Block Island Race Week Recap | By: Ryan ScottMacDougalls’ is excited to share a very cool recap, written by our Rigging Director, Ryan Scott – who recently had the opportunity to crew aboard the brand new Hinckley Yachts Bermuda 50’ at the 2015 Block Island Race Week. See write up below!
“Recently I had the opportunity to race in the Storm Trysail Clubs 50th Anniversary Block Island Race Week. Always one of my favorite events, this year was no different with five great days of racing including the always memorable Around the Island Race. Having raced in this event for 16 years now, this one will go down as one of my favorites for multiple reasons, including the Around the Island Race, starting in over 20 knots of breeze and finishing in over 30 knots. Also, I would be sailing on the brand new Hinckley Bermuda 50, Watermark. Besides being a stunningly beautiful boat, Watermark has a boatload, literally, of high tech gear that make it a dream to race and cruise. With the boat being brand new, there was a lot of work to be done during the practice days leading up to the event, as well as before and after racing each day. Small things such as adjusting strop lengths to larger repairs like hydraulic and electric winch repairs.
Watermark’s hull construction, spars and bowsprit are carbon fiber works of art. Peter Smith from Hinckley was on board as the boat builder support. The carbon Southern Spars mast and fiber rigging is a grand prix design, and we had Southern Spars Project Manager and pro sailor Chuck Brown on board as main trimmer. No expense was spared on the sail inventory, carefully designed by North Sails. North’s President, and Volvo Ocean Race / Americas Cup veteran, Ken Read served as our crew’s Tactician. The mainsail and four upwind headsails were 3DI sails, which performed incredibly. The boat is equipped with a flush deck furler and carbon fiber headstay. The racing sails were hank on sails, with the light and medium using webbing and buckle hanks, and the heavy using bone loops. Watermark also had a Code Zero which utilized a halyard lock in the mast and a two to one tackling on the sprit to maximize luff tension. It also used a Karver furler. The mainsail was a square top sail with an ingenious headboard car design which allowed the sail to lock into the headboard car as the two to one halyard was hoisting, eliminating the need for a crew member to go up in a chair to lock it into the car. The asymmetrical spinnakers ran on masthead halyards and tack lines to the end of the sprit.
Additional deck configuration and rigging features worth noting, which are unique to Watermark’s construction, are: A five button control panel on each side of the cockpit. These buttons controlled the jib leads in and out, as well as fore and aft. The fifth button controlled the primary winch third gear, or fine tune. The neat part was that each panel controlled the functions for the other side of the boat, allowing the headsail trimmer to sit on the weather side of the boat going upwind, while controlling the leeward side functions, which the sail was utilizing. The pit, primary, mainsheet and split topmast backstay winches are Harken electric winches, which are two speed, with a third overdrive speed to really spin them quickly making tacking and jibing quick and easy.
The keel is a lifting keel, also controlled by hydraulics which allows the boat to have a depth of 12.5’ while under sail, but can be pulled up to 7.5’ when entering shallower harbors, where a shallow draw is needed. Hand pump control hydraulics control the boom vang and outhaul on one panel making it very easy for the main trimmer to use.
Although we raced in IRC, which the initial rating did not seem to favor, we had a great time, sailing well and even achieving speeds of over 22 knots. The boat is already in the process of getting some upgrades to make it lighter and easier to use, including Dyneema lifelines and Dyneema steering cables which will be completed early August. The owner has already had a joy daysailing and cruising the boat and it has shown it true capability as a racer cruiser. The Bermuda 50’ is definitely not your grandfathers Hinckley! We look forward to racing on this boat in future events, so keep an eye out for us when you are out on the water!”
Block Island Race Week Recap | By: Ryan Scott w