We Have A Winner

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We have a winner
In response to SAIL’s Hunter 216 Giveaway Contest, we received roughly 1,000 entries that answered the broad question “What would you do if you won a Hunter 216?” The submissions ranged from pleas to upgrade entrants’ existing boats to odes to deserving friends or family to a number of thoughtful plans to share the boat with others. SAIL and Hunter Marine selected a man with a plan from a very competitive short list of 12 entrants.

For 10 years Dale Doerman has taught inner-city kids from Cincinnati how to sail on his 1971 Morgan 22. He finds this boat lacking as a daysailer and even worse as a trainer. A volunteer at the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, Doerman needed a better boat for sailing instruction. The Hunter 216, with its open cockpit and durable Advanced Composite Process hull, would be just the boat. In his entry, Doerman outlined a clear plan for putting the boat to good use. We’re inspired by his good work at sailing’s grass roots and know that the boat ended up in good hands.

Doerman wrote: “Some of our participants gain the personal pride of accomplishment; others have their senses opened to the natural world they encounter from the cockpit. No matter what, we all return to the docks enriched and renewed.” Hear, hear, Dale. Josh Adams

New York’s New Swan
NYYC and Nautor’s Swan have collaborated on a new boat

Last spring the New York Yacht Club approached a number of designers with the following design brief: a new one-design racer/cruiser that could rate well under the IRC rule and also cruise comfortably offshore. The result is the club’s own Swan. The venerable club has chosen a sleek double-spreader-rigged sloop with a retractable sprit, designed by the German Frers Design Team. It will measure just under 43 feet, with a beam of 12 feet and draft of 8 feet, 10 inches. Nautor’s Swan will build the new boat in Finland.


“This is the right boat at the right time for our members,” said New York Yacht Club commodore George Hinman, “and, we hope, for other clubs around the world. With its inventory of standard equipment, the way it comes from the factory is the way it will be sailed. That levels the playing field and ensures that the competition will be close and exciting.” Two- and three-cabin layouts will be available, but all other equipment will be strictly controlled by international class rules now being developed by NYYC. As of late October, 24 club members had ordered the NYYC Swan 42. Charles Mason

Designer Coutts and His New Toy
On America’s Cup leave, Russell Coutts has introduced his own design

Can a boat reflect its designer? In the case of Russell Coutts’s first-ever yacht design, the answer is yes. “It’s pretty much a no-compromise boat,” said the three-time America’s Cup winner about the new RC 44, which he designed with Andr Justin.

Coutts has kept himself busy at the drafting table since parting ways with Cup defender Alinghi. By signing a no-compete contract, Coutts insured that this Cup will go on without its most successful helmsman. The Cup’s loss is the sailboat market’s gain—at least, the segment of the market interested in an all-carbon-fiber daysailer/racer.

“We looked at what was available and what owners did with their boats,” he said. “Generally, they don’t want to spend a lot of time maintaining them. Marina space is becoming scarce, and the hassle of just going sailing is annoying to some, especially if you need a big crew.”

You could be forgiven for thinking that the RC 44 is a mini America’s Cup boat—narrow, lightweight, with horsepower to burn. It’s a shade under 40 feet long and has a slender 8-foot, 5-inch beam. Its deep fin keel features a weed cutter, a trim tab, and a relatively modest 3,747-pound lead bulb. Four boats have been built in Europe, and 12 more are on order.

There’s a practical reason for the boat’s narrow beam. It’s narrow enough, when tilted 40 degrees off centerline, to legally fit on European roadways. Other transportability features include a detachable stern scoop and a rig that splits in two.

Off the wind, the boat lights up. Early trials in 22 knots of wind on Italy’s Lake Garda saw the RC 44 hustle along under asymmetric spinnaker at 19 knots. “The overriding factor was that I wanted the boat to be fast downwind,” Coutts said. “The beam is rather restrictive, but the boat’s light weight and ample sail area make it happen.” Coutts makes no bones about the fact that, with a crew of five or six, his creation is challenging to sail. Is he on to something? Coutts is convinced he is—and is already working on a bigger boat. Tim Jeffery

Artful Display
Thirteen years after dueling for the America’s Cup off San Diego, America3 and Il Moro di Venezia were recently at it again—this time on the front lawn of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). The two boats, owned by the ever-colorful winning skipper of A3, Bill Koch, were part of an exhibit called “Things I Love: The Many Collections of William I. Koch.”

Rodger Martin Yacht Designs constructed the “yacht sculpture,” which at 124 feet towered over the 67-foot-high museum. More impressive than their height, though, was the way the 75-foot-long, 12-ton boats were suspended by 175 feet of Navtec rod anchored to screw-piles buried 20 feet into the ground. It was an engineering marvel—especially because the Boston City Code required that they be capable of withstanding sustained winds of 80 knots and gusts of up to 95 knots.

Not everyone, however, appreciated the effort. The boats were criticized by some in the Boston art community who didn’t see their artistic value and questioned why they were even on display—especially since Koch paid for the installation himself when the museum indicated it couldn’t afford it. Koch, who insisted on including the boats not only because they fit nicely into the collection, but also as a way to publicize the exhibit, welcomed the stir. “I’m glad it’s caused a lot of controversy,” he said. “They are beautiful works of art.” Dave Baldwin

Dom Denied
Dom Mee’s ambitious plan to cross the Atlantic from west to east in a kite-powered boat (see Under Sail, October) came to an abrupt halt in September when his 14-footer was overpowered by gale-force winds, massive ocean swells, and a westbound current. Though he reported flying his kites (occasionally) and sailing as fast as 12 knots, Mee was forced into survival mode when the rough weather arrived. His sea anchor failed after wrapping around the keel, leading to a series of negative effects. The boat rolled nine times, the cabin filled with water, and he spent five hours clinging to the keel of his overturned boat. Mee was picked up by a ship responding to his EPIRB and PLB signals near Flemish Cap, an area famed for its rough water.

It is doubtful Mee will return to the North Atlantic. His boat, Little Murka, broke away while being towed by the rescue ship. Gone too is an intriguing test platform for offshore kite sailing. But the fact that Mee spent more time drifting away from his intended destination than sailing toward it suggests that the outlook is not bright. Josh Adams

Cruising the Kimberley
Word is spreading through the cruising community about this wilderness region in Northwestern Australia

The Kimberley, in Northwestern Australia, is a huge wilderness. I suspect it would remain so even if everyone knew about it. But when we approached the entrance to the Hunter River—the only river that is relatively easy to access on a keelboat—we found Orion, a mini cruiseship, anchored at Naturalist Beach outside the mouth. They had three helicopters on the beach and were coordinating runs into the Mitchell Plateau, a vast region just inside the coastline.

Helicopter is the only way most people see anything here. There are no roads over the expanse of broken-rock terrain that separates the river entrance from a highway. Much of the coastline hasn’t been surveyed, but the cruisers who have traveled through pass on notes about depths, tides, and sites—enough information to avoid the obvious dangers. We creep about until we meet up with something we don’t like, and we pass on what we learned. Later we anchored in Porosus Creek. We came in at the top of the spring tide and anchored in 43 feet; it went down to 11 feet last night. We woke up to see a crocodile cruising the muddy mangrove banks.

The wind blows in cycles, and we will move on in a few days when the wind picks up again. Daysailing is an almost-forgotten pleasure. It will end when we get to Broome and start working our way down the coast. With patience we should be able to make it to Perth this month. Ann Hoffner

Nav Faux Pas
In early September Coastguard officials in Dover, England, felt compelled to extol the benefits of learning proper navigation before heading to sea after they rescued a sailor who accidentally sailed to France. “The skipper had planned to sail from Southwold to Ramsgate,” said Gary Brown, the Dover Coastguard watch manager. “It is very worrying that he managed to sail to France without noticing his error.”

The skipper of the Hillyard gaff cutter Marie Louise 2 contacted the Dover Coastguard on September 3 to report he was lost and thought he was approaching Ramsgate. After failing to locate him, the Coastguard advised him to sail for the nearest flashing light and report the buoy’s name. Ten minutes later the skipper replied that the buoy read “Sandettie.” He was advised to steer a westerly course of 270 degrees. When he asked if this would take him to Ramsgate, the Coastguard replied that this would take him back to the British coast.

Deciding that it would be safest to send a boat to assist the skipper, the Coastguard boarded the vessel and towed it back to shore. “The skipper was crossing some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world without, it would appear, much navigational knowledge or experience,” Brown said. “The compass was 180 degrees off, and when the lifeboat arrived on the scene he was southeast of the Sandettie Light Vessel pointing east, 10 miles off Calais, France.” Rebecca Waters

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