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McConaghy 38 (MC38) is cause for excitement

by John Curnow on 3 Nov 2010
McConaghy 38 McConaghy Yachts
It won’t be long before we see the anticipated arrival of the exciting McConaghy 38 due to hit the water in Sydney in January 2011. Setting new benchmarks in one design yacht racing this boat has been meticulously designed and engineered and crafted by world renowned boat builders, McConaghy Boats.

‘This boat is really something special. The attention to detail and craft that has gone into it will set new levels in boat construction and more importantly, on water performance’, said Rob Brown OAM, General Manager of McConaghy One P/L.

‘It’s a true One Design yacht, where by all equipment is factory supplied and is measured under the class rules. The only differences between boats on the water will be down to whether it has clear carbon topsides and what brand of sails the owner chooses!'

From the drawing board of Harry Dunning, renowned America's Cup Yacht designer comes a fast, easily driven hull form; with a moderately high righting moment which will utilize the power from the generous sail plan. Form has really followed function in this boat, utilizing all latest techniques in design and construction.

Rob is famous for holding three 18 foot Skiff World Championships, being part of the Australia II in 1983 when they won the America’s Cup, has countless Etchells championships to his credit and has a wealth of one design and offshore racing experience. Before joining McConaghy Boats he was an integral part of the successful Australian Sailing Team at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where he worked as Olympic Program Manager.

Rob received his Order of Australia Medal in 1984, in recognition of his ‘outstanding contribution to sport’.

Quite simply if McConaghy Boats have their way, the MC38 will impact the one design sector of our sport in a similar fashion as the Mach 2 foiler moth.

Picture this. The boat is built from resin infused Carbon, with core cell foam core, the standard finish is white, with the cockpit sides and transom in a clear coat carbon finish on every boat. Or you can choose to have clear-coat carbon topsides for the ultimate racing machine look.

Both the rudder and keel are prepreg carbon, autoclaved in CNC machined steel moulds with lead bulb. The Hi Modulus carbon fibre rig features an innovative and streamlined design. It comes standard with two sets of carbon fibre aerofoil spreaders and PBO standing rigging. The twin backstay runner system is also PBO. All state of the art and focused on maximising performance.

This is an exciting project for McConaghy Boats who have been renowned for producing the world’s fastest custom built racing yachts. The McConaghy 38 will be one of a number of production builds that they have undertaken over the last five years from their China facility at Zhuhai, about 1.5 hours from Hong Kong. They have invested in the design, engineering, tooling and of course the construction of this yacht, incorporating all the skills featured in their custom builds.

This is an out an out one design, day race boat, no furniture or unnecessary equipment onboard.

The rig is around the same size as the Farr40, with a powerful fathead/square top mainsail which can be easily reefed. Two headsails and two masthead asymmetric kites round out the strictly controlled sail wardrobe.

Sailed by a crew of seven-eight people the boat weighs in at 4100kg (including the crew). It is important to note at this point that it has a 2.8m draft with a 1600kg bulb, so the boat is quite stiff. There is also a really big bowsprit to handle the 170m2 spinnaker, which must remind Rob a bit of his 18-footer days.

‘The spinnaker size is generous, which will make the boat get up and go and I think that is what the market is asking for - a lot more speed downwind but the boat will still be very controllable and suit a range of sailing skill.

'This new class will be a very significant one-design class, as it is much more exciting than other boats out there presently. It will beat larger boats upwind and you are significantly quicker downwind.'

The full specifications are:
· LOA 11.35m
· LWL 10.55m
· Beam 3.5m
· Draft 2.8m
· Displacement 4100kgs (Including Crew Weight)
· Bulb 1,600kg
· IM 15.9m
· Deck Area 31.7m2

The MC38 has been designed with ease of transportation in mind. Having a boat that is trailable or able to be shipped on a flat rack or open top container, saves a lot of effort and expense in delivering boats to regattas by sea.
A retractable keel is part of the package. In itself that’s not exactly new, but the foil can come straight up the companionway hatch, thereby lowering the overall transport height but importantly the centre of gravity, if trailing. It is road width legal in most countries to be transported horizontally.

That’s still not completely novel. True, but when you consider that the hull is also strong enough to be tilted
and rested on its topsides and can subsequently fit into an open top container, well that certainly opens up a world of possibilities and contains a lot of cost.

‘We don’t adjust the keel while it is in the water. Basically when the boat is put together, it is lowered onto the keel and positioned through a very innovative wedge and fastening system. The companionway steps are removed to get the keel up through the hatch.

'After sailing, the boat is easily craned out by way of a centre lift point and it is placed either on its storage cradle or it can be lowered onto a trailer frame with keel retracted through the companionway.

'The mast is also supplied as a two piece socketed section, which is easily worked for transport or storage.

‘We think this is going to be a really big factor for sailing around Europe or America and say in Australia, where you would road transport the boat for example to do the Audi East Coast Championship regattas at Geelong, Sydney and Hamilton Island for example. Or if you were taking your boat down to Key West, Florida, it will make transporting it much easier and a lot less expensive.'

The transportability of the boat is a clear indication of the famous McConaghy dedication to innovation, which sees them make extremely light, yet ultra-strong, carbon fibre laminated structures and components, for not only the marine business but also the rail, automotive, aeronautical, architectural, medical and industrial sectors.

'The boat is specified with Tack Tic wireless electronic system; there are no wires in there so it is all very simple. A snappy outfit could have the boat out of the water, on the trailer or truck and then watch it go down the road, all within an hour and a half of hauling out.

'With a boat designed very much to create exciting and cost effective one design racing, the main thing you have to do after producing such a marvel is to ensure it is all strictly controlled. To that end the hull, rig, sails and even the electronics are measured equipment, in order to take away the arms race aspect by not allowing different equipment or alterations to the hull, foils or other equipment. There will be a strict control on sail usage and replacement in sanctioned McConaghy 38 One Design events. This conformity has proven to be one of the hottest aspects of sailing around the globe.

‘We are offering sails with the boat, which will be supplied by North Sails, 3-DL or 3-Di but owners may choose any sailmaker to supply their boat. The best possible sail inventory can be supplied with the boat when you get it and yet it remains a cost-effective price - a reefable flat head mainsail, two jibs, and two mast head asymmetrical spinnakers’ said Rob.

The One Design rules are not published just yet and Class Association documentation and structure is work in progress.

‘We believe the success of this boat will be in the strength of the Association and accordingly, it is the owners that will have significant input and be the holders of the Class. Through the sales of the boat, we will be able to fund the Class Association and employ a professional Class Manager. The emphasis is to keeping the boat as consistent and one design as possible. That way you will simply show up at a regatta to go sailing and avoid a lot of the monitoring, measuring and scrutinising that is generally attached to this sort of thing’ Rob elucidated for us.

So how much is the McConaghy 38? The price structure is just as simple as the One Design rules McConaghy Boats will have in place. Ex the factory in China, the complete yacht, without the sails and instruments is USD$226,000. Add to that USD$56,000 for a full set of the latest 3Di North Sails, if you wish. ‘When you look at what you get and the quality of the boat, well, we think this is going to be a very, very special boat and certainly cause for much excitement’ said Rob.

'The only component you will have to buy in your country of registration is the motor, as each country has different pollution control laws. The new owner will purchase the 20hp Yamaha at home and thereby, also have no issues with servicing or warranty. The motor is deployed through an innovative hatch system which is easily operated and once again keeping the overall weight down with no prop drag whilst sailing.

'This is going to be very cost effective and people are going to have a lot of fun sailing the MC38' said Rob.

There have already been sales of the boat in North America and Australia. Long time McConaghy purchaser, Neville Crichton is one, as is Jamie Neill of The Cone of Silence fame. The first and second boats are going to Sydney where they will be showcased during the Sydney summer season. Then it is intended the next batch will go to America and Europe. There is a lot of interest in the boat also in Japan and Germany, UK, Italy and France.

Two people really keen to see it all go to plan will be McConaghy Boats softly spoken co-owners, Jono Morris and Mark Evans. Their investment, not only in terms of money but ideas and time, is significant and certainly shows what the two are doing with one of the industry’s most iconic names.

The McConaghy 38 will be yet another marvellous product to come out of the 7500m2 McConaghy factories in Zhuhai, China. Jono started at McConaghy Boats in 1993 and Mark in 1995, when it was just the 1500m2 facility in the Northern Sydney suburb of Mona Vale. Together they have ensured that the business continued to thrive on innovation and feed their passion for producing high performance yachts.

‘In short this project is exciting, special and innovative – just what we like at McConaghy Boats' concluded Jono.

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