Saturday, September 14, 2013

Local boats I like,"Route 66"

This is the first of the "boats I like series." These are vessels that catch my wayward and mercurial eye. Since Sarasota has such a diverse boating community, these can range from something stashed away in a garage, to vessels hidden in plan sight in the many local marinas and canals. The one thing they have in common is their uniqueness, and personal appeal to me. With most of these boats, I don't know the owners, and have never boarded them. We're starting today with "Route 66" that is currently residing in the Longboat Key Moorings marina.

You can miss the nearly 80' of elegantly crossed braced mast and swept back spreaders on Route 66 designed by B&R Designs (Lars Bergstrom, and Sven Ridder). If a sailor isn't familiar with these names, just look look up at the Windex atop your mast. This is one of their many sailing innovations.

Lar's, an experienced pilot passed away in 1997 due to a tragic powered sailplane accident. One of my favorite possessions is one of the carbon fiber water tank test hulls of Route 66 I bought when his Sarasota facility was closed and it now hangs from my living room ceiling.

Route 66 is the product of the many lessons learned from the Warren Luhrs's ocean racing sailboat children, Tuesday's Child, Thursday's Child, and Hunter's Child

Hunter's Child's hull shape was an improvement on Thursday's Child's designed by both Paul Lindenburg, and Lars Bregstrom, and built by B&R Designs. Thursday's Child was already a big winner, and broke the New York, to San Francisco record held by the clipper Flying Cloud since 1854, along with other records. 

Two things are of note are here. Hunter's Child, and Route 66 have semi-circular hull sections over most of the their length. This allows the hull to heel with out changing its waterline shape.

This is also I believe one of the tallest of what is now known as the B&R rig used on a cruising sailboat. Lars Bergstrom had been evolving what would eventually become known as the B&R rig years earlier. The oldest example I have found to date is the B&R designed Tailwind 38 built by Hurley Maine in the UK during the early seventies.

If you look closely at the pictures you can see the B&R rig on both Thursday's Child, and Hunter's Child. Lars Bergstrom designed the rigs for all three of the Child boats, and spent enough time sailing them to decide what could be improved. In the case of Thursday's Child, he and Warren Luhrs both sailed her to Plymouth England for the start of the 1984 OSTAR race. Lars also crewed for Warren Luhrs on Thursday's Child during the record breaking New York to San Francisco run. I'm sure the 80 day 13,000nm plus run gave him plenty of time to contemplate the vessel's rigging and design.

I never found a picture of Tuesday's Child, but the other two Child boats have struts running from outboard to the mast. These are the two side legs of what would eventually become the tripod on Route 66, and used later on some Hunter boats. Both vessels also have the distinctive swept aft spreaders with the diagonal cross bracing. The small oddity in all of this is Hunter's Child had a backstay, while the rig on Thursday's Child did not.

Other design innovations carried over from the Child boats design efforts that were applied to Route 66 were the adjustable canting rudder, and water ballasting, The air slot that feeds air to the rear of the Route 66's hull reducing friction, was retrofitted into Hunter's Child after the fact.

Route 66 is a powerful cruising boat with an extreme racing pedigree and is capable of speeds in excess of 20 kts. With the simple cockpit layout, however I think she would be very easy to sail.

A barn door Park Avenue boom with no sail tracks, and a furling head sail. The bow has two retractable poles one to push the anchor rode out and away from the bow, and the other for an asymmetric spinnaker. All lines and sheets go to the cockpit.

Route 66 is a stunning and extraordinarily creative design. She is gorgeous to my eyes, and like her earlier predecessor Thursday's Child, she has a long way to go yet. 

To learn more about Route 66, here are some additional links.

Route 66 home page.
Comments By Lars Bergstrom on the design.

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