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Alfa Romeo II: Chapter 2 begins


July 24, 2005

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July 25, 2005 From the moment we saw the first images of the original Alfa Romeo super maxi yacht, and realised that Neville Crichton’s aim of building the world’s fastest and most technologically advanced maxi had been achieved, we have followed the boat with fascination. We followed her through her first major win, her win in the Giraglia, the Barcelona 35 win in front of 250,000 spectators, the Fastnet win, the coming of the canting keel design which made her non-competiive in the elite class and her final win. Now there is a new Alfa Romeo, built along the same principles and aiming for the same lofty goals. Following her launch on Tuesday 19 July 2005, the new Kiwi super maxi 'Alfa Romeo' set her sails for the first time, tested her canting keel and bettered 19 knots in a light breeze during a highly successful maiden voyage around Sydney Harbour on Friday 22 July 2005. 'Alfa Romeo', the second yacht built by New Zealand skipper and owner, Neville Crichton, to carry the name of the Italian car maker, was penned by leading American yacht designers, Reichel/Pugh and built in Sydney by McConaghy Boats.

Compared to the previous 'Alfa Romeo', the winner of the 2002 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race and 73 other line honours wins, the new yacht is three metres longer, more then seven and half metres taller and can carry a sail area more than a third larger than the previous 'Alfa Romeo'. As well as being equipped with a canting keel and twin rudders, 'Alfa Romeo' is hardly more than a tonne heavier than her predecessor.

During the test run 'Alfa Romeo' caused consternation on the harbour when, while stationary and with no sails in place, she rocked through more than 45 degrees from side to side as the revolutionary canting keel was tested.

"We could not have asked for a better first outing," says Neville Crichton.

"All the major systems were tested thoroughly before the sails went up for the first time and were found to be fully functional and the performance, even at this very early stage was excellent, both in terms of acceleration and outright speed. We still have a considerable amount of work to do in terms of finishing the work on the yacht, as well as training the crew and developing the tactics to maximize her new technology, but it all looks very promising."

As soon as 'Alfa Romeo' has completed her tests in and around Sydney Harbour, she will set sail for Hamilton Island to contest her first races in the Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week (20-27 August 2005) before sailing to home port of Auckland for the first time. She will return to Australia in November to prepare for the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race and take part in supporting events.

Alfa Romeo Technical Description:

Club: Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Sail Number: NZL 80 Designers: Reichel/Pugh - USA Builders: McConaghy Boats, Sydney, Australia Construction: Hull - Carbon Fibre Composite, Keel - Steel, Rudder and Mast - Carbon Fibre, Sails - 3DL Carbon/Mylar Mast: Southern Spars, Auckland, New Zealand Sails: North Sails, Sydney, Australia LOA: 30.0 metres ('Alfa Romeo' 1: 27.5 metres) Beam: 5.2 metres ('Alfa Romeo' 1: 5.6 metres)

Draft: 5.1 metres ('Alfa Romeo' 1: 4.0 metres)

Mast Height 44 metres ('Alfa Romeo' 1: 36.5 metres)

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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