Boats & Gear

Lash It Up

 

In its own way this may have been the most important in-the-water exhibit at this year's Annapolis show.  No salesmen, ho hype---just a team of riggers changing out the standing rig on a 30-year-old Westsail 32.  What was significant was the material they were using.  No wire, no toggles, no turnbuckles.  Instead all the new standing rigging was Dynex Dux braided fiber rope (from Colligo Marine) secured in place with old-fashioned deadeyes and lanyards.  Just how ironic is that???  Let us count the ways.

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Sailing the New J/97

 

There are worse fates to be endured in this workaday life than getting to sail a new J/Boat with Al Johnstone on a gorgeous fall day on Narragansett Bay.  Conditions were just about perfect: bright sunshine with a brisk southwesterly blowing 15-18 knots and looking to get brisker.  Al, who designed our ride, the new J/97, told me beforehand what he was shooting for was an entry-level sprit boat that would be a tad less intense and intimidating than the very popular J/105, but would still be fast and fun to sail.  At the conclusion of our little outing I had to admit he has hit this nail on the head.

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Sexy New Tender

 

This is another neat new item that caught my attention at the Newport show back in September.  At first I laughed out loud when I saw it, as it seemed so over the top.  A carbon-fiber RIB dinghy with a teak deck!  Talk about overkill.  But then I inspected the craft in detail and fell in love with it.  This iteration, the Pure 450 Open T, which is about 15 feet long, has a super-clean look and ultimately its aesthetic, I think, is very elegant and understated.

Construction, for a tender, is robust and extremely high tech.  The hull body is carbon fiber reinforced with layers of Kevlar underneath (for increased impact resistance) vacuum-bagged over a CoreCell foam core.  The structure is then post-cured in an oven to assure maximum laminate integrity.  The inflatable sponsons are made of Valmex, a commercial-grade workboat fabric that is as long-lived as Hypalon (figure 10 years plus on lifespan) but can be heat-welded, which allows for superior seam construction and maximizes air retention over time.

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Inside the Bat Cave

 

Speaking of Volvo Open 70s, another thing I got to see at the Newport show was the inside of one.

 

I went down to Boston in May when the whole Volvo Ocean Race fleet was in town, and even though I had press credentials... even though I was crewing on a race marshal's boat, setting buoys and chasing riff-raff off the in-harbor race course (hats off to Scott Alexander at Selden Mast on that one)... no one would let me have even a teensy-tiny peek down below into the innards of any of the competing vessels. Interior accoutrements were strictly verboten, hush-hush, access only on a need-to-know basis.

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Licensed To Kill

I encountered this little weapon of a boat, the K650, at the Newport show, hunkered down on a trailer. A sport boat I guess i s what you'd call it, though what it looks like is a miniaturized Volvo Open 70. Which makes sense, since its designer, Juan Kouyoumdjian (a.k.a. Johnny Unpronounceable), has a portfolio filled with top Volvo boats, America's Cup boats, you name it. Brendan Kavanaugh, North American rep for the builder, Yum Boats, told me the K650's top speed under sail so far is 21 knots, but they think it'll go 25.

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