Fields complete their inversion test
New Zealand’s Global Ocean Race 2011-12 duo of father and son, Ross and Campbell Field, successfully completed the mandatory 180 degree inversion test on their GOR Class40 Hupane at Berthon Boatyard in Lymington this afternoon: the first 180 degree inversion test undertaken by a Class 40 in the UK.
Following a five week voyage as deck cargo from Chile, the Field’s Tyker Class40 arrived in Lymington during the second week in May and following a speedy refit, the 2008 Verdier designed yacht is the sixth GOR entry to pass the mandatory, 180 degree self-righting test. In near-windless conditions, Hupane – meaning ‘step upwards’ from the Maori phrase, included in the traditional Haka display made famous by the All Blacks rugby team – was manoeuvred into clear space between pontoons at Berthon Boatyard watched by a team of supporters including Campbell Field’s wife, Tracey, and their eight month-old son, Fraser. Once fully inverted, the New Zealand duo hand-pumped seawater into the yacht’s lateral ballast tank and swiftly self-righted Hupane in just six minutes: a record time for a Class40 180 inversion test.
Immediately after the test, Campbell Field gave his impression of the inversion: “It’s amazing how disorientating it is being upside down in a boat,” he explained. “There were no leaks and the ballast system worked perfectly,” Campbell confirmed. “Apart from a mobile phone flying about and a couple of wallets falling out of the chart table, everything stayed in place.”
The Fields pumped the starboard ballast tank to one third capacity – approximately 250 litres: “We were certainly helped by around an extra 300 kilos of Kiwi in the boat!” added Campbell.
For Ross Field, this was his second inversion on a boat: “The first time wasn’t intentional,” he recalled. “I was on a 52-footer going through the Bass Strait during the 1995 Melbourne – Osaka Race and the keel started to fall-off,” Ross explained. “This inversion on Hupane has been a lot less stressful!”
The Fields' GOR campaign is immaculately planned and the duo’s combined Whitbread Round the World Race and Volvo Ocean Race experience is proving invaluable. “We’ve got most of the logistics sorted out and we’ve even organised the food already,” says Ross – a veteran of six circumnavigation races, who's son used to run the logistics operation behind the Spanish Telefonica VOR campaign. “We now need to get some sailing time in.”
Neither of the Fields has sailed a Class40 before and the prospect is extremely exciting for the duo. “Class40s are clearly very powerful boats and we’ll be out sailing every day to get as much time on the water as possible,” explains Campbell. “Our first race will be the Round the Island Race at the end of June, which we’ll do double-handed,” he confirms. “We’ll then complete the Global Ocean Race qualifier before racing four-up in the Fastnet.”
The Fields are also in communication with the other south coast-based GOR teams and some group training in The Solent with the Italian-English duo of Marco Nannini and Paul Peggs on Mowgli; the South African duo of Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire on Phesheya-Racing and the GOR’s Anglo-German, all-girl team of Hannah Jenner and Anna-Maria Renken on 40 Degrees is already being planned.
For Josh Hall, Race Director of the GOR, the inversion test is a vital part of the GOR qualification process: “The purpose of this test is to ensure the self-righting capabilities of each yacht entered in the race,” he explains. “However, it is far more than purely a matter of paperwork and race qualification as the inversion means that the crew experience managing the yacht and its systems in a 180 degrees position,” continues Hall. “This has already proved to be an invaluable exercise and has given our teams increased confidence while sailing in very strong conditions when there is a risk of a yacht capsizing,” says the Race Director. “From a purely practical approach, the test also ensures that each yacht is watertight in an inverted position and that the principle heavy items in the cabin are both properly secured and don’t leak when inverted,” he adds. “Ross and Campbell have planned a very busy pre-GOR campaign and this test is a big step in the road to the start line in September,” concludes Hall. “Many congratulations Hupane.”