27 March 2017


A great photo surfaced recently on the Farr Yacht Design Facebook page of Shockwave, the champion Two Tonner from 1992.  The photo looks like it was taken during the 1992 Kenwood Cup in Hawaii. More on Shockwave from an earlier article can be seen here.

26 March 2017

Kialoa IV (Holland Maxi)

This post is a tribute to the late Jim Kilroy (1922-2016), who campaigned, with great distinction, a series of yachts named Kialoa from 1957 to 1989. This article features Kialoa IV, the replacement for his famous Sparkman & Stephens-designed ketch Kialoa III.

Kialoa IV was the first of a new breed of maxi-raters, just over 80ft long, and was designed by Ron Holland in 1979 and built using a composite sandwich-laminated hull and deck with aluminium reinforcing. The latter being in the shape of a space-frame chassis incorporated into the hull to take keel and rig loads. Kialoa IV was built by Holland's brother-in-law Gary Carlin at his Kiwi Yachts yard in Florida, which had also built the famous Imp which pioneered the space-frame concept. The composite laminate was influenced by studies carried out by both Kiwi Yachts and Dupont's research department in Wilmington. Holland noted at the time that "While all-up hull weight advantages were not a primary consideration, the tests showed lighter ends and deck were possible compared to Kialoa III".
Kialoa IV in early days, possibly during the 1981 SORC
Holland described the design philosophy at the time as incorporating aspects from his successful level rating and Admiral's Cup designs that had not yet been utilised at the Maxi scale. "Hull shape is as influenced by the IOR measurement procedure as my smaller designs. Keel and rudder designs are treated in a similar way. Choice of rated length, displacement and sail are the primary starting point for my IOR designs, attempted to hold proven relationships although there are aspects of the IOR rule that dis-proportionately penalises the larger yachts due to necessary low displacement length ratios and associated sail areas. Scaling effect needs to be handled carefully but decisions on this, and the earlier mentioned points relating to Kialoa's first series success speak for themselves".
Kialoa IV during the 1981 SORC (photo Seahorse)

Kialoa IV was launched in November 1980 and Kilroy immediately began a working-up programme for the new boat which involved her trialing against her predecessor, Kialoa III, which would later be converted for cruising. This was a unique opportunity, where use a pace boat had previously proven effective with Admiral's Cup size yachts (such as Big Apple and Marionette in 1977), but this was the first time that this had been done with ocean racing yachts at this scale.
Kialoa IV powers upwind - 1981 (photo Hood sails)
Initial testing showed the new yacht had an advantage in light and medium conditions in the smooth waters of Tampa Bay. As the design philosophy had pushed towards speed potential in medium conditions, with the emphasis towards seeking an advantage over Kialoa III downwind, the early results were seen as encouraging. When the two yachts were paced against each other in fresher conditions and bigger seas, the speed difference was not marked to windward, with the new yacht showing slightly more heel angle and helm sensitivity, but downwind speed was as expected.
The bigger they are ... (photo Colin Jarman/Seahorse)
Based on early testing results, as well as the fact that the boat still had approximately one foot of rating to play with (within the 70.0ft limit for the Maxi class), it was decided to optimise the speed/rating relationship with a reduction in displacement and an increase in stability. This was made easier through the built-in flexibility within the yacht, with stability-tuning cavities in the keel, and internal ballast being encased in the aluminium sub-structure rather than being glassed in. These changes saw the final rating settle at 69.5ft for the 1981 SORC and Maxi Boat Series.
Kialoa IV and Condor during the California Cup match race series in 1982, which was won by Condor (photo Sobstad sails)
The extensive tuning process had a significant effect on the early performance of Kialoa IV; she went straight into the fray and won races at the 1981 SORC, although there was something erratic about her earliest performances which was to be expected for a boat still at early stages in its development. Initially, and in certain narrow ranges of conditions, both Windward Passage and the Frers-designed Bumblebee IV showed similar speed to the new Kialoa. But Kialoa IV showed her strength over a wider wind range and looked dominant. Although the newest boat, she seemed relatively conservative, and was certainly the heaviest in terms of rated displacement (nearly 84,000lbs, against 70,600 for Bumblebee IV - although for that, Bumblebee carried a near 1% rating penalty).
Kialoa IV in fresh running conditions
However, by mid-season she was more than good enough to win the 1980-81 Seahorse Maxi Series (for yachts rating between 50 and 70ft), and included Ceramco NZ which used the event as a build-up for the Whitbread Round the World Race later that year).  For the most part, Kialoa IV enjoyed close racing with her near sistership, the new Condor, but dominated the series with line placings of 2/1/1/1, and third on handicap (4/1/3/6). During this season, and before the Sardinia Maxi Series (which she won), her main boom (and mainsail) was lengthened by 3ft. This increased her rating closer to the 70.0ft IOR Maxi limit.
Kialoa IV about to cross tacks with Condor (centre) during the 1982 Clipper Cup, with Windward Passage not far behind (right) (photo John Malitte/Sea Spray)
Kialoa IV went on to compete in many international series and regattas, including the 1982 Clipper Cup where she performed strongly finishing as fourth yacht overall (just behind Condor) and helping the US team to an overall victory in the 1982 edition (alongside Bullfrog and Great Fun).
Kialoa IV to leeward and behind Condor during the 1983 SORC (photo Larry Moran)
Kialoa IV won Class A in the 1983 SORC against some new competition, including the new Peterson-designed Midnight Sun and the Pedrick-designed Nirvana, with a combination of good speed and tactics and few gear failures. All the Maxi fleet were well down in the overall standings however, with Kialoa IV managing just 38th within the whole fleet. Kialoa IV finished as second yacht on individual points in the 1984 Clipper Cup (with placings of 5/13/3/3/14), behind the new Frers-designed Boomerang, but ahead of Sorcery, Nirvana and Condor.  
Kialoa IV to leeward of Windward Passage in light airs during the 1983 SORC (photo Larry Moran)
Kialoa IV was often at the forefront of sail development and pioneered the introduction of nascent Kevlar technology at the Maxi scale. Increasing quantities of Kevlar were used to support maximum allowable roach in the mainsail. Dacron was retained in lower sections, presumably for ease of handling, given that cloth weights for both materials were in excess of 8oz.
Kialoa IV with a new Kevlar "crescent cut" no.3 headsail - an article at the time by Hood sailmakers note that "the leech hollow is at absolute minimum to ensure that the foretriangle is full. The no.3 sheets at 8.25 deg and allows full main to be carried at 30 knots apparent wind with the mainsheet traveller two-thirds down the track". Condor (below) opted for the new Norths vertical cut technology (photos William Payne/Seahorse)

The design was a successful one for Holland, and along with sistership Condor, she generated commissions for Round-the-World derivatives Lion New Zealand and Drum for the 1985-86 Whitbread, and the 'inshore' Maxi Sassy, although none of these boats made much an impression on the race course, being shorter than Kialoa and Condor, and heavy for their length. Lion New Zealand did, however, finish second in the 185-86 Whitbread Round the World Race, with greater structural integrity than some of her rivals.
Kialoa IV during the 1983 SORC (photo Larry Moran)

Kialoa IV's reign at the top of the Maxi class was relatively short however, and the decision was made in 1985 for the replacement maxi, the new Frers-designed Kialoa V. She went on to compete in the 1987 Antigua Race Series, before Kialoa V was commissioned in 1988.
Kialoa IV in more recent times, seen here in La Rochelle, France (photo Sail-World)

More details (and photos) about Kialoa IV can be seen on the "Kialoa US-1: Dare to Win" website here, and a record of all her race results are here.

A Sail-World obituary for Jim Kilroy is here

27 February 2017

One Tonner Revival Regatta 2017

The 2017 edition of the One Tonner Revival Regatta, hosted again in Breskens, The Netherlands - details below:

A photo from the 2016 regatta (above), with Guanabara passing behind Esprit du Morbihan.  A video summary is below

23 February 2017

Jamarella (Farr 50)

The 1989 champion Admiral's Cup yacht, the Farr IOR 50 Jamarella (Farr design #213), has recently been listed for sale on Yachtworld (here).
Jamarella mixing it up with two other Fifties at a leeward mark during the 1989 Admiral's Cup (Japan's Will to the right) (photo Nick Rains/Seahorse)
Jamarella was English yachtsman Alan Gray's second yacht of that name, and followed his successful One Tonner that finished as second yacht overall in the 1987 Admiral's Cup. Gray had built the new Jamarella expressly to try out the new World Cup circuit established for the Fifties, and because he felt that the TMF changes could produce a 50-footer that was not just a useful Admiral's Cup team yacht, but a potential series top scorer.
Jamarella showed early form in the British Admiral's Cup trials, held in Kiel (photo Christel Clear/Seahorse)
The design for Jamarella was slightly altered from her circuit-racing sisterships Carat VII and Windquest, with rig and keel modifications to orient the boat for ocean racing courses and to suit the slightly lower maximum rating limit of the Admiral's Cup. She was built in carbon/epoxy/PVC foam and Nomex sandwich by Thompson boatbuilders, and was helmed by Gordon Maguire and Lawrie Smith. She sported Diamond sails on a Sparcraft mast, a common and fast combination at that time.
Plenty of action aboard Jamarella as she rounds a leeward mark during the 1989 Admiral's Cup (photo Francois Mousis/Seahorse)

Gray's instinct was confirmed and his professionally-run campaign was rewarded as Jamarella spearheaded the dominance of the Fifties in the 1989 series, with the new breed of these Admiral's Cup 'maxis' taking line and handicap wins in five of the six races, and taking four of the top five places overall. Jamarella led the charge for the British team with a superbly consistent 1/3/2/3/2/4 series that made her top individual performer in the 42-boat fleet (from 14 nations), and led Britain to its first Cup win since 1981.
Jamarella on a tight reach during the 1989 Admiral's Cup (Sail magazine)
Jamarella powers to windward during the 1989 Admiral's Cup (photo Sharon Green/Harken)

The British team was sponsored by The Observer and The Glenlivet, and the team sought to play their part by carrying their logos on their hulls. The first attempt at placing the decals on the hull of Jamarella was, at the last minute, identified as being too far aft to comply with the tight regulations that were then in force. Leaving nothing to chance, the letters behind the line 18ft from the transom, were removed to be replaced in a compliant mid-ship position after the first race (photo below).
After the 1989 Admiral’s Cup the Fifties gathered again in Newport Rhode Island for the sixth and final event in the 1989 World Cup. Jamarella was shipped over from England and finished third.
Jamarella slips along in light airs during the British trials (photo Rick Tomlinson/Contender)
Jamarella arriving at (above) and leaving (below) Lymington Marina during the 1989 Admiral's Cup (photo Shockwave40 blog)

Jamarella is now based in the Netherlands - more photos can be seen in the Yachtworld link above..
Recent photos (above and below) of Jamarella (Yachtworld)

14 September 2016

Smir-Noff-Agen: Saved!

Smir-Noff-Agen, one of five centreboarders designed by Bruce Farr for the 1977 One Ton Cup, has been rescued from an uncertain future in Australia's Gold Coast. She is presently being shipped to Dubai, where she will receive a complete restoration and upgrade to have a second life as a modern IRC racing yacht, with a similar approach to that given to the Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble.
Smir-Noff-Agen seen here sailing as part of the victorious New Zealand team during the 1977 Southern Cross Cup in Sydney
The Farr centreboarders of 1977 were very fast yachts, and featured some of the cleanest hull shapes of the IOR era, and considered long for their rating (27.5ft IOR). As with Swuzzlebubble, this combination, along with a modern rig, sails and foils, should mean that the boat will be very competitive under IRC.
In somewhat of a sad state following a stalled refurbishment effort in the Gold Coast
Smir-Noff-Agen was later named Vanguard, then Scallywag II (and won the 1982 Sydney to Hobart race), and then Best by Farr - her history can be seen here. She will be re-named Oro Nero, and will feature a black and gold colour scheme.
Being loaded onto a cradle (above) and truck (below) for her long voyage to Dubai

The efforts to give Smir-Noff-Agen a new lease of life means that four of the five boats built to this design are still sailing and/or racing (see Jenny H, Mr Jumpa and The Red Lion), with only the whereabouts of the Australian boat Hecate unknown (but thought to be located in Darwin).

13 September 2016

Gerontius (Farr 42)

The Bruce Farr-designed Gerontius (KZ-2302) had been designed for Graeme Eder in 1973 (Design #39) as an extension of the Farr 33 Moonshine, as a fast cruiser but with some emphasis towards the IOR where it was not considered to affect performance too greatly. At this early stage in the development of Farr's larger yachts, and because of her aspirations as a dual purpose yacht, a masthead rig was used, but of reasonably moderate proportions to match her light and easily driven hull. Her relatively squat looking rig and low sail area helped achieve a reasonable rating, although this was still relatively high at 35.5ft.

Notwithstanding that she was not designed as an out-and-out Admiral's Cupper, Gerontius created something of a minor controversy when she was selected for the New Zealand team for the 1975 Admiral’s Cup. Showing surprising speed upwind in light airs, she finished the trials in third place, behind two S&S designs, the 42 footer Barnacle Bill and the 45 footer Inca, with a clear edge over the highly fancied S&S designed 50 footer Corinthian.
Gerontius during the New Zealand 1975 Admiral's Cup trials (photo Sea Spray)

It had not been expected that the unusual looking and homegrown design would be competitive, and after it became clear after the first three races that she was clearly in the running, her competitors aboard the S&S designs lodged a joint protest over her IOR measurement certificate. This was dismissed, although it clearly rattled the Gerontius crew who suffered from poor starts in the next few races. But she ultimately prevailed and was duly selected to be part of the New Zealand team for its first attempt to win the coveted trophy, regarded as the unofficial world championship of offshore sailing.
Gerontius claws her way round Flat Rock (off Kawau Island) in the second trials race in which she finished second to Barnacle Bill on corrected time (photo Sea Spray)
The Gerontius crew for the Admiral's Cup included Farr himself (which meant that he wasn't able to sail aboard his Quarter Tonner 45 South which was making history at the same time in France), as well as Peter Blake. Her optimum performance was in fresher breezes, as was that of the Carcano-designed Vihuela in the Italian team. As Bob Fisher noted in his Admiral's Cup history "The drawback to their light displacement boats is that they lack sail area for light weather and in 1975 that was to be their undoing".

Gerontius in tight reaching conditions during the 1975 Admiral's Cup (photo Jonathan Eastland)
However, despite the typically light air conditions that prevailed, Gerontius' place in the team was vindicated when she ended the series as the top scoring New Zealand boat in 11th place overall. The New Zealand team itself finished a creditable sixth place, of the 19 nations represented.
Gerontius seen here in Cowes during the 1975 Admiral's Cup
Gerontius returned to New Zealand and raced actively for some time, including competing in the 1977 Auckland to Suva race, where she finished fourth on line and sixth on corrected time (amongst no less than 61 finishers!). Eder and Blake also sailed Gerontius in the same year to overall line honours in the 1,250 mile 1977 Round the North Island race.

She went on to race in the inaugural 1978 Clipper Cup, as part of the New Zealand 'A' team alongside the Farr One Tonner Country Boy and a newer fractional rigged Farr 42, Monique, and revelled in Hawaii's reliable breezes. NZ A led the series by just two points going into the last race (the 800 mile Around the State), but were overtaken by a strong Australian effort in the finale, and finished second overall (the NZ B team finished third, thanks to a second place by Inca in the final race).

Gerontius remains based in Honolulu, and has recently been advertised for sale.

3 September 2016

Half Ton Cup 1982

The 1982 Half Ton Cup was sailed in Mikrolimano, Greece, and was won by local yacht, Georges Andreatis' Atalanti II, a Joubert-Nivelt design skippered by champion US yachtsmen Rod Davis and Chris O'Nial.  This result gave the Michel Joubert and Bernard Nivelt design team their second success in a Ton Cup, and was a prelude to the even greater success they enjoyed with their minimum rater, Diva, at the 1983 Admiral's Cup. The Daniel Andrieu design Cifraline 2 took second place.
Atalanti II - 1982 Half Ton Cup winner
French yacht Cifraline 2 had a successful build-up to the regatta at La Rochelle and was a favourite for Cup honours when she came to Mikrolimano. She was constructed in fibreglass and Klegecell sandwich at the Technicoque. Cifraline 2 was the faster downwind. With a clean hull shape and small keel she was fast downwind. The crew including Daniel Andrieu, Philippe Follenfant, Christophe Cudennec, Jena Baptiste le Vaillant and Michel Geoffrin started badly each race, and as a result put themselves under pressure to challenge the leader yachts. In the last offshore race, she was three hours behind in the first quarter but came through the fleet to win.
Cifraline 2
Philippe Briand was the designer and helmsman of Free Lance, also from France, and she was another favourite for the Cup.  Free Lance was very quick at all points of sailing and all winds, other than  downwind in light airs, this due to Free Lance being a long boat, very light (About 2300 kg when sailing), a very clean shape, as with Cifraline 2, but a correspondingly lower sail area.  However, while Free Lance started strongly, she was disqualified from the fourth race for a startline luffing incident with Greek yacht Jonathan. This was viewed by many competitors as unduly harsh, and was met with some anger by the Free Lance crew. In protest at the perceived unfairness of the decision, the Free Lance crew elected not to start the final long offshore race, resulting in a disappointing 20th place in the final standings.
Free Lance - had a disappointing end to her regatta, but bounced back in the 1983 event

The Germans had two boats in the series, including Play and Loss, designed by Nissen. She was skipped by Berend Beilken, a well-known sailmaker and winner of the 1978 One Ton Cup (with Tilsalg). Although very close to Cifraline 2 regarding measurements, Play and Loss had a very different hull with a reverse waterline below the stern. She was oriented to light airs.
Play and Loss (above and below)

The Italian team included the Fontana-Maletto-Navone designed Pioneer (renamed Pionière to address an issue regarding sponsorship), which had won the Italian selection trials. She was nicely built in cold-moulded wood at the Morri and Para Shipyard, and was very quick in light air, finishing first and second in the first two triangle races. Pioniere was quite different to the French designs, being heavy (2,700 kg), long and wide, with a large sail plan. She finished sixth overall. 
Pioniere (above and below)

Lady F, skippered by Eric Duchemin and Jerome Langlois, was an interesting design, but appeared to be too light for the design of the hull, which affected the way she sailed through the waves and chop off Mikrolimano.  Poor tactics in the first race where she finished 31st affected crew morale, and while they bounced back in the last race to take third, this was too late for a podium finish and they finished seventh overall.
Lady F (above and below) - finished seventh overall

Atalanti II
Play and Loss rounds a gybe mark
Attenti a quei due (placing unknown)
Don Quixote IV - finished tenth overall
Atalanti II
Hazzard (ninth overall)
Atalanti II
The results for the 1982 Half Ton Cup (first ten yachts)
Rating measurements for some of the top boats at the 1982 Half Ton Cup, including the 1983 winner, Free Lance
Atalanti II went on to win the Half Ton Cup again in 1993, after being fitted with a new keel and taller rig and benefitting from an age allowance.

Many thanks to 'Chorus' for his assistance in translating one of the French articles from the Half Ton History site regarding the 1982 regatta.