Perhaps it is finally sinking in that I have a powerful boat and a grand opportunity to make it famous. Only two weeks ago Kiwi Spirit departed the shed at Lyman-Morse in the slings and eased her way into the water for the first time. It was a memorable day and kudos go to the designers at Farr and the construction crew at Lyman-Morse who have helped over the last many months to make my dream reality. I have many goals, but to put it simply I intend to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the globe using only the wind, water and my own perseverance to finish.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
On November 7th, Kiwi Spirit left the dock and headed into the waters of the Gulf Of Maine for trials. There was a light breeze, barely enough to produce the occasional white cap. We began at a steady 10 knots and we topped out at 12+ knots. She handled well and performed magnificently. On board was a celebrity list of the yachting community: Bruce Farr of Farr Yacht Design, Mike Toppa of North Sails and Mike Feldman Of offshore Spars. The builder, Lyman-Morse, was represented by Drew Lyman and a whole team of sailors, riggers, and electronics experts. My son Alan was also on board (he sailed solo around the world in the Around Alone Race of 2002-3). Together this collection of professionals provided me with the information and support I needed. One by one the sails and systems were hoisted and tested and all worked beautifully.
Two days later we headed out again setting sail in cold and icy conditions. It was so cold that after an hour at the helm my upper lip felt like I had dental anesthesia and was slurring my words. But the boat, and it’s about the boat, performed flawlessly. She sailed steadily at 10 knots and occasionally at 12 knots, a full 30% faster than my previous yacht which was a Farr-60 built in 1998 - such is the improvement in yacht design and build over the last fourteen years. Kiwi Spirit’s hull is a blend of carbon fiber with fiber glass, and sports a carbon fiber mast and boom. Measuring 63-feet in length she is just half the weight of my previous boat. For any non-sailors out there reading this, weight is important when it comes to speed. The same wind will propel a lighter boat faster. Kiwi Spirit is fast!
On Saturday we had another magnificent sail. Temperatures here in Maine were in the 30's and 40's with fair to strong winds. We tested a few more systems including the water ballast tanks that are the equivalent of twenty men sitting on the rail. Why do they sit on the rail? if you look at pictures of big racing yachts, there is often a number of crew sitting on the edge of the windward side of the boat, in an effort to right the boat to expose more sail to the wind and hence to sail faster. My goal to sail Kiwi Spirit solo means I have to replace the twenty men with tanks full of water to achieve the same righting moment. This is an elaborate pumping System to fill and move the water between the four ballast tanks. Training makes these complicated devises intuitive and I have a lot of training ahead!
As we put Kiwi Spirit through the paces I am consistently impressed. We will certainly make some changes and additions based on the initial trials on the water. The team I have worked with to create this magnificent yacht is amazing and I look forward to all the training ahead. We aim to leave Maine for Newport, Rhode Island Saturday morning. Please stay in touch and I’ll keep feeding stories of our adventures off the boat as we test all the features of the new Paris-63. You can stay informed with shorter posts on Facebook and also see some wonderful videos by Billy Black on YouTube.
Posted by Stanley Paris at 2:50 PM