This article features some more great photographs from Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing from the 1985 SORC series, as well as commentary from a Seahorse article at the time.
|High Roler during the Boca Grand-St Petersburg race|
The SORC was the premier offshore regatta in the US, and had begun to take on an international flavour, with the Germans attending in 1984 after their Admiral's Cup victory in 1983 turning up with Outsider, Container, Pinta and of course, Diva who took overall honours. For 1985 it was the turn of the Italians, who came in style following the 12m World Championships, with Brava, Gemini, Almagores, Nitissima and Templar's C. Nitissima, Gemini, and Brava all had class wins in one of the races, whilst Templar's C took an overall win in the 150 mile Ocean Triangle. It was also the year that brought the early-launched Whitbread race contenders to Miami, and was also unique in that for the first time the US would not be selecting their Admiral's Cup team from the SORC results, which would be held later in Newport, Rhode Island (and limited to yachts rating no more than 33.5ft).
|Matador crosses behind Kialoa|
The 75 boats that lined up for the 1985 SORC did not fail to impress with the high level of construction detail, finish, preparation, rigs and crew. Lightness and stiffness was pursued with high carbon fibre content for compressive and tensile strength, and US mast engineering on show with chemically etched and milled rigs with hydraulic check stays and rapid 'Farr' style tapers to 3ins diameter at the tip. Sails showed a myriad of construction techniques using the latest cloths such as warp inserted Kevlar laminates from Dimension and use of Kevlar tapes to link major load areas without the need for two-plying.
|Smiles, overall winner of the 1985 SORC|
Eight different designers were represented in the top ten, with Farr and the Faroux, Finot, Berret designed Beneteau One Tonners having two apiece. Interestingly, even with all the competitive new custom boats hitting the water, production One Tonners took 1st, 2nd and 6th place, and One Tonners overall took out six of the top ten places, the other places by 42/43 footers. It had traditionally been the Europeans sailing the leading small boats, but this year the three US sailed One Tonners - Smiles a masthead J41, Glory a Beneteau 40 and Total Eclipse (ex-Geronimo) a Farr - came out on top. In the 1984 series another J41, Dazzler, placed third overall, and in 1985 Charlie Scott demonstrated the good all-round ability of the design to take the overall honours. The second-generation Beneteau One Tonners, Glory and Fair Lady (sixth) were 400kg lighter than the 1984 versions with a more hi-tech layup and attention to detail in construction of the ends to save weight.
|Total Eclipse rounds a leeward mark|
While Farr had only two designs in the fleet, they took third and fourth overall, and was unlucky that Total Eclipse, the oldest boat in the fleet and skippered by sailmaker Bill Shore, did not win overall after posting 3/2/4, and then 2nd in the final race but then being let down in the Ocean Triangle (race 4) with a 52nd after sailing too long in the Gulf Stream. The other Farr boat the 43 foot Snake Oil, was leading overall after four races with two class wins. But the final Miami-Nassau race, once again, turned out to be a small boat procession with the fleet results in exactly the reverse order of size. Her 42nd in that race pushed her down to third overall.
|Snake Oil tacks away from Sweden's Carat|
Some of the best competition was in Class B, which was almost a Frers one design class with Morning Star, Nitissima, Fujimo, Tomahawk, Carat, Springbok and Jubilation battling it out, and John Kolius on Morning Star eventually taking the class win.
|Springbok crosses behind Morning Star|
In the Maxi fleet the Frers-designed Boomerang continued to dominate with five class wins although at times she was pushed by Matador (ex-Huaso). The challenge from the new Holland-designed maxi Sassy failed to materialise after she lost her rig in the Lipton Cup.
|Overall winner of Class A, Boomerang|
Sleeper, a Nelson/Marek 42 skippered by Lowell North, took three wins in Class D, one of the most competitive classes but finished second behind the Irwin 42 Slick.
|High Roler leading Sleeper and Razzle Dazzle|
|Lobo, helmed by Dennis Conner, third in Class D and tenth overall|
|Jubilation in startline action in Class B|
|Razzle Dazzle, an Irwin 42, showing her interesting chined stern sections while rounding a weather mark just behind Lobo|
|Class D boats prepare for a start during the 1985 SORC|