North Sails LOFT NEWS
CREW OF KIWIS WIN IRC/ORC WORLDS
Read More For Beau Geste’s New Crew Initiation Ritual…
Even having to eat a ‘hundred-year egg’ didn’t dim the excitement of winning his first world championship for North Sails sales expert Matt Kelway. Eating these traditional ‘delicacies’ is a tradition aboard Hong Kong businessman and yachtsman Karl Kwok’s boats, and when his Botin 52 Beau Geste won the offshore sailing world championships at The Hague in July, there was no getting out of it.
‘They are a fermented duck egg, and if you are new to the boat, you have to eat one at the end of the regatta,’ Kelway says. ‘I have sailed on the boat before, but when I let it slip that it was the first time I had won a world championship, I had to eat one. It was disgusting, but it was worth it.’
Beau Geste won the combined IRC/ORC world title with a crew of mostly Kiwi sailors, regulars on Kwok’s fleet of boats. The boat sailed in a mixed division of boats of different types and sizes, including TP52 Outsider (formerly Platoon) and Ker 46s Van Uden and Lady Mariposa, with results calculated on a combination of IRC and ORC handicap times in each race.
Kelway and the North Sails New Zealand team worked closely with Kwok and the boat’s management team to build a completely new inventory to challenge for the world title.
‘After last year’s Pac 52 regatta in San Francisco, the owner decided he wanted to compete in a world championship and win it, so we sat down and started planning what we would need,’ Kelway says. ‘We spent a lot of time not only training on the water but also running certificates for the sails to maximise their ratings, and working out how to mode the boat for different conditions.’
The hard work paid off. Beau Geste finished with a string of firsts and seconds, not having to sail the last race because the regatta was already in the bag.
‘The racing was really close, though — Outsider was our closest competitor, and we were always finding ourselves in a match race with them,’ Kelway says.
The boat’s new Helix Luff furling masthead code zero got plenty of use in the first offshore race, with a genoa staysail set inside it. The crew were also pleased with the performance of the new high-carbon 3Di RAW 870 and 880 jibs, all designed and built by the North Sails New Zealand team.
After the win in Holland, the boat and crew then travelled to the Copa del Rey regatta in Palma de Mallorca, where they comfortably won the IRC 1 division.
‘There were eight 52s there, including Super Series boats like The Phoenix and Paprec, so it was great to finish ahead of them,’ Kelway says.
Next on the Team Beau Geste agenda is a change of boats, to sailing Kwok’s MOD70 trimaran of the same name in the China Coast regatta and Hong Kong to Hainan race.
‘My role is as a link between the boat and the loft, making sure everything the boat wants is done correctly and on time, working with the sailing team and the designer and the production team,’ Kelway says. ‘It’s a great programme to be involved with.’