The design was somewhat radical, with a very low freeboard for her length, although this was an emerging design feature at the time in the One Ton fleet, with the Humphrey's designed Jade being perhaps one of the most extreme examples. While a masthead design was initially chosen for Backlash, this borrowed some fractional attributes, with a mast placed further forward than typical for this rig type, allowing for a larger mainsail and resulting in a high aspect ratio foretriangle. The boat featured a well thought out deck layout, with twin wheels set well forward allowing good visibility for the helmsman, and the navigators hatch was placed aft of this position, and behind the mainsheet traveller.
|Backlash in her original configuration (1985) (photo One Ton Facebook page)|
Backlash heading into Lymington Marina circa 1989 (photo from Shockwave40 blog)
|Backlash's original elliptical keel, which sported an angled cut at the bottom of the leading edge (photo Seahorse)|
|Backlash leaving Lymington Marina, circa 1989 (photo Shockwave40 blog)|
Backlash acquitted herself well in her first season in 1985 and showed remarkable speed upwind and down, winning Class I in Cowes Week with four firsts - the Queen's Cup, the Viscount Marchwood Cup, the Sir Walton Preston Cup and the prestigious Brittania Cup, and five firsts in Burnham Week including the Town Cup. The boat was also declared the RORC Yacht of the Year in 1985, and was awarded the Beken Concours D'Elegance. However, she was unsuccessful in the British Admiral's Cup trials in that same year, so never represented Britain in that series. She did compete in the Fastnet Race, which was considered the most unpleasant since 1979 - after losing her no.4 jib soon after the start, Backlash comfortably loped around the course, and this gave the Herrings the confidence to sail the boat to the US.
|Backlash during the 1987 Admiral's Cup trials|
Backlash berthed at the Queen Ann Battery marina at the end of the 1987 Fastnet Race (photo Shockwave40 blog)