Grand Prix Sailor–Thanksgiving Day Extra

Canting Keel Maxis For TransPac 2005

Grand Prix Sailor–Thanksgiving Day Extra
Nov.28, 2002
Grand Prix Sailor is a 13-year-old racing news publication of Sailing World Magazine (http://

Happy Thanksgiving
Here at Grand Prix Sailor central, we know that for many people in North America, today is all about family, turkey, and football on the tube, but we also know that no true racing sailor will be able to spend an entire day without at least one thought about boats and racing. To help scratch that itch–and for the benefit of overseas subscribers–we put together a GPS extra, sort of an after-dinner mint to cleanse the palate. Enjoy the holiday.

Update on the maxZ86 Class
In the Nov.11 issue of Grand Prix Sailor, we reported that Roy Disney and others were planning to build maxZ86s with canting keels. A press release by Keith Taylor from the maxZ86 website and class association released Nov. 27 explains further.


“The founding owners of the maxZ86 Class have voted to embrace the use of canting keels for their new 86-foot turbo-sled maxiboats. Well-known designer Bill Lee, of Santa Cruz, CA, who is writing the level rule for the new class, announced the move today.

“Bob McNeil of San Francisco, who six months ago launched the water-ballasted Zephyrus V as the first of the new maxi class, is joining sled owners Roy Disney, Los Angeles, and Hasso Plattner, San Francisco, in building canting-keel maxi-raters designed to the modified maxZ86 level class rule. Other potential owners are expected to follow suit.

“Disney & Plattner’s boats are already under construction. The new Pyewacket is building at Cookson’s Boatyard in Auckland, New Zealand and will be launched in September next year. Work has also started on the new Morning Glory at McConaghy Boats in Sydney for delivery in the Australian spring. McNeil will use his present boat as a test-bed and will start construction on a new canting-keel boat in the latter half of 2004.


“The maxZ86 owners will race their speedsters as the new line honors class for the 43rd Biennial Transpac Race in 2005. The Transpacific Yacht Club approved canting keels in 1997, and has approved the new class, subject to three boats starting in the 2005 race. The class has planned an extensive three-year racing schedule, starting in 2004.”

The maxZ86 Class Championship Circuit:
Racing on the championship circuit for the maxZ86 Class will include at least one inshore regatta each year and a minimum of three long distance offshore events. The proposed schedule for the first three years is

Season I – 2004
Jan. – Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race
Mar. – St Maarten Regatta
April – Antigua Race Week
June – Bermuda Race (tentative)
July – Cork Race Week, Cork, Ireland
Sept. – Sardinia Maxi Regatta
Oct. – Middle Sea Race or St Tropez


Season II -2005
Feb. – Pineapple Cup, Montego Bay Race
April – Ensenada Race
July – Transpac
Sept. – Big Boat Series, San Francisco

Season III – 2006
Jan. – Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro
April – Antigua Race Week
June – Transatlantic Race
August — Fastnet Race

Cutting-Edge Design from the West Coast
Also in the Nov. 11 issue of GPS, we reported that Cita Litt, the owner of the Schock 40 Cita, had ordered a new 55-footer from DynaYacht. We have since been corrected. Rather, Litt will replace her 40-footer with a radical new 49-footer to be drawn by designer Matt Brown, of Matt Brown Performance Design.


Brown is an independent contractor who has been involved in cutting-edge designs since 1987, when he helped design Tom Blackaller’s 1987 Cup hopeful, a 12-Meter with twin fore and aft rudders. He has also played a key role in the designs of three Cup’s worth of ACC designs for Dennis Conner, and is the vice president of design for DynaYacht, Inc. Although Brown is associated with DynaYacht, this project isn’t.

“I’m designing a 49-foot canting keel boat for Mrs. Litt,” says Brown. “It will have a retractable daggerboard, a telescopic canting keel, and an unstayed, or partially stayed rotating wing mast.” The boat will be constructed of hand-laid carbon with a foam core, displace about 9,200 lbs., and be built either in Australia or New Zealand in time for the 2003 TransPac.

“This boat is unusual in that Ms. Litt has allowed me free rein on design. All of the other boats I’ve done have had constraints,” says Brown. “That limits the scope and freedom of a design. This one started from a blank sheet of paper; my instructions were to make it as fast, simple to sail, and safe as possible.”

What Brown has drawn for Litt is a radical departure, and bears little resemblance to anything else out there. What we originally thought would make an interesting story for GPS is a bit more than that, and as a result, we’ll preview the boat in the February issue of Sailing World. You’ll see lines plans and hear what other features make this 49-footer so different, and so promising.

A New Titan
In other big boat news, Carroll Marine has laminated the hull and hopes to deliver in late Feb. a new 75-footer by Reichel/Pugh for Tom Hill, the owner of many Titans. This latest boat is a development of Chance, Pyewacket, and Pegasus, with an upwind tweak for East Coast distance races. It’s intended to rate at the top of the current Bermuda Race IMS limit.

Grand Prix Sailor and Grand Prix Sailor–America’s Cup Edition are weekly newsletters compiled by the editors of Sailing World magazine. If you’d like to subscribe, see http://
Contributing Editors: Tony Bessinger (, Dave Reed (, Stuart Streuli
(, John Burnham (