Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 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 www.kingscup.com

Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearNorth Technology - Southern SparsBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

SKUD18 has been torn apart by a rampant Polish team at Para Worlds
Slowly clocking up results in top three all regatta, Polish team hit the competition hard with perfect double bullet day Slowly clocking up results in the top three all regatta, Gibes and Cichocki hit the competition hard with a perfect double bullet day to be the stand out performers in the class.
Posted today at 4:38 pm
Para Worlds - USA SKUD-18 Rio 2016 selection tightens up
Competitors at the 2016 Para World Sailing Championships experienced a light-air affair on Day 3 of racing Competitors at the 2016 Para World Sailing Championships (May 24-28) / Delta Lloyd Regatta experienced a light-air affair on Day 3 of racing, but regatta officials managed to conduct a full day of racing in Medemblik. The US Sailing Team Sperry continues to battle near the top of the fleet in the Sonar and 2.4mR classes, while the SKUD-18 Rio 2016 selection battle continues to heat up
Posted today at 6:48 am
British crews in the chase as Para Worlds reaches halfway stage
Defending champions John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas resumed the overall lead in the Sonar class Defending champions John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas resumed the overall lead in the Sonar class, with Helena Lucas advancing to fourth after a solid day in the 2.4mR fleet, while Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell held on to a top three spot in the overall SKUD standings in spite of a disappointing outing on the third day.
Posted on 26 May
Top leaderboards tighten up as discards came in to play at Para Worlds
Light winds kept the fleets ashore as postponements delayed racing across the three Paralympic classes, but when racing Light winds kept the fleets ashore as postponements delayed racing across the three Paralympic classes, but when racing began and the discards were applied small splinter groups seemed to pull away at the top of each fleet, with one team in particular even impressing some current world champions.
Posted on 26 May
British crews keep in contention amid tricky conditions at Para Worlds
The physical test of Tuesday’s windy first day turned into more of a cerebral one on Wednesday with shifty winds. The physical test of Tuesday’s windy first day turned into more of a cerebral one on Wednesday (25 May) with light and shifty winds across the Ijsselmeer providing an on-water snakes and ladders contest.
Posted on 25 May
Sailors use the conditions on offer to put in to action at Para Worlds
For day two Medemblik offered up a complete contrast from day one with very light wind that caused a shake-up in results With high winds on day one, on day two there were ups and downs, highs and lows with only a chosen few keeping consistency high at the top of their fleet in the light breeze on the Ijsselmeer. Whether you were a world champion, Paralympic medallist or Sailing World Cup winner it didn't seem to matter today, inconsistency was coming for you.
Posted on 25 May
Para Sailing Worlds – Brilliant start for two current world champions
With a top class 2.4 Norlin OD lineup there are a lot of contenders who are more than capable of landing a medal. With a top class 2.4 Norlin OD lineup there are a lot of contenders from around the globe who are more than capable of landing a medal, so a fast start out of the blocks will do wonders for the confidence in what could be a challenging week of changing weather conditions.
Posted on 24 May
Para Sailing Worlds– British defending champions off to perfect start
British Sailing Team Sonar trio mastered breezy conditions on the Ijsselmeer to take an early overall lead at regatta A strong northerly 15-22 knot breeze brought with it some cold conditions to challenge the three Paralympic classes, but Robertson, Stodel and Thomas enjoyed the physical Sonar racing, crossing the finish line first in both races, and with a substantial 49 second lead in the second.
Posted on 24 May
World Sailing appoints Massimo Dighe as Para World Sailing Manager
Dighe campaigned in the Sonar for London 2012, sailing alongside Antonio Squizzato and Paola Protopapa. The Italian will start work at World Sailing's Executive Office in early July and will be responsible for promoting and developing Para World Sailing with the objective of sailing being reinstated to the 2024 Paralympic Games.
Posted on 24 May
British sailors aim for successful last showdown at Para Sailing World
Robertson, Stodel and Thomas were crowned 2015 World Champions by a single point over the Australian crew in Melbourne The Sonar trio of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas claimed their third World Championship title at the 2015 edition in Melbourne, and Colchester’s Stodel says this year’s event provides some timely opportunities as they aim for a first Paralympic podium finish in Rio.
Posted on 23 May