Rate Low - Go Fast: The story behind how an SS34 won the George Law Foundation Ocean Race
Back to the future – New generation S&S34 “Blondie” blitzes the fleet under her new code zero foresail.
How did Blondie, a standard S&S34 launched in 2007, spectacularly take an overall win in the George Law Foundation Ocean Race by more than nine minutes on corrected time?
Owner Simon Torvaldsen’s brief to sailmaker Will Hammond of Doyle Sails WA was to fill the performance gap in the S&S34's inventory. Torvaldsen found that the classic 1967 design yacht was very effective on the wind but, when fetching, the lighter yachts were out-sailing her.
Head of sail design for Doyle’s Australasia group Richard Bouzaid developed a high on the wind Code 0 and recommended that the size of the #1 be dropped from 150% to 135%. As the Code 0 becomes the boats third spinnaker, the net result is the boat now rates lower than its former configuration by 11.7 seconds an hour, but sails faster.
The George Law Foundation Race was a perfect race for Code 0 sails as the long leg from Fremantle to the north eastern end of Rottnest was a fetch and then the next long leg from the west end of Rotto’ to Garden Island was also just off the wind, providing perfect conditions for Blondie to show off her optimised wardrobe of Doyle sails.
The first five boats on corrected time overall were Blondie, General Lee, Bad Habits, Al Fresco and Optimus Prime, a great mix of small and large yachts.