Reviving the Legend of Kialoa
Published on August 3rd, 2017
It’s been 46 years since the 73-foot Kialoa II took line honours in the 1971 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, and when the boat lines up for the 603 nm Rolex Fastnet Race off Cowes in the UK this Sunday, its racing revival will be complete.
Brothers Patrick (AUS) and Keith Broughton (UK) purchased the aluminum warhorse, the second in American Jim Kilroy’s series of maxi racing yachts called Kialoa, in 2016 with the view to compete in the classic ocean races, as Kialoa II did under Kilroy.
They will mark the boat’s racing comeback as one of a record 350 entries in the biennial Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Rolex Fastnet Race starting Sunday August 6, 2017. The last time Kialoa II completed the Fastnet Race was in 1969 when she finished runner-up over the line.
A combined Australian and UK crew of 18, including key members of what was once Australia’s most successful maxi yacht team on George Snow’s Brindabella – names like Bob Fraser, Lindsay May and Tony Hearder among the stalwarts – are preparing for the start of the world’s biggest offshore race in a few days’ time.
“We anticipated much of the work but thought we had two to three years to address the issues,” Paddy admitted. “It turned out that there were some fundamental problems that could not wait, including the fact all the sail handling systems from the old days had atrophied to the extent that they were almost completely absent.” The refit also included all the standing and running rigging along with a complete new suit of sails.
Paddy said in the short time of their ownership Kialoa II has shown an amazing capacity to stir fond memories. “We have been approached by some of Mr Kilroy’s crew with anecdotes and hints as to how they used to sail her. His daughter Trice has been helpful with information and contacts and former members of the US Coastguard have been in touch and provided help in a number of areas. ‘I remember seeing her in 19xx’ is a regular conversation starter.”
Since the Kilroy days, Kialoa II has been used as a sail training vessel for the US Coast Guard and cruised extensively under various owners. Now the Broughtons’ journey to re-race the classics is set to begin.
First up is the Rolex Fastnet Race which will be followed by a lengthy delivery sail for the 45 ton boat to Sydney in November to tackle another major bluewater event, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race on December 26.
Unlike 1971, when Kialoa II’s waterline length and speed made the Sparkman & Stephens yawl the hot favourite and ultimate Sydney Hobart line honours victor, the boat will stand up on Boxing Day against a fleet of modern 100ft supermaxis and other carbon fibre lightweights.
“What will suit us in the Rolex Fastnet and Sydney Hobart are conditions that allow us to use her waterline length and yet not enable the competition to plane. We shall see; there’s so much to re-learn,” Paddy added.
Kialoa II’s Rolex Fastnet Race crew list:
Grant (Grunter) Chessells
Andrew (Cutts) Cutler
Tony (Steel) Hearder
Matt (Souts) Souter
Background: The 603nm Rolex Fastnet Race is organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and just 7 boats sailed in the first race in 1925. The race has been sponsored since 2001 by Rolex SA of Geneva and is legendary within the world of ocean racing. The 47th edition of the biennial race will start off the Royal Yacht Squadron line, Cowes, Isle of Wight on Sunday 6th August 2017. It is the largest offshore race in the world and attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts.
Source: Lisa Ratcliff