Continued - pg5
Up the Waitemata Harbour, the wind backed and we came hard on the wind to clear the wharves. While Overdrive has a better VMG at lower angles, she maintained seven to eight knots, pointing as high as any of the adjacent racing keelboats.
Docking Overdrive in strong beam winds requires fast, confident and firm handling. When she stops, windage rules. The secrets are to leave the foils down for grip, approach the dock at speed, and be ready with the ropes. The Toyota/Max Prop combination demonstrated substantial reverse power, but the propeller blast is nowhere near the rudders so the boat has to be moving for any steerage.
Tied up dockside, Overdrive nods and tugs at wind gusts. Yet, despite this apparent lightness, bullet-proof construction, substantial beam and generous displacement translate into a solid platform underway, even when powered up. This wind-driven speedster makes an impressive fast cruiser.
The Kings have achieved the first and hardest part of their dream - creating the chariot. They are well into stage two - learning, fine-tuning and wrapping up life in New Zealand. Stage three - the open ocean - is comfortably within reach.
Depending on the winds, they plan on first stop Australia, maybe via New Caledonia - no dusty vanity from this committed and dedicated couple. As they've proved, if you can dream it, you can do it.
Overdrive is no flighty racer - wind gusts don't translate into neck snapping acceleration. Instead, in gusts the speed builds more like a modern keelboat. We had someone riding shotgun on the main sheet-traveller most of the day, but only once did we dump the main traveller when a sneaky 25-knot gust arrived from a hot angle. Even that was a relatively sedate affair - the lee float dipped then stiffened as the main hull lifted a touch. There was ample time to respond.
Upwind, we all felt the boat sailed better freed off a touch, with an eased headsail and flat main, but it's still early days in the tuning process. The helm was heavier than I liked but, as mentioned earlier, this is a deliberate gearing choice and can be changed. Apart from that, the sailing controls were slick and easily worked and the cockpit layout excellent. The self-tacking, roller furled headsail saves considerable effort - tacking is positive and just a matter of turning the wheel.
Suppliers: Richard Edlin Designs - plans: Half Moon Bay Stainless - stainless steel fabrications: Akzo Noble - paint: Adhesive Technologies - WEST System epoxy: Nuplex - GRP supplies: Hi Modulus - engineering: Windward Sails - sails: JT Spars - mast and rigging: Fosters - fittings: Advanced Trident - electronics: Colin Foley - upholstery: Weaver - hatches: Engine Imports - Toyota engine: Serada - refrigeration and cooker: Dave Giddons Sailmakers - Ferrari trampolines