A missile in the making?
This has to be one of the coolest looking racing yachts ever. The out-and-out racing missile Rambler 88 is the second of two of the world's fastest monohulls to launch in one season from the north-east coast of the US. After Dr Jim Clark's 100-footer Comanche was unveiled at Hodgdon in Maine in the autumn, now comes George David's latest Rambler, an 88-footer designed by Juan Koujoumdjian and built at New England Boatworks, RI.
Like Comanche, Rambler 88's shape is taken to modern excess: low, wide, chined, flat, super-light and ultrapowerful. But the size of the yacht is a little surprising. Big racing boat owners tend to favour either the highly competitive mini-maxi circuit (up to 72ft) or the super-maxi 100-footers (max length). So what is Rambler 88 for: to win on the water, on ratings, or to set records?
"The goal is to win line honours, which we believe will happen in most conditions,'' says Philippe OuIhen from Juan Yacht Design.
David's previous boat was Rambler 100, a 100-footer, also by Kouyoumdjian, which lost her keel and capsized during the 2011 Fastnet Race.
Oulhen says: ''The 100-footers are designed for record attempts. The big difference there is that you pick the weather, so they are very powerful for specific conditions. But when racing you have to deal with what you get. So this boat is for racing and winning line honours, not records. And while everyone else is heading for max waterline, so we will win on ratings too."
Rambler 88 features some radical features, including full-length chines and hull-deck chamfers, very long twin daggerboards with tapered top ends and rudders with teeth or 'tubercles' on the trailing edge. This latter feature means the rudders should not stall when the boat is sailed at hotter angles.
"We're targeting the Rolex Transatlantic Race, but the RORC Caribbean 600 and Les Voiles de Saint Barths are right up there," says owner George David.
It looks unlikely that Comanche will make the RORC 600, so the first time these two new radical US racers go head to head will probably be the transatlantic race in late June. So this could be the year when monohull records tumble again.