Brian Bennett who builds the VX One in Savannah in the US, has pushed Andrew York’s boat through the factory so that he can get it in time to compete at Hamilton Island Race Week 2012. The boat is currently on a ship in transit to Australia.
With the warm weather and good breeze Race Week is the ideal opportunity to show people what the VX One is. York 'Yorky' will be sailing in Performance Racing as there is no sports boat division.
'Maybe next year we can have our own class racing. We are getting all the safety gear together at the moment to get her up to Cat 5.'
The VX One is a new concept in one design sailing boat that is being introduced to Australia this season. The idea was to design an affordable sports boat with exceptional performance. At 5.8metres long she packs well in shipping containers so that freight is economical. The low price of the boat and economical shipping will enable international fleets to grow.
Production boats only hit the water in the US in January and in Australia in May. Yorky’s boat is the 36th production boat. The VX One is already turning heads both here and in the US.
York took Fred Kasparek’s for a sail on Sydney Harbour on Mother’s Day. 'It was blowing 25 to 30 knots from the southwest and we put the boat through a fairly rigorous test. We hit 23 knots downwind under total control. That was pretty awesome! There are some videos we have put together of the day from the Go Pros in the cockpit and the masthead that are posted on our website and youtube (the videos are getting a lot of interest) When she got back to the dock it was very pleasing to see that everything was in perfect working order.'
Michael James from Brisbane sailed his VX One in the recent Queensland Sports Boat State Championships at Mooloolaba. In 15 to 18 knots of breeze he was taking minutes out of boats four and five feet longer on the 1.5 mile run.
The VX One performs well right across the wind range upwind and down. So how does she do this and what makes her different to other sports boats? She is very light, less than half the weight of similar sized sports boats and she relies on ‘form stability’ for a major portion of the righting moment.
To put it simply, the boat is beamy and carries most of its beam down to the waterline so when she heels to the design sailing angle of eight degrees the centre of buoyancy goes about one metre to leeward. When this happens the 61kg of lead in the keel gains a huge amount of lever arm, (righting ability) as do the crew who are hiking out. Also when the boat is heeling upwind only the leeward half of the boat is in the water, just like all the modern yachts (TP52s, Kers, Carkeeks etc), this reduces the wetted surface so that there is less drag.
The light weight of the VX One also means that she does not need enormous sails and consequently the loads on all the sheets are quite light so that smaller sailors can manage the gear quite well. The optimum crew weight should end up being somewhere between 200 to 220kg (there is no limit). A couple of larger guys or three people averaging around 70 kg will do nicely.
Just as the concept of strict one design nature of the Laser was ahead of its time in the seventies and eighties York believes that the VX One is ahead of its time now. As the latest in design thinking gives it great performance at an affordable price this one design should have a bright future.