The March issue of Yachting World is on sale now
Like a racehorse so famous it has a nickname, the Australian supermaxi Wild Oats XI is known colloquially as WOXI, and in the last decade this big beast has successfully seen off successive contenders to line honours in the epic Sydney-Hobart. In making it a record eighth win this year, she outstripped one of the most interesting new yachts in a year or two: the 100ft über-lightweight, mega-widebodied Comanche, built for one of the US’s richest men.
Good story? You bet. This contest had all the right ingredients: technology, national pride – and money, of course. This month we look at the two yachts tricked out with every development and device that could make them faster, and get on board Comanche for the low-down. She didn’t win this time, but next?
Something else I recommend reading, because it is the stuff of your most adventurous dreams, is Skip Novak’s winter cruise and climbing expedition to South Georgia in his 72ft Pelagic Australis. The temperature was so cold on the voyage south that the furling gear and windlass were frozen into solid lumps of ice that had to be chipped off with a hammer, and curtains of sea spray formed on the sheets. And then there was the mission to conquer three unclimbed peaks. It’s a fabulous story and stirring stuff.
This last year saw a great crop of new boats, from aluminium go-anywhere cruisers to sporty cruiser-racers and one 44-footer we loved so much despite her craziness that we dubbed her ‘bonkers but fun’. Toby Hodges gives his summary of the best new yachts around, the five deserving winners of the European Yacht of the Year awards.
Imagine Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg handing over the keys of their race cars and only checking back before driving off. This is effectively what’s happening to the Volvo 65 one-designs, with a revolutionary centralised maintenance programme in port designed to cut costs and keep the playing field levels. Matthew Sheahan reports.
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