3 February 2018

Margaret Rintoul III - Frers 50

Margaret Rintoul III was a 50.5-foot design by German Frers for Australian yachtsman Stan Edwards as a replacement for his previous Margaret Rintoul yachts. Designed in 1981, she was a development of Frers' 1979-era 51-footers Acadia, Blizzard and Moonshine, with a slight reduction in displacement and length for a similar rating (originally estimated at 39.8ft IOR). 

The hull was built of aluminium, married to a composite sandwich deck using a combination of S glass, carbon fibre and Kevlar. The hull was built by the Maas brothers, who had built Lou Abrahams' 46-foot S&S design Challenge III two years prior. Weight saving was sought in every aspect of the boats' construction, where the hull plate thickness was lighter than contemporary aluminium yachts of the same size, with additional frames to provide extra strength.  In addition to the composite deck, the boat sported a Kevlar liferaft box, a carbon fibre steering wheel and an interior fit-out utilising Klegecell board and a teak veneer covering. The rig was based around a Zapspar section, developed in conjunction with Frers, and she flew North Sails.

The boat was commissioned by Edwards with the Southern Cross Cup and the 1982 Pan Am Clipper Cup in mind, where it was felt that the steady breezes and time-on-distance handicap system used in Hawaii and the US would encourage bigger boats rather than minimum-raters.
Margaret Rintoul III under construction
The estimated rating for Margaret Rintoul III was about half a foot higher than Blizzard, but the new boat was expected to be more powerful than her predecessor, with lighter construction permitting more ballast for the same displacement (28,900lbs), and more sail area (1,266sqft). Her lines were relatively undistorted, being narrower at the waterline and flatter in the for'ard and mid-sections than Blizzard, with less wetted surface overall. She featured the sharply swept back transom of Frers' most recent designs, with only a slight hollow in the stern sections around the after girth station (see construction photo above). The design concept proved to have plenty of potential after near-sistership Retaliation finished as the winner of the 1982 SORC. Her actual rating turned out to be somewhat higher than expected, however, coming in at 41.2ft. 
Margaret Rintoul III launches over a wave during the boisterous conditions of the 1982 Clipper Cup (photo B Brown, Yacht Racing/Cruising)
Margaret Rintoul III was chosen to represent Australia in their Clipper Cup defence in 1982, alongside Hitchhiker (Frers 40) and Szechwan (Davidson 39). She was sailed by Graeme "Frizzel" Freeman, former sailing master of Bumblebee IV (Frers 76). Margaret Rintoul III performed strongly in the fresh conditions that prevailed throughout the series, proving able to sail to her relatively high rating and finishing second in Class B and seventh overall (3/1/10/10/20) leading the Australian team to second place overall, behind the USA Blue team (Kialoa IV, Great Fun and Bullfrog).
Margaret Rintoul III became the feature of a North Sails magazine ad in the 1980s after this epic capture during the fresh conditions of the 1982 Clipper Cup
Margaret Rintoul III was subsequently sold to US yachtsman John Arens and was re-named Tomahawk. She had her first US regatta in the 1983 San Francisco series, where she started strongly with a win in the first race, but then had major spinnaker problems in the second race that nearly swept the crew off the deck, and then lost a man overboard in the fourth race. Nevertheless, she finished third overall in the City of San Francisco Perpetual Trophy (for the biggest IOR boats in the series), with placings of 1/2/2/4/2.
Margaret Rintoul III competing in the 1982 Clipper Cup also featured on the cover of Yachting magazine (December 1982, Guy Gurney)
Tomahawk made up part of the "USA White" team in the 1984 Clipper Cup, alongside Checkmate (Peterson 55, ex-Bullfrog) and Camouflage (Frers 44) and put in another strong performance, with close battles in Class B with teammate Checkmate, finishing second on individual points (just behind Pacific Sundance), for those boats racing within teams (2/3/2/2/12). The loss of Sundance team-mate Exador's mast in the Round the State Race let the USA team through to win the Cup, with Checkmate finishing 4th and Camouflage 15th.  The early dominance of Checkmate and Tomahawk came undone to some extent by poor performances in the heavily-weighted Round-the-State, with The Shadow overhauling both boats in Class B. Tomahawk finished fourth overall of all the boats competing (2/3/6/4/18).

Tomahawk (ex-Margaret Rintoul III) competing in the 1984 Clipper Cup (NZ Yachting magazine)
A new Margaret Rintoul IV was built for Edwards, and campaigned for a position in the Australian 1985 Admiral's Cup team, without success, before going on to race in the early years of the 50-Foot circuit.  

Margaret Rintoul III/Tomahawk is presently (November 2018) lying in Lake Union Seattle and is for sale.


  1. As of November 2018, she's for sale at Marine Service Center in Anacortes as a "2 owner boat".

  2. Thanks Andrew, have updated the article with a link to the advertisement.