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  • A Tour Of The Pacific 52 FOX





    Above images © David Servais


    Pacific 52 FOX

    We were invited to a take a look see the 1st Pacific 52 to hit the West Coast, Victor Wild's FOX, built at Cookson's in Auckland and designed by Botin. She was being assembled by David Servais and Andrew Coates of SD Boatworks at the KKMI Richmond yard after being shipped via truck from San Diego so she could make the start of the 1st California Offshore Race Week which gets started this Friday with the Spinnaker Cup, and 88 nm downhill race from SF to Monterey.

    FOX is a brand new breed of 52' pure carbon racing machine, which has taken the best attributes of the TP 52' and added additional bits and pieces including a taller, lighter rig and other customizations which we will discuss in this article.


    David is the boats project manager and spent the better part of 2 months in Auckland, New Zealand during the build process, alongside Gavin Brady who run the Beau Geste projects and was instrumental in getting the new 52's under development, as well as the testing that followed. David has been working closely with the FOX's owner, Victor Wild for 6 years now and is blazing the trail for the anticipated revival of the 52's on the West Coast.




    The project began in earnest about 1 year ago, and this will be her 1st big test on the Nor Cal Coast. She is built for buoy and offshore racing, and is made with the ease of travel capabilities of the TP 52's holding court in the Mediterranean. The super light mast is 600mm taller than her predecessors, and boom 200 mm lower, yet only weighs 583 lbs, fully rigged. The mast is capable of moving fore and aft and up and down at the butt, and fore an aft at the masthead via Harken Titanium hydraulic cylinders connected to a rotary hydraulic pump on the aft coffee grinder, allowing for ideal adjustment for the given mainsail and wind conditions and sea state.




    Her total gross is 15,342 lbs with 10,018 lbs being in the keel foil and bulb. The keel is designed for easy extraction and insertion and can be handled by 2 persons. Another unique feature is the keel pockets on the top of the bulb, 10" x14"x6" slots that allow the addition of up to 200 kilograms of weight for buoy racing and removed for offshore.

    Fox rests on a custom cradle that can be assembled for keel in ( higher) and keel out for shipping. The cradle itself can be broken down and carried in a pickup truck. Simple.

    Her cockpit is covered in SD' Boatworks Soft Deck, which come in two densities, a super soft made for kiteboards, sailboards and such, and as bit stiffer one, for the rigors and abuse taken by working crews dashing about.





    Her grinders and winch package are all the latest Harken products. Aero Pedestals that have two gears and two chain links mounted on the head, and the latest hydraulic Harken gear boxes that utilized a sealed synthetic oil bath as opposed to grease that has a tendency to thin and pull away with constant abuse. The boxes have a clear bottom window for ease of inspection. Clever.


    The Fox's winches all have the latest Harken ceramic spool coating Keronite



    The cleanliness of the deck become quickly apparent as all lines leave the cockpit and are lead forward the mast in the cabin, where they can be inspected and changed with relative ease.





    Another innovation is the halyard gobblers, carbon fiber spools located in the cabin just forward of the mast, which enable the crew to sky the halyard and its relative weight, neatly and cleanly. The spools are pre-tensioned via a wound up bungee. The deck hands can attach the head of the halyards to the cable, sky the halyard, and retrieve at will. Ingenious.

    In the belly of the beast, a 96 to 1 jib lead purchase is mounted along the mid aft hull, under the bunks. this lets the crew adjust the height of the lead without taking up a winch, keeping things tidy and saving additional weight.



    There is no dedicated seating for the navigation center, which is mounted over the engine cover. The navigator will a chair in which ever bunk is available and do his calculations via the his or her tablet or pad.

    Accommodations below are spartan at best, the lack of furniture and dinning, and er, facilities will deter any but the hard core sailors, there is no confusing the boat for a cruiser. A bucket in the forepeak , ahead if the sewer ( aptly named) will discourage any crew from lingering on the head. Lone gimbaled single burner propane stove will do the heavy lifting for any cooking on board. It's dark cramped and very noisy in the after berths, and will be a challenge for crew to scramble out for firedrills, and one imagines only complete exhaustion will allow crews to get anything relative to solid shut eye while racing.



    Back on deck, David shows the new Gorilla Foil on the forestay. Cuben Fiber is lighter and stronger than its plastic counterparts and the custom halyard lock strops with SD Boatworks soft attachments with stainless steel dogbones along with a Marlow Ropes running rigging package featuring SK99 MAX Cores and composite covers throughout.



    The sewer hatch is also custom built with soft rolled edges and no sharp corners. Around 3 sides of the opening live a recessed pneumatic tube, that can be inflated when hatch cover is closed, providing a water proof seal.




    Images © David Servais


    Dave and Andrew Coates


    The dawn of the Pacific 52 has arrived, and we look forward to building of the fleet, the innovations each brings to the table and the years of superb, one design grand prix racing on the West Coast!

    Hurrah!!!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: A New 52' West Coast Movement Gets Rolling started by Photoboy View original post
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