28 July 2017

One Ton Cup 1986

The 1986 One Ton Cup was staged in Palma, Mallorca, and attracted a total of 33 yachts from 14 countries.  The host country, Spain, fielded a full contingent of six yachts, as did Britain. Unfortunately, wind conditions were less than reliable during the inshore races, and the regatta did become something of a lottery at times rather than a test of sailing skill. During the Olympic inshore races, windshifts could be anything between 20-60 degrees, and on the second Olympic course the wind actually went around the clock, turning two legs into one. More wind was enjoyed for the duration of the offshore races, although the second race, over a 272-mile offshore course, was the most painful for those who had fought their way to the front of the fleet. On the third morning of the race, while the leaders lay becalmed not far from the finish, the tail-enders sailed around them with spinnakers set.

However, it was generally felt that the best sailors emerged as the winners, and the event proved that Denmark was the current top nation in One Ton racing. After dominating the 3/4 Ton scene for a number of years, they had turned their attention to One Ton size and grabbed first (Andelstanken - above, leading Rubin VIII) and fourth (Aways) in their first attempt at the Cup.
Andelstanken approaches a windward mark during the 1986 One Ton Cup
X-1 Ton profile
The pre-regatta measurement and checking process yielded some discrepancies in freeboard measurements, often due to the manner of storage of gear within the boats, and sometimes through the blatant use of raking rigs forward during measurement.  With an aft rake of around 1.3m on the most extreme yachts, the effect of rake on the trim of the yacht could be considerable, and difficult to compare with actual sailing trim. Heavy aluminium spinnaker poles were used for measurement, and later swapped for carbon-fibre ones. This lead to half the owners delivering a letter to the jury pointing out some of these practices.  Spot checks during the regatta and after the finish of the short offshore race by the inspection and measurement team caught the Spanish yacht Ameldos with rafts and other heavy equipment in an aft windward bunk (the last leg of that race had been a long close reach of 50 miles, with crews on the weather rail the entire way).  The shifting of ballast in this manner was clearly against the rules, but attracted a somewhat paltry 20% penalty for the race (equivalent to seven places).   
Andelstanken - winner of the 1986 One Ton Cup (photo Per Heegaard/Dimension Sailcloth)
The winning yacht, Andelstanken, with places of 5/1/8/4/4/1 (including a win in the long offshore beset with calms at the finish), was one of five standard or slightly modified X-Yachts One Tonners, designed by Neils Jeppesen. The hull shape was based on the design of Euro, the third top performer in the 1985 Admiral's Cup, but with a harder bumping of the mid-depth measurement point, a slightly cleaner run on the buttock lines and a heavily cut-away forefoot. The result was a big, powerful and heavy displacement hull that was good to windward, but a bit sticky when sheets were eased. The X-Yachts were clearly the longer and heavier in the fleet, with the lowest displacement/length factor ratio (1.004).  A 1985 series date avoided being affected by new Crew Stability Factor (CSF) penalties.
Spain's Sirius IV (above and below) - second in the 1986 One Ton Cup
The second yacht was the Farr design Sirius IV, a further development of Farr's One Ton design that began with #136 in 1983, and which finished with placings of 2/16/3/6/1/2. Sirius IV, and her sistership Ameldos, were less full aft than their predecessors, but otherwise retained the Farr signatures of heavily distorted maximum beam and mid-depth stations. Sirius IV was clearly oriented towards light weather conditions with less displacement (5,390kg compared with 6,150kg compared with Andelstankenand more sail area, while Ameldos had a 1986 hull date and therefore carried a CSF of 0.6%. Despite her light air orientation, Sirius IV excelled in all weather conditions, and was thought by many to be the fastest yacht at the Cup, but her disastrous 16th in the second race effectively ended her chances at overall victory.

The third boat was Port Barcelona (4/12/6/5/16/3), the ex-Phoenix which finished as top individual yacht in the 1985 Admiral's Cup and slightly modified for the expected conditions at Palma.  
Port Barcelona - the ex-Phoenix, finished third (photo Histoiredeshalfs.com)
Rubin VIII was a new Judel/Vrolijk design, which had a poor start to the series but went faster and faster as it went on, finishing seventh with placings of 23/13/5/7/3/6. She could not beat her earlier namesake, renamed Mean Machine, which finished sixth.  The new Rubin VIII was slightly longer and narrower, with notably less beam aft to avoid any CSF-related penalties, and sported a semi-elliptical keel which was very fat at the bottom but maintained a low wetted surface.  
Rubin VIII displays her elliptical keel during onshore preparations for the 1986 One Ton Cup (photo Seahorse)
Another interesting boat was Regardless, from the USA and the Nelson/Marek design team. Following European trends, she had relatively clean and undistorted lines other than the normal crease at the aft girth station. She had a lot of volume in the afterbody, and without a lot of bumping she carried some additional displacement that she was not credited for, thus being a bit heavier than her actual rated displacement figure (5,796kg) would suggest. Her series was marred by a poor result in the long offshore where she was badly caught by calms within sight of the finish line, but she proved to be a good all-rounder and was particularly impressive upwind. She finished ninth overall, with placings of 8/23/11/3/7/9. Designer and skipper Bruce Nelson was happy enough afterwards, feeling that the results of such a weird series were not too important, but encouraged by the way Regardless competed with the highly-touted European boats.
A video of the series (of average film quality unfortunately) can be seen here:

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