Direct from the drafting board of the duo that designed Emirates Team New Zealand's Audi Med Cup winning yacht comes the latest grand prix racer to join the New Zealand fleet.
The sixth in a series called ‘Georgia', the boat, which an almost identical sistership to the Emirates Transpac 52, will be faster and more versatile, capable of achieving speeds of up to 25 knots thanks to 350 square metres of sail area, a dynamic hull shape and lightweight engineering.
Owned by Georgia Racing, a company owned and directed by Auckland barrister Jim Farmer QC, it was launched at the Emirates Team New Zealand base on Thursday 8 October.
The Transpac 52 – or TP52 as the class is known – is an elite, mostly professional one design class raced throughout Europe.
“I had been thinking for the last few years that a TP52 was likely to be the next mid-sized boat to have,” explains owner Jim Farmer, who is a director of Emirates Team New Zealand, many of whose crew have sailed on Georgia Racing boats.
“They are a development class, a very good reaching boat as well as being fast upwind and downwind.”
Farmer says he discussed purchasing the ETNZ boat after its first year's racing, but instead decided to build a boat using the same hull mould, but customising it for IRC racing, which is popular in New Zealand and Australia, and adding more interior space.
“Because Marcelino Botin had designed the Emirates boat and is ETNZ's America's Cup designer and because of my own association with ETNZ, I was then able to put together this boat which achieved all the objectives of having a customised IRC boat but with the pedigree of a Transpac. The fact that, thanks to the Recession, Mick Cookson had no new boats under construction was also a great help and we were able to put together the project in a way that was cost effective for Georgia Racing and also enabled him to keep his best boat builders together.”
Internal ballast has been removed from the ETNZ design to accommodate a more comfortable interior, and a heavier bulb has been applied. The sail plan is slightly larger for a slightly lower overall displacement, and the deck and cabin top have been re-designed.
“I have always admired Marcelino's designs, especially the design work that he has done for ETNZ on its America's Cup boats. This design of the TP52 hull was very radical, by comparison with other current TP designs, and there were many who were saying that it would not be successful. The ETNZ results in this year's Med Cup, where they annihilated the competition and the best sailors and designers in the world, has proved otherwise.”
For summer 2010, Georgia which, contrary to popular trends, is fitted with a conventional keel, will challenge other IRC racers in the HSBC Premier Coastal Classic, Bay of Islands Sailing Week, the New Zealand IRC Championships in Wellington, and BMW Auckland Regatta, building up for the prestigious Hamilton Island Regatta, taking place in September 2010.
Georgia Racing's plans for the 2011 sailing season may include one or more of the famous Admiral's Cup event, should it be reinstated, the Round Australia event, the Transpacific marathon between San Francisco and Hawaii, and the Big Boat Series in San Francisco.
The boat will be sailed by the team that Jim has built up over many years of local racing, and which includes Ricky Royden and George Hendy (who project managed the building of the boat), as well as some up and coming younger sailors. Two very well known America's Cup sailors – who will have amateur status – will also race on the boat during the coming year.
“I think that it is a tribute to the boat that they are happy to sail with us on that basis,” says Farmer, who says he builds and races his boats to keep him from working 24/7, and to provide opportunities for young male and female sailors, as well older sailors who have missed out on international competition to race on a great boat.
– LOA – 15.85m.
– Beam – 4.5m
– Draft – 3.2m
– Displacement – 7.4 T
– Upwind sail area – 158 m2
– Downwind sail area – 350m2
– Max speed – 25Kn
– Designed by Botin and Carkeek
– Built by Cookson Boats
– Sails by North Sails
– Rig by New Zealand Rigging
– Zoe Hawkins