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News Around the World 

Volvo veteran Stu Wilson is co-owner of this new Shaw 7m sportboat, which he describes as something ‘more for older blokes’ than the Shaw 6.5m his syndicate raced previously. With a four-man trapeze crew (five without the trapezes), a 125kg lifting board, 2.5m of racks and 111m2 of downwind sail area on a displacement of 310kg, ‘older blokes’ must mean something different in Kiwi

with a maximum righting moment of 32 tonne-metres at 25° of heel and an unrestricted number of ballast tanks.

The 2015 Imoca rule, in contrast, which applies to all of the new boats, removes the 10° rule but limits keel cant to a maximum of 38° each way, restricts RM to 25.5 tonne-metres, and also restricts the number of ballast tanks to two – which must also now be mounted along the centreline.

Without going into more detail, because a full comparative analysis of the two rules would deserve pages and pages, Pierre- François appreciates the fact that ‘the old’MC2can still carry more than two ballast tanks per side, helping to achieve the desired trim and thus the angle of attack of the boat’s foils. The new boats are much more limited in this respect. MC2can also remain competitive with the ballast tanks fully loaded to add righting moment when conditions are not favourable for using the foils (in very big seas, for example). The new Imoca 60s must also all use the class’s new one-design mast. Pierre-François adds: ‘The fact that we do not have the slightly heavier class-standard mast helps us to hit the dynamic RM that we want. But we do have to be careful when we use our bigger tanks, and we have to take care not to sail too heavy compared to our younger rivals.’

Adjusting the incidence angle of the foils while racing is prohib- ited… except by modifying the overall trim of the boat, as described above. However, for development purposes, the system on Maître Coq(and probably the new boats) does make it possible to modify the angle of attack by moving the shaft forwards and backwards and also by using the limited rotation available inside the trunk. Admittedly, only by a few degrees but the influence is considerable. There is no doubt that MC2will have to do a great deal of testing to judge all these adjustments properly, before the foil angles are locked in place for the duration of the regatta… which in this case lasts around the world!

The story of the new Imoca foils has barely begun. Patrice Carpentier


For the past 14 years a trio of accomplished offshore campaigners has enjoyed blasting about in local races in a 6.50m sportboat that began as a Rob Shaw design but was considerably modified when


it was turbo-charged into an outright hooligan. Stu Wilson, who is a Volvo Ocean Race veteran and currently works as boat captain on the 88ft Rambler, and brothers Richard and Tom Kiff, with wide experience in America’s Cup and Volvo campaigns between them, make up the partnership. Not a bad pedigree to pour into a pure adrenaline machine to play with in their spare time. ‘We got the 650 pretty cheaply in the first place and then went a bit crazy with a much bigger rig and more ballast. Rob Shaw wasn’t that happy about what we did to the boat, but we had a lot of fun with it,’ says Wilson.

‘Now we are all a bit older and, to be honest, it was becoming a bit of a handful, so we started bugging Rob to come up with some- thing easier to sail that would also fit the Aussie rule.’ This is a reference to a difference between the New Zealand and Australian sportboat definitions, primarily in relation to maximum beam. The New Zealand limit is 4.9m, while in Australia it is 3.5m. The three partners wanted something they could campaign on both sides of the Tasman and elsewhere.

By chance an Australian client had approached Shaw with a similar request for a 7m design. That project had progressed quite far until what Shaw discreetly refers to as a ‘dispute over ballast ratios’ saw it put on hold.

‘I think maybe he always had us in the back of his mind,’ says Wilson. ‘Anyway, when the Australian project fell through Rob approached us and asked if we would be interested in building it.’ One of the clinchers was that the oversized rig from their turbo 650 would fit the new 7m design perfectly. ‘That represented an $18,000 saving right there, so we were pretty happy about that,’ says Wilson. Sportboats established Rob Shaw’s reputation as a designer of note in New Zealand and elsewhere. He has since capitalised on that base with some very successful 9-12m offshore canting-keelers, which have proved to be giant killers in testing conditions. His 650 sportboat was the real launching pad, with about 35 built and campaigning in all sorts of far-flung parts of the world. The early versions were cedar and glass construction, followed by production boats built by Andaman Boatyard in Thailand and later a couple of custom builds in carbon and foam. ‘That design is 15 years old now,’ says Shaw, ‘although I don’t like to say that really, because a lot of people still think it is the latest thing.


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