News Rainbow II sails again

26 Feb 2015

Rainbow II is one of the most iconic yachts in New Zealand sailing history. Built and skippered by Chris Bouzaid, her win in the One Ton Cup in 1969 was New Zealand’s first big international sailing win that paved the way for countless victories over the years that followed. Some 40 years later, Rainbow II was purchased again by Bouzaid and brought back to Auckland, where she has undergone a rebuild in time for a re-run of the One Ton Regatta in Auckland in February 2015. For the refit, Doyle Sails NZ was commissioned to build the new sails, with design work by Chris’ son Richard who gives some insight into the sail design here:

Alan Sefton

Image: Alan Sefton

“When we first approached making the new sails for Rainbow II we were in mixed minds over how to start. We questioned whether we would use modern sail fibres or stick with more traditional fibres that would be similar to the look and set up of the boat when she won the One Ton Cup in 1969.

In the end, we decided to go down the traditional route, and stick with Dacron and similar materials, so she would not look drastically different to how she was back in the day. With that decision made, it was then a relatively easy sail inventory to create, with two genoas, a mainsail and a spinnaker. Once we learnt more about the course she will be racing in the One Ton Cup an asymmetrical spinnaker was added to the inventory, as the course will involve a lot of reaching which the old-style spinnakers are not that suited to.  That is the only sail that is really significantly different to her 1969 set up.

The major difference in the process of designing the sails this time round has been the sail technology, and we were able to make use of modern sail design technology and a 3D model of the boat when designing the sails. The accuracy that this technology allows should mean that the sails will be faster than in 1969, but saying that Dad was a pretty sharp sailmaker so we’ll see!

Since her relaunch I’ve been out on the boat and she is performing well. She is a very different boat to what I typically sail, but I have been really impressed with how well she slips along. Wai-Aniwa, which Dad won the Cup on in 1971, is the most comparable to Rainbow II and it will be really interesting to see how they line up against each other this weekend. With the exception of myself and Leo Bouzaid,  the crew is on board Rainbow II is made up of people who sailed on her in the late 1960’s in the numerous races she competed in plus a couple of guest who have helped out with the re vamp of the boat. It’s going to bea memorable event.”