The “Fighting Forties” are incredible racing machines despite being created for corinthian sailors looking for fast cruisers, suited for day-sailing off Newport.
These boats are actually very extreme, with a huge beam and a large V-shaped hull, a light displacement and a big sail area. Today, Rowdy is the most successful Forty still racing following her predecessors' triumphs as British owner Graham Walker's and his crew have taken almost every race they have competed in the classic yachts circuit.
The Fighting Forties turned into an immediate success, twelve boats were built in just one year 1916 among which Pauline, Maisie and Rowdy, later two more Marilee and Rugosa are launched in 1926. With their large gaff sloop rig and the wide beam, these one-designs were particularly fast in stiff breeze so much to make the eminent NYCC's member Edwin J. Schoettle said:
“They're excellent boats in the breeze and easy to steer and manoeuvre in strong winds. I'm told that nobody has never seen a Forty taking a reef...” and they were designed to be sailed short-handed too, by three crew only! Shortly after the first launches, the New York One Design 40 were equipped with a bowsprit further increasing their sail area.
In 1924, Memory, transformed into a Marconi yawl, won the popular Bermuda race and in 1930 the last boat to be built Rugosa scored a double in the same offshore event.
Graham Walker has a long experience having raced in the America's Cup in 1987 and to several Admiral’s and Ton Cups in the 90s with his fleet of boats all called Indulgence has later discovered and fallen in love with classic yachts. He had one of the last New York Yacht Club Forty restored in Maine, in the USA. The tally speaks loud: since Graham Walker started sailing on Rowdy (NY-49) in Maine, this one-design has almost won every race as did her older sister ship Marilee (NY-50) built in 1926 and re-launched in 2001 that won also the America's Cup Jubilee in Cowes.
Full results of the Classic classes at the 34th Regates Royales
29 September 2012 10:08