Canting keels are a natural
progression of development in yacht design. There have
been cases where the mechanisms have failed but like
so many advances in technology this is all part of the
learning curve. Typically failures have occurred as
a result of a lack of backup systems and safety devices
combined with under engineered systems and structure.
Maximus’ keel is retractable which reduces her
draft to 4 metres, and extends to 6 metres and is capable
of being canted 50 degrees off centre to provide a massive
The idea comes from
co-owner Bill Buckley whose company developed the engineering
necessary to both raise and extend the keel into the
“centrecase” or hollow keel strut. Buckley
Systems Limited also designed and engineered the keel
canting mechanism which features a number of failsafe
systems. A special feature of the canting mechanism
is that it has been designed to be housed below the
saloon floor, and doesn’t intrude into the working
area below decks.
Carbon Fibre Rotating
Maximus is the first
supermaxi and one of the few monohulls to feature a
rotating wingmast - more commonly found on high
performance catamarans. As a former Tornado catamaran
sailor, St Clair Brown isn’t fazed with the concept.
“It significantly lowers our rig drag” he
says “and that translates directly into improved
boat-speed”. The rotating mast was designed by
Chris Mitchell and Southern Spars, who built a similar
rig for Ellen MacArthur in her recent record-breaking
around the world run.
Carbon fibre with about a
650mil (3ft wide) chord, stayed with Future Fibres PBO
rigging which is very light, strong and low drag. The
spar is also notable for having only two sets of spreaders
instead of the usual four, plus a set of smaller diamond
spreaders lower in the rig. All this adds up to reduced
drag and more speed.
- Aerofoil shape produces
much lower drag
- Wind attaches to the front
of the mast and therefore increases sail area
- They allow lower aspect
rigs for the proportionally higher sail area than
a conventional rig because their shape allows you
to carry large, high roach top mainsails.