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Black knight: Bristolian is a magnificent French--kiwi collaboration with unique DNA.

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Bristolian is a name familiar to many in the large sailing yacht industry; the previous Bristolian was a Frets 92 that was prominent on the superyacht cruising and racing scenes in the Mediterranean. After ten years of enjoyable use, Bristolian's English owner Michael Cannon decided that it was time to upgrade. Cannon had always enjoyed the sailing performance of his Frers 92 and was keen for his next boat to be equally sensitive and to provide him with a similar sense of excitement under sail. He was also mindful of the comfort of his guests, both when sailing and when anchored or in port, and did not want a Spartan, uncomfortable racing machine. With these criteria in mind he arranged to meet designer Philippe Briand to discuss a new boat. Briand met with Cannon and his long-term Captain Peter 'Gooch' Tabone aboard the old Bristolian off Dubrovnik, Croatia and it was there that the specification for the new boat was conceived.

The basic reference for the new Bristolian was the 35-metre Briand 2005 design Hamilton, but with the waterline extended by a more plumb bow profile. To give the required performance, carbon composite construction and a lifting keel were specified. The owner wanted 'out of the box' lines for the superstructure based on a voluminous pilothouse and panoramic coach roof, and looking at the finished boat he definitely got them. Briand has drawn a low metallic silver coachroof that tapers down as it divides around the main cockpit. As this line disappears into the deck, the line of the steering pods emerges and rises as it draws aft. The steering pods are based on the 'god pods' used on ocean racing maxi catamarans providing protection to the helmsman behind an arched cuddy-style structure. The lines of the pods are drawn to suggest the profile of a Maserati on the 1950s circuit. The height of the superstructure has been kept to a minimum to allow passengers to see the sea when reclined. Briand describes one of the hardest challenges of the design was the linking of the pilothouse with the steering pods because of the large area of the cockpit between them. Many sketches later he came up with what he describes as the "bionic" form of the pilothouse and the "Maserati" form of the pods as two independent forms, stretching their arms out to encircle the large cockpit in the middle.

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The deck saloon, with wraparound windscreen and a broad glass stripe fore and aft along its length, provides guests with a bright, naturally lit area to relax and view the outside. A unique design feature of the deck saloon is the asymmetric division of the area lengthways into two levels. To port the saloon area is wider and lower, while to starboard the dining area is raised and allows a panoramic view. Forward of the saloon steps lead down to the guest accommodation with a double cabin, a twin cabin and the master cabin all the way forward. The master cabin, although located in an area where the hull tapers in, retains a feeling of spaciousness. The interior, styled by Gooch's wife Emma Tabone in conjunction with the owner, is described by the team as contemporary with hints of art deco. The contemporary elements such as the light sycamore frise timber and the way that it is represented in flat and curved panels, unadorned by raised features and mouldings, are to create an open, light, comfortably elegant ambience. The art deco lines and features. including wenge inlays, large semi circular ceiling features and table lamps in the form of bunches of tulips, aim to add personality, depth and definition and are reminiscent of the classic lines of traditional yacht interiors. Stainless steel has been used around windows and port lights, most notably in the pilothouse to create more light from reflections from the polished surfaces. Similarly, large mirrors have been included throughout the guest accommodation areas to create a further feeling of space.

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The decision to locate guests forward and crew aft was made to allow guests privacy, particularly when docked stern-to, as is nearly always the case in Mediterranean marinas. The crew's access via their companionway, which exits under the starboard steering pod, means that guests are not disturbed with the crew walking past them in the cockpit.

The crew accommodation aft is finished in a very different manner with white lacquer and stainless steel the dominant finishes in the galley and crew quarters. The area has avoided an atmosphere of sterility with the inclusion of bright red door panels and a dark timber stairway and handrails. The radio and navigation equipment is located just aft of the crew mess, easily accessible via the crew companionway.

The deck has been kept clean; mooring cleats are Yachting Development's pop up style cleats; the anchor windlass is tucked away underneath a hatch on the foredeck, and the anchor itself is a submarine style anchor that drops out from the underside of the hull so there is no visible sign that the yacht is at anchor except for the anchor ball in the fore triangle. The mooring cleats at the bow are hidden in the same locker as the windlass so the foredeck is not cluttered with heavy mooring lines in port. One of the owner's requirements was for the whole boat to be for the enjoyment of his guests, not just the aft deck. To this end a splash pool, covered by a pantograph lifting section of deck when not in use. has been sunk into the foredeck.

At the other end of the boat the transom door folds down to provide a bathing platform for guests and access to the lazarette where the tender is stored. The steering pods provide shelter at either helm station for the helmsman and are large enough to shelter a couple of crew members from the elements. Large Harken 1130 winches for sheeting the light wind sails are aft of the pods. and outboard of the cockpit on either side are even larger Harken 1140 winches for the headsail sheets.

One of the features that make Bristolian hard to miss among the fleet is its wardrobe of sails. Bristolian's many sails are all black, in keeping with the colour of the topsides. In addition to the fully battened, 380-square-metre roller furled mainsail, on the furling forestay either a 315-square-metre deck-sweeping blade or a higher footed Caribbean can be flown. The 250-square-metre Caribbean is a high-clewed Yankee style reaching sail. Forward of the forestay furler is a rotating Cariboni pad eye, which can be used for either the downwind asymmetric or the code zero. The 1067-square-metre asymmetric is for light downwind conditions while the code zero is a light wind sail that can be used for reaching or sailing with wind angles as close as 40 degrees apparent. A removable inner forestay can be hooked up to the retractable Reckmann furler, which is flush mounted into the foredeck; this stay allows the crew to fly a staysail or storm staysail. Reckmann developed the retractable furler specifically for the Bristolian project and is now marketing the furler to other build projects. All of the sails were built by Doyle Sails New Zealand. The main, staysails, blade and Caribbean were constructed using Doyle's Stratis technique with the sail being formed as a laminate as oppose to the traditional method of building the sail out of cloth from a roll. Doyle formed Bristolian's black sails by laying carbon and Vectran fibres onto a black tinted adhesive membrane. Black taffetas, or outer skins were then laid onto either side of the membrane to form the sailcloth. The asymmetric has a magnificent depiction of the yacht's emblem, a rampant lion in gold painted onto it.

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The high modulus carbon mast and boom, finished in black of course, were built by Southern Spars. In keeping with the yacht's performance orientated design, a package of Southern Spars carbon EC6 standing rigging was selected. EC6 is formed by bunching together pultruded strands of carbon that look similar to the lead in a pencil, these carbon bundles are covered in a protective sheath and terminated in end fittings that attach to the deck terminal, mast or spreader tip. EC6 offers large weight savings over nitronic rod, the standing rigging material of choice up until recently.

The largest engineering challenge for Yachting Developments was the lifting keel. In order to avoid the problems that some other designers and yards have experienced with keels rattling around while under way, or getting stuck either in the up or down position, the yard bought together a team of designers including America's Cup designers and engineers and the yard's in-house design team to develop a keel that would lift to change draft from 5.8 metres to 3.8 metres. When I was on board the keel was lifted and lowered and, with no discernible noise during the process, the only indication that it was being raised and lowered were the transit lights on the helm consoles. Underway; both under sail with keel down and engine power with keel up, there was no vibration or noise from the keel. The housing for the keel does occupy some real estate in the accommodation towards the middle of the boat, but the arrangement of the interior with an offset passageway alongside the housing does not allow it to become a feature. The engine room is compact but manageable. The 450hp MTU main engine easily powered us up to 13 knots without fuss on sea trials and the noise levels throughout the accommodation remained comfortably low. The steering system on board is a direct drive chain and cable set up so the pressure on the helm is a reflection of the pressure on the rudder. Steering Bristolian in the light conditions on the Hauraki Gulf while the crew worked through the sail wardrobe for the photo shoot was a pleasure as varying degrees of gentle but positive feedback could be felt through the wheel.

Phillip Briand describes designing Bristolian as one his most challenging projects to date, and feels that with the cooperation of Yachting Developments and Gosh as project manager, they have together created a yacht with a unique DNA.

Bristolian left Auckland soon after my visit on board, and the last time I spoke with Captain Gooch he was a couple of hundred miles off the Queensland coast destined for the Whitsundays in time for the owner's first cruise.

For further information Tel: +64 9 417 0060 or visit www.yachtingdevelopments.co.nz
36.70m LOA
33.39m LWL
8.17m BEAM
5.25 / 3.50m DRAUGHT
130,000kg DISPLACEMENT LIGHT
145,000kg DISPLACEMENT LOADED
40,000kg BALLAST
380[m.sup.2] MAINSAIL
315[m.sup.2] BLADE (FURLING)
250[m.sup.2] BLADE 'CARIBBEAN' (FURLING)
120[m.sup.2] STAYSAIL
850[m.sup.2] ASYM. SPINNAKER
3840l WATER TANK
10600l FUEL TANK
MTU Series 60 (450bhp @ 1800rpm) ENGINE
Composite HULL
Yachting Developments BUILDER
Philippe Briand Yacht Design DESIGNER
Southern Spars CARBON RIG
Awlgrip PAINT
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Title Annotation:Bristolian
Author:Waddilove, Guy
Publication:Offshore Yachting
Article Type:Product/service evaluation
Date:Jun 1, 2009
Words:1861
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