We love the look of the big bad brand new Botin-designed 80′ Beaur Geste so we got some insight on the new project from the design office. Enjoy.
On June 6th 2012, the day after the Beau Geste 2009 suffered serious structural damage to the hull and deck during the Auckland to Noumea Race, we received a call from Gavin Brady. We had been working together successfully on the Vesper IRC52 programme and he asked us if we were interested in designing a new 80’ racer for Mr. Karl Kwok. It was a great honour for us to get this opportunity, as Mr. Kwok’s team and boats have been extremely successful during the last twenty years.
The goal for the new Beau Geste is to win the 2013 Sydney to Hobart Race, in both elapsed and corrected time. This is a huge ask for an 80’racer, sailing against very fast and proven 100’ maxis. As length is king for an upwind race, we concentrated our efforts on designing the most efficient 80’ for a downwind VMG/broad reaching race, in the hope that if the conditions are right, we may give our bigger competitors a surprise.
To come up with the initial concept Karl and Gavin gave us their order of priorities:
1 – The new boat needs to be very reliable. We have worked on the engineering with Pure, as usual, and as the boat is bigger than 24m we worked to the GL scantlings which are quite demanding. The boat’s structures are now CAT 0 compliant and very strong.
2 – The 2009 mast was immaculate and had to be re-used, so we had to work around a given RM.
3 – The boat has to be the quickest for its length…so forget about the rating!
So given that exciting design brief, we quickly decided to go for the lightest possible canting keel 80’ to reach the maximum possible stability that the 2009 rig could take. The draft was set to 5.5 m, the deepest possible to enter the marina in Auckland, and the bulb weight adjusted accordingly.
The maximum stability can be reached by a narrow hull with a heavy bulb or a wide hull with a light bulb. Usually going for a high hull form stability is very costly in terms of viscous and wave drag, but after many years studying the wide-light concepts we believe we have a very efficient hull that will start semi-planning earlier than the bigger and heavier 100’. Our new Class40 “Tales II” shares some of the same hull concepts and its proving to be extremely fast in the current TJV.
Gavin’s view, that we share, is that there’s a magic size in the maxi fleet where the loads can be still kept under control, and the sail sizes and weights manageable when the weather gets rough. This means they can keep pushing the boat 100% while the bigger maxis start backing off. In a short “sprint” like the Sydney Hobart or Fastnet these minutes gained or lost in a sail change can decide the race. The Volvo 70s have shown that they can be very competitive under IRC and going for 80’ seems to be a good formula for success. We will know very soon if these assumptions are correct.
The time frame available to make this boat a reality was very compressed, and thanks to Cookson Boats, Pure Engineering, Germanischer Lloyd, Cameron Ward (build manager), Southern Spars, Loren Poole (keel engineering), Kawerau Engineering (keel machining), Greg Waters (CCH Hydraulics) and North Sails NZ this was achieved on time and on target weight.
Finally, we wish to thank Mr. Karl Kwok for his enthusiasm and confidence.
Adolfo Carrau / Botin Partners Naval Architecture /