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
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)
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.