Carkeek analyses the double triple
After another Rán VII victory in Round 2 of the 2018 FAST40+ Circuit in Poole topped a second clean sweep of the podium for Carkeek Design Partners, we caught up with some key people behind the phenomenal start.
Niklas Zennstrom’s Swedish Carkeek-designed Rán VII, came from behind after the first day to win the Poole Regatta (May 26-28) by four points, down from an astonishing 12 in Round 1 in Cowes. With their new boat and in the debut season, Rán is clearly setting the pace, despite a steep learning curve, but Rebellion and Girls on Film will be looking forward to Round 3 in a fortnight June 29 – July 1).
“Having not raced the Fast 40's before this year it has been really interesting to compare (the differences between the boats),” Tim Powell, the experienced British sailor and long-time core part of Rán Racing, says. “The Fast 40's are light and quick to power up. This makes them more challenging to sail so the rewards when you get it right are greater. We have yet to race in a plus 20kt day but from the little we have done in training they are going to be really exciting downwind.”
For Powell, hitting the water sprinting seems to have been what the team expect of themselves because of their experience and the quality of the design and build team.
“We’re very pleased with how the boat has been going,” he says. “Between Carkeek and Carrington Yachts we have an extremely well designed and built Fast 40. We've had no downtime through issues so have been able to maximise our sailing time.
We have used our experiences from sailing in other similar classes to try and short-cut the learning curve in set up and how to sail the boat. In general that has worked well with only minor tweaks needed, so we are very happy.”
And now, what everyone wants know – how much more is there to come? “I think we hit the water in quite good shape due to the homework put in during the design stage,” Powell says. “Notwithstanding some of us (!), we have a very young group of sailors on the team and it has been a sizeable step up in boat for some of them. They all have critical roles to play on board and I think for us our biggest improvement is to fine tune how we work as a team.
It's a very steep learning curve at the moment with a lot to take in, but everyone has been very enthusiastic and keen to absorb everything that's going on. It doesn't happen overnight but we are really happy with where we are at present.”
For Carkeek, the second round was triply pleasing with his previous generation designs, Rebellion (Stewart Whitehead) and Girls on Film (Peter Morton) swapping places from Round 1, to finish second and third respectively. Girls on Film – taking advantage of their favoured light conditions – had been leading after the first day of racing after winning two of the first three races. “Rán’s success has been satisfying validating the accuracy of our design optimisation processes and tools, but the performance of all three boats on the podium has made me really happy,” Carkeek says. “Over the winter months, we’ve continued to work closely with our clients on all fronts, optimising Rebellion and Girls on Film and Hitchhicker to maximise performance vs the newer generation boat. They’re slightly older boats but they’re being campaigned by highly talented teams and what they have achieved has lifted the standard of the whole class.
“Rán’s success is down to a strong latest generation boat and a great team effort all-round; hundreds of incremental gains adding up to a very fast boat. But likewise that knowhow means her closest pursuers are not to be taken lightly. Our Owners have different team structure and management styles which makes it more interesting for us. Having said that they´re united by their passion for the sport, the Fast 40 circuit and these tremendous boats. They make all this possible and we thank them for that.”
Stewart Whitehead, the owner driver of Rebellion,is equally happy. “Our benchmark is currently GOF, so two rounds down we are much closer to them this season than last which is encouraging,” he says. “Rán is an entirely different beast in the lighter airs, much quicker through the water, but we want to see how she goes in a choppy Solent sea state also.”
For Jason Carrington, building RánVII was the chance to make generational leap in the class and started with the easy selection of working with Carkeek. “I have had a fairly long and rewarding working relationship with Niklas and Tim; Shaun has very good experience of the Fast 40 class so was an obvious pick,” Carrington says. “I sail regularly with Morty (Peter Morton) on GOF (Carkeek-designed Girls on Film), so was aware that he (Shaun) was a great choice for the new Rán. Tim and Niklas very much make the key decisions; for us at CBL (Carrington Boats Limited), working with Shaun’s talented design team was easy. All are like-minded people who were determined to create a special boat.
Rán was very much built as a full-on race boat, every detail was thought about and care taken throughout. The boat is wider and more powerful than previous boats as well as being lighter which is a very strong combination.”