|Will sails upwind in fresh conditions during the second race of the Japanese World Cup event, November 1989 (photo Sail magazine)|
While the event was notable for the impressive size of the fleet, the largest fleet to ever compete in an IFYA event, the conditions in Miura, a commercial fishing village in Sagami Bay south of Yokohama, were less so. Winds swung between very heavy and very light, and the race committee barely got in the minimum four (out of seven scheduled) races to constitute a series. The second race was in the very upper limit for the fragile racers, sailed in breezes that reached a steady 39 knots. Boats surfed at 18 knots. Some limped away early - the Judel-Vrolijk designed Container (helmed by Star sailor Achim Greise) was dismasted in dramatic style during a wayward gybe. The rig was cut away and later retrieved by scuba divers – the crew worked all day and night in watches of seven men to splice the mast together again, and they finished just in time to sail the next day’s races. The overall toll from the race was two broken masts and four broken booms, and a variety of other minor damage.
|Container prepares to gybe in the very fresh conditions in the second race - below, the aftermath|
In the end it was Richard DeVos’s Farr-designed Windquest, skippered by John Bertrand, that won the abbreviated series, taking the series over another Farr design, the Japanese Will, by just 0.5 points. Windquest led round the course on the first race but sailed past the layline on the last beat and lost to Container. In the second race Windquest nipped the Danish yacht Andelstanken by half a boat-length on the last tack. Bengal V, with the help of New Zealand sailors Peter Lester and Rod Davis aboard, won the re-sailed third race in light and very shifty airs – Windquest was as low as 14th at one stage but battled back to finish ninth. The last race was another light and shifty contest, which was won by Windquest with Will second, and Will also took second place overall. Third place overall went to Andelstanken, followed by the ever-present Champosa V and Bengal V.
|Andelstanken leads Will and Windquest in fresh conditions in the second race (photo Sail magazine)|
|Some of the Fifties on their way to Japan|
Sixteen 50-footers went on to compete at Key West in early 1990, where the wind blew harder than the previous year’s event, and well above 20 knots for the first two days. Kobayashki’s new Farr-designed Tiger was the early leader, but a premature start in the seventh race cost her the series. The new Farr designed Springbok ended up winning five races of the series, but remained behind Container in overall World Cup standings.
|Close up view of the action aboard Blizzard during the 1990 Key West regatta (photo Sailing World magazine)|
|Container leads Windquest around a leeward mark during the Tortola World Cup regatta (photo Craig Davis/Sail magazine)|
|Container was the early front-runner in the 1990 50-Foot season (photo Diamond Sails)|
|Abracadabra - standout performer during the 1990 World Cup series (photo McConaghy Boats)|
|Abracadabra makes her debut in the Miami World Cup regatta (photo Sailing World magazine)|
|Springbok puts her bow in during a gybe in fresh conditions in Narragansett Bay, Newport (photo Sail magazine)|
|Abracadabra - 1990 World Cup winner (photo McConaghy Boats)|
|Carat VII - fifth in the 1990 50-Foot World Cup, and sporting her Sobstad Genesis mainsail|
|Mandrake was the overall winner in the 1990 Merit Sardinia Cup|
|Mandrake (photo Carlo Borlenghi / Farr Yacht Design Facebook page)|