VIDEO: Guided tour to TeamOrigin 1851

Boat captain Nick Bice gives us an insight into the British AC's team new TP52

Wednesday May 12th 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: Portugal
New race boats are such a scarcity in 2010 that it is with some reverence we step aboard the brand new Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed TeamOrigin TP52 built by Salthouse Boats in New Zealand. While those who are intimate with the TP52 class would say that the British Cup team’s first all-new boat is ‘radical’, in fact the TP52 box rule is now so tight that to the untrained eye seeing the differences requires much scrutiny. The most evident difference between TeamOrigin 1851 and the rest of the Audi MedCup fleet is in her forefoot at the bow which has a chine - a shape not a million miles from that of a Star. “We did a bow like that when I was working with Prada in 2001,” explains designer Juan K. “We changed one of the Young America boats like that and it worked pretty good. The idea is to get length when the boat heels and if you design a boat heeled, you quite easily get to that sort of shape. On top of that I believe it is better through waves - so it is a double gain. I don’t think there is any loss downwind. In heavy air downwind it is a gain. So I think that bow is a nice feature. Back then in the Cup I wasn’t sailing Stars, so I can’t remember where I got that idea.” The TeamOrigin boat’s appendages also differ from the class norm. The bulb is longer than the ones fitted on the other TP52s and controversially has winglets fitted at the aft end. According to Juan K, the reason the bulb is longer is because it was designed to have the winglets, which are there he says “to help balance the boat”. The keel foil profile is also different with a longer chord but a narrower section. The rudder is also substantially larger than the norm. The keel and the hull are such that the team are already aware that their boat is strong upwind but lacking pace downwind. “We haven’t come across anyone who is faster yet upwind,” says Mike Sanderson. “There are some who are faster at changing gears while we are still learning how to sail a TP. All the R&D we did into the class, holding a lane was a big part of it. And the boat is going nicely upwind. The wings are there to get leeway down a little bit and we think we are doing that. But things are all well and good - we have a click upwind and we are missing a click downwind.” Juan K adds: “This is the problem you have when designing your first TP52 against people who are doing their fifth or sixth generation. I don’t have that feeling between upwind and downwind ratios. We built it too much for upwind, but it is no big deal to correct it. We have the biggest rudder, the biggest keel, the biggest bulb and we have winglets and all that kills it [downwind performance], so doing better downwind, making up a lower wetted surface bulb and a smaller rudder isn’t going to hurt upwind, but it is going to be much better downwind. The idea is to improve where you are weak - downwind for us - because upwind we are really good. There is no problem there. I am happy because it is a lot easier problem to solve when you are fast upwind and slow downwind than the other way around.” Generally Juan is pleased with the result so far, the strong upwind performance of the boat being not just keel related - the hull shape too, which performs well in waves. While there are clearly benefits of building a 2010 generation boat – TeamOrigin have this year's only new TP52 - directly to the newly updated class rule, whereas the rest of the fleet have had to modify theirs, there are also a surprising number of disadvantages too. The main one is that they have had to build the new boat to new construction limits stipulated in the 2010 TP52 rule which are based on the new Germanische Lloyd and ISO standards. The end result is that new generation TP52s are substantially stronger than their predecessors. This is no bad thing – the British TP52 for example could probably cope with going offshore and her potential to be ‘IRCed’ in the future is substantially improved compared to the older boats. But she is up against a fleet that haven’t had to be built to these stringent standards and as a result the British AC team’s TP52 has a heavier hull, deck and structure, to the tune of around 130-150kg, reckons Juan. “Our deck is about 50-60kg heavier,” states Kouyoumdjian, who is also unhappy about this inequity in the fleet, as well as the bulb winglets being outlawed. “So if that is the case, how is a boat like Quantum Racing allowed to do a new deck and not respect any rules, not even the TP52 rules from last year? Their deck is as light as they could make it regardless of weight per sqm or ISO or Germanische Lloyd rules. Up to 10 days ago we didn’t know if we complied with Germanische Lloyd! So we do all that and every idea we have gets hammered, yet these other guys go and build a deck the way they want. Why is there such a difference?” Building to the Germanische Lloyd rule for example has also resulted in their having to have a larger, thicker rudder. Previously the TP52 fleet had to comply with the ABS standards which paid no heed to this. So the TeamOrigin design team had to submit their rudder to Germanische Lloyd for approval while there was and still is no requirement for the old boats to undergo similar. According to TP52 Class Manager and Chief Measurer, Rob Whelan, the GL standard particularly affects the construction materials that can be used in new builds. While the modulus of carbon fibre used remains the same as before one material prohibited now is Kevlar Nomex as a core material. This should reduce materials costs, but according to Greg Salthouse, who’s company built TeamOrigin 1851, in fact this isn’t the case. “We had to use standard Nomex, which is good for us because the other stuff is a pain in the neck [to use]. They were trying to bring the cost down a bit, but it hasn’t brought down the cost of the build down with all the added structure you have to put in the boat.” Skin thicknesses requirements have always featured in the TP52 rule and these exceed the ISO and ABS standards, but in the latest iteration of the rule they also apply to the deck. Whelan explains: “Because we are not regulated on righting moment by VCG from next year onwards, we have to be much more strict on how the boats are built, otherwise they are built on minimum weight just to get the biggest possible bulb. So we try to make the boats as even as possible in two ways: We are very strict in describing how you can build a boat and we also put a maximum weight on the bulb and the keel so there is not so much advantage on being light as it would putting it on the bulb. That was also the problem with the last VO70 rule and they also corrected it this way. You still have lead inside [internal ballast] then, if you are a little bit light, but it is less of a bonus, so you’d rather put it somewhere in the form of carbon.” Typically the TP52s are still carrying a huge amount of internal ballast – around 700-800kg, but Whelan says this is around 100kg down from last year through the latest rule. Next year the internal ballast will be pretty much removed altogether as new bulbs are fitted to the new generation of boats, allowing hulls to be lighter too. In terms of the rest of the new TeamOrigin TP52 – well you can see for yourself in our guided tour to the boat with boat captain and pitman Nick Bice. You need Flash Player 8 or higher to view video content with the Kit Digital Flash Player. Click here to download and install it.    

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