Scarlet Runner 2

Scarlet Runner 2

Je Vois. Je Vois. (I see. I see.)

When a big, new ocean racer is launched in Australia, everybody takes notice. When she wins IRC-1 in her first offshore outing, other people want one too. As John Curnow reports, Scarlet Runner is not a one-off – if you want one you can have one.

Just like Miss Holly on Romper Room holding up her Magic Mirror, what you can see-see here is the brand
new CC52, Scarlet Runner 2.

The CC stands for Composites Constructions and the boat's lineage stems from some of the magnificent Reichel-Pugh designs and the TP52s like Artemis. It is this rich amalgam that has provided data for both her sails and configuration – more on these items a little later.

Pourquoi? (Why?)

Scarlet Runner's owner, Rob Date, was very clear about what he required and what form his next toy would take. The previous Scarlet Runner is a Sydney 38 that Rob has been driving for over three years. He has done a lot of miles on boats – ocean racing, deliveries and around the cans. He used to record all of it, including the experiences all those “nauts” afforded him and this is how he was able to precisely determine the exact requirements and specifications for his new boat.

Firstly, there was speed. He wanted to get on top of the water and stop pushing it around in front of him. So a surfing platform was mandatory.

Secondly, there was competition. Playing in the 38 sand pit meant he loved being right in there and mixing it up. Melbourne's Division Zero has six 50+footers, so if you're going to build a speed wagon, then this is the logical place to land when you want a drag race.

Thirdly, there was control. Rob was determined his boat was not going to be a demon to helm and have the crew struggling to keep it all looking smooth. The full swan analogy here – up top all grace, down below going like mad.

Finally, there was the overall design package. Racing boats are not easy to sit around. Carbon is tough under your seat and there's always a bunch of deck gear and ropes to get in your way. Like many of us, Rob enjoys a glass of red with a meal so any new boat had to be able to accommodate cocktail hour. Given that he's onboard for all his deliveries, the Golden Rule was implemented here. (He with the Gold makes the Rules!)

Comment? (How?)

Typically, a boat is either a racer or a cruiser, without much meeting of the minds. In recent years though, there have been more than a few boats built that remain fast, offer a little of life's luxuries and always feature on the scoreboard! The DK46s like Extasea and Dekadence personify this sentiment. Here were boats with some of life's accoutrements that still looked like they would hammer even when tied up to the quay! The late Georgia also impressed Rob, not only with her proper navigation desk but also the soft finishes that set her further apart from her Farr52 One Design siblings.

This was just what he was after. “With a bit of softening, something of this nature could meet my requirements for a true Racer/Cruiser. Not a cruiser that tries to race but has the wrong hull shape, and not a racer that has had so much cruising gear added that it has lost the performance – just enough for family and friends,” Rob said.

There are a lot of lines about Scarlet Runner that could lead you to believe she is a TP52, but as you can make out from her build and display pics, the enclosed head and full galley allude to her ‘cruiseability'. Like a great racehorse, she points to a good line and her many RP siblings are doing fine the world over (Loki, Wild Oats, Alfa Romeo and Yendys et al)! So I think that pretty much solves the speed question.

Rob took to the road and visited some Kiwi builders. Simultaneously, contact was made with other builders in Melbourne and China. In a full Victor Kyam moment, the programme was definitely sealed after a sail on exactly the type of boat in question over in the USA, which had been able to
see off IRC Class 1 boats and impress with her speed.

Qui? (Whom?)

Two things then remained. Award the build to Steve Campbell's Composites Constructions with their new controlled atmosphere oven and have those really serious discussions
with the Reichel-Pugh team!

Composites Constructions were adamant that they could build a high-tech boat for a realistic price. There have been no construction or after-launch warranty issues on their recent high-end builds, Saracen the Class 3 offshore powerboat or the Corby IRC 49, Audi Centre Melbourne.

Steve has been building boats for over 20 years with involvement in the 1988 Sydney to Hobart winner Illusion, as well as Ultimate Challenge and Morning Mist. In the AC world, he was there to build, maintain, train and test on Nippon Challenge and America One. At the CC Braeside facility, the small, but dedicated team are deeply involved in the development of marine, aeronautical and automotive equipment.

Another key member of the Scarlet Runner team was Dave Eickmeyer of Evolution Sails (Ex-Quantum Sails, Melbourne). His detail orientation was an added bonus to a team determined to make a special boat.

Qu'est-ce que c'est? (What is it?)

Scarlet Runner is an IRC 52 and as such was not designed under the TP52 box rule. She is strong – Bass Strait ready, not just a Mediterranean trinket – and able to do a family cruise of the Whitsundays whilst being competitive around the cans in Melbourne or Sydney.

She is the latest RP generation, being fuller in bow with less volume in the stern than comparable boats, and stronger overall. Even the fabricated, milled foils have been modified for Australian conditions.

Scarlet Runner is 15.99m LOA, 14.43m LWL, has a 4.2m beam and draws 3.6m. She weighs in empty at around 8.5 tonne, has a 2m bowsprit and a big rig, with more sail area than a TP52. Look for the three-spreader, 25.7m rig to be around the same height as fellow SYC club boat, the F52 Goldfinger at 21.2m above the cabin top. Incidentally, the same rig section as Living Doll has been deployed. This has been supplied by NZ Rigging, who have good ideas for deck layouts as well as an IRC understanding. There are halyard locks on her main and the two masthead kites.

Evolution are providing their carbon membrane, one-piece forward sails. Aero modelling and shapes are straight from the Quantum Racing TP52 and things are upgraded from both that boat and Artemis. Look for the square top main as per the RP62 Limit. Downhill, the bag looks to be in the very high 200m2 range. It all equates to an IRC rating in the mid 1.35's, bang smack in the middle of the TPs.

Selecting the deck gear was easy because of Rob's clear requirements to be able to cruise comfortably and race easily. Not being tied to just the one supplier meant they could cherry pick what they wanted. Whilst hydraulics are slightly heavier than pedestals, they are quick and easy to use. Scarlet Runner has two primary and two main winches by Lewmar. This is a cost effective package and is very similar to that used for Audi Centre Melbourne so they know it works. The traveller and jib car are sourced from Ronstan (Fredriksen) and she has longitudinal not athwart ship tracks. Harken Pro-Trim (a reduction gear box used for the traveller), as used on the new Living Doll, will make trimming the air rudder that much easier. Spinlock ZS and XX jammers have been installed to withstand the large asymmetrical loads a boat like this will generate. Ronstan fittings make up the balance of the hardware.

Special Patterns created her CNC finished, steel, foam and glass female mould. All of which means it can be used again. There is no fairing on the hull, so there is a saving there of 40 to 80kg.

Pre-preg over core cell foam was chosen because it is lighter in the end than a wet lay-up, say around a 100kg saving for a boat this size, and it ensures you get the 35-42% resin-to-fibre ratio required for ultimate strength. It does add 10-15% to the build cost. Best news of all is that Scarlet Runner is dimensionally true and barely a couple of millimeters away from the RP drawings that were supplied. Each fibre batch and cooking time has been logged for future reference and quality control by the CCs data tracker.

CC have also completed their first resin-infused mould – a 21foot ski boat – which will ensure they stay at the forefront of construction methods and practices. This method ensures accurate resin-to-fibre ratios and as the layers are already under pressure from the vac bag before the resin is injected, the composites do not have to settle
when cooking.

Quand? (When?)

This is one of the easiest parts to answer. Modern building techniques allow for relatively fast lay ups and as you see-see from the images here, Steve and the team tracked along well. The deck was started just before Christmas and the hull in January. She went in the drink at the end of June, had a bit of a shake down in Melbourne at the beginning of July, and then went to play up North with the other speedsters. And what a debut it was, taking out IRC-1 in the Audi Sydney to Gold Coast race and finishing ahead of the F55 Living Doll (with whom they had done some trialling before leaving Melbourne) and a plethora of the TP52s. They achieved this by sailing their own race, staying well outside the Rhumbline in less southerly current for the first half before heading back inshore for the westerly run home.

So now you want one too? Well you can. After all, she has been built with others in mind and you can even determine your own configuration to a point. Call Steve on 03 9587 8555 or go to www.compositesconstructions.com.au

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