Sailing.Dog Heavily Involved in New 5.5 Metre Class Yachts in Cowes This Winter

Updated: Jan 11

In what seems a long time ago, given the pandemic, I joined Peter and Louise Morton in Sydney this year during January for the 5.5 Metre World Championship, where "Morty" and I sailed with British Finn sailor, Andrew Mills on board GBR40 "Girls on Film".


It was a wonderful trip and event. Great racing and camaraderie across all three divisions of the regatta. We sailed quite well and placed 4th, within a fairly tightly contested leading group of teams. Coulda-shoulda done a bit better, but on the whole, as newcomers to the class and in an older boat (2004 Wilke), we were satisfied and keen to do more 5.5 Metre events.


Upon reflecting on the event and witnessing the development of hulls through the years, Morty decided to commission some new design ideas and put those through CFD analysis conducted by Steve Quigley and his team at One2three Naval Architects in Sydney.


Morty assembled an amazing group of people across the sail-boat world to collaborate on this phase of the project. David Hollom was commissioned to provide design candidates for analysis, whilst Tom Schnackenberg was tasked with putting the resultant CFD'd hulls though a series of VPP analysis based on sail-area, righting-moment and wind-speeds. The North Sails designers also played a key advisory role. At the same time Suzy Russell of Orca Consulting has been providing input to the structural engineering.


The upshot of all this is two boats being built though the 2020/21 winter in Cowes. Morty has long been a great supporter of sailing, sailors and boatbuilders alike. After a tough and challenging 2020, it is so refreshing to be busily involved in such a cool project. One of the boats is a Hollom design that will be built in composite by Gavin Tappenden and his team at Composite Craft UK. The other is a cedar hull and composite deck to a Steve Quigley design, being constructed by David Heritage Racing Yachts.


My involvement has largely been on the systems design and planning. To that end, we have been trialling various ideas to control the rig and appendages on "Girls on Film" over recent weeks and sailing on the nicer winter weather on offer. All super-interesting for sailing-boat geeks like Morty and myself. The entire team is so appreciative of Morty's enthusiasm for racing and also for supporting the industry and it's people.