Friday, 3 June 2011

GOR: Record Breaking 180 Inversion Test for GOR team Ross and Campbell Field

Hupane undergoing her 180 degree inversion test. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/

by Oliver Dewar

New Zealand’s Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) duo of father and son, Ross and Campbell Field, successfully completed the mandatory 180 degree inversion test on their GOR Class40, Hupane, at Berthon Boatyard in Lymington on the English South Coast on Thursday afternoon: the first 180 degree inversion test undertaken by a racing yacht in the UK.

Following a five week voyage as deck cargo from Chile, the Field’s Tyker Class40 arrived in Lymington during the second week in May and following a speedy refit, the 2008 Verdier Design yacht is the sixth GOR entry to pass the mandatory, 180 degree self-righting test. In near-windless conditions, Hupane – meaning ‘step upwards’ from the Maori phrase included in the traditional Haka display made famous by the All Blacks rugby team – was manoeuvred into clear space between pontoons at Berthon Boatyard watched by a team of supporters including Campbell Field’s wife, Tracey, and their eight month-old son, Fraser. Once fully inverted, the New Zealand duo hand-pumped seawater into the yacht’s lateral ballast tank and swiftly self-righted Hupane in just six minutes: a record time for a Class40 180 inversion test.

Immediately after the test, Campbell Field gave his impression of the inversion: “It’s amazing how disorientating it is being upside down in a boat,” he explained. “There were no leaks and the ballast system worked perfectly,” Campbell confirmed. “Apart from a mobile phone flying about and a couple of wallets falling out of the chart table, everything stayed in place.”

The Fields pumped the starboard ballast tank to one third capacity – approximately 250 litres: “We were certainly helped by around an extra 300 kilos of Kiwi in the boat!” added Campbell. For Ross Field, this was his second inversion on a boat: “The first time wasn’t intentional,” he recalled. “I was on a 52-footer going through the Bass Strait during the 1995 Melbourne – Osaka Race and the keel started to fall-off,” Ross explained. “This inversion on Hupane has been a lot less stressful!”

Fraser, Campbell and Ross Field: three generations of Field at the 180 inversion test of Class40 Hupane. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/

The Field’s GOR campaign is immaculately planned and the duo’s combined Whitbread Round the World Race and Volvo Ocean Race experience is proving invaluable. “We’ve got most of the logistics sorted out and we’ve even organised the food already,” says Ross – a veteran of six circumnavigation races. “We now need to get some sailing time in.”

Neither of the Fields has sailed a Class40 before and the prospect is extremely exciting for the duo. “Class40’s are clearly very powerful boats and we’ll be out sailing every day to get as much time on the water as possible,” explains Campbell. “Our first race will be the Round the Island Race at the end of June, which we’ll do double-handed,” he confirms. “We’ll then complete the Global Ocean Race qualifier before racing four-up in the Fastnet.”

The Fields are also in communication with the other South Coast-based GOR teams and some group training in The Solent with the Italian-English duo of Marco Nannini and Paul Peggs on Mowgli; the South African duo of Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire on Phesheya-Racing and the GOR’s Anglo-German, all-girl team of Hannah Jenner and Anna-Maria Renken on 40 Degrees is already being planned.

For Josh Hall, Race Director of the GOR, the inversion test is a vital part of the GOR qualification process: “The purpose of this test is to ensure the self-righting capabilities of each yacht entered in the race,” he explains. “However, it is far more than purely a matter of paperwork and race qualification as the inversion means that the crew experience managing the yacht and its systems in a 180 degrees position,” continues Hall.

“This has already proved to be an invaluable exercise and has given our teams increased confidence while sailing in very strong conditions when there is a risk of a yacht capsizing,” says the Race Director. “From a purely practical approach, the test also ensures that each yacht is watertight in an inverted position and that the principle heavy items in the cabin are both properly secured and don’t leak when inverted,” he adds. “Ross and Campbell have planned a very busy pre-GOR campaign and this test is a big step in the road to the start line in September,” concludes Hall. “Many congratulations Hupane.”

GOR boats that have already completed the 180 test:

1. Groupe Picoty (FRA) Jacques Fournier and Jean-Edouard Criquioche
Finot-Conq Design. Pogo 40S² Class40 (launched Structures Yard June 2010). Inversion at Structures Yard June 2010. Self-righting time 21mins

2. Peraspéra (ITA) Francesco Piva and Luca Zoccoli. Farr Yacht Design. BT Boats Kiwi 40FC Class40 (launched Auckland December 2010). Inversion in Viaduct Basin, Auckland, December 2010. Self-righting time 24mins

3. 400 Mille Sabords (FRA) Lionel Regnier and Piere-Yves Cavan. Lombard Design. Akilaria RC2 Class40 (launched at MC-TEC yard, Tunisia, April 2011). Inversion at MC-TEC yard April 2011. Self-righting time 18mins

4. Mowgli (ITA) Marco Nannini and Paul Peggs. Lombard Design Akilaria first generation Class40. (launched 2007). Inversion in Lorient, France, April 2011. Self-righting time 54mins

5. Jasmine Flyer. Crew to be announced. Lombard Design Akilaria RC2 (launched at MC-TEC yard, Tunisia, May 2011). Inversion at MC-TEC yard May 2011. Self-righting time 11mins

6. Hupane (NZL) Ross and Campbell Field. Verdier Design Tyker Class40 (launched 2008). Inversion at Berthon Boatyard, Lymington, June 2011. Self-righting time 6mins

Global Ocean Race