RC 44 containerable

Not immediately obvious about Coutts' new craft is that it has an ingenious transportation system

Monday November 20th 2006, Author: Bernard Schopfer, Location: United Kingdom
When they started designing the RC 44, Andrej Justin and Russell Coutts immediately included the cost of transportation and storage in their thoughts. As a consequence, the beam of the boat was carefully chosen and the stern of the boat is removable to allow the transportation length to be less than 40 feet. The keel fin attachment was also designed to be easily removable whilst the carbon mast is assembled in two parts. Therefore all equipment can be stored and transported on a flat deck container which can be transported anywhere in the world, at a relatively cheap cost.

But the second step was just as creative: Andrej Justin and Marino Quaiat have designed and built a revolutionary system that not only carries the boat but serves as a cradle once the boat arrives at a regatta venue.

When the boat is in the transportation position it is canted at a 60° angle with the stern scoop stored under the bow. All equipment including sails, rudder, keel fin, boom, mast and spares are stored in compartments within the container. The bulb is transported in position under the hull.

After arrival at a regatta venue, four struts are attached to the side of the container, each fitted with a small manual winch. The boat is supported on soft straps which are raised between the struts using the winches, to a position high enough to allow the attachment of the keel fin to the bulb. The hull is then lowered onto the keel after which the rudder and other parts are attached.

"It takes only two hours to assemble the RC 44”, comments Andrej Justin. “You only need a crane for twenty minutes when you want to step the mast. It saves a lot of time, cost and manpower. When a fleet of boats arrive at the same time, it only takes a few days to get all the boats assembled and in the water ready for racing. When the boat is transported on the container it reduces a lot of cost. For example, it costs only 2,000 Euros to transport an RC 44 from Europe to America. It is also cheaper to insure and it provides a simple solution for storing the boat in the off season.”

The container is based on a standard 40 foot open top container (12.2 x 2.5 m) and weighs approximately 4.5 tons. It is legally approved for ship transportation, under the GL, ABS, RINA, DNV or similar certificates. For trucking, it fits within the normal height and width restrictions.

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