a peek at peerless
Can you imagine Nat Herreshoff’s reaction if he were alive to see the C-Cats on the lawn at the NYYC today, ready to sail in the place where his 19th century cat Amaryllis was dismissed from racing more than a century ago? Or that the waning NOOD regatta would open their arms to beach cats? How about the mixed Sportboat fleet in the century-old Chicago to Mackinac race? And now we learn that even that icon of handicap racing, the Big Boat Series, would be splitting off the IRC fleets to let the sporty forties race against each other rather than heavier pole-on-the-shrouds boats like the King and Archambault 40’s?
It’s a brand new day, and the sportier, the better. With that in mind, we asked Brian Torresen of Torresen Marine about the turboed Melges 30 Peerless, that we featured last week after his Mackinac sportboat section victory.
It is one of the Lake Tahoe Melges 30’s. Bought it from a group of Tahoe guys that I think were scared shitless of it. The boat still had the original Melges 30 rudder on it. We sailed it a year like that and it was a disaster. 1st winter it was here we stuck a 7′ deep high aspect rudder on it and it finally became the machine I knew it could be.
The 30 and 32 are the identical hull, built off of the exact same molds. The original "30’s" were built using epoxy and had some kevlar, so they are holding up very well. The keels are also identical.
The rig is the same size as the 32’s. The 2 Tahoe 30’s were the prototypes to today’s 32. The good news for our turbo effort is that the prototype rigs were built heavier, we have a masthead genoa with a halyard lock that I am not sure if the class 32 rig could support. The boat couldn’t handle a taller rig. We’re sticking a dump in the main all the time as it is.
The big difference is the pole. It’s got a 6" diameter carbon sprit that is 11 1/2′ long, almost 2 1/2′ longer than the 32’s. The pole can be used at any length. We actually have 4 different length positions the pole is set at for various sails in the inventory. In fact, the photo from Grizzly of us with the Spinnaker Code 0 up actually has about 2 feet of pole still left in the boat. It’s big and black and the chicks dig it!
Chad Hough from North Sails Long Beach sails on the boat a lot and has been instrumental in helping develop our inventory. It’s the key to the whole program. We have a couple a 1A and 2A that are ridiculously huge, but just as important is the 6A and jib top that are fractional and tiny. We set out with a plan to optimize for distance races and being able to keep the jib in the bag as much as possible is key. These sport boats get over-powered so early It’s huge to have some small gear to be able to put up when the breeze goes forward and is firm.
Chad has to get paid to sail nowadays in order to keep food on the table for his young family, but he sails on the Peerless for fun. Chad and I grew up together in Michigan, but he says that this is the only boat he really has "fun" sailing. I also have to make a living around sailboats, but started dumping my own freight into this boat because it’s just sick fun to sail. I got burned out doing the same shit for ever and needed something that could scare the shit out of me. A 1650 sq ft kite in 22 knots of breeze will do the trick…..guaranteed.