Our Yacht – NZ Lion
Sir Peter Blake had a very specific idea of the boat that he wanted to build for the 1985/86 Whitbread Around the World Race.
After discussions with a number of top New Zealand yacht designers, the design was awarded to New Zealander Ron Holland, based in Ireland.
The boat had to have the following criteria: 31 tons of actual displacement weight (light but stiff)
It needed to excel to windward
It had to be very fast when reaching under two sails
It had to be fully controllable downwind with a spinnaker up
It had to be a masthead rig.
The result was one of the finest International Ocean Racing (I.O.R). maxi sloops ever built.
Construction of Lion NZ began in 1983, with a launch date set for November 1984. This was to coincide with the Sydney to Hobart Race beginning on Boxing Day – her first real test. Unfortunately, on completion Lion NZ came in 8 tons heavier than the original design draft, and to make matters worse all the weight was in the wrong places, her hull, and fittings.
It became apparent that the extra weight was going to slow the boat down in lighter conditions. Lion’s first race – the 1984 Sydney to Hobart Race – was a true test. After 3 days, 11 hours, 31 minutes, 21 seconds Lion NZ crossed the finish Lion in First Place.
She had proven her strength and gained the nickname, “The Urban Assault Vehicle.”
Our Yacht – Steinlager 2
Due to racecourse changes for the 1989/90 Whitbread, a different kind of yacht was called for and again Sir Peter Blake drew from his experience and knowledge of sailing to create Steinlager2.
The crew was chosen not only for their excellence in sailing but between them had all the skills and expertise to contribute valuable knowledge and input to the design of this yacht. Such was their skills that they were able to repair and maintain absolutely everything on board while at sea.
Much of the design for Steinlager2 was based around the 60ft trimaran Steinlager 1.
Steinlager1 was built using materials and techniques that were new to boat building and the
the construction method was tested when Sir Peter Blake and Mike Quilter sailed the boat around Australia.
Blake commissioned the US-based New Zealand Yacht Designer, Bruce Farr to design Steinlager2. The base design was the same as four other boats entering the Whitbread.
Once the basic design was done, Blake came forward with the changes that the team would require for their boat.
The yacht was to be as long as possible while still complying with the rules (the longer the boat the faster it will go).
The yacht must be easily steered and track well when fully under load.
The yacht must be a ketch rig.
The Farr office delivered a design that looked very similar to Grant Dalton’s entry and Blake was not happy. Last-minute changes called for a fractional rig set up. Meaning in order to balance out the loads the boat would be longer and therefore faster.
The Steinlager2 team went to great lengths to hide the design of the boat from the other syndicates until it was too late for any of them to make any further changes. The famous Fastnet Race in England was to be the testing grounds for this new design and the first time the boat would be up against most of the other Whitbread fleet.
Steinlager2 proved very fast downwind and the yacht proved very fast – this was to be the first of many wins for Steinlager2 and her crew – but this was the most satisfying win of all as it proved that what they had designed was right. 1989/90 WHITBREAD AROUND THE WORLD RACE Steinlager2 and her amazing sailors went on to win an unprecedented full sweep of all six legs of the race. Never had this been done before. Not only winning on their handicap but
winning overall honors as well.
Empowering Young People, and Now You.
Since 2008, the NZ Sailing Trust has empowered young New Zealanders by providing a truly special sailing experience that encourages leadership, teamwork, and environmental awareness that enriches them with a newfound sense of courage. Over 8,000 youth have been proudly supported by the NZ Sailing Trust in conjunction with the New Zealand Nautical Trust. They have learned to appreciate the knowledge needed to drive these yachts around the world and have challenged them with respect and admiration for their sailors and the sea. Participants understand their identity, respect for their peers, their unique strengths, and a sense of challenge that transcends challenge. These programs are designed to harness the talents and capabilities of each individual as they themselves grow to become leaders in their own lives.
Climb on-board one of our dream yachts. These magnificent vessels have founded the careers of many successful Kiwi Sailors who overcame adversity, skepticism, and fear to win the hearts not only of New Zealand but of the world. It is essential to our cultural fabric and New Zealand’s nautical history that these yachts are retained and used to help inspire the next generation of young people in New Zealand. We invite you to experience the magic of sailing as we work to continue the legacy left behind by our beloved sailing greats and their contribution to the national pride of our country and to the continuation of sailing as sport and passion for many in New Zealand.