New Humphreys Class40

Andreas Hanakamp gives us the guided tour to Christof Petter's new Vaquita
The Transat Jacques Vabre is providing a good preliminary reference for the pace of the Class40s, and in particular the plethora of new designs, ahead of next year’s all-important Route du Rhum, where an unprecedented-sized fleet of more than 50 Class40s are expected to be on the start line. Among the latest offerings is the new design from Tom Humphreys (son of Rob), the Lymington-based design office’s second stab at the Class40 following on from their two first generation boats, including Richard Tolkein’s ORCA. (Read Tom Humphreys design notes about the boat here). The first example of their latest offering is competing in the TJV in the form of Austrian Christof Petter’s Vaquita, co-skippered by the boat’s project manager, Andreas Hanakamp, former skipper of the Team Russia VO70 (another Humphreys design). This is Petter’s second Class40. Having got into sailing race boats when he did part of the delivery back to Europe on the Team Russia VO70 after she’d retired from the Volvo Ocean Race, Petter initially acquired an Akilaria RC1. Aboard the first Vaquita, he won Italy’s leading doublehanded race, the Cinquecento X2, before crossing the Atlantic with the ARC and subsequently racing the RORC Caribbean 600. After contemplating the refit of an existing boat to bring it up to Category 0, Petter chose to go with a fresh design for his second Vaquita, which he had hoped to take in this year’s Global Ocean Race until the start date for the Class40 round the world race was shifted on by a year. Having competed in the Rolex Fastnet Race in the new boat this summer, and now nearing the end of the TJV, the program ahead for the boat includes the RORC Caribbean 600, a new eastbound Class 40 transatlantic race and then the RORC’s Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland