Crosbie Lorimer was in Sydney before the start of the Sydney-Hobart 2016 and recorded a short video from on board CQS.
CQS (formerly the 90-footer Nicorette) is something of a ‘back to the future’ hybrid in the supermaxi world, sporting cutting-edge foil technology – untested on this scale of yacht to date – on a 12-year-old platform that from differing angles looks alternately radically futuristic or manifestly retrofitted.
But that was very much the mission for CQS, as watch captain Chris Main explained: “We haven’t spent a radical amount of money, but by doing this we’re trying to push the boat and give it another life.”
The challenges presented to the design team of creating a genuinely competitive supermaxi from the Simonis Voogd-designed 2004 Hobart line honours winner were significant; more challenging than for the Wild Oats XI 2015 rebuild, the latter having had the advantage of being continuously developed and raced over a decade.
The ingenuity of the design response led by Brett Bakewell-White is evident in a number of areas, not least in the addition of four metres to the bow section, while still retaining the original deck.
Nicorette’s original narrow hull at 4.7 metres presented perhaps the most substantial test when trying to increase the hull form stability required to carry the proposed cloud of sails forward of what is a powerful but relatively short mast – some eight metres shorter than Comanche’s.
The rebuild has added a combination of features intended to achieve this, including the deck spreader wings which widen the shroud base and reduce compression on the five-spreader Hall Spars rig (the original reworked with an additional 50kg of carbon), the DSS foil which adds hull stability and the flared winglets on the boat’s stern, which maximise crew righting moment on the rail while also permitting wide headsail sheeting angles.
Designed by Brett Bakewell-White, the DSS aboard CQS is designed to increase stability and induce lift (at 24.5 tonnes CQS is some eight tonnes lighter than Wild Oats XI, so lift is less critical). Pitching should also be less in a seaway.
Indeed, so effective are these DSS foils at reducing wetted surface – theoretically up to 100 tonnes of lift on CQS – that the flaps (trim tabs at the rear of the foil) were added to limit lift to less than 50 tonnes, a threshold at which the hugely increased righting moment loads could potentially induce rig failure.