Builder's own

We talk to Kiwi boatbuilder Mick Cookson about his new 50ft canting keeler
Mick Cookson's Auckland-based company is one of the most familiar names in keelboat building world. Since starting out in 1979 their work has included Chris Dickson's TAG Heuer America's Cup challenger as well as Team New Zealand's successful NZL57 and 60 and less successful 81 and 82, Steve Fossett's PlayStation, Larry Ellison's maxi Sayonara and Volvo Ocean 60s New Corp and djuice as well as succesful IMS racers too numerous to list. Currently Cooksons have an incredible five Farr-designed TP52s in build, including the new boat for the King of Spain. However the company has recently diversified going into semi-production with a new 50ft canting keel racer/cruiser. Mick Cookson says the concept of the new boat has been bubbling around in his mind since the end of the 1990s. "At the time we did this we were looking at the market and going ‘where is it going, what’s happening?”’ he told thedailysail. "IMS was dying. The Transpac 52 thing at that stage wasn’t really going anywhere and we still believe there is a market for a really good racer cruiser." Cookson describes his new 50 footer as a true multi-purpose boat. At a pinch it can be used for cruising and is fitted out down below (ie it has bunks not pipecots), but racing is its forte and in this respect, he says, it is versatile, conceived to be suitable for racing fully crewed or short handed, offshore, coastal or round the cans. The 50 was not designed with any rule in mind. "The rules are all over the map at the moment and the rules have done nothing but stifle performance boats. Even the Open 60 and 50 classes are not truly open. They are a really bad box rule. No one in their right mind would design a boat