A David versus Goliath showdown
Published on April 13th, 2015
Two new American maxi boats will get their first measure of each other this week in the Caribbean, racing in the Les Voiles de St. Barth on April 14-18. Comanche, designed by the French team of VPLP Design/Guillame Verdier, and Rambler 88, designed by Argentinian Juan Kouyoumdjian, were launched in late 2014 at Hodgdon Yachts and New England Boatworks, respectively. A David versus Goliath showdown.
But how did Rambler 88 become the David in this match?
At 88 feet, Rambler 88 is 12 feet shorter than the maximum of 100-feet allowed in the Maxi Class. The challenge is ambitious, but Kouyoumdjian believes it to be realistic as a lighter boat should be more polyvalent and thus offer a bigger speed potential, even when sailing in moderate winds, besides the fact that Rambler 88 will be easier to sail than a 100 footer.
“Rambler 88’s concept was to design the fastest possible monohull under the main constraints of a maximum 6m draft, GL (Germanisher-Lloyd) Structures, and the development of an ocean seaworthy vessel, Cat 0,” Kouyoumdjian explains. “This means that if we would have done a 100 footer under these same constraints, the result would have been a slower boat since she would end up too heavy. For a 100 footer to fully exploit her potential, draft should be around 7m.”
Thanks to the development of all the appendages under the boat (canting keel, rudder shapes, asymmetrical boards and foils), Kouyoumdjian considers this boat to be one of the most technologically advanced to date.
After racing Rambler 88 in the RORC Caribbean 600 in March, owner George David likes what he has. “Rambler 88 is an exciting boat to race, powerful and really wet on deck, and it is probably faster on every point of sail than the Rambler 100. Our main goal this season is to beat the Transatlantic record in 2015.” (Note: Rambler 100 holds the record of the reference time)
Speaking of Jim Clark’s 100-foot Comanche, Kouyoumdjian admits that the intention will be to beat her in real time.
“I believe Rambler 88 has its chances against Comanche in some conditions. It is evident than when length and righting moment are king, (this is upwind and close hauled), Comanche should have the upper hand, and whenever displacement compensates against length and righting moment, then Rambler 88 should have its chances. The goal for Rambler 88 would be to sail in same waters and/or proximity to Comanche, and to be able to outperform her in some specific conditions and to always beat her in corrected time.”