Here in Auckland we get a lot of cool boats visiting and during the Volvo stop-over I was simply blown-away by how cool these machines are. So I started thinking about the minimum investment I could make to gain the same buzz of sailing fast, without the complication!
To produce this “fast sailing buzz” boat I figured I would need a top designer – all top boats have a top designer – so the obvious choice was Rob Shaw. Rob is one of those special people who simply knows how to create a boat that sails fast. Not only are Rob’s boats fast they are also well behaved and pretty. He loved the idea and the project started.
We are fortunate here in Auckland to have some very talented people and these people all know each other and have complete trust in each other’s abilities. Before I knew it Rob and I put together the “dream team”. Alex Vallings of C-Tech to do the rig, the North Sails one design team in Auckland (Andrew Wills and Derek Scott) and Gautier Sergent from the North Sails France and Craig Partridge of Partridge Yachts as the builder.
The scope of the project has always focused on creating a boat that is as simple as possible to achieve the fun and buzz of sailing fast. I am 58 years old so it had to be kind on the body and have nothing that would make it difficult to sail.
Quality is to be kept as paramount as this is a small boat so we could afford the very best in construction without compromise. The boat is built of carbon, foam and epoxy and is oven cured.
The boat is 4.0 meters (13 feet) long and has a gunwale beam of 2.0 meters (6ft 6). It has a large cockpit and wings to assist righting moment. The rig is a two piece stayless carbon mast. By going for a stayless rig we have reduced cost in both the rig and the hull. A two piece mast is easy to transport and store. There is a main only and it is 9.5 square meters (102 sq ft) and relatively low aspect with a large square top. This boat will suit anyone over 70 kilos (150 lbs) and will be totally cool to sail. We intend to develop an FX rig before we go into production and hope women will be attracted to the class.
We are building the prototype now and expect it to be in the water in mid-January. We have a list of sailors from Olympic champions to your average club sailor lined up to test sail the boat, plus of course our team. Once we are completely happy that we have eliminated any small bugs we will go into production with the first boats available for the northern summer. This boat has been extremely well thought out by a team of people who are top of their game. Boats will be built in New Zealand to the very highest standard. Check it out. – Fraser Guthrie.