Rhum wrap up and behind the scenes

Joerg Riechers sitting comfortably on Cinnamon Girl, a rare occurence at sea.
Joerg Riechers sitting comfortably on Cinnamon Girl, a rare occurence at sea.

Jörg Riechers on mare.de Class 40 (Cinnamon Girl, charter through Owen Clarke Design)
© Christophe Breschi
Jörg Riechers on mare.de Class 40 (Cinnamon Girl, charter through Owen Clarke Design) © Christophe Breschi

40 Degrees, an Owen Clarke Design Class 40 at the start of the 2010 Route du Rhum
40 Degrees, an Owen Clarke Design Class 40 at the start of the 2010 Route du Rhum

Conrad Coleman has chartered the Owen Clarke/Clay Oliver Class 40, 40 Degrees 2 for the Route du Rhum 2010 and the Global Ocean Challenge
Conrad Coleman has chartered the Owen Clarke/Clay Oliver Class 40, 40 Degrees 2 for the Route du Rhum 2010 and the Global Ocean Challenge

Its a wrap on the 2010 Route du Rhum, Joerg Riechers on Cinnamon Girl finished in a very creditable 5th place though having held 3rd for the last few days was unlucky not to finish on the Podium. Conrad Coleman on 40 Degrees was beset by problems from the pre-race start to finishing his race with only five of his usable  race sails still serviceable.

We have included some of Joergs comments from his after race briefing:

'After the start Frehel to Ouessant:Conditions Meteo: 18kn to 23kn TWA 125° to 135° Sails: Main 1 reef - A2 On this point of sail the boat seems to be really fast as I went from an really average 19th place at Frehel to a really superb 3rd place at Ouessant and it was not very tactical just a speed thing.

Day one reaching next to Sam Manuard: In the night I broke the genoa halyard and hit a cargo rope and lost 3 to 4 miles on Sam Manuard.

Day two sailing upwind next to Eric Defert (Tyker 40): The Tyker is a difficult boat to sail against, as I was toasting Sam Manuard the day before I thought now I can kill Eric Derfert but that was not to be, Although sailing really concentrated there was nothing in it between the two boats and I was really happy he committed a tactical error. From now on it gets difficult to compare as I could not see any other boats any more, but upwind I was closing on Bernard Stamm before he got his problems.

Comments on The other boats:

Pogo : I think your boat is faster than the Pogo. Upwind for sure your boat is faster reaching also. Downwind same. Manuard: Upwind I was a good deal faster – reaching his boat seemed to be fast – downwind do not know. Akalaria RC2: could not tell as all of them were too far back.'

We will be conducting thorough de-briefs with both skippers this winter to review both boats performance and look at optimising them for their next events. Meanwhile Uwe Jaspersen of Jaz Marine in Cape Town will shortly be in the position to offer build slots in early 2011 for his semi-custom build Class 40 design sister ships to Cinnamon Girl and 40 degrees. For more information contact Uwe at Jaz Marine or for more information on the design process please visit Class 40 Design

Managing demanding design schedules and carrying out the day to day work is all well and good for the principles at Owen Clarke Design, but behind the scenes are a group of people whose input is as critical to our success as those at the coalface of sailing these finely tuned race boats to their limits. As well as working very closely with suppliers of high end services like the Wolfson Unit and SP/Gurit there are other no less important figures who, have and continue to assist Owen Clarke Design remain at the forefront of racing yacht design. Two of these perhaps overlooked people who make OCD boats not only great fun to race, competitive, reliable and even faster are US designer Clay Oliver and Brit, John Levell.

Clay started his association with OCD back in 2003 when Clay Oliver Yacht Design who are based in Annapolis, USA, worked closely with OCD when some members of an Americas Cup team formed a group to design a Volvo 70 for a MaxZ86 owner who had at that time committed to doing the Volvo Ocean Race. That project was not to be in the end, but later collaboration on the Ecover3 and Aviva IMOCA 60 programs came about and we were delighted to put in a call to Clay to review the hull design of our new 3rd generation Class 40.

Clay’s responsibilities with regard to the IMOCA 60 program were primarily hull design and the associated vpp analysis, as well as providing an overview on other aspects of the design. This involved working with Merfyn Owen and the Wolfson Unit (University of Southampton), as well as attending the 1/7th scale and 1/3rd scale model testing we carried out in Southampton and Copenhagen as part of this project. For the Class 40 the brief was similar except that we would be working without the benefit of tank testing, the final design candidates that were to be developed and run through a customised version of WinVPP. That being said, OCD and Clay have between them considerable data and experience from over a thousand tank testing runs, CFD and VPP calculations carried out on twin rudder Open Class type hull forms. Enough to have confidence in the final choices made and to know that the boat would be well behaved, easy to manage as well as fast in straight line conditions, all pre-requisites for a fast short-handed boat, but not necessarily requiring the same order of attention for the fully crewed scenario.

The main features of that final candidate hull which can be seen from the exterior of the yachts Cinnamon Girl and Forty Degrees is, a wider more powerful hull form, maximum beam, with LCB moved aft and proportionally the rig moved further aft. The wider platform makes for more powered-up, high speed performance, even though it carries a potential light air penalty. On balance it was felt that light air racing is sensitive to tactics and strategy, whereas there is no defence against the higher wind, reaching boat speed advantage offshore. A design goal was to try to mitigate any light airs deficiencies by focusing a good deal of effort on rig/sail design as well as keeping the boats simple and therefore light. Carrying the chine further forward is part of changing the forward sections to encourage some lift at reaching heel angles, plus as a spray separation line at certain heel angles and speed. The chine also allows for a lighter total structural weight forward of the mast. As well as the change to the forward sections of the boat mentioned the keel was moved aft which will also offset any tendency for the straighter run aft sections to produce excessive bow down trimming moment.

Clay Oliver has been a principal designer in seven America’s Cup teams, including a remarkable four-time winning involvement first with Dennis Conner successfully challenging in Australia and defending in San Diego, and then with Team New Zealand with a successful challenge and defence. He has been principal designer for Team New Zealand for two America’s Cup mono-hull events.  His general design approach combines artistic and creative solutions within a scientific context. A graduate naval architect from the US Naval Academy, he is the author of WinVPP, the premier performance prediction software used by over 100 designers and naval architects around the world including Farr Yacht Design, Reichel Pugh, Team New Zealand. etc.

John Levell had been on our radar for a while as a known independent structural engineer, having worked within the aerospace and marine industry providing broad and detailed composite engineering solutions to various projects.  OCD contacted John at the same time as reaching out to Clay to see if we could further optimise the 3rd Generation Class 40 program. John started working with OCD in late 2007 on the development of a new Class 40 structures package and by 2008 started getting to grips with the concept in more depth. The previous OCD Class 40 racing yachts had evolved around a potentially ORC Category 0 solution to the designs, featuring multiple watertight bulkheads. Today, these would now be perceived as over engineered structures. At the time there was a tangible shift away from extreme long distance racing yachts in the rest of the Class 40 fleet, prior to the acceptance of Josh Halls Global Ocean Race. The focus was being pushed towards shorter oceanic routes and even a burgeoning focus on round the cans racing with the introduction of Class 40 world championships. The basic principles for the newer generation boats were favouring a much broader spectrum of racing.

The choices made with John featured a reduction in the number of internal structural components, a completely revised keel attachment system and an optimisation of the main hull and deck laminates to offset the extra surface areas being carried as a penalty for maximizing the beam and righting moment ability of the new boats. Mindful that if the boat is under engineered then reliability is always going to be an issue, coupled with the fact that there is a minimum class weight of which hitting the minimum is the target for the designer and builder, the structural engineer is always going to be treading a very fine line. Most keen observers will note that Cinnamon Girl and 40 Degrees are in fact the same basic boat however this only relates to the hull, appendages and rig. The deck, cockpit and coach roof geometry are quite different and in fact both boats were micro-designed with very different client preferences. Again all these differences have to be factored in to the engineering program and the structural detail is very different for both boats.

John Levell originally worked as an aerospace stress engineer, designing light aircraft initially then eventually moving on to satellites and composite space structures to be transported on the NASA space shuttle. A spell as the chief design engineer followed with Sparcraft before entering the racing yacht field with SP Systems, now SP/Gurit.  From 1997 onwards John has worked independently covering composite yacht fittings, aircraft components and bicycles and his racing yacht involvement has spanned such diverse projects as Ellen MacArthur's B&Q Castorama, Thomas Colville's  Sodebo, (3rd  in this current edition of the Route du Rhum), Mascalone Latino, Alinghi, and even Mini Transat designs.
Working with people like John and Clay helps to broaden the design horizons at Owen Clarke whilst enabling areas on specific projects to be fine tuned with confidence.  We look forward to continuing our relationships with Clay, John and other members of our extended team delivering successful design programs which perform competitively, reliably and safely.

Top of Page

[ Back ]
Web Design By Toolkit Websites