If Darth Vader were a sailor…

Published on April 26th, 2018

What happens when a team with history of competing in the rarefied grand prix air of TP52 and Maxi72 circuits, joins a class of 40 footers? Perhaps anything they want.

Like walking on the moon, when stripped of gravity, this must be the feeling for Niklas Zennström and his Swedish-flagged Rán Racing team. Their newly-launched radical Rán VII for the FAST40+ class has tongues wagging.

From the drawing board of Carkeek Design Partners, a carbon mold was CNC milled by Persico in Milan, and then shipped to Carrington Yachts near Southampton, UK for the boat build. If Darth Vader had a sailboat, it’d be Rán VII.

“Working with Shaun (Carkeek) and his team we’ve discovered new degrees of freedom in design development and we believe the new Rán VII, while being the smallest Rán yacht yet, is the most radical one,” notes Zennström.

With an all carbon fibre construction, Rán has a very minimalistic layout with halyard locks to reduce the size and number of jammers and winches. There are no jib-cars, control lines adjust the position of the headsail clew, and the single grinder pedestal and trimming positions are aft to keep crew weight to the back of the boat.

But it is Rán’s deck design that is turning heads. Featuring side-deck hiking benches, forward of the rig finds the hull form dramatically angling inward to reduce deck space.

Rán also features a lightweight and environmentally friendly electric engine. “I’m particularly pleased with the new EEL electric propulsion … there is no doubt to me that the future for racing yachts is electric propulsion,” observes Zennström. “It’s lighter, less drag, quieter, and most importantly it is environmentally friendly.”

Reinvigorating monohull racing with their planning design and short sharp multiple race format, the FAST40+ have taken the European sailing scene by storm since debuting as a class this side of the Atlantic in 2016. Ten FAST40+ Teams will do battle for the Henri Lloyd Trophy in Round One of the 2018 FAST40+ Race Circuit, held April 27-29 at Hamble, Hampshire, UK.


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