The 80ft Volvo 70 racer cruiser

We look at Karl Kwok's innovative Farr 80, Beau Geste
While it is tempting to label Karl Kwok’s new Gavin Brady-skippered Farr 80 Beau Geste as a Mini Maxi, in fact she is an entirely different proposition to the other IRC 60-75 footers currently racing in the Med. There is of course the fundamental issue that at 80ft LOA she is too long, but conceptually Beau Geste is unique, much more offshore orientated than the Mini Maxis, even the STP65s. She is in fact probably a closer relation to a Volvo Open 70, while also having the genuine potential to be cruised, although the ‘mod cons’ have been fitted in such a way to make the most minimal impact on her performance. In terms of displacement she is 24 tonnes, compared to the 8ft shorter Ran 2 that is just under 18. “We are trying to go for a lot more of a cruiser racer-type scenario and make it more attractive to the owner, so we can do more things than just race, but still have a competitive and fast boat,” explains Beau Geste's boat captain Cameron Ward. “So we can finish a race and put it into cruising mode and go for a tour around the islands, drop anchor, etc. In New Zealand we did heaps of cruising.” And between their finishing the Rolex Middle Sea Race and the prize giving they plan to head off again. As to why Karl Kwok chose an 80 footer rather than a 60, 70 or 100 footer, the aimiable Hong Kong-based businessman jokes: “I believe you should get a boat closer to your age! So I don’t have to worry about changing boat for a little while!" More seriously, he continues: "We started looking at a Volvo Open 70, an STP65 and all those bunch of boats and then you subject yourself