Grand Prix Revival--Transpac 52s in the Atlantic

Three New Farr-Designed TP 52s to be Built at Goetz

After months of rumors, Goetz Custom Boats has announced that they're building three Farr-designed Transpac 52s for teams sailing on the East Coast. Makoto Uematsu will revive his Esmeralda program, Richard Breeden will trade in his Turbosled Bright Sta_r, as will Michael Brennan his 1D 48, _Sjambok. All three owners are well known on the U.S. grand-prix circuit, with Uematsu's program--always staffed with the cream of the professional racing community--likely the most competitive. The word from Goetz is that two of the boats, most likely Bright Star and Sjambok, will race to Bermuda next June, and that all three will be at Key West Race Week in 2005. This is great news for the Transpac 52 class as a whole, especially as the West Coast 52 fleet deals with defections--one boat opting to sail in PHRF rather than have the owner drive (Braveheart) and another that's been modified to carry a swing keel (Victoria V). As the Goetz press release says, the ultimate goal of the class is to have a yearly circuit, incorporating series such as Key West, Big Boat Series, and perhaps even a Hawaiian event. So here they come; and it's going to be a tough couple of years for record-holders and the owners of big raceboats all up and down the East Coast. Already well known for whizzing past boats 20 feet longer, the 52s should also be able to easily handle the remnants of the American grand-prix IMS fleet. According to Dave Millett at the Farr Design office, all three boats have been designed with East Coast conditions and races in mind. "These boats will be different than our first Transpac 52 design, Beau Geste, which was designed solely for Pacific races," says Millett. "These boats are designed for buoy racing, sailing upwind, close reaching, and the weather conditions we have on the East Coast. The keels and the treatment of the back ends are different, as is the deck layout."With ten 52s sailing by next summer, US SAILING's Grand Prix Rule working party may have just been handed a turn-key solution. Now all the Transpac 52 class has to do is look for a less genre-specific name.