Robin, as photographed by Steve Kelley in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1974

The performance of the S&S yachts in the fleet was remarkable, but for all the wrong reasons. Under all the conditions experienced in Sardina, none of the S&S boats showed any speed to match the top five (other than Winsome V's effort in the second Olympic race). Ted Turner's Lightnin' made the US team after winning the Miami leg of the US trials, but had tended to make a great deal of leeway in the SORC series and modifications had been made to her keel. Olin Stephens acknowledged that he was designing his yachts too big - but even though his latest design, Ojala II, was a step down in size from Ted Turner's Lightnin' (6th), Thunder, and Winsome V, she finished behind all three of her bigger sisters in 14th place (who finished 6th, 7th and 9th respectively). 
Ydra heads downwind ahead of Italy's Sumbra and France's Drac
Certainly for the 1974 event the pendulum had swung from the earlier dominance of Carter and S&S and to Peterson's favour, and that's for a future article.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Great history here! My father bought "Hann" in the late 1970's and owned her until 2004. When we purchased her she was named "WIndquest" and we obviously never changed it. She was a great boat and we raced her extensively in local races in the Newport, RI USA area; with decent success I might add. We sold her around 2004 due to failing health of my Father to a gentleman from Florida USA.
    My father was always curious about the boats history but knew nothing other than hearsay. I wish he was still around to tell him his boat was actually raced for the cup he'd be tickled!