In October, 2007, Australian sailor Stephen Ainsworth and his crew of fifteen were air-lifted via helicopter off the blustery coast of Sicily after Ainsworth's 60-foot yacht, Loki, lost its rudder during a gale-wracked edition of the 630-mile Middle Sea Race. A lot of sailors might've called it a career, but not Ainsworth.
“The best thing to do when you fall off a horse is get straight back on,” he said.
And so he did, within days commissioning a new 63-footer from the Reichel/Pugh design team, who'd drawn the previous Loki. Remarkably, just over a year later, the state-of-the-art carbon/Nomex yacht was completed at McConaghy Boats and then launched in mid-December, just in time to be the newest boat in the fleet for the 2008 Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race.
“She's beautiful,” said Ainsworth. “Now we just have to make sure she goes fast.”
Ainsworth's previous Loki was a conservative racer/cruiser, and his plan had been to carry on after a season in the Med and cruise the Caribbean. But the new Loki carries none of the amenities for lolling about the islands. “It's a race boat,” said Ainsworth. “No compromises.”
After the Hobart race, Ainsworth has an ambitious racing schedule lined up. “But maybe in 2010 I'll take her back to the Med,” he said, “and complete some unfinished business.”