"She is the ultimate
lady as they say," says Brown of his new boat. "We have
pulled out all the stops to create the fastest monohull
for her length."
100ft looks set to become a key length over the next
few years with the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
maintaining this as the maximum length limit but removing
the maximum TCF speed limit for the 2005 Rolex Sydney-Hobart.
Effectively in a year's time 'unlimited' 100 footers
will be able to take part in the annual Boxing Day run
south and aside from the new Kiwi maxi we can expect
Neville Crichton's new CBTF Reichel-Pugh boat, currently
under construction at McConaghys, to be in this same
vein while the existing maxis such as Skandia and
Konica Minolta are 'turboed'.
Brown and Buckley's new maxi is a design by Clay Oliver
of Team New Zealand fame and Greg Elliott who caused
a stir with his 50ft twin wingmasted schooner in the
mid-1990s and has more recently been part of the design
team that created Mari Cha IV .
The design brief was for an unlimited 100ft supermaxi
that could be raced both offshore and around the cans
and thus be an all-round performance with good upwind
ability. "As we are not designing to any rule everything
is based around what makes the boat fast and the only
limiting factois are the safety issues and to make the
boat qualify with the latest ISAF stability index,"
says Charles Brown.
Oliver and Elliott's expression of this has been a canting
keel yacht with a multihull-style rotating wingmast
arrangement. The boat has been built at Cooksons in
Auckland and is currently being fitted out in the old
Team New Zealand shed on the Viaduct Basin where she
is expected at the end of January.
Compared to the Reichel-Pugh maxis the Kiwi boat has
a lot more flair. "The boat is going to be sporting
a rotating spar, so we were looking for a wider shroud
base to support that spar," explains Greg Elliott. "I
was also looking for more reserve stability in the hull
so that when it was hard pressed it would gain volume.
Sure, you get an increase in drag, but the stability
goes up accordingly. It makes a drier boat and I believe
it is a better boat at sea especially when you drive
it hard because that flair gives you more lift instead
of sinking and straight-lining it."
height (off deck)
keel (+/- 50deg)
keel (+/- 45deg)
tab on keel
the comparison table above show - she is the beamest
of the 100(ish)ft maxis with the exception of Bols
and comes with a metre more draft than Genuine
Risk and a very scary acreage of sail.
Below the water there is a single rudder while the keel
not only cants to 45 degrees but lifts as does the keel
Pong's new Maiden Hong Kong . Elliott says
the limiting factor to the canting angle is the amount
of width available for the rams in the base of the hull.
The keel is housed in an outer sleeve that allows the
keel to lift while her twin hydraulic ram set-up cants
Elliott acknowledges that having the lifting mechanism
is something of a compromise as it adds weight, but
otherwise the draft would be prohibitive. Having an
extra metre of draft one suspects would more than compensate
for the weight penalty. The whole keel canting mechanism
has been built in New Zealand.
To prevent leeway the Kiwi maxi is fitted with a single
lifting daggerboard just forward of the mast.
Strangely we have still yet to see maxi boat designers
realising the ability of movable internal water ballast
to alter displacement to suit different weather conditions
or to alter the fore and aft trim of the boat to make
the boat, for example, bow out when surfing down big
waves or stern out to reduce drag in light weather.
Above decks the rig strongly ressembles that of Mike
Golding's Open 60 Ecover with fixed shrouds
and a spar that can rotate through the use of hinged
spreaders. Its main difference compared to Ecover
's rig is that there is less rigging and the tube
itself is a larger wing section with a 700mm cord. Elliott
says it is comparible to the rig on Ellen's B&Q
Elliott has been designing monohulls with rotating wingmasts
since the mid-1990s. Around the time Yves Parlier was
fitting the first Open 60 with a multihull rig complete
with deck spreaders to widen the shroud base, Elliott
had launched a 50ft schooner fitted with twin wingmasts.
The rig on the maxi is a sloop but similar to his five
year old 45 footer Maverick (now sold to a
European owner and named Outsider ).
"If you increase the speed of the boat, which you do
with these larger yachts, then by getting the airflow
attached from the leading edge of the spar is an advantage,"
says Elliott as to why they opted to fit a wingmast.
"You are not dragging that spar through the air and
the air doesn't have to reattach itself back to the
sail 0.5m back from the leading edge as it does on a
conventional spar. You will never see a multihull flying
around without a conventional spar. With these large
boats we are getting close to multihull speeds, so it
gets even more critical to get a low drag-high lift
sort of rig."
The boat is fitted with a 3m long bowsprit. This will
be fixed when sailing, but removable in harbour.
In the cockpit there are three coffee grinders and the
boat can be sailed manually on occasions when required.
For example part of the 2005 program for the boat is
to attempt a 24 hour monohull record as they sail up
the Gulf Stream between Antigua and New York for the
start of the Rolex Transatlantic Race. Otherwise all
the winches for the main control lines - the main sheet,
the primaries and the donkey winch for all the halyards
and reefing lines - are hydraulic.
Around 18 crew will be needed
to sail the boat around the cans, 14-15 offshore. Elliott
points out that the advantage of having movable ballast
is that you no longer need an army of crew to add weight
on the weather rail. Crew is dictated by the number
of human beings necessary to handle the sails. "The
sails just weigh a lot. The mainsail is something like
280kg. You can't just pull it up..."
The crew has yet to be announced, but Charles Brown
says that most of the top sailors in New Zealand have
raced on his boats at some point and he has access to
a wealth of top sailors. In the past Brown has sailed
in Olympic classes and it is possible Bruce Kendall
and Rex Sellars may feature among the crew, alongside
a number of offshore and America's Cup sailors.
The boat is expected to launch at the end of January
in Auckland where sea trials will take place before
the boat is shipped to the States. Her first regatta
will be Antigua Sailing Week, however the major objective
in 2005 is the Rolex Transatlantic Race. Charles Brown
reckons they are in with a chance of winning despite
being up against Mari Cha IV , the clear favourite
with a 40ft length advantage. If there is some upwind
work, which is unlikely on this predominantly downwind
course, they might be in with a chance.
Frank Pong's 118 footer Maiden Hong Kong is
also expected on the start line, but Brown has his reservations
about her. "Frank will have a bit of trouble because
he has got tungsten in his keel and a canting rig, so
I can't see how he will be an official entry. Even if
he is we are pretty confident we can beat him easily
anyway. This is pretty amazing technology we have developed
associated with our keel. Our righting moment is very
high, very light displacement and a rotating wingmast."
In the meantime the owners of the Kiwi maxi want to
give their boat a name and are currently seeking sponsorship
to the tune of 3.5 million Euros for a campaign that
will include Antigua Sailing Week in April, the Rolex
Transatlantic race, the Mediterranean maxi boat circuit
and the Sydney Hobart. "We put up the money to build
the boat and we supply the assets. So the naming I am
leaving it until we have the opportunity to name it
for a sponsor," says Brown.