First bout

We look at the new Humphrey design, Orca, due to set off on her first Class 40 race this weekend
The Class 40’s first major outing of 2009 kicks off this weekend with the two handed Les Sables-Horta-Les Sables. Among the handful of new boats joining the Class 40 for the first time in this race is the new Humphreys-designed Orca, belonging to 1998 doublehanded Round Britain & Ireland Race winner, Richard Tolkien. The boat was built by Ocean Tec in Slovenia, a company set up by the former head of production at Elan, for whom the Humphreys office carry out all the design work. With design work carried out mostly by Humphreys son and heir, Tom, Orca was originally intended for Mini sailor Kristian Hajnsek, but the project went into hiatus when last summer Hajnsek’s sponsor pulled the plug. It was then that Richard Tolkien stepped in to take over the reins of the project. The boat was launched in a rush at the beginning of October and with a team comprising Tolkien, Neal Brewer, Tom Hayhoe and Tolkien’s Round Britain co-skipper Robert Wingate, competed in the Rolex Middle Sea Race although they were forced to retire. Orca was then sailed to the south of France and trucked up to Marc Lefevre’s VID2 yard in Caen to be finished off, the boat eventually reaching the UK in April. She has since competed in three RORC races and the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island, but the Les Sables-Horta-Les Sables event will be her first where she will be up against other Class 40s in anger. Proud owner A first glance at Orca and it is immediately evident that she is a close relation to the Humphreys-designed VO70 Team Russia, with a significant chine that merges into a knuckle/spray rail forward. “The design work was all done at the same sort of time, so I suppose some of the ideas we were