The new Reichel Pugh and McConaghy collaboration, RP56 Vasara, offers superyacht focus and attention at a production/mid size yacht level.
Were you in the position to order a one-off cruiser racer to the highest spec, it would make sense to involve one of the most successful design and build combination teams in the business. Which is precisely what the owner of the new RP56 Vasara, a spicy new 56ft fast cruiser, did when commissioning a custom yacht to suit both family cruising and competitive inshore and offshore racing from San Francisco.
Collaborations between Reichel Pugh and McConaghy spans 35 years and includes line-honours smashing maxis such as the 100-footers Alfa Romeo and Wild Oats XI. Then factor in that structural engineering was led by Pure Design and interior styling by Design Unlimited and you realise the elite level of such a custom project – it’s superyacht focus and attention at a production/mid size yacht level.
The result with Vasara is a powerful and beamy yet elegant and modern design, with long fixed bowsprit and low freeboard. The smooth raised coachroof line helps to buy accommodation volume and has coamings that extend aft enough to offer some cockpit protection and help hide lines below decks.
The goal was to create a racing yacht that can be cruised or, trickier still, a cruiser that can race competitively, hence some clever solutions were required. A single fixed backstay is used for cruising, while in race mode this is swapped for a split backstay to suit a square-top mainsail. Elsewhere on deck, cruising features such as a cockpit dodger and bimini awning are removable, as is the anchor arm and chain box to strip weight for racing.
“The interiors were definitely the main challenge,” thinks Eric Desjardins, general manager of McConaghy Australia. “We actually built them out of carbon prepreg and Nomex, clad with a thin veneer or painted to the highest level of finish. This allowed interiors to be as light as possible.” The layout also needed to suit the dual role of the yacht, so, for example, the two aft guest cabins can convert to race crew accommodation with fold down pipe cots. Elsewhere the interior is bright and inviting, featuring a master cabin forward and an open plan saloon linking to the galley.
Desjardins tells us that a direct female mould was used, “as it minimises the amount of fairing (and extra weight) when compared to traditional male moulding techniques.” Vasara is a prepreg carbon build which complies with ISO Ocean Category A ratings, and weight calculations were strictly adhered to. A lift keel from Italian specialists APM helps give sailing stability in its 4.1m lowered position, yet provide access to harbours when raised to 2.4m.
As it was designed and built during Covid travel restrictions, the owner’s first sight of the boat was during sea trials in Sydney, Desjardins explains: “You should have seen the grin on his face when he walked down the pier and saw the yacht that first time!”
RP56 Vasara specifications
LOA: 17.09m / 56ft 1in
Beam: 5.15m / 16ft 11in
Draught: 2.4-4.0m / 7ft 10in-13ft 1in
Displacement: 11,000kg / 24,251lb
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