Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban aiming for Hobart race glory

Update on progress with Matt Allen's latest offshore racer

Thursday December 19th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: Australia

Tuning, testing and crew practice on the waters off Sydney have confirmed that the brand new Carkeek Design Partners C60 Ichi Ban is reaching all the initial performance numbers that her designers anticipated.

Ichi Ban was officially launched at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia on 26 November after a week spent setting up the Premier Composite Technologies-built 60 footer that owner Matt Allen commissioned to give him and his highly experienced crew the best possible chance of winning the upcoming Rolex Sydney Hobart race.

Designer Shaun Carkeek was on hand in Sydney helping with preliminary calibration, testing and showing the sailing team the characteristics and systems of the exciting new grand prix race yacht.

Winning the Sydney-Hobart represented a large part of the initial brief to Carkeek. The new Carkeek C60 is a boat primarily designed for offshore races. Allen and his team decided on 60ft as the optimum size after assessing a broad range of sea states and evaluating the average conditions.

“The objective was to come up with a good all-round boat,” Carkeek emphasised. “This is a strong offshore boat built for the conditions expected in this area of the globe. The boat has to be well designed and engineered; something the guys can have confidence in going to sea. The hull shape is very powerful – it looks more like a 70 footer in some ways – which allows the crew to push the boat very hard even in tough conditions.

“You have to approach the Sydney Hobart as a two or three day sprint so you need a boat that you can put the accelerator down on and feel you are in control at 100% of your polars nearly all of the time as the boat that wins will have those kind of percentages. You have to put the hammer down, be fast out of the box and go.

“The brief was to have something which is strong in all conditions and I think we have the right mix."

Multi Use race yacht

The owner wants to race competitively offshore and inshore and the C60 benefits from Carkeek’s work on HPR-IRC grand prix yachts that have produced fast, fun all-round boats for their length. IRC and HPR rating differences reduce as LOA increases so designing a boat that is optimised for both is easier at 60 feet.

This multiple-use brief also had a bearing on fin design and appendage set up, ensuring the C60 has a strong high mode option for windward-leeward racing.

Powered sail handling

One key decision made early in the brief was for powered winch systems. The performance advantages were considered significant when balanced against the negatives of weight and the inherent rating tax. With no pedestals and the majority of the systems below deck, the result is a clean uncluttered layout that improves aerodynamics, crew movement around the boat, and reduces windage.

“Matt Allen, Gordon Maguire and the team were strong advocates of this system to keep the work rate and crew efficiency up in terms of trimming and weight management. Following rating and VPP investigations this is the road we decided to go down,” Carkeek explained. “It obviously is a much more powerful trimming mechanism on a long distance race. Crew fatigue is always a factor and being able to trim flat out for days at a time and keep weight out as righting moment, instead of having guys off the rail, is an interesting optimisation process.”

With the preliminary calibration and set-up complete, the sailing team is training and learning the new boat. “There are powerful systems on board that are different to other grand prix boats so it is important the crew learn to use them to optimum effect early on. This is an exciting project - it is the first time Carkeek Design Partners has a new boat of this size entered in this globally significant offshore race,” Carkeek continued. “The 2013 Sydney Hobart fleet is competitive, probably the most competitive to date across the board with strong boats in every size bracket. It is going to be interesting with weather conditions playing a major role as usual.”

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