Georgia Racing


The new 52 - the first 4 months

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Father and daughter (Jim and Georgia Farmer) returning from Roberton Is. on day 2 of Bay of Islands RegattaThe new Botin and Carkeek 52 Georgia was launched in early October last year and has been raced consistently since.   Results to date are excellent with the promise, hopefully, of better to come.

After a Wednesday night race debut in a strong breeze in which the new boat got over 20 knots downwind, she lined up for the Coastal Classic, untested and, like every new boat, with teething problems still be sorted out.   The annual race from Auckland to Russell in the Bay of Island (120 miles) was marked by a strong following southerly wind which carried the fleet through up beyond Kawau on spinnaker/gennaker before the angle of the breeze tightened with a change for many boats (including Georgia) to jib top.   Georgia, apart from her regular crew, was also privileged to have Chris Dickson on board to share with tactics and helming.   The race was dominated by Neville Crichton's 100 foot maxi Alfa Romeo, which shattered the race record.   Georgia was the 3rd monohull to finish, less than 3 minutes behind the 50 foot canter down-wind flyer the Elliot designed Ran Tan. Wired, Rob Bassett's proven 52 canter, was the 4th monohull.   All in all, a promising start, notwithstanding the boat jumping across an unexpected rock outcrop at low tide in the Bay.  To arrive in Russell before dusk was a first for Georgia Racing!

More Wednesday night and Friday afternoon racing up to Christmas followed.  Results were good and a lot was learned about the characteristics of the boat.   A decision was taken at this time to build a new bulb, 150 kilos heavier than the original one and to place it slightly more forward on the fin.   Results of this exercise seem to have been worthwhile, increasing both the stability and the upwind speed of the boat.   A striking feature of the boat is undoubtedly its stability.  Downwind at speed has so far seen no sign of the boat pitching or rolling and indeed the faster it goes the more stable it seems.

In January, we sought and obtained an IRC certificate and have been given a rating of 1.356, which compares favourably with the ratings of most other recent similar sized boats in Australia, Europe and the US, including both new boats built with IRC as the primary goal and boats which have been taken from the TP52 circuit and modified for IRC.

From 21-23 January, Georgia raced in the annual Bay of Islands Race Week, competing in IRC Division A.   Stiff competition came from Wired and also from Limit, a Reichel-Pugh 63 which had come over from Australia for the event.  Limit was fresh rom winning the Audi IRC regatta in Sydney before Christmas and was therefore an excellent measuring rod for the new Georgia.  On the first day, Limit won all 3 races with Georgia 2nd each time.  On the second day, it was 2 firsts for Limit and one first for Georgia.  On the third day, with the water flatter and the breeze stronger Georgia won 2 races with Limit winning the third.  Overall therefore a win for Limit over Georgia by 3 points.  A feature of the racing was however the closeness of the IRC results with sometimes only a few seconds between the 2 boats.

Chris Dickson helmed Limit and Georgia had the assistance of Dean Barker, Jeremy Lomas and James Dagg  from Team New Zealand.   They have each provided invaluable advice, based on their experience with the ETNZ TP52 (built from the same hull mould) which won the Audi Med Cup TP52 series last year), as to how Georgia might be tweaked to improve performance further.

Next regatta is the New Zealand IRC Championships conducted by the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington from 12-14 February, followed by the BMW regatta in Auckland at the end of February.  Chris Dickson is expected to be back on the boat for these events.