Bandito, L26 from HBYC, enjoying fresh wind in the Admiral's Regatta
Angelo Lavranos designed the L26 in the late 70s, which went on to become the leading competitive keelboat class in South Africa. Below is Angelo's own account of how it came about, so I'll leave that to him. Angelo was a South African (as far as I know - he certainly lived here for many years), before moving on to New Zealand where he now lives. L26s were all built in SA, originally by PSI Yachts in Durban, later by Ton Cup as well. Maybe others too. Despite its age now (30 years) - the "Ls" as they have become known are suprisingly fast - even beating some of our larger racers across the line on occasion! They are particularly fast upwind if they have enough crew and benefit from the relatively high crew-weight/displacement ratio, sitting out on the wide beam. They have a high form stability factor, being beamy and light, but generally low-tech boats, keeping costs down. Despite this, Ls manage very well in heavy weather. Mostly, they have no reefing points in the main - at least in the racing suite! They remain a well managed class, and the class choice for the Lipton Cup. They are now relatively affordable and have made performance sailing accessible to many of the youth and development programmes in SA. Lavranos also desgned many other successful boats (too many to mention!) - see his website at www.lavranosyachtdesign.co.nz
-------------------- Notes on the L26 by Angelo Lavranos
5th May, 2007
Back in 1978 I was asked by David Cox to design what became the L26. Dave was one of Durban’s most prominent and influential “movers & shakers” in yachting. He later also initiated and masterminded the L34 Class also. Dave felt that “one Design” was the way to go, and that a large body of yachtsmen were fed up with “chequebook“ yachting and rapid obsolescence endemic with the IOR rule of that time. That sounds a familiar complaint even now. How right they were ! Dave and John Gordon Thompson formed L Boats as the licensee. The first boat afloat “Electron” (small but very very fast!) owned by Johnny went afloat in April 1980. Actually No 001 was for John Sully (a very prominent Transvaal Yachtsman) who was the first “real” buyer. Within 12 months there were 12 afloat, all from PSI Yachts in Durban, and 32 on order. By 1981 Ton Cup Yachts in Cape Town were also licensed to build. By April ’82, 60 were built with another 10 on order. Dave wrote an excellent set of Class Rules right at the outset, and marketed the boat very effectively and relentlessly. Ultimately (within very few years) 84 were built.
When the L26 was conceived the Lipton Cup was “dormant” since the demise of the 30 sqm class. In 1982 it was revived using IOR Quarter Ton Cup Class boats. Within a couple of years that too fizzled. The L26 was chosen only in 1984, when the class was already established and very well distributed amongst all the clubs round the country. Because of this the Lipton Cup was an instant success in the L26 and the event in turn helped maintain interest in the L26. The design brief given to me was the key to the success of the boat.
1.Simplicity. This essential element of this is the runnerless, swept single spreader rig, robust enough for long life, handling mistakes etc. The IOR rigs of the time used runners, were delicate and obligingly fell down if misused. This was No-No number 1.
2.Rugged, designed to last, no breakages. At Dave’s insistence we stuck to a solid glass structure which is heavier than a sandwich. Dave was worried about ongoing supply of core material as well as the increased cost, consumer resitance etc. By the time the L34 came along he relented on this but in 1978 he probably made the right decision.
3.The boat should be able to handle SA coastal conditions (something most One Designs and sportboats of similar length, especially the lighter more recent ones are less able to do). Because of the L26’s waterplane characteristics and topside configuration she is able to take a person ahead of the mast while doing spinnaker gybes etc in strong winds without broaching or nosediving. The boat handles sweetly through the whole windrange, both upwind and down. When overpressed the helm just gets a little soggy, making her one of the more forgiving and docile boats to sail.
4.She had to be fast and fun to sail. In 2007 she might not bring the same excitement to Adrenalin junkies, but across the board for young and old she strikes a good balance.
5.Moderate cost, a “no frills boat”.
6.Tight Class rules.
7.Capable of “overnight” coastal races and weekending
She fulfilled the brief OK. Many have done coastal passages, and even the Da Gama race from Durban to East London (and back) several times. In the terminal “horror” Da Gama race of ’84 Dick Haliberton in Element was OK but Cape of Good Hope the Navy entry did a 360 roll, and somebody opened the hatch in the process. They flooded and got rescued. Notably Steve Meek even sailed one from Cape Town to East London, doing a 194 mile day in the process. I designed some “spin off” boats for Dave Cox after the L26’s stopped. We did one with the L26 hull and a cruising deck (more headroom, volume), a shallower keel, cantilever mast called the C26. With the economic recession only two were built. After that another 2 or 3 were built with conventional stayed rig and called the S26. Also the original C-Flex plug with a wood deck using the L26 design (sail no 000) called Origin also did a lot of racing (outside the L26 class.) The sailors and people involved in the L26 have been a vertiable “whose who” of top Yachties, ALL the sailmakers (most notably Rick Nankin in partnership with Chris King), and a lot of very successful people in other spheres. Lex Raas, who built all the Cape boats is now CEO of Moorings worldwide. His partner in Ton Cup was none other than John Robertson. His (late) partner Jerry Caine built a lot of the Durban boats after Basil Cook at PSI Yachts.
I've posted this article once before - a year or two back - but it does seem a bit topical just now! I wonder what the poor visiting ARC boats make of it! It explains the mechanics and nature of the South Easter, courtesy of 1stweather.com - hope you find it interesting! Click here for the link.
Roy McBride is always very obliging in providing material for my ongoing "quest" to fill the club website. I had long thought to do a short series of articles on the various boats in our marina. This pic is of my own boat - a Flamenca 25 aptly called Quest. Flamencas were designed by the late great Oswald Berckemeyer, a german national that lived in SA and in fact Hout Bay for many years. Most were built by the Nebes (Fritz and Gerfried), also of Hout Bay - so truly a local boat. Their big sister (though a fraction younger) is the more famous Muira at 32'. Flamencas are amongst the best learner boats available and very easy to single-hand. They are stable and safe in Cape Waters, and easily capable of righting themselves from a full knockdown. With their relatively small size, they aren't the fastest boats around, but certainly great fun to sail. Most of the fleet lives in False Bay as it happens, but examples are found all over the country, and even a few across the ditch . . . Flamencas can be found from about R40-70k in good condition.
Yesterday saw the annual Christmas Lunch of the Hout Bay "Business Orphans", held this year at Spiros in Main Road. Quite a cheerful event it was too, culminating with the traditional Greek breaking of plates etc etc. At least I hope they were the traditional ones! The event raises a fair sum for a worthy local charity too.
Give that man a Bells!! Just one more should do it!
My name is Tony Van Vugt. I own a South African Miura. It is located on the East Coast of the USA. In my travels I sometimes meet South Africans that would like to sail in the US. The East Coast with the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and its many rivers and bays is the preferred sailing area. The Miura is renowned in South Africa as a voyager. There are a dozen or so here in North America. While it is quite capable of doing so, and my Miura did, it’s a bit of a hassle and time consuming to sail a boat from South Africa to the States. I’m therefore offering my Miura for sale in the US so that she can be sailed here for as long as a new owner wants to do so personally or share with friends each taking the boat for separate periods. I seek your advice as to how best publicize this opportunity among the SA sailing fraternity. I’m thinking about SA sail and boating clubs and, if need be, advertise with nautical publications. I would be glad to have your recommendations. To give potential buyers the opportunity to learn about the boat and east coast cruising areas I’ve put together and published a website. It may be found at: http://www.van-vugt.com/miura/. If you like, please have a look at it and let me know if it is clear enough. Your assistance would be much appreciated. Anthony Van Vugt 1031 Carper Street McLean, VA 22101 USA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 703 734 2727 (Home); 703 508 5377 (Mobile)
A short prizegiving was held during the Christmas Party, recognising the main achievements of our members during 2010. Briefly, these include:
Best performance in the 2010 Opening Cruise (Yacht faraway, with a great display of bunting on the back of the mast!)
Most Improved Sailor (Keith Gemmell - Keith is moving Savannah around the course at ever improving times, often singlehanded, and never misses a race if he can help it!)
Most Active Sailor (Chris Sutton - our intrepid Commodore!) Say no more.
Winter Series 1 Megafreight, 2 Faraway, 3 Savannah, 4 Nandi.
Shareholders Award - a new award recognising "exemplary patronage and support of the club bar over a sustained period, far beyond the call of duty, and for associated perseverance and stamina". A tightly contested award, the clear leaders emerged as Robin Parker and Alan Harrington, in a breathtaking tie. . . .
"Beyond the Call of Duty" - Jeremy Nel. The highest award HBYC has, for a member that has made a truly exceptional contribution to the club, in leadership, action and behaviour. The trophy is a priceless brass mercury barometer prominently mounted in the club house. This trophy has not been awarded for several years, but the current committee was unanimous and enthusiastic in awarding it this year to Jeremy Nel, for his outstanding contribution to the club in 2009/10. Major achievements included a total revamp of the club premises (plus the requisite fund raising!), an awesome social calendar including motorcycle breakfast runs, oyster and champagne feasts, Friday night draws, Thursday Fireside tails, three new flat screen TVs, overhaul of the downstairs function room, great assistance in sailing events (mark laying etc), new Lipton campaign for junior sailors, and most recently even running the racing bridge!! Its a fair bit of work just to type this all. Jeremy was however unable to attend this function - taking a well-earned holiday in Zimbabwe - so Pierre Albertyn was asked to receive a token bottle of bubbly on his behalf. A formal thank you will be issued imminently by the Commodore.
I can say this award was extremely well applauded by all members - and to Jeremy - most sincere thanks from all of us - the club simply wouldn't be anything like it is today without you! Give that man a Bells!
HBYC Christmas Party was a very festive affair, with fine food, music and great Christmas Cheer! Many thanks to Penny, Cheryl and Patricia who organised the whole event, and also to Jeremy Nel who somehow turns out to be the inspiration for most of these things. Proceeds went to a very deserving local charity too. There are some great people in this club! More pics here.
Spare a thought for a a few ARC Yachts who were battling their way in to Hout Bay in a very strong wind at the same time, with great assistance from the NSRI who towed two of the yachts into the harbour in exceptionally difficult circumstances (70 knot winds, one sans rudder!) - and in pitch dark. Well done to James Beaumont who led this rescue (as I understand), James is also a HBYC Club Member.