sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : From Concept to Start Line: Winning the Rolex Sydney Hobart
From Concept to Start Line: Winning the Rolex Sydney Hobart


'Matt Allen is hoping his latest Ichi Ban will deliver an overall win in the Rolex Sydney Hobart'    © Andrea Francolini Photography    Click Here to view large photo

Past Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Commodore, Matt Allen, has spent a year carefully working out what it will take to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart, and his answer is his brand new Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban.

Designing and building the boat, all the decisions and questions and answers that it involved tells us a lot about Matt Allen - the true nature of a Rolex Sydney Hobart - and Australian offshore yachting.

'I worked out that about 70 percent of our racing is ocean racing and 30 percent round-the-buoys, and I wanted a boat that could do both,' Allen says.

'We wanted a boat big enough to get away from the TP52s, so that even if you were on the wrong side of the first shift, you should be able to dictate your own race. We saw that people who built 55 footers had to get the first shift right or they were slowed down.

Matt and Lisa Allen at the launch of Ichi Ban -  Andrea Francolini   Click Here to view large photo
'Also, the ability to shift sails and be manageable both from a crew and cost point of view eliminates bigger sails and canting keels, which all add expense, so 60 feet looked about right,' Allen says.

'We also found that with a 60 footer, you generally get to Hobart around lunchtime, and that’s a good time to arrive, when there is plenty of sea breeze in the Derwent River. The 52s often get there very late at night or early morning, when the wind can be fluky or shut down, and the 70s can be on the other side of that as well.'

Allen says there is a line honours category for boats under 18.5 metres – and Ichi Ban came in at 18.499 metres.

To do both kinds of racing meant an all-round boat, good to windward and downwind. 'No particular strengths or weaknesses,' says Allen. 'She has a powerful hull and plenty of sail area so should be good in all conditions.

'Obviously a VO70 is very fast reaching, and if we get a hard reach to Hobart, they will be a long way ahead of us, but on the east coast of Australia you are generally going up-wind or downwind. The odd bit of reaching doesn’t last that long.'

Ichi Ban’s owner says they did a lot of analysis of both wind direction and speed and found that mostly the winds are lighter in the race than generally thought, too.

So now Allen had a very detailed, highly researched concept in his head. Finding a designer to give the concept substance, he says, was the hardest part of the whole project.

'I spoke to a lot of designers, but many weren’t confident about doing a boat that size. You want a designer you can talk to and is on the same wavelength.'

Ichi Ban heads for the finish - SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on Tuesday - CYCA Trophy -  Crosbie Lorimer   Click Here to view large photo
South African designer Shaun Carkeek had been doing a lot of work on the idea of an IRC 55 foot boat without the box restrictions of a TP52 or a Volvo70. 'He’d already done a lot of conceptual thought on the smaller boat. I felt he was the one to pick.'

Allen also decided to go for hydraulic rather than traditional man-powered winches, but again only after a full study of the pros and cons. With hydraulics, you have to run a bigger, heavier motor most of the time - which means a rating penalty - and there is extra weight and complexity of the hydraulics themselves.

However, it means more crew on the rail instead of mid-ships grinding winches, and the crew can concentrate on steering and trimming the boat. It also means that on a long downwind ride, trimming the spinnaker over every wave, hydraulics don’t get tired. Men do.

'We thought this might be one of those things where what might be good for ocean racing might not be good for round-the-buoys, but the more we looked into it we saw that it suited both,' Allen says.

The Ichi Ban saga then moved to Dubai, and Premier Composite Technologies. While they were building her, Allen scoured the world for the best gear he could find. Winches in Italy, mast and rigging in New Zealand, sails mostly made in America.

'You’ve got to pick the right sail maker and designers, and we thought North Sails were the best team for what we wanted,' Allen reckons.

North’s used the same computer system as Southern Spars, who were building Ichi Ban’s mast in Auckland. There was constant interplay between mast and sail designers through the whole process.

Eventually, when the boat from North Africa, sails from North America and rig from New Zealand all came together in Sydney, all that meticulous planning and design paid off.

'They fitted perfectly,' Allen declares. 'The sails’ luff curves were right, the sails fitted; there was no need to send them back to the loft for adjustment.

'Ten years ago you could get close, but never that precise, and you had to work out whether to change the sail to fit the mast or change the mast to fit the sail. That all takes time.'

And with a late November launch and a Boxing Day start, time was in short supply.

Ichi Ban secures the line honours win - CYCA Trophy - Passage Series 2013 -  Andrea Francolini   Click Here to view large photo
Over the year, Allen had been working with Gordon Maguire, the former sailing master of Stephen Ainsworth’s hugely successful but now retired Loki, to meld a crew from former Loki and Ichi Ban alumni.

'It was a bit like my old merchant banking days,' Allen quips, 'mergers and acquisitions'.

'We tried to build a crew that is readily available to sail in Sydney. In recent years, with my old VO70, we had been bringing in people from all over the world for races. We will still do a bit of that; it is good to have the Volvo guys around.

'You don’t need everyone to live in Sydney though. You know when the race starts and roughly when it finishes, so we can bring them in because airfares are cheap these days.

'Anthony Merrington is an Aussie living in New Zealand. The airfare is only a couple of hundred dollars. We won’t bring him over for every race, but you can do that for all the major races.'

Still, even with a crew oozing thousands of racing miles, getting the new boat fully up to speed in a short time is a huge task.

'We can get to 98.5 percent pretty quickly,' Allen says, 'but that final 1.5 percent takes time. You might get to 100 percent sometimes, but then you won’t change gear accurately enough or quickly enough to keep it 100 percent. That is not so important in an ocean race.

'If we were going to do a full-on windward/leeward regatta, you’d think we were not quite ready, but in an ocean race I think we are fine.'

The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia, the Australia Network throughout the Asia Pacific Region and webcast live to a global audience on Yahoo!7 from 12.30pm until 200pm on Boxing Day.

Ichi Ban rounds the ’Kentucky Fried’ mark - SOLAS Big Boat Challenge on Tuesday - CYCA Trophy -  Crosbie Lorimer   Click Here to view large photo


by Jim Gale

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=117793

3:03 AM Sun 22 Dec 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

Related News Stories:

22 Dec 2013  Video Coverage of last years Sydney to Hobart race
22 Dec 2013  Sailing legend prepares for thrill of Rolex Sydney Hobart chase
22 Dec 2013  Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Record donation to worthy competitor
22 Dec 2013  Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - Taylor’s quest for the Cup
21 Dec 2013  Rolex Sydney to Hobart - Wild Oats XI receives clean bill of health
20 Dec 2013  Rolex Sydney to Hobart - Long range weather forecast favours big boats
20 Dec 2013  Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Zefiro seeks full blooded southerly
19 Dec 2013  Rolex Sydney to Hobart - Patrice performs like a rocket ship
18 Dec 2013  Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Downwind drag race for Wild Oats XI
18 Dec 2013  Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - The Dark Horse is coming
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World





Big Boat Series - It's not the size, it's the length by Erik Simonson, Pressure-Drop.US,




























470 Men and Women Worlds - Champs take over leaderboard by 470 International Association Class,


































AWT Hatteras Wave Jam action commences on day 3
Rolex Big Boat Series: Images from San Francisco - Final Day
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Watch medal races live here
Hobie 16 Open North American Championships and Pan Am Games qualifier
ISAF Sailing World Championship - Videos from Santander
ISAF Sailing Worlds: Buckingham into Medal Race, 470's stay consistent
470 Men and Women Worlds - Vadlau and Ogar into pole position
2014 Chicago Match Cup - Defending champion on top
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Strong competition for RS:X fleets
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Big breeze on day 6 + Video
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Buckingham into Laser Medal Race
U.S. Multihull Championship - Hobie Alter Trophy to be decided
ISAF Sailing Worlds - The kind of form most sailors only dream about
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - Quantum Racing ahead of target
ISAF Worlds Santander - 19 Rio 2016 Laser Radial spots awarded
Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds - 21 broadcasters to take live coverage
Rolex Swan Cup - Looking forward to the next 30 years
America’s Cup: The Future is foiling – AC45s to be modified
Volvo Ocean Race: Win a stopover trip by designing an ECsix T-Shirt
Red Bull 49erFX: On the eve of the Worlds in Santander
America's Cup: Ben Ainslie Racing launches partnership with Yamaha   
2014 Chicago Match Cup - Starts tomorrow   
Rio 2016 Daylight the issue for Olympic sailing regatta   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - USA 470's and Lasers battle at top   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Santander - Day 5 video highlights   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Santander images by Jesús Renedo   
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - No action on day 2   
470 Men and Women Worlds - Game on for Olympic Qualification   
ISAF Sailing World Championships: Finns off to slow start in Santander   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Seesaw Day 5 in Santander + Video   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - 470 sailors shine in Santander   
Royal Cup Marina Ibiza - Kiwi Ray Davies returns to TP52 fleet   
Starboard Hatteras Wave Jam - No windsurfing action on day 1   
A complete recap of the most successful Melges 20 World Championship   
Rolex Big Boat Series - Prizegiving images by Chuck Lantz   
ISAF Santander - Upwards path for Austrian women's 470 crew + video   
18ft skiffs: Carnage compilation from the glory days of the Grand Prix   
ISAF Worlds: Video from the British Sailing Team   
Bart's Bash expected to set new records this weekend   
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - Marcilio Browne wins Super Session   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT