TRIBE, GUNBOAT 62 6

Yachting World - - 50 Yachts -

“IN ALL THE OFF­SHORE BOATS THAT FOL­LOWED YOU CAN SEE A BIT OF ‘BLACK BETTY’”

ABN Amro One looked at the con­cept of the boat dif­fer­ently: no spin­naker pole, furl­ing No.4 Jibs, twin rud­ders, lazy­jacks, snuffers on spin­nakers… They all went from be­ing equip­ment that was only used on sin­gle-handed boats to our team think­ing it could make us faster around the world, day in day out.”

Ian Walker, win­ner of the last Volvo Ocean Race, re­calls: “This gen­er­a­tion of boats smashed the pre­vi­ous 24-hour records and made the 600 mile day pos­si­ble.”

“ABN Amro was quite rad­i­cal struc­turally but the key thing was she pri­ori­tised sta­bil­ity over any­thing else – such as wet­ted sur­face area. The Farr boats were lower wet­ted sur­face area and even started out with spin­naker poles! Asym­met­ric spin­nakers meant sail­ing higher an­gles and more of­ten need­ing right­ing mo­ment. ABN Amro One also had twin rud­ders and more tran­som im­mer­sion, which meant it was slow in light winds but fast at high speed. There was some doubt when it was last in the first in-port races and be­cause much of the race is in light winds, but it was so fast reach­ing that it negated any weak­nesses.”

The black boat went on to win six of the nine off­shore legs. San­der­son adds: “In all the Volvo 70s that where built – and to be hon­est in all the off­shore boats that have fol­lowed (Ram­bler, Co­manche etc) – you can see a bit of ‘Black Betty’ as we nick­named her.”

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