14 September 2016

Smir-Noff-Agen: Saved!

Smir-Noff-Agen, one of five centreboarders designed by Bruce Farr for the 1977 One Ton Cup, has been rescued from an uncertain future in Australia's Gold Coast. She was loaded onto a ship in September 2016 for transport to Dubai, where she is receiving a complete restoration and upgrade to have a second life as a modern IRC racing yacht, with a similar approach to that given to the Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble.
Smir-Noff-Agen seen here sailing as part of the victorious New Zealand team during the 1977 Southern Cross Cup in Sydney
The Farr centreboarders of 1977 were very fast yachts, and featured some of the cleanest hull shapes of the IOR era, and considered long for their rating (27.5ft IOR). As with Swuzzlebubble, this combination, along with a modern rig, sails and foils, should mean that the boat will be very competitive under IRC.
In somewhat of a sad state following a stalled refurbishment effort in the Gold Coast
Smir-Noff-Agen was later named Vanguard, then Scallywag II (and won the 1982 Sydney to Hobart race), and then Best by Farr - her history can be seen here. She will be re-named Oro Nero, and will feature a black and gold colour scheme.
Being loaded onto a cradle (above) and truck (below) for her long voyage to Dubai

The efforts to give Smir-Noff-Agen a new lease of life means that four of the five boats built to this design are still sailing and/or racing (see Jenny H, Mr Jumpa and The Red Lion), with only the whereabouts of the Australian boat Hecate unknown (but thought to be located in Darwin).

Update here.

13 September 2016

Gerontius (Farr 42)

The Bruce Farr-designed Gerontius (KZ-2302) had been designed for Graeme Eder in 1973 (Design #39) as an extension of the Farr 33 Moonshine, as a fast cruiser but with some emphasis towards the IOR where it was not considered to affect performance too greatly. At this early stage in the development of Farr's larger yachts, and because of her aspirations as a dual purpose yacht, a masthead rig was used, but of reasonably moderate proportions to match her light and easily driven hull. Her relatively squat looking rig and low sail area helped achieve a reasonable rating, although this was still relatively high at 35.5ft.

Notwithstanding that she was not designed as an out-and-out Admiral's Cupper, Gerontius created something of a minor controversy when she was selected for the New Zealand team for the 1975 Admiral’s Cup. Showing surprising speed upwind in light airs, she finished the trials in third place, behind two S&S designs, the 42 footer Barnacle Bill and the 45 footer Inca, with a clear edge over the highly fancied S&S designed 50 footer Corinthian.
Gerontius during the New Zealand 1975 Admiral's Cup trials (photo Sea Spray)

It had not been expected that the unusual looking and homegrown design would be competitive, and after it became clear after the first three races that she was clearly in the running, her competitors aboard the S&S designs lodged a joint protest over her IOR measurement certificate. This was dismissed, although it clearly rattled the Gerontius crew who suffered from poor starts in the next few races. But she ultimately prevailed and was duly selected to be part of the New Zealand team for its first attempt to win the coveted trophy, regarded as the unofficial world championship of offshore sailing.
Gerontius claws her way round Flat Rock (off Kawau Island) in the second trials race in which she finished second to Barnacle Bill on corrected time (photo Sea Spray)
The Gerontius crew for the Admiral's Cup included Farr himself (which meant that he wasn't able to sail aboard his Quarter Tonner 45 South which was making history at the same time in France), as well as Peter Blake. Her optimum performance was in fresher breezes, as was that of the Carcano-designed Vihuela in the Italian team. As Bob Fisher noted in his Admiral's Cup history "The drawback to their light displacement boats is that they lack sail area for light weather and in 1975 that was to be their undoing".

Gerontius in tight reaching conditions during the 1975 Admiral's Cup (photo Jonathan Eastland)
However, despite the typically light air conditions that prevailed, Gerontius' place in the team was vindicated when she ended the series as the top scoring New Zealand boat in 11th place overall. The New Zealand team itself finished a creditable sixth place, of the 19 nations represented.
Gerontius seen here in Cowes during the 1975 Admiral's Cup
Gerontius returned to New Zealand and raced actively for some time, including competing in the 1977 Auckland to Suva race, where she finished fourth on line and sixth on corrected time (amongst no less than 61 finishers!). Eder and Blake also sailed Gerontius in the same year to overall line honours in the 1,250 mile 1977 Round the North Island race.

She went on to race in the inaugural 1978 Clipper Cup, as part of the New Zealand 'A' team alongside the Farr One Tonner Country Boy and a newer fractional rigged Farr 42, Monique, and revelled in Hawaii's reliable breezes. NZ A led the series by just two points going into the last race (the 800 mile Around the State), but were overtaken by a strong Australian effort in the finale, and finished second overall (the NZ B team finished third, thanks to a second place by Inca in the final race).

Gerontius remains based in Honolulu, and has recently been advertised for sale.

3 September 2016

Half Ton Cup 1982

The 1982 Half Ton Cup was sailed in Mikrolimano, Greece, and was won by local yacht, Georges Andreatis' Atalanti II, a Joubert-Nivelt design skippered by champion US yachtsmen Rod Davis and Chris O'Nial.  This result gave the Michel Joubert and Bernard Nivelt design team their second success in a Ton Cup, and was a prelude to the even greater success they enjoyed with their minimum rater, Diva, at the 1983 Admiral's Cup. The Daniel Andrieu design Cifraline 2 took second place.
Atalanti II - 1982 Half Ton Cup winner
French yacht Cifraline 2 had a successful build-up to the regatta at La Rochelle and was a favourite for Cup honours when she came to Mikrolimano. She was constructed in fibreglass and Klegecell sandwich at the Technicoque. Cifraline 2 was the faster downwind. With a clean hull shape and small keel she was fast downwind. The crew including Daniel Andrieu, Philippe Follenfant, Christophe Cudennec, Jena Baptiste le Vaillant and Michel Geoffrin started badly each race, and as a result put themselves under pressure to challenge the leader yachts. In the last offshore race, she was three hours behind in the first quarter but came through the fleet to win.
Cifraline 2
Philippe Briand was the designer and helmsman of Free Lance, also from France, and she was another favourite for the Cup.  Free Lance was very quick at all points of sailing and all winds, other than  downwind in light airs, this due to Free Lance being a long boat, very light (About 2300 kg when sailing), a very clean shape, as with Cifraline 2, but a correspondingly lower sail area.  However, while Free Lance started strongly, she was disqualified from the fourth race for a startline luffing incident with Greek yacht Jonathan. This was viewed by many competitors as unduly harsh, and was met with some anger by the Free Lance crew. In protest at the perceived unfairness of the decision, the Free Lance crew elected not to start the final long offshore race, resulting in a disappointing 20th place in the final standings.
Free Lance - had a disappointing end to her regatta, but bounced back in the 1983 event

The Germans had two boats in the series, including Play and Loss, designed by Nissen. She was skipped by Berend Beilken, a well-known sailmaker and winner of the 1978 One Ton Cup (with Tilsalg). Although very close to Cifraline 2 regarding measurements, Play and Loss had a very different hull with a reverse waterline below the stern. She was oriented to light airs.
Play and Loss (above and below)

The Italian team included the Fontana-Maletto-Navone designed Pioneer (renamed Pionière to address an issue regarding sponsorship), which had won the Italian selection trials. She was nicely built in cold-moulded wood at the Morri and Para Shipyard, and was very quick in light air, finishing first and second in the first two triangle races. Pioniere was quite different to the French designs, being heavy (2,700 kg), long and wide, with a large sail plan. She finished sixth overall. 
Pioniere (above and below)

Lady F, skippered by Eric Duchemin and Jerome Langlois, was an interesting design, but appeared to be too light for the design of the hull, which affected the way she sailed through the waves and chop off Mikrolimano.  Poor tactics in the first race where she finished 31st affected crew morale, and while they bounced back in the last race to take third, this was too late for a podium finish and they finished seventh overall.
Lady F (above and below) - finished seventh overall

Atalanti II
Play and Loss rounds a gybe mark
Attenti a quei due (placing unknown)
Don Quixote IV - finished tenth overall
Atalanti II
Hazzard (ninth overall)
Atalanti II
The results for the 1982 Half Ton Cup (first ten yachts)
Rating measurements for some of the top boats at the 1982 Half Ton Cup, including the 1983 winner, Free Lance
Atalanti II went on to win the Half Ton Cup again in 1993, after being fitted with a new keel and taller rig and benefitting from an age allowance.

Many thanks to 'Chorus' for his assistance in translating one of the French articles from the Half Ton History site regarding the 1982 regatta.

22 August 2016

Half Ton Classics Cup 2016

Swuzzlebubble Wins the Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup 2016

Falmouth, UK - 19 August 2016 - Sadly strong winds and huge seas meant that racing had to be cancelled on the final day of the Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup in Falmouth. Race Officer Jack Penty met with the skippers at 08.30 to review the situation, but it was clear conditions were essentially unsailable and the entire fleet unanimously agreed not to risk their historic little yachts.
That decision confirmed that the 1977 Bruce Farr designed Swuzzlebubble sailed by owner/helm Greg Peck, Steve George, Mike Relling, Kevin George, Mike Grieg, Andy Yeomans and James Dodd had won the 2016 Henri Lloyd Half Ton Classics Cup. 

It was an extremely had fought series with many of the races being won and lost by mere seconds. Ultimately Swuzzlebubble's winning margin was just five and a half points from Paul Pullen's 1986 Andrieu designed Miss Whiplash (below), with Ireland's Jonny Swan and his team aboard Harmony, designed by Rob Humphreys in 1980, in third place. At the final prize giving all three teams received rousing cheers from their fellow competitors as they received their prizes from Paul Strzelecki, CEO of event sponsor Henri Lloyd.

Winning the Corinthian Championship for the first all amateur crew was Jonathan Cunliffe's 1985 Berrett/Finot designed Emiliano Zapata (below), which finished in eighth place overall.

The trophy for the first production boat went to Richard and Ursula Hollis's beloved 1985 Jeppersen X95 Crakajax. Richard and Ursula have been long standing supporters of the Half Ton Class and were very popular winners.
Perhaps the most prestigious perpetual trophy presented at the regatta is the Spirit Of Half Ton Trophy which is awarded to the person who best personifies the true spirit of the Half Ton Class. There were many possible winners of the trophy this year, but in a hugely popular decision it was presented to David Evans of Hullabaloo XV for his long standing support of the class, for his commitment to maintaining and racing his 1978 Stephen Jones Hustler SJ32 and for single-handedly sailing 380 miles through a Force 8 gale from his home port on Walton Back Waters in Essex to compete in Falmouth.

Greg Peck was clearly delighted to win the right to engrave his name on the trophy and was fulsome in his praise of his crew, his fellow competitors and the Flushing Sailing Club organisers.

Swuzzlebubble was originally built for Ian Gibbs to race for the New Zealand team in the 1977 Half Ton Cup in Sydney, and she has had a colourful career. Following changes to the IOR rule she underwent major surgery including exchanging her centreboard for a fixed keel, padding out her hull, changes to her rear sections and additional ballast, to compete in the 1979 Half Ton Cup in Scheveningen where she finished third. She was then sold to Bruce Lyster of Dun Laoghaire, Ireland under whose ownership she enjoyed continuing success including the UK Half Ton Championship of 1980 with Robert Dix at the helm. Her success continued under another Dun Laoghaire owner Gus
Mehigan before she was sold to Switzerland, at which point she disappeared off the radar.

She wasn't heard of again until Peter "Morty" Morton tracked her down in a near derelict state in a Greek boatyard in late 2012. It took twelve months of hard work by Peter and his crew to get the boat back in racing shape and she made her Half Ton Classics Cup debut in 2014 at Saint Quay Portrieux, Brittany, where she roared to victory in impressive style. 

Keen to race for the Half Ton Cup in home waters, Greg Peck persuaded Morty to part with her earlier this year and having got her home to Cornwall undertook some deck layout modifications and set about the task of putting together a crew of old friends, many of whom have sailed with him for decades. Their performance on the water speaks for itself, but their spirit and camaraderie ashore have impressed everyone and there was a huge cheer when Greg confirmed that he hopes to defend his title in 2017.

To defend their title the Swuzzlebubble crew will be making their way to Kinsale in County Cork, Ireland from 14 to 18 August 2017. David Cullen will be leading the organising team for the event which will be hosted by Kinsale Yacht Club. Further information about this event will be published shortly

Photos by Fiona Brown

14 July 2016

Scarlett O'Hara (Peterson 43)

Miami-Nassau Race, 1983 SORC (L Moran)
Scarlett O'Hara was one of the most famous of the popular Doug Peterson designed Serendipity 43 production yachts. Scarlett O'Hara was a semi-custom version of the Serendipity 43, commissioned by Monroe Wingate in 1981 and constructed by Tom Dreyfus' New Orleans Marine. Exact construction details are unknown, but she is likely to have been similar to sistership Lousiana Crude, featuring a Kevlar hull skin supported by foam-filled ring frames and a balsa-core, carbon-fibre and glass sandwich deck, with a lighter honeycomb core substituted for the balsa forward of the mast.

The Serendipity 43's were a development of Peterson's earlier yachts that exemplified a masthead rig, heavy displacement (by today's standards), narrow stern and deep forefoot. The Serendipity 43 featured a more moderate approach, designed to be a solid all-round performer, with wider stern sections for better reaching performance with a shallower forefoot and more rocker.  The design had proved her pedigree, with an earlier version Acadia taking class and overall honours in the 1980 SORC. She had a rating of 33.3ft IOR, based on rated length (L) of 35.33ft, beam (B) of 12.88ft and displacement (DSPL) of 17,529lb.
Scarlett O'Hara in the slings (photo Larry Moran)

Scarlett O'Hara first raced in the 1982 SORC with Tom Blackaller at the helm. Blackaller had been involved in the project from the design and construction phase, but only stayed with the yacht for one year, during which time she finished fifth in class in the 1982 SORC. 
Scarlett O'Hara powers upwind during the 1983 SORC (photo Larry Moran)
She went on that year to compete in the 1982 Clipper Cup in Hawaii - unfortunately while she finished first and second in class in the first two races, her series ended prematurely with the loss of her mast. Later that year, she raced in the 1982 Big Boat Series in San Francisco, where she finished third in Class C, behind the Frers 46 Bravura and the Peterson 45 Secret Love.
The close battle in Class D between Locura (left) and Scarlett O'Hara was a feature of the 1983 SORC (photo Seahorse)
Scarlett O'Hara in tight reaching conditions during the 1983 SORC

 Further optimising saw Scarlett O'Hara in top form for the 1983 SORC. She was fitted with a triple-spreader Stearn mast, and a new wardrobe from Horizon sails. Chris Corlett as skipper, and Dee Smith (tactician), of Horizon-San Franciscoformed a powerful afterguard and the boat put in a dominant display in the series, a feature of which was her close battle in Class D with the Soverel 43 Locura (33.6ft IOR). Scarlett O'Hara finished as top yacht overall in the SORC, and winner of the Governor's Cup, but finished a close second to Locura in their class, with impressively consistent placings of 2/6/1/2/1/1. Both boats were selected for the US 1983 Admiral's Cup team, and were joined by the smaller Holland 40 Shenandoah which had won Class E.

From the photographs it can be seen that Scarlett alternated between use of a Dacron main and a Kevlar/Mylar version - the Dacron main appeared to have been on the pace as she went on to use it in the Admiral's Cup. 
Scarlett O'Hara in moderate conditions during the 1983 SORC

The start of Division D in the Miami-Nassau race during the 1983 SORC - Scarlett O'Hara is to leeward of two yachts (including Glory US-59950) and just to windward of Locura (32331) and Quest (32020)

For the Admiral's Cup. Scarlett O'Hara was further optimised, with her rating dropping slightly to 33.0ft.
Scarlett O'Hara manouevres before a race start during the 1983 SORC
Scarlett O'Hara powers toward her win in the 1983 SORC in the final race 
The size and moding of both Scarlett O'Hara and Locura were not ideal for the conditions that transpired in the 1983 Admiral's Cup, and the team lost too many points in the light airs during the heavily weighted offshore races. Scarlett O'Hara started the series strongly however, shooting off the startline in light airs in the first race and rounding the first mark in second place, just behind the Swedish Frers-designed 51-footer Bla Carat and ahead of two other Frers 51's Moonduster and Carat. She went on to finish sixth on corrected time in that race.  The full potential of the powerful US team was demonstrated on the second day when, in steadier 17-20 knots, Scarlett O'Hara and Locura finished first and second respectively, and the team were the top performers of the day.
Spinnaker take-down action aboard Scarlett O'Hara during the 1983 SORC (NZ Yachting magazine)
While Scarlett O'Hara went on to have a seventh in the third inshore race, and take out the trophy for the top inshore yacht, a 23rd in the Channel Race and 26th in the Fastnet, saw her finish 11th yacht overall (equal with Shenandoah), and the US team finished in third place.
Scarlett O'Hara tails the bigger Lady Be (sailing for New Zealand) during the second race of the 1983 Admiral's Cup (photo Alan Sefton/NZ Yachting magazine)
Scarlett O'Hara in windy reaching conditions on San Francisco Bay, possibly during the 1986 Big Boat Series
In the 1984 Clipper Cup, Scarlett O'Hara finished a lowly 21st, after placings of PMS/16/6/8/DSQ. She bounced back from that performance in the 1984 Big Boat Series, where she lead her class by 3 points going into the last race, before finishing a close second by just 0.25 points. She proved the longevity of her design by again finishing second in class in the Big Boat Series in 1986.
Scarlett O'Hara in gybe mark action during the 1984 Clipper Cup series
More recently, and after a Pacific crossing in 2008, Scarlett O'Hara was seen in Malaysia in 2013, minus her rig. Her current whereabouts are unknown but have been featured in the Serendipity 43 blog here.