This crossover is giving all-out raceboats a run for their money. "Grand Prix Launches" from our January/February 2009 issue

Vincitore Southern Cross 52 368

Rolex/carlo Borlenghi

A grand-prix raceboat is expected to be sailed hard, put away wet, and then sold once its competitive sell-by date has passed. Consequently, in this realm of custom, stripped-down one-offs, there isn’t much demand for dual-purpose boats with proper berths and other cruising accoutrements. With IRC’s expanding influence, however, flat-out racers are regularly fending off stealthy crossover designs on the racecourse. One such boat is Vincitore, the grand-prix crossover designed by Reichel/Pugh for New Zealand’s Southern Cross Yachts.

At first glance one could easily mistake the boat for a TP 52, but peek down the companionway and there’s no mistaking its “cruiseability.” If you’re wondering how well this cruiser races, its results stand as Exhibit A: at the 2008 Rolex Big Boat Series, Vincitore, under charter to Chicago sailor Jim Mitchell, lost to Jim Kilroy’s professionally sailed and IRC-optimized TP52 Samba Pa Ti by a single point.

“I’ve sailed 52s a lot,” says Rodney Keenan, of Quantum Sails New Zealand, who laid down the boat’s initial design brief, “and with this boat we wanted a fast boat that would be more comfortable, where you didn’t feel like you were disappearing into a cave when you went off watch.”


Built by Davie Norris Boatbuilders in New Zealand, the Southern Cross 52 is a semi-custom concept. Historically, the bane of dual-purpose boats is the weight of such interior conveniences as a proper galley, enclosed head, comfortable berths, and in Vincitore’s case, cherry wood floors, but Keenan says Norris went to great lengths to keep the boat’s all-up weight under control. “IRC gives credit for having these things in the boat, and how we look at it is that if you’re not paying a penalty for carrying it, then we might as well have it if it improves the look of the boat. The boat will be a great performer now, and when you do eventually sell it, it has an easy appeal for the club sailor who wants to get away with the wife every so often.”

As far as its systems, Keenan says there’s nothing unique. He’s carried over ideas from a lot of different boats with the ultimate aim in making it a good all-around boat-inshore or offshore. “It’ll do 30 knots and will go upwind well while having an interior that’s not a Swan but very livable,” says Keenan.

Mitchell, once a partner in a TP52, chartered the boat for a number of U.S. IRC events in 2008, including the Rolex BBS, the U.S. IRC Nationals, and November’s IRC East Coasts. In the later two events, the boat turned in strong performances, but was hindered by gear failures. Two sisterships are being built, one for a Canadian owner, the other destined for Chicago. The Chicago boat, says Keenan, will be pushed a little further to the racing end of the boat’s dual-purpose scale.


LOA 52′
Beam 14’5″
DSPL 17,943 lbs.
Draft 11’6″
SA (u/d) 1,915/3,713 sq. ft.
Sails Quantum New Zealand
Mast New Zealand Rigging
Hardware Harken
Electronics B&G
Builder Davie Norris Boatbuilders
Designer Reichel/Pugh
Project manager Rodney Keenan

-Dave Reed