Can the recently launched DSS foil-equipped CQS beat the field of Maxi class favourites in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2016?
Some 90 yachts are entered for this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The 72nd edition of the 628-mile classic, which starts on Boxing Day, is one of the most important races on the calendar and in recent years has become inextricably linked with the Oatley family and their trusty record slayer Wild Oats XI, which has taken line honours eight times. This continually adapted 30m (100ft) supermaxi will be on the start line again this year – she has yet to miss a race since launching in 2005.
Last year’s overall winner Paul Clitheroe returns with his TP52 Balance, and the field includes three Volvo 70s and the 80ft Beau Geste. The favourites for line honours will be one of the four supermaxis: Wild Oats, Scallywag from Hong Kong, Perpetual Loyal and the recently relaunched CQS.
CQS makes an entrance
It is the latter boat, a much-modified and extended 98-footer belonging to double line honours winner Ludde Ingvall, that is the talk of the race so far.
The first pictures of what was once the 90-footer Nicorette show a yacht that has been given a new lease of life by New Zealand designer Brett Bakewell-White, following some radical surgery at Southern Ocean Marine in Tauranga. She has had 3m of hull added to her forward sections, and now sports a striking dreadnought bow and 4m bowsprit.
CQS has also been retrofitted with Infiniti Yachts’s Dynamic Stability System (DSS) lateral foils to give her narrow hull shape the extra form stability required to be competitive today. “DSS is adding a new lease of life to boats like this for a fraction of the cost of new boats,” said Infiniti’s Gordon Kay.
CQS has prominent deck spreader wings for the shroud bases and hiking wings aft for the crew. Her comparatively skinny beam of 4.5m has its advantages – she reportedly weighs only 21 tonnes.
However, line honours would be a tall order for a newly launched yacht. As we went to press she still had to undergo commissioning and sail trials, the delivery from New Zealand to Australia and tune up – all within six weeks.
Bakewell-White told us, “Line honours is not something that has ever been a stated goal or objective. Everybody just assumes it. CQS is shorter, smaller, less powerful, and has way less sail area [than the bigger boats].”