Hoek Design is celebrating an exceptional year of achievements by its sailing yachts during this most memorable of racing seasons. From the summer’s historic J-class events in England to the Bucket in St Barths, in regattas in Antigua, Palma and Holland, vessels from the boards of Hoek Design have been crossing the line in remarkable style.
“At Hoek Design we have always placed a great emphasis on performance via velocity prediction software and computational fluid dynamics software,” says Andre Hoek. “Crucially, however, this design optimisation in the virtual world is combined with the tremendous practical racing experience of every member of our design team. You’ll be hard pressed to find any major regatta that does not feature Hoek Design personnel serving as racing crew on the boats from our stable.”
While Hoek designs have always featured highly on the winner’s rostrum, as well as being among most people’s favourites in terms of looks, the success stories of 2012 have made for a record year for the Dutch design and naval architecture office. First up was the triumph in March at the St Barths Bucket of the 125ft schooner This is Us, which won the overall regatta in her class and against all the other 45 participating yachts. Sailing yachty This is Us entered this event on the back of a very successful racing season in 2011, but in St Barths she left much larger yachts trailing in her wake on the water.
Similar achievements were then notched up at April’s Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta by the 78ft Truly Classic Drumfire, which had also had a very enjoyable 2011 having won the Palma Superyacht Cup. If that was impressive, sailing yacht Drumfire‘s performance in Antigua was a revelation as she triumphed in the Spirit of Tradition Racing Class in her class by an overwhelming margin in terms of both points and performance.
Here too, significantly larger yachts than S/Y Drumfire were beaten not only on handicap but also on line honours. The event in Antigua also saw the 115ft Race Classic Firefly come second overall in the Spirit of Tradition Class while the 208ft schooner yacht Athos achieved fourth spot in her class.
It was back to Europe for the next round of impressive displays during the Superyacht Cup in Palma in June. Both the Truly Classic 90 charter yacht Atalante and yacht Firefly came a strong second in their respective classes against very stiff competition. And Atalante also won the special Hoek Design Cup race, which was competed for by the five Hoek-designed boats present in Palma.
The eyes of the luxury yacht racing world then turned to Great Britain where the inaugural Superyacht Cup Cowes was held in July in celebration of the London 2012 Olympics.
Now it was the turn of the mighty sailing yacht Athos to impress the crowds as she achieved her first victory. This was a great reward for the dedication of her owner and crew as they ensured that superyacht Athos made headlines not only for being the world’s largest schooner of her kind but also due to her success on the race course.
The pinnacle of this year’s racing calendar was undoubtedly the J-class races that followed in Falmouth and the Solent. In addition to its enormous historical significance, the events were also a major milestone for Hoek Design as the regatta line-up included the first of the new generation of super-Js to have been extensively optimised and designed by the office. Lionheart turned in an exceptional performance for a yacht in her first racing season, winning the Kings Hundred Guinea Cup both on line honours and on handicap. She also came within a whisker of taking home the Corinthian Kings Cup in a series of races that will live long in the memory of the many thousands of spectators who lined the shores.
To place S/Y Lionheart’s achievement in perspective, the Hundred Guineas Cup is the famous prize that America won in 1852 and the forerunner of the America’s Cup. The race won by sailing yacht Lionheart in July 2012 marked the first occasion that J-class yachts had competed around the Isle of Wight since the 1930s.
There was still one more great moment to complete an amazing summer of success for the Hoek Design team after they returned home to the Netherlands. Danielle, a traditional Dutch ‘Lemsteraak’ sailing yacht launched in 1993, came first in the Open Dutch Championships for the third time. Although the Hoek Design office has dominated the racing scene in these types of yachts for the past quarter of a century, Danielle’s win represented a sweet victory for a 19-year-old vessel competing against brand-new racing yachts from other design bureaus.
“This win was the icing on the cake of an exceptional year for our office,” concludes Andre Hoek. “It gives us all enormous inspiration to continue to create yachts of all shapes and sizes for owners who love to combine their passion for sailing with a genuinely competitive performance on the world’s regatta courses.”