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All hail the new Chief of the Village

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 20 Dec 2020 13:00 PST
The new CF 520 - first one finished April 2021 © Carkeek Design

Which village, you ask? Well that would be the one of the TeePees, and the very new CF 520 could well be the one adorned with the huge plumage. Now we won't have to wait too long to find out, either, because the first one will be out sailing next (Northern Hemisphere) Spring.

From Gen I to V, and then all the derivations under IRC, Pac52, and so on, the sweet spot seemed to be 52 feet, fixed keels, lighter and lighter displacement until we got into the sevens, 270m2 bags, max beam to transom with all of her 15 crew perched there under pre-social distancing rules, and the aft pedestal linked into the primaries. Giddy up, indeed!

So if that's who she is, then we need to find out a whole lot more about just exactly what she is. So the C stands for Carkeek Design, the F for Fibre Mechanics, the builders, and 520 for the magic size under many a rating system.

How did it all come about?

Shaun Carkeek explains, "I was approached by Sir Richard Matthews towards the end of 2019, when he was looking to build his new Oystercatcher XXXV (35). The project started out as a 45ft-48ft IRC racing yacht for a dual-purpose inshore/offshore race program, including the Rolex events in the UK, Caribbean and Mediterranean."

"We soon pushed the LOA to 50 feet to deliver a more comfortable offshore platform, and then finally ended at 52 feet, once we had discussed strategy, as well as Richard's coastal and offshore programme, I felt confident we could raise the bar to something special in the same way we crafted the three times One Ton Cup, Fast 40 Series Champion, and World Sailing Yacht of the Year, Rán VII, for Skype Co-Founder, Niklas Zennstrom."

Right oh. Then we are bang smack in the middle of the village, as it were. You have to go somewhere - so where is that? "The TP52s are fantastic machines, with an unrivalled track record around the globe, having won most of the major events under every major rule including IRC and ORCi. We certainly pegged used TP52 design as our benchmark", said Carkeek.

"However, my goal was to conceive a new generation 52, harnessing the best of the TP, whilst at the same time creating a more versatile and up to date platform for clients wanting a fast offshore experience in a dry boat. Applying a blank sheet of paper approach to it all, the CF 520 was born, and she's a more all-round optimised and engineered boat, offering blistering performance with water ballast and the capability to race with less crew (10 versus 15 offshore), Improved balance and control in both light airs and windy conditions with heaps more power and performance with amateur and pro teams alike."

"I wanted to design a boat that could be sailed by 10 offshore without giving up any performance on the coastal and 600 mile races. All the while being equally strong inshore against the TPs around the cans. This was achieved through a unique design methodology and process we use at Carkeek Design, which is a combination of cutting edge technology, design, craftsmanship, innovation and engineering. The CF 520 also features a state of the art water ballast system, and a unique aero/hydro package designed and engineered specifically for the CF 520. This boat is all about the details and every aspect working in harmony. It's a boat designed by sailors for sailors."

Got it. What does that look like, then?

"Each design we undertake presents a unique set of challenges and requirements. The new CF 520 is no different, and in fact, we decided to push the limits further. So to achieve this next level, we applied our knowledge and experience from the inshore (Fast 40, TP52, IRC AND ORC), and offshore (Volvo 70s) arenas, to create something new, unique and exciting, so as to satisfy a new breed of demanding owner."

Not only does the CF 520 look like a new era boat, she's a stylish, meticulously detailed and well thought out racing yacht, courtesy of her design and engineering. The team at Carkeek Design is made up of experts in the various areas of the design: namely - aero, hydro, interior and exterior design, control, sailing, mechanical and electrical systems, structural and technical engineering, graphics, and production. The composites engineering for the CF 520 was done by Waterfront, with whom they collaborated on the successful Fast 40, Rán VII (World Sailing Yacht of the Year), the NEO 57 and C 80.

Naturally, several tens of thousands of man-hours can vaporise into project of this nature as you delve into comparisons, alternate aspects and changes. Carkeek explained, "Our process is extremely detailed, and we deliver a turnkey package that involves many design iterations. Our proven, winning design process sees the various loops working seamlessly between all those areas you mentioned immediately above."

"The process starts with an understanding of our client's needs, budget, racing program, and expectations. Once the design space is defined, we develop baseline concepts, and then begin the optimisation process. Our system allows us to optimise all aspects in parallel, and in a unique integrated manner within the design space."

"We take care of every detail in the design and production process. Advanced modelling aids the client's discussion and also includes the builder, key suppliers, and sailing team. The high number of hours is driven by our involvement from the first conversation to the end of the build phase, and well into the sailing trials, tuning and testing."

Some of the key parameters for the CF 520 were that it could be pushed hard offshore, yet have the same pedigree as a SuperSeries 52 inshore, and importantly, also in light airs. The CF 520 is faster and more powerful versus a TP52, due to the unique combination of design parameters, and it also allows owners to sail shorthanded inshore or offshore, thanks to a state-of-the-art, high speed transfer ballast system designed in-house by Carkeek Design.

Just what parameters can prospective owners work inside?

The yacht has a new setup, and Hull #1 has twin rudders, however owners can opt for the single rudder design to optimise the craft for an inshore program. "I'm very pleased with our twin rudder setup as the go to all-round solution, for it offers many benefits over the single rudder boat, particularly when offshore", added Carkeek.

Hull #1 is also the base package, which includes twin rudders, water ballast, fixed keel with a newly designed and built mast section featuring a High/Ultra High Modulus rig from NZ Spars, and solid carbon (Carbo-Link) rigging. Careful attention to the details includes an exhaustive optimisation programme in terms of the aero/hydro aspects to maximise the performance versus rating for inshore, coastal, and offshore sailing. The interior and deck layout design reflects the yachts versatile, all-round ability.

"Owners have the ability to work closely with us to customise their boat, to match their particular requirements, including operating with or without water ballast. They can select deck gear, mast and nearly all parts can be customised, including the cockpit layout and interior, as long as it fits the primary structural GA", offered Carkeek.

"We can supply two pedestal and winch layouts, and if a client so chooses, we can design and supply a unique custom electric winch system and full electric or hybrid package. We supplied Rán VII with a full electric racing propulsion system, and clients are looking for green racing solutions these days, which we can certainly do."

Changing gears

"We designed in the ability to mode the CF 520 platform, depending on the event being sailed, and the required setup. The yacht is more adaptable due the systems we've built in, thereby allowing teams to match the boat to a wider range of conditions and venues. The base displacement is 6800kg. The sail area to displacement ratio is higher than the average IRC or TP52."

"The CF 520 is a lighter, stiffer, faster, higher stability platform than a TP52, with increased level of control, reliability and flexibility to mode, along with an emphasis on ergonomics, comfort and dryness offshore. Hull #1 is currently in the assembly/fit-out stage, and we're scheduled to launch at the end of April 2021."

"While pushing the performance and design, we've worked closely with Fibre Mechanics and our suppliers to deliver clients great overall value. The CF 520 is extremely attractively priced, with quality, service and support being key elements in our process", said Carkeek in closing.

Timing is everything

How close was it. Just another week and all would have been fine... Ages ago, when Victoria went into lockdown we basically said, just be mindful that your turn might come. How sad it was to see that all come to pass. Sad for owners, crews, suppliers, and so forth.

David Hislop, the Marketing & Communications Manager of the CYCA wrote to us after the cancellation of the Hobart and said, "Yes it was definitely a difficult decision but one that we are comfortable with and had to be made. (Not that it feels like that now)." Quite so...

Big guns don't fire - yet

After first losing Edmond du Rothschild, Sodebo also retired after damaging the starboard rudder, leaving IDEC Sports' Jules Verne record intact, for now. It's sad for Sodebo, as they were racing along smartly. A major shakeup is taking place in the way the Ultim class will be run, and the events we can look forward to, like Brest Atlantique, and a solo RTW event slated for 2023. Closer in and Transat Jacques Vabre and the Fastnet are in the mix. The new Banque Populaire XI is also due in Spring (Northern Hemisphere), so there is plenty to keep us entertained.

Form guide?

AC36, the ACWS Auckland - ETNZ finished the first joust on top, with American Magic in second place, then Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team and finally INEOS Team UK with no wins. The Prada Christmas Cup ran out of puff - literally. Overall, good fun racing with light air vulnerabilities on display, and low-rider mode no good for staying in the mix (like that's new intel). Plenty to keep one watching, me thinks...

There's still room! (Just)

Definitely getting tighter after SailGP's announcements that Saint Tropez and Cadiz will get September and October, but us Antipodeans can still hope for something before the April final in San Francisco.

Right oh - there is plenty of information on the group's sites for you to review when you can. Please avail yourself of it.

Now if your class or association is generating material, we can help you spread your word just by. Got this newsletter from a friend? Would you like your own copy next week? Just follow the instructions on our newsletter page. Whilst there, you can also register for other editions, like Powerboat-World.

Finally, many thanks for making Sail-World your go-to choice. We'll be here over the holidays to keep pumping out the news. Stay safe, and have the happiest time possible depending on your level of restrictions.

John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS

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