Please select your home edition
upffront 728x90

Second GTS43 Walawala II gets ready for Kings Cup

by Crosbie Lorimer on 4 Dec 2011
Steve Manning at the wheel of his new GTS43, Walawala II with fellow crew member Peter toasting the new boat. Steve Manning
Like all the top regatta's around the world, the Phuket King's Cup is a deadline for the delivery of new boats.Barely three weeks after delivery of his new GTS43 Walawala II (the second boat of this new Jason Ker designed production yacht from Sydney Yachts), Steve Manning is preparing to give his new yacht its first hit-out at the 25th anniversary running of the Phuklet King’s Cup this week.

UK born Manning, who has lived in Asia for the last twenty years, owned a Beneteau First 44.7 of the same name with which he enjoyed some success in both inshore and offshore racing, with a first in class in the China Sea Race and a number of wins in club racing from his Hong Kong base.

But the introduction of the new generation IRC optimised boats was making podium finishes ever harder. After the loss of that boat in the storm at the end of Phuket King;s Cup 2010 he decided that the mantra, 'if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em', had merit and Manning went on the hunt for a new boat.

'Like all new owners I did an extensive search before landing on the GTS43. I’d generated software models based on typical SE Asian conditions, venues and race formats and put each boat through this analysis. There were also some fundamental performance needs such as in light airs' he said this week.

'I was close to buying proven 40 footers new and second hand, but at heart felt most design concepts of winning boats would give me a pretty much also ran, with little new wow factor.

The GTS43 came on the scene almost at the last minute, and it immediately grabbed my attention. I think there’s always something to be said for style and looks regardless of anything else, and the GTS has oodles of this' he added.

Having decided that this was a line well worth pursuing, it was then a case of speaking to the designer himself,

'I basically then bought into Jason Ker’s view on being able to have a fast IRC racer, but be able to race on a competitive TCC. We met during his trip through Asia marketing the Ker 40, so I’d already discussed the format at length' said Manning.

The nature of sailing was clearly going to be very different from Steve Manning’s Beneteau experiences,

'Moving to a higher power vs drag formula, which will really get up and go off the wind might be a risky bet, but it’s going to be enjoyable racing against a typical displacement type boat.'

Given that the GTS43 is described as a racer cruiser, the spacious interior of the yacht was also of appeal to the Manning family who are clearly from lofty stock,

'My family usually participates in deliveries around the region, and once I saw the internal volume and layout it was a shoe horn in. Darren Williams of Sydney Yachts will also remember me asking him to provide details of the headroom in the cabin.

With a family of 6'2' people it was imperative to have something that wouldn’t knock you out putting on the wet weather gear mid ocean. That said we’ve kept to very basic internal specifications for simplicity which is another factor on the list.'

Dropping a few feet in boat length with the new purchase does not seem to phase Manning unduly, who sees that a lesser waterline length will be more than compensated for in performance,

'A 40 foot boat was just on the edge size-wise. Having had a 45’ boat I didn’t want to trade down significantly. Ultimately the volume of the GTS is massive compared to the old boat, and the loss of 2’ is negligible.

The other important factor is a good balance between high performance against being able to make it perform with an average club racing crew. The symmetric spinnaker pole had to go, not just for crew management, but also for apparent sailing in light airs.'

Deck simplicity and a hull form and fin that will allow slightly more generosity to stay in the groove are all important' adds Manning.

The tight schedule to get the boat completed, shipped to Singapore by mid November and sailed to the Phuket King's Cup regatta venue on Phuket Island was going to require some very slick work from Sydney Yachts. Judging by Manning’s accolades, the Sydney Yachts team has delivered on all fronts, and in a very collaborative fashion,

'The experience with Darren Williams and Jason Rowed at Sydney Yachts has been nothing less than superb. Also the pedigree of Mark’s team at Innovation Composites was a strong pull factor for the GTS. In talking personally with a number of the individuals who built the boat, it is clear the depth of their experience and the benefits of working with real craftsmen was obvious too.

I still point to the deck protectors under the spinnaker turning blocks. When I asked for some protection in that area of the deck I thought of simple pads, however they’ve done a beautiful job with molded carbon pads.

We made a number of changes, but in every case I could confidently let the team go away and design something that was fit for purpose, and also to push back if they didn’t believe in certain requests. This is one of the benefits of working in a semi custom environment.

Time was extremely tight getting the boat up to Langkawi positioned ready for Phuket this week. I liken our participation in the Phuket King’s Cup as just pulling off the cellophane seat covers on the way out of the dealers shop on the way to the start line.

The completion, shipping and commissioning in Singapore went 100% according to plan, possibly one of the fastest turn-arounds they’ve seen in Raffles' added Manning with enthusiasm.

Manning’s background in sailing goes back to club dinghy racing in the Irish Sea as a youngster, followed by yacht racing in the Solent and RORC races in later teenager years. His working life had him travelling extensively, so windsurfing was the next best option before he settled in SE Asia, where he spent a number of years as a tactician with Singapore based boats, whilst also racing a Laser.

Eventually Manning decided it was time to buy his own yacht,

'Walawala 1 was my first big boat in 2005, and was based in Hong Kong. We extensively campaigned around the circuit including the King’s Cup a number of times, and all China Sea races during this period.'

Manning is keen to get some good results from the Phuket King's Cup regatta with Walawala II, but is modest about his expectations,

'We’ve got a strong team together, but to be completely realistic, we have a short learning curve against seasoned and well-honed outfits such as Blondie, Ichiban, Kukerchu and Katsu.'

Of his plans for the future with the new boat Manning describes a busy schedule,

'the plan is to work around the SE Asia circuit this season, including the Straits and the Thailand events through to June. We’ll look at some of the Hong Kong events possibly later in the year, or early 2012.'

Darren Williams' team back in Sydney will clearly be keen to follow Walawala II’s fortunes in the King’s Cup, with the boat also having more connections with Australia than simply its country of origin, as Manning explains.

'Walawala is an Aboriginal Sun Goddess, so it’s quite apt for a Sydney birth.'

Racing gets underway in the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta tomorrow (Monday) and concludes on Saturday 10th December.

More at

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignZhik Yachting 660x82Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82

Related Articles

Gladwell's Line -The America's Cup settlement deal
The 'News' today that Emirates Team New Zealand has won their case before the Arbitration Panel is not news The 'News' today that Emirates Team New Zealand has won their case before the America's Cup Arbitration Panel is not new - Sail-World reported the same story in the first and second weeks of September. The Hearing on the amount of compensation to be paid is yet to be held. So far we have been unable to discover a date if indeed one has been set. Maybe next year?
Posted on 11 Oct
Debriefing the 2016 J/70 Worlds with Winning Skipper Joel Ronning
I talked with Joel Ronning after the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds to learn about his team’s win at this high-level regatta. Since its inception in 2012, the J/70 has become the most popular One Design boat in decades, with 1,100+ boats sailing in myriad countries. Some 68 boats from 15 countries arrived on San Francisco Bay last week to determine bragging rights at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds. I caught up with Joel Ronning to learn more about the Catapult team’s road to becoming the 2016 J/70 World Champions.
Posted on 5 Oct
Rio 2016 - America's Cup champ says Paralympic racing is closest ever
Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar keelboat class at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The regatta is being held in Guanabara Bay on three of the courses used for the Olympic Sailing Regatta in August.
Posted on 13 Sep
Debriefing the Rio 2016 Olympics with Team USA’s Helena Scutt
I talked with Team USA’s Helena Scutt to hear about her Olympic experience, and to learn more about her post-Rio plans. The 49erFX was introduced to Olympic circles when it replaced the Women’s Match Racing event following the 2012 Games. Not surprisingly, it drew high-performance sailors for the Rio 2016 Olympics, including Team USA’s Paris Henken and Helena Scutt. While Henken and Scutt were Olympic first-timers, they put on a strong show. I caught up with Scutt to hear more about her Olympic experience.
Posted on 8 Sep
A Q&A with Peter Bresnan ONE Palma’s founder and director
Sail-World interviewed ONE Palma’s founder Peter Bresnan to learn about the company’s partnership with McConaghy Boats For the past eight years, ONE Palma (formerly OneSails Spain) has been building a strong name, first as a sailmaker and later with refit work. Recently, ONE Palma and McConaghy Boats-legendary boatbuilders who have crafted some of the planet’s fastest sailboats-entered a business partnership. I caught up with Peter Bresnan, ONE Palma’s founder and director, to learn more about this new direction.
Posted on 2 Sep
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ train late on the Waitemata Harbour
Emirates Team NZ were out for a training session that ran into the early Thursday evening. Emirates Team NZ were out for a training session that ran into the early Thursday evening. The team were sailing their recently launched AC45 Surrogate test boat which features an articulated rudder gantry - taking the AC45 close to the geometry of the AC50 to be used in the 2017 America's Cup.
Posted on 1 Sep
Dateline Rio - Sailing Olympics review - as good as it gets?
The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The Rio Sailing Olympics was widely judged to have been the best of recent times. The weather was better than Weymouth and Qingdao, the courses more varied, but from a working media perspective, it was the people running the Rio regatta who really made the difference.
Posted on 26 Aug
Rio 2016 - Plain speaking by triple-medalist on Olympic sailing moves
Triple Olympic medalist, Santiago Lange has been on the sharp end of changes made to Olympic classes and formats Santiago Lange, a six-time Olympian and Bronze medallist in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, won his third medal – Gold sailing in the Nacra 17 class. With that length of experience at an Olympic level, having sailed the Laser, Tornado and now Nacra 17 classes his comments on the future shape of the Olympic regatta was one of the highlights of the Medallists Media Conferences.
Posted on 25 Aug
An Q&A with Steve and Heidi Benjamin about the NYYC’s 2016 Queen’s Cup
Sail-World caught up with Steve and Heidi Benjamin to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup. When it comes to U.S. Grand Prix sailing, it’s hard not to encounter the names of Steve and Heidi Benjamin. The two highly polished sailors have been successfully campaigning their series of yachts, named SPOOKIE, for years, starting first with a Carkeek 40 and progressing to their TP52. I caught up with Steve and Heidi to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup
Posted on 19 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images of the penultimate race in the Finns - Scott wins
Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn, in what potentially could have been Giles Scott's (GBR) Gold medal winning race. In the end, the current world champion won in style.
Posted on 15 Aug