One of the world’s most successful record beating sailing machines has arrived in Auckland. The Open 60 now named Team G3, and formerly known as Geant is one of a breed of Open 60 trimarans built to excel at one thing: sailing fast.
Measuring 18m (60 foot) in length and 18m (60 foot) wide, with a mast height of 30m (100 feet), the Open 60 was imported by New Zealand sailor Simon Hull. Hull has been a regular in domestic racing aboard his 52 foot keelboat V5. The boat, designed to excel in downwind conditions favoured by the famous Transpac race, arrived in New Zealand four years ago and has, with other members of the 50 foot fleet, continued to optimise and search for that elusive additional speed and great rides. Prior to that Hull campaigned the well known offshore racer, M1.
But the Open 60 multihull takes performance to a new league all together and despite being tried and tested in Europe for many years, for both New Zealand and Australia, it’s a first proper look at the world of high intensity, giant trimaran sailing. “We chose this boat because despite being a challenge to sail, it has the power to weight ratio and seaworthiness to achieve things like nothing else in New Zealand and Australia,” says Owner and Skipper Hull.
Average speed targets in the Open 60 class are 18 knots to windward in 25 knots of breeze, or 30 knots on a broad reach. Open 60s have averaged 25 knots for 24 hours, which means there are very few boats in Australasia capable of racing it for line honours. G3 was launched in France in 2002, and underwent a significant rebuild in 2005 – but has spent nearly two years in storage since then.
Now her Southern Hemisphere campaign will include rebranding for corporate sponsorship, and attendance at major events including the Round North Island Race (February 2010), Bay of Islands Regatta (January 2010) and most major offshore and coastal events, culminating in the epic Around Australia event at the end of 2011. The only other Round Australia race ever held, was won by the two handed duo of Peter Blake and Mike Quilter, who were severely tested in their similar wing masted trimaran Steinlager 1. – Zoe Hawkins.