Over eight years ago Hakes Marine in New Zealand started building a very special catamaran for a German client. It was called the SL33: 10m in length, weighing only 650kg with a mast over 18m tall. A bit insane in its power to weight ratio, the boat was designed and built for the light winds of Lake Constance, where the goal was to hull fly to victory on the regatta circuit in the typical 4kts of breeze.
The SL33 was one of many successful ventures between builder Paul Hakes and designer Gino Morrelli. At the time of construction Morrelli & Melvin were also contracted by Emirates Team New Zealand to design what would eventually become the very first flying AC72. Impressed by the SL33 project and recognizing it as a good training and development platform, ETNZ purchased two SL33s from Paul, with Luna Rossa following suit and purchasing one of their own. Using this new, lightweight yet robust platform, ETNZ began daggerboard development and eventually learnt how to foil on the SL33s. This technology and valuable experience was quickly applied to the AC72 that went on to shock the world when the ETNZ achieved full flight, setting a new standard for AC racing.
2014-2017 has seen a remarkable number of boats, both multihulls and now even monohulls, flying on foils with incredible speed. It’s great to reflect back to one of the foundations to flying multihulls and spectacular America’s Cup racing, the SL33. Today there are three SL33s still tearing it up around Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. Black Jack, the original SL33, still dominates the lake racing of Northern Europe.
Today we see Paul Hakes and Gino Morrelli teaming up again, this time on a slightly cushier project. HH Catamarans, the luxury, performance cruising cat line, has commanded the niche market, and considering the shared pedigree: carbon construction, curved C-boards, T-rudders, push button sail controls; and luxuriously comfortable platform, it’s easy to see why. HH Catamarans’ most recent launch, HH66-05, is currently in the midst of sea trials. The electric blue hull is already hitting speeds in the high teens in the light Xiamen sea breeze, with plenty left in the tank. With a forward helm inside the salon and ORMA style bucket seats and tillers aft, HH66-05 provides the best of both worlds for the serious dual purpose sailor. Loaded with all the amenities for cruising and entertaining in style, the HH66 will be the perfect platform for spectating the next Cup in Auckland in 2021... Want to get in on the fun? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your AC inspired cruising catamaran.
Congratulations to Robert and the HH66-01 Team on their 1st Place finish at Antigua Sailing Week. We are very proud of these guys. Their Caribbean tour concluded last weekend with this big win. The intensity of the competition was confirmed by a single fact; after the first four days of racing, only R-SIX remained unbeaten out of 150 yachts!
Next up, back across the Atlantic to Europe and the Fastnet race in August!
Since sea trials wrapped last month, many might be wondering, what has been happening with the first of our HH Catamarans to hit the water - HH6601?
In mid-May we wrapped and packed the boat and placed her on a container ship bound for Europe. Last week she completed her 3 week journey, arriving safely in Valencia, Spain. Over the next week or so the HH team will work with the owner's captain and crew to ready the boat for final handover. HH6601 will make her official debut at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September. It's going to be quite an event so be sure to watch this space!
HH6603 left the paint booth this afternoon, giving us a first look at the finished hull's impressive paint job. The first two HH66s sport a clear coated carbon finish - HH6603 is the first to deviate from this look. The freshly coated topsides look fantastic in Alex Seal's Metallic Hazlenut! A big congratulations to the paint team for a job well done!