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sheep in wolf’s clothing

Putting aside our usual carbon snobbery for just a moment, we think the new Clipper 70 is quite brilliant – much like the race it was built for.  In fact, it’s just about perfect.

Yes, as ‘Left Hook’ writes, the new boat looks like the offspring of a randy Winnebago and a Volvo 70 in heat.  Sure, it’s got a galley that Emeril would be comfortable in.  Yes, it has real toilets.  Okay – the rig looks straight off a 50-footer.  And yep, the hull is something that Paul Watson would sink a motorboat to protect.

But for the pay-to-play Clipper ‘adventure’ Race, it’s exactly right.  Above the waterline (where it counts), the boat looks like a serious racing machine.  Aggressive chines, plumb bow, and carbon sprit shout “VOR” to the punters that will spend nearly $60,000 to race around the world, or a few thousand per leg, while that fat belly, deep hull, and short rig will help keep the inexperienced sailors safe in the bad weather that this race seeks out.

It’s a good combination of smart marketing and smart design – much like the Clipper Race itself.  A race that’s put more asses on real offshore racing boats than any other organization.  For a look at founder Sir Robin in a recent interview, check here.

So there you have it: The world’s economies are pushing rope, boat builders are disappearing left and right, and sponsored racing is suffering the worst market in decades.  Meanwhile, the quintessential ‘punter’ race is building a fleet of new 70-footers for a round-the-world race that will make them millions upon millions of dollars while adding hundreds of new people to offshore sailing.

What the hell are the rest of us doing wrong?  And what do YOU think about the boat? 

February 14th, 2013

Gunboat 60 sailing in Annapolis, MD.

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