Friday, July 24, 2009

BMW Oracle Racing launch version 2 of their BOR 90

BOR 90 sailing again with new bows. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget, used with permission.

The America's Cup Deed of Gift match continues to feature plenty of legal action in the courts. But more interestingly, both teams now have boats on the water - so now we can see what the designers are thinking. Alinghi have launched an enormous catamaran (fitting the 90 foot length by 90 foot beam "box rule") in Switzerland and BMW Oracle Racing have re-launched their BOR 90 trimaran in the US with wave-piercing bows on the floats, giving a radical new look to the boat. BMW Oracle Racing may still launch a new boat (or modify their current boat) once the location of the Deed of Gift match races is announced, but for now we can enjoy these shots of their behemoth undergoing a fresh round of sea trials.
New wave-piercing bows on BOR 90. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget, used with permission.

Wave-piercing bows like these have become popular on 16-foot A-Class catamarans, where they are said to reduce pitching in choppy conditions. Does this mean the BMW Oracle Racing team are already making some assumptions about the location of the Deed of Gift races (somewhere choppy), or are they trying several options to gather data for their final boat?

For comparison, the original bows on BOR 90. Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget, used with permission.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Designs: Lots of fun for very little money with the Maora

What is the lowest cost production trimaran available for sale today?

A flock of Maoras, showing some of the rig options and colours available. Image © Nautylys, used with permission.

Well, it would be hard to beat the Maora, a new design by Stephan Vallet being produced by Nautylys in France. Built for fun and simplicity, the Maora is being targeted for sale to schools and resorts, where it offers ease of sailing and peace of mind (against capsize) for beginners. The base version of the Maora trimaran with a 5m² (53.8 ft²) semi-battened sail is offered for sale in Europe for €1,590, and the sport version with a larger 6m² (64.6 ft²) fully-battened sail is offered for €1,990 (plus delivery from the factory), making this the least expensive production trimaran of which I’m aware.
The Maora is designed for simplicity. All the major components (main hull, floats, “nacelle” and rudder/tiller) are roto-molded from high-impact thermoplastic resin. The aluminium tube beams which support the floats are locked to the main hull by a “nacelle” which is bolted to integrally-molded bolts in the main hull. The “nacelle” also provides an anchor-point for the mainsheet and wings which spread outboard of the main hull, forming a generous seat on each side. Each of the main components can be molded in 9 different colours, so you can choose a boat of one colour, or mix and match all you like.

Low-cost fun! Image © Nautylys, used with permission.

The un-stayed rig comes in 3 versions: the “Classic” rig of 5m² (53.8ft²) with horizontal top-battens; the “School” rig also 5m² with vertical top-battens enabling sail area to be reduced by rolling around the mast; and finally the larger fully-battened square-topped “Sport” rig of 6m². The mast drops into a tube molded into the hull fore-deck “Laser-style”. A simple vang keeps the boom under control, and simple down-haul and out-haul lines give control over the sail shape. The mast breaks down into three sections for transport – the whole boat can be transported on car-top roof-racks. You can also slide a pair of wheels over the aft beams to roll the boat (upside down) to and from the water.
The main hull features a long shallow “skeg” (no centre-board) and a low aspect-ratio shallow-draft rudder to avoid damage from beaching – ensuring simplicity and ease of use for beginners. Check out all the details and prices on the Maora website.
This looks like a fun off-the-beach boat, for very little outlay. That’s trimaran cool!

Image © Nautylys, used with permission.