Jim Hunt to move into Contenders

The hiking-boat champion tries his hand at trapezing

Thursday December 21st 2000, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United Kingdom
Jim Hunt has dominated the hard-grunt, hiking-out classes for years. He has notched up numerous titles in the Solo and Enterprise, and won the Endeavour Trophy in RS400s by a country mile this year.
But now the sailmaker from Staffordshire is turning his hand - or feet - to trapezing. "I’m going to go Contender sailing next year," he told madforsailing. "I don’t know how seriously I’m going to take it but I need to sell some sails in the class."

As a founder of Purple Sails, much of Hunt’s sailing is dictated by business needs and he feels the Contender is ripe for some groundwork. Otherwise, 2001 will be business as usual, with Hunt planning more sailing in the classes where he is a proven performer. He will also be selling the new keelboat developed by RS, called the K-6.

"It seems like a nice boat to me, although it’s not yet clear whether it will be best to sail it two-up or three-up." With a weight limit of 200 kilos, Hunt imagines it will need to be raced at close to maximum allowed weight like any keelboat. Yachting World journalist Matt Sheahan was raving about the boat’s performance after an exhilarating day out at Hayling Island in mid-December.

"It’s awesomely fast for a keelboat," said Sheahan. "And it’s about the only small boat I can fit into these days and expect to be competitive."

Martin Wadhams, co-director of LDC Racing Sailboats and developer of the boat, is planning on racing one in anger for the first time at the Pompey Perisher in Portsmouth at the end of January. "I'll be racing it three-up as I'm pretty light myself, but I could see heavier sailors racing it two-up."

When asked if he thought it could be the women's keelboat that ISAF had been looking for, he commented: "It's an interesting thought. In a way it's a shame we didn't launch the boat a year earlier, and seen what had happened. I'm sure the K-6 would have provided more of a spectacle than the Yngling."

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