30 March 2013

Hustler 36 (Jones Three-Quarter Tonner)

I was recently contacted by the French owner of a Hustler 36 Caminata, a Stephen Jones-designed Three-Quarter Tonner from the late 1970s. The owner was trying to find the history about this boat, and with some great research from an English follower of this blog it has been possible to learn a little about her, and the Hustler 36 class. 

Jones designed some interesting boats during the IOR period, and from my understanding so far it would seem that he tended to push the long/heavy/large sail plan end of the rule, with his yachts often looking much bigger than some of the competition for any given level rating fleet.  In the Half Ton Cup in 1978, for example, his top yacht and second placed Smokey Bear was longer and carried some 80 square feet of rated sail more than the winner Waverider. This longer length was often paid for with a reasonably high level of distortion in the aft end around the after- and after inner girth stations to achieve a lower rated length to offset their larger sail plans. The Hustler 36 also features another interesting Jones trademark, with a slight flare in plan and sheer of the deck-transom intersection. This was part of what was particularly fascinating about the IOR in its hey day, the ability for so many different boats from around the world and from different designers to come together to compete on a level rating basis.

A recent photograph of Caminata displaying her IOR origins
The Hustler 36 had a long overhang, but with a reasonably upright transom. A further extension of the transom at deck level brought the transom-deck intersection forward to the hull crease at the after girth station, visible in the above photograph.

The Hustler 36 in plan view, the slight concavity at the after inner girth station is visible just ahead of the transom.
It transpires that the Hustler 36 in question was originally owned by Robin Aisher (of Yeoman fame with this father Owen), who raced her in the RORC class 4 (class 4 being the Three-Quarter Tonners), and Solent Points class 3 in 1979/80, and enjoyed very close racing with sistership Savage, although Halcyon prevailed in the UK Three-Quarter Ton championship and Cowes Week.  

Geoff Kaye's Savage competing during the 1980 RORC season, class 4
In the UK and Channel Race the Hustler 36 class was the boat to beat in the early 1980s. Only ten were built, and some of the others included Ace, Barna Pearl, Gunsmoke, Mercury of Mercer, Stomper, and the last boat Ten (named after the Dudley Moore/Bo Derek film and displayed at the 1980 Southampton Boat Show). The custom version on which the Hustler 36 was based was the cold moulded Silver Shadow which is still being actively raced (as The Great Panjandrum). The boats were later marketed by Oyster (around 1982/83), just as the Oyster SJ35 Three-Quarter Tonner was introduced to replace the 36, although the first boat or two were badged as Hustler SJ35's.


Another Hustler 36, Gunsmoke
Another Hustler 36, Stomper
Caminata sports the same topsides flashes as Halcyon, but a further clue to her origin was spotted in her sail number - as Halcyon she sported the number K 4711 (4 being the prefix for RORC class 4). The Aisher Yeoman yachts used the sail number 711. The yacht was acquired by the RORC as their new club boat for introducing new people into offshore sailing and was renamed Griffin - the RORC's previous Griffin was a Peterson OOD 34 which was lost in the 1979 Fastnet race, with the loss of at least one of her crew. The yacht was later sold in Ireland, and the country designation became 'IR' and was renamed White Rooster, and a Hugh Welbourn designed bulb was added to the keel. She was bought by her current owner in 2006 and renamed Caminata and sports the new registration FRA 4711. 

Caminata sailing in 2010, and below in Cowes

The current owner is an enthusiastic campaigner and has made some modifications since 2006 - her forestay was moved forward to the stem to increase her 'J' measurement, with shorter overlaps on her headsails, and a masthead spinnaker has been added. Caminata is still going fast and finishes regularly in the top three in the Round Isle of Wight race, and a new rudder is planned for 2013.  

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