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Vaikobi 2024 LEADERBOARD

Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – Left field, handshakes and buckets Pt. II

by John Curnow on 23 Dec 2016
The DSS foils look amazing and are quite well aft compared with other vessels that carry the system - CQS Media Launch Beth Morley - Sport Sailing Photography http://www.sportsailingphotography.com
The 100-foot experiment? Four supermaxis are contesting the J.H. Illingworth Trophy for Line Honours in this year’s 628 nautical mile dash from Sydney to Hobart. The outright favourite is once again the Oatley family’s Wild Oats XI. WOXI has taken line honours seven times and Mark Richards and his seasoned crew is looking for another win after a split mainsail caused them to abandon the race during the vigorous, first night, southerly buster last year.

Two boats with known potential are Anthony Bell’s Perpetual Loyal, the former Speedboat, and then after that, Rambler 100. Bell and the crew won in 2011 on Investec Loyal, which was Maximus originally (2005), and subsequently went on to become Ragamuffin 100. That very boat is now the Hong Kong entry, Scallywag, owned by Seng Huang Lee. She was the third boat into Hobart in 2014 and second in 2015, just behind the great Comanche.



Now the most unknown of the four is also the phoenix of the fleet. Just like WOXI and Maximus, the 90-footer that was until recently known as Nicorette, has undergone some changes, modifications, additions and alterations. Only thing is, hers are far, far more radical – just look at the pictures of the new CQS, as she is now called.

The boat was the winner (Line Honours) of the 2004 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. She is now extended to 100 foot, and will be campaigned by Ludde Ingvall and his billionaire cousin, Sir Michael Hintze. She has a host of profound features that could, in theory, blow the race wide open, or just blow up.



We talked at length to the dual Hobart winner, Ludde Ingvall, and following is the second of this three-part series. In Part I, Ingvall explained how he and his cousin, Sir Michael Hintze, began the campaign that will see the radical 100-footer CQS on the start line at 1300hrs on Boxing Day.

Specifically, Ingvall detailed how they came up with the key elements of the rebuilt boat; the DSS system, the Dreadnought bow, the wings to reduce the mast compression forces, and the stern cockpit extension for sheeting angles and crew weight.

Now the Swedish born Australian sailor continues. “Naval Architect, Brett Bakewell-White, and I met with New Zealand America’s Cup winning skipper, Chris Dickson. He would have to be one of the ultimate technocrats in yachting, and we explained the project. Dickson said exactly what we had hoped for, ‘Ludde I have to be on this boat!”



“Chris is focusing purely on what things are needed to make sure the boat performs the way it should. That’s tweaking and so forth on the boat, and also the foils and related systems.”

“We also have Chris Main, who is an extremely good sailor, and he’s focusing on the crew work. How the crew needs to operate, and how we set up the systems to furl and unfold these huge sails, because we have no spinnaker. There is not a single analysis showing the boat will ever have the wind aft of the beam. It might be at 70, but probably never aft of 75 degrees.”

“That means we have only five sails on the bow, and now all but the smallest one can be furled, so we can open and close any slots. With 17.5 metres from the mast to the end of the bowsprit, we can set those five different sails set up, pretty much equal distances from the mast to the bow. It means we choose to go with number one, and three or five, and you can go number two and four. Because most of them are on furlers, we can change gears rather quickly”, explained Ingvall.



“However, as Rodney Keenan from Evolution Sails New Zealand, who is our sail master and sail maker reminds us, the reality is we are a less than a week from the start of the Hobart race, and only now are we finding out what sail combination works and at what angle, let alone how to make her really fly!”

“We already know she does some pretty cool stuff, but now we have to make her fly for mile after mile. It is a little bit like powerboat development. You remember when we used to have good old-fashioned powerboats, and then someone came up with stepped hulls, and when air hit the under part of the hull, the powerboat took off, with decreased resistance.”

“We are feeling the same thing here. There is a moment where the foils are kicking in, and the boat starts lifting with less wetted surface area allowing the boat to accelerate. Right now we can’t tell you whether we can maintain that. We are already on our second foil design, and our learning curve is very steep.”



“We did the White Island Race without the DSS foil because I wasn’t prepared to break the shaft by catching a crab pot while we were close tacking along the East coast of New Zealand. Instead we sent the DSS foil to the factory to start the Mark II testing.”

“When using the foil, and as we get faster, we get more waves and generate even more lift. The bow and everything comes further out of the water and the boat sails more upright. Our optimal heel angle will be no more than 15 degrees, whereas Comanche probably heels at over 30 to get her massive hull out of the water.” (Editor’s note, Ken Read has said previously their optimum is 25+)

“So far the wings have not proven to be any issue for us. Not much happens when the wings hit the water. The first thing you have, of course, is that they generate stability. So you have the wing on the leeward side, and when it cuts into the water you can feel it is there. However, the way it is designed it is almost like an upside wing that serves us our purposes.”



“Every now and then, particularly without the DSS, they did punch the water or hit a wave, and we get some spray, but that is about it. Part of it is that if you heel over and they are touching, then that basically generates some lift. The big benefit of the wings is that they allow us to have a much lighter mast, as the wide base reduces the compression loads. Our rig is only 1000 kilograms, and I would think that the others are probably double.”

“This is all new territory, and in fact we will see on the long track to Hobart what really happens with the wings and DSS. There is, I understand, a flat rating penalty of 2% for DSS under IRC, but we think that is certainly worth it.”

“It’s really a trade-off between lift and drag. The lift it generates in the water will be well over ten times a similar size wing would do if it was in air. We have gone for a totally different configuration to anybody else, in that our wing looks like an aircraft’s wing to provide less drag, and there is a flap at the back allowing us to have variable lift.”



“We can also minimise drag, as we can push the whole the thing out half way, all the way out, or pull it in. Of course the shape changes such that we can put in out half way and we have half a wing, which is still functional. If we push it out all the way, then the last quarter of the wing would probably have about less than 30% of the drag of the complete wing being deployed because of its shape.”

“We are expecting that the wing will start giving us benefits (lift), rather than drag, from about eight knots of boat speed upwards. Importantly, I can tell you that we have not yet sailed the boat going less than eight knots!”

“Our biggest A1 is 738 square metres. It doesn’t need a lot of air for that thing to start moving, with the hull being so skinny and so long. As soon as we reach eight knots, the expectations are that the lift that the DSS gives us will be better than the drag that it causes”, explained Ingvall.

“If you want to fly like we are trying to, you need to be very weight conscious. Of course, if we built a brand-new boat with all we know today it would be significantly lighter, and the gains would be even greater, but we have got what we want, and we are learning as much we can.”



“We are quite open about it, and just seeing where it takes us. If we were to do another boat based on the data that we already know, it would be quite a different boat. Realistically, with all the radical features on this boat, which have not been proven yet, if we actually get to Hobart it will be a major accomplishment!”

Ingvall concludes this section by saying, “If nothing breaks I will be absolutely amazed. Sir Michael is going to sit at the back with me and have a gin and tonic, and then watch what happens.” To which we say, and so will we all!!!

There are plenty more interesting revelations, explanations and comments in part three, the final, of ‘Left field, handshakes and buckets’. They will be here on Sail-World for you to read before the Rolex Sydney Hobart sets off.



Current routing, which has to be viewed in light of the changes that can and do occur on the East coast of Australia, especially at this time of year, has the supermaxis at 1 day and 15 hours, which means they will have to work hard to be on record pace, which is 1:18 and some change. Note that this puts you at the Iron Pot at/near sunrise, which is not ideal for getting up the River Derwent, but certainly better than in the dark. The maxis are at 1:21, the TPs 2:4, displacement 40-Somethings at 2:23, older craft at 3:2 and small at 3:20. We’ll have more on all of this as the super all-important weather window first gets a frame, then panes of glass, well before any paint gets applied, let alone any internal dressings, as the next few days unfold.

Ultimately then if you are looking for smiles yourself, then do keep a weather eye here on Sail-World.com for all the latest intel on the great, inspiring, captivating and very historic, blue water classic… The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

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