Supermaxi Luxury Yacht & Superyacht News

Chainsaw Chop for Australia’s Most Successful Ocean Racing Yacht WILD OATS XI

August 28, 2015

Today, August 28, 2015 saw the Australia’s most successful ocean racing yacht WILD OATS XI literally get the chop at the hands of Bob Oatley and skipper Mark Richards to lop off 10 meters of the sleek, silver-hulled beauty. All is part of a plan to bring a new lease of life to the record-breaking, 10-year-old sailing yacht WILD OATS XI and make her more competitive against more recent supermaxi designs. The new-look vessel is expected to be sailing again in November 2015.

Bob Oatley and Mark Richards make the first cut into the forward sections of the all-conquering supermaxi yacht Wild Oats XI. (Image credit to Andrea Francolini)

Bob Oatley and Mark Richards make the first cut into the forward sections of the all-conquering supermaxi yacht Wild Oats XI. (Image credit to Andrea Francolini)

The chop represents the first stage of a three-month program that will see WILD OATS XI yacht back to being 30 metres long, but with a completely different profile. In a few days the hull will be shortened even more, when additional two metres are cut from the stern.

“This is exciting,” Richards said when sharing the first chainsaw cut with Bob Oatley. “I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it when we started, but this is the future for the old girl. She will be an even better yacht when we have finished. The more we cut the better I felt.”

There she goes! A 10-metre section of the bow of supermaxi Wild Oats XI is removed so the yacht can be remodelled for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart race. (Image credit to Andrea Francolini)

There she goes! A 10-metre section of the bow of supermaxi Wild Oats XI is removed so the yacht can be remodelled for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart race. (Image credit to Andrea Francolini)

The next part of the plan will see WILD OATS XI yacht trucked to the McConaghy’s boat building facility on Sydney’s northern beaches, where she will receive a new transom to be fitted where the stern has been cut off. Simultaneously, shipwrights will fit an entirely new bow to the yacht – two metres longer than what was cut off today – so that she returns to the same overall length.

Much of the design work for the new-look sailing yacht WILD OATS XI has been done by the original California-based US designers, Reichel-Pugh. By extending the bow forward the yacht will boast remarkably more buoyancy, a feature which all design testing indicates will make her notably faster. Not to forget, she will also be lighter.

WILD OATS XI yacht represents the most successful yacht to have contested the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race over its 70-year history, and Mark Richards is considered the most successful skipper. Since being launched in 2005, the supermaxi has claimed line honours eight times. She is also the only yacht to claim the triple-crown – line and handicap honours and a race record time – on two occasions, and take four consecutive line honours.

Monohull-Line Honours for 100ft Hodgdon Supermaxi Yacht COMANCHE at 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race

August 21, 2015

Day 4 of the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race saw the leading yachts reach Plymouth, having completed the famous 603-nautical mile course from Cowes, Isle of Wight via Ireland’s legendary Fastnet rock. Jim Clark’s 100ft Maxi yacht Comanche by Hodgdon Yachts took monohull line honours, finishing only 4 minutes ahead of George David’s 88ft sailing yacht Rambler 88. Swiss yacht Spindrift 2 took the multihull line honours win.

100ft Supermaxi yacht Comanche by Hodgdon Yachts at full speed - Photo by Rolex Daniel Forster

100ft Supermaxi yacht Comanche by Hodgdon Yachts at full speed during the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race – Photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster

Sailing yacht Comanche finished this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race on August 19 at 05:22 in an elapsed time of 2 days 15h 42m 26s.

Sailing yacht Comanche at the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race - Photo by Rolex Kurt Arrigo

Sailing yacht Comanche at the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race – Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

A video showing the arrival of the leading yachts in Plymouth, released by RORC Racing, can be found here below:

 

Rolex Fastnet Race 2015 Underway

August 17, 2015

This year’s 46th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race is underway.  The record 356 yacht fleet started the famous 603-nautical mile offshore race to Plymouth via Ireland’s Fastnet rock yesterday, on Sunday, August 16, 2015. 

100ft superyacht Comanche under sail - Photo by Rolex Daniel Forster

100ft superyacht Comanche under sail – Photo by Rolex Daniel Forster

First to leave at midday, and opening proceedings at this year’s race, were the multihulls. They were followed by a series of sizeable starting groups, the largest including almost 90 yachts, and culminating with the fastest, as well as largest monohulls, last to leave at 13:40 BST.

It was an amazing spectacle, with the final start including the leading contenders for monohull line honours – Jim Clark’s 100ft superyacht Comanche (USA), fellow American George David’s sailing yacht Rambler 88 (USA) and Mike Slade’s 100ft charter yacht Leopard (GBR).

88ft sailing yacht Rambler 88 at full speed - Photo by Rolex Daniel Forster

88ft sailing yacht Rambler 88 at full speed – Photo by Rolex Daniel Forster

Rambler yacht appeared to have made a textbook start stealing a lead over her rivals. It was short lived as sailing yacht Comanche’s superior waterline length and sailpower was used to good effect to secure a solid advantage by the time line honour’s favourite exited the Solent just before 15:00 BST.

Record-Breaking Supermaxi Yacht WILD OATS XI to undergo major modifications

August 04, 2015

The most successful yacht that has ever contested the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race over its 70-year history, the record-breaking Australian supermaxi yacht Wild Oats XI is set to undergo major modifications, that will take 3 months to complete. Coming fresh from participating in the recent Transpac Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu, the 30,5m sailing yacht Wild Oats XI will be cut two metres from her stern, and subsequently, her forward sections will be extended by the same length. There will also be changes made to the hull configuration, sailplan, as well as rig. The new-look Wild Oats XI is scheduled to be sailing again in November 2015.

Supermaxi yacht Wild Oats XI under sail - Photo by Sharon Green and Ultimate Sailing

Supermaxi yacht Wild Oats XI under sail – Photo by Sharon Green and Ultimate Sailing

“Wild Oats XI’s profile will be considerably different when we have finished,” comments Sandy Oatley, who is coordinating the project for his father, the Wild Oats XI yacht’s owner, Bob Oatley. “She is now ten years old and in need of a new lease of life, especially if we are going to have any chance of beating the four other 100-footers we expect to see on the start line for the Hobart race in December, including the American yachts, Comanche and Rambler.”

At the moment, superyacht Wild Oats XI is sailing 4300 nautical miles back to Sydney from Hawaii after scoring the fastest elapsed time in the Transpac Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu and winning her division. She is expected to arrive in about two weeks and will then be taken from the water almost immediately so the work can start.

“Wild Oats XI’s result in the Transpac race was a fitting finale for the old girl as we know her,” comments Wild Oats XI yacht’s skipper, Mark Richards. “It’s time she had a makeover – a big one. “It’s a truly exciting project, one that reflects the competitive nature of Bob and Sandy Oatley. They want to give her every chance for taking her ninth line honours in the Hobart race. This is a massive undertaking for everyone involved, one we have to do to stay competitive. Our goal is to take a decade-old, proven, all-round yacht and make her leaner, lighter and faster. Lopping off the stern is relatively simple, but the extension to the bow is far more complex. To retain the right hull shape we will be cutting off the existing bow section just forward of the mast and rebuilding her from there.”

Wild Oats XI Yacht from above - Photo by Sharon Green and Ultimate Sailing

Wild Oats XI Yacht from above – Photo by Sharon Green and Ultimate Sailing

The first stage of the project will take place in a shed at Woolwich, on Sydney harbour, where sailing yacht Wild Oats XI docks. The mid-section will then be trucked to the McConaghys boatbuilding facility at Mona Vale, on Sydney’s northern beaches. McConaghy constructed Wild Oats XI there in 2005 and have, in recent weeks, prefabricated the yacht’s new bow and stern sections on site.

The plan for the modifications means that the position of the Wild Oats yacht’s mast, keel, rudder, daggerboards, hydrofoil wing and basic sailplan will remain unchanged as they are an integral part of the remaining internal hull chassis. However, the new look Wild Oats XI will also feature a longer bowsprit, a change that will allow for larger downwind and light-wind sails to be set. The strength of this new structure will also allow for the load tension on the outer forestay to be increased from seven to 12 tons.

“There are many other things that will change as a consequence of these modifications,” Richards added. “We have three new sails on order, and because the hull will now be lighter we will be able to increase stability by adding 400 kilograms to our keel ballast bulb.”

Not so apparent will be a change in profile for the existing daggerboards and horizontal hydrofoil wing fitted at the waterline, aft of the mast. This wing, which was installed more than a year ago, made a notable difference to Wild Oats XI superyacht’s downwind speed as it remarkably reduced the effect of nose diving. Design research on the new-look hull confirms that the combined influences of the increased buoyancy that will come via the longer bow section, and increased lift from the wing, will make the vessel even faster downwind.

Fantastic Royal Yacht Squadron’s Bicentenary International Regatta Comes to an End

August 03, 2015

The fantastic Royal Yacht Squadron’s Bicentenary International Regatta came to an end on Friday, July 31, 2015. The crews from the 24 clubs from all over the world celebrated all together the club’s 200th birthday.

A diverse fleet. The majestic charter yacht Eleonora and Bella Mente yacht at the RYS Bicentenary International Regatta - Photo by Paul Wyeth pwpictures.com

A diverse fleet. The majestic charter yacht Eleonora and Bella Mente yacht at the RYS Bicentenary International Regatta – Photo by Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Mike Broughton, navigator on sailing yacht Jethou comments on the conditions in the Western Solent “We started in a completely different breeze to the J Class who had started upwind to the east in a south easterly. Then the westerly came and went a bit as it fought with the conditions to the east.  Eventually a light sea breeze prevailed but there were some big holes making the race a bit of a lottery. Added to that there is a spring tide, up to 3 or 4 knots, so the racing was extremely tricky. The Race Committee could have cancelled the race today given the conditions but it was a good afternoon with lots of challenges and ultimately a good race.”

IRC Class 1’s course was shortened from five to four legs at Saltmead in the western Solent.  The winner of the race was Tom Siebel’s Swan 90 superyacht Odin, sailed well by her crew which benefitted from the talents of Peter Isler as Navigator, as well as Steve Hayles as strategist/trimmer. Overall honour for the week went to Tony Langley’s fantastically sailed TP52 Gladiator.

Velsheda was the winning J Class yacht in the RYS Bicentenary International Regatta. The three J's included Ranger and Lionheart, making a fine spectacle on the Solent during the week © Paul Wyeth pwpictures.com

Velsheda yacht was the winning J Class yacht in the RYS Bicentenary International Regatta. The three J’s included charter yacht Ranger and superyacht Lionheart, making a fine spectacle on the Solent during the week © Paul Wyeth pwpictures.com

In the J Class, superyacht Velsheda won all four races. Luxury yacht Lionheart and Velsheda ghosted down through a shortened course finish on the last day of the regatta, followed by charter yacht Ranger, with guest Sir Ben Ainslie on board, in a thrilling finale with only the tidal current helping them to the final winning guns of the week.

“It is great to win overall and to win on handicap today,” said Velsheda owner Ronald de Waal on the last day of the regatta, “That really capped it off for us. We were on the wrong side after the start and got back into it and so it is a nice feeling to win here. This is where the J’s heritage is, Velsheda’s home, and so it very special indeed to win here.”

The three grand Classics, charter yacht Eleonora, sailing yacht Mariquita and Sumurun yacht started in the same direction, and were given one long leg to a mark near the forts off Portsmouth, against the tide.  A breakage to the top of her mast cost Mariquita a position in this last race. The overall winner has become Robert Tobin’s 1914 built Sumurun, which gained two second and two firsts in the series.

Majestic J Class Sailing Yacht VELSHEDA wins class in Royal Yacht Squadron’s Bicentenary International Regatta’s Race Around the Island

July 30, 2015

Yesterday, July 29, 2015 saw the majestic J Class sailing yacht VELSHEDA win the class in the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Bicentenary International Regatta‘s Race Around the Island. Superyacht VELSHEDA was followed by luxury yacht LIONHEART, placing second.

J Class superyacht Velsheda © Beken of Cowes

J Class superyacht Velsheda © Beken of Cowes

Following a cancellation of the first two days of racing due to strong winds, the J Class fleet enjoyed the boisterous conditions around the outside of the island, with the breeze touching 20 knots at times.

Sailing yacht Lionheart © Beken of Cowes

Sailing yacht Lionheart © Beken of Cowes

“We were never really worried at any point,” said super yacht Velsheda’s Tom Dodson.It’s a good one to win and I think we did all the right things we should have.”

Luxury charter yacht Ranger © Beken of Cowes

Luxury charter yacht Ranger © Beken of Cowes

Superyacht Lionheart’s tactician, John Cutler, comments: “Velsheda sailed really well. They got the jump on us at the first shift after the start. I am kicking myself for that but I did say before that it could down to the first cross, the first shift and that pretty much was it.”

100-foot Supermaxi Yacht WILD OATS XI claims fastest time in TRANSPAC 2015

July 27, 2015

The 100-foot supermaxi yacht Wild Oats XI completed the 2225-nautical mile Transpac Race from Los Angeles in impressive fashion. Sailing yacht Wild Oats XI was the second yacht of 60 to finish the course, and the fastest to do so.

•Hawaii in sight Wild Oats XI heads for Honolulu and the finish in the Transpac Race 2015. (Image credit Sharon GreenUltimate Sailing)

Hawaii in sight Wild Oats XI yacht heads for Honolulu and the finish in the Transpac Race 2015. (Image credit Sharon GreenUltimate Sailing)

“What a machine; what a ride; what a crew,” commented Roy P. Disney as Wild Oats XI docked inside Honolulu’s harbour. Disney, who lives in Los Angeles, has 21 Transpacs to his credit. He entered the yacht in this year’s race in conjunction with the Australian owner, Bob Oatley.

•With every possible sail set, Wild Oats XI heads into the Hawaiian sunset (Image credit: Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing)

With every possible sail set, Wild Oats XI heads into the Hawaiian sunset (Image credit: Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing)

A proud and happy Bob Oatley was on the dock to welcome the team. As much as the 87-year-old wished to participate in the race, his health prevented him from doing so. Being on the dock to salute the success was the next best thing.

Fabulous Porto Cervo in Sardinia to host 26th Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in September

July 16, 2015

The fascinating Porto Cervo yacht charter destination, nestled in Italy’s Sardinia, will host the 26th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup from September 6 to 12, 2015. Organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), the popular Mediterranean regatta is celebrating a 30-year partnership with its title sponsor, Rolex.

Sir Lindsay Owen Jones' superyacht MAGIC CARPET CUBED (GBR) rounding Mortoriotto - Image by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Sir Lindsay Owen Jones’ superyacht MAGIC CARPET CUBED (GBR) rounding Mortoriotto – Image by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

The race will be attended by a wide array of contrasting and beguiling monohull Maxi yachts, impressive Supermaxis, the majestic lines of the Wally yachts, as well as a group of all-out racing Maxi 72s.

Among the 2015 fleet is the exciting new Jim Clark’s 100-ft Maxi yacht Comanche. Led by skipper Ken Read, Comanche will undoubtedly attract plenty of attention during the event, well known for its excellent race management and a sailing environment revered throughout the world for its fabulous scenery, navigational demands and potential for challenging conditions.

CAOL ILA R (USA) leading SHOCKWAVE (USA) upwind

Sailing yacht CAOL ILA R (USA) leading SHOCKWAVE (USA) upwind – Image by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

“It’s a fantastic event; the combination of Sardinia, Porto Cervo, Rolex, great organisation on the water and on the shore…,” says regular competitor, Bouwe Bekking, “… it’s why these owners come back every year.”

The sixth running of the Maxi 72 Rolex World Championship, previously Mini Maxi, is expected to be one of the highlights of the week. Of the former champions only Hap Fauth’s sailing yacht Bella Mente (USA), winner in 2012, is expected to attend. The other editions were claimed by Niklas Zennström’s formidable luxury yacht Rán 2 (2010, ‘11, ‘13) and Andres Soriano’s yacht Alegre (2014), now owned by Swiss yachtsman Alex Schaerer and known as Caol Ila R (USA).

Eric Bijlsma's FIREFLY (NED) sailing in coastal mode - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Eric Bijlsma’s super yacht FIREFLY (NED) sailing in coastal mode – Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

There is the all-new entry in the form of MOMO (IVB), owned by Dieter Schoen, while the crews of Sir Peter Ogden’s yacht Jethou (GBR) and Roberto Tomasini Grinover’s sailing yacht Robertissima III (ITA), previously known as Rán 2, boast extensive Porto Cervo experience.

“This is always top pick of where we like to sail around the world, the yacht club is always welcoming, it is high end in terms of race management, says renowned sailor Brad Butterworth, tactician on Jethou yacht. “No place in the world is as beautiful as this to go yacht racing.”

Claus-Peter Offen's superyacht Y3K (GER) sailing upwind - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Claus-Peter Offen’s superyacht Y3K (GER) sailing upwind – Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

The Supermaxi class is destined for yachts measuring upwards of 100-ft, typically designed to both race as well as cruise. Last year’s star performer was Eric Bijlsma’s 35m/115-ft superyacht Firefly while the impressive 66,7m (218’) mega yacht Hetairos (CAY), the largest ever yacht to participate in the event, is expected to return to the competition after a three year absence.

Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s superyacht Magic Carpet Cubed (GBR) will attend the race, competing in the Wally class. Having recently won the Giraglia Rolex Cup, she will start as favourite to repeat her exploits of last year. The Wally fleet will also include Jean Charles Decaux’s luxury yacht J One (GBR) and charter yacht Y3K (GER), owned by International Maxi Association (IMA) President Claus-Peter Offen.

Throughout the week, there will be a rich social programme, and following five days of racing, the individual class winners will be rewarded for their brilliance on the water with Rolex timepieces during the final prizegiving at the YCCS, partner club of Rolex since 1984.

New monohull 24 hour distance record set by striking 100ft Supermaxi Yacht COMANCHE by Hodgdon Yachts

July 14, 2015

The striking 100-foot supermaxi yacht COMANCHE by Hodgdon Yachts has set a new monohull 24 hour distance record at the 2015 Transatlantic Race. The record of superyacht COMANCHE is still to ratified off the boats tracker by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC).

100ft sailing superyacht COMANCHE by Hodgdon Yachts at full speed

100ft sailing superyacht COMANCHE by Hodgdon Yachts at full speed

Update off COMANCHE yacht from Ken Read: “What started off as a very frustrating light air Transatlantic Race 2015 has turned to gold for all of us aboard Hodgdon’s 100 foot super-maxi Comanche. Approximately 1300 miles out of Newport, Rhode Island in the North Atlantic we set up underneath an approaching low pressure. We’ve had a phenomenal stretch of strong wind and reasonably flat sea which has propelled us to what we believe is a new record for the greatest distance covered by a monohull in a single 24-hour period.”

The previous 24-hour monohull distance record was set by Ericsson 4 in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 race. They covered 596,6 nautical miles during Leg 1 between Alicante, Spain and Cape Town, South Africa with an average speed of 24,85 knots.

“We believe the distance will be at least 620 nautical miles. Hodgdon Comanche is still on the same course and the distance could still grow as the record calculation is made off the most miles in 24 hours. We are currently going faster now than we were at the start of the run,” added Ken Read.  

RSB Rigging Solutions Un-Step 55m VITTERS Superyacht MARIE

July 09, 2015

Last week saw the RSB Rigging Solutions team un-step the rigs of the 55-metre VITTERS superyacht MARIE, the overall winner of the 2015 Superyacht Cup Palma. Luxury sailing yacht MARIE reached Palma last month, and went on to win Europe’s longest running superyacht regatta.

55m VITTERS superyacht MARIE being un-stepped by RSB

The rigs of the 55m VITTERS superyacht MARIE being un-stepped by RSB

Since taking the silverware the masts have come out and luxury yacht MARIE has been lifted out of the water in the STP yard in Palma for a summer refit. During the refit, RSB will be dealing with her full rigging refit program that will include the modification of spreaders, replacement of the PBO standing rigging with Southern Spars EC6 cables, as well as a full repaint of the spars and booms.

The RSB team will be teaming up with the MARIE yacht’s crew throughout the summer months to make sure that the work goes to plan and is on schedule, allowing the masts to be re-stepped once the vessel returns in the water in September.

Luxury sailing yacht MARIE

The rigs of luxury sailing yacht MARIE being un-stepped by RSB

Steve Branagh, the managing director of RSB, comments:It’s always a pleasure to sail and work with the talented crew onboard Marie. By replacing the current PBO rigging with Southern’s EC6 we will see an improvement in the way the boat sails which will help us to maintain her already outstanding performance and keep her competitive in a super yacht fleet that continues to get faster and gets more competitive every year.”

Further charter yachts built by Vitters.