Tapio Lehtinen’s Gaia 36 Asteria is the oldest yacht entered within the ‘retro’ solo Golden Globe Race, and has some uncommon modifications for this distinctive occasion
Word: Since this piece was written Tapio Lehtinen had to be rescued in the Golden Globe Race after his beloved yacht, Asteria sank in a mere 5 minutes. It’s unclear at this second what the reason for this abrupt sinking was. As this text attests, Lehtinen was meticulous in his preparation for the occasion and was dismayed to lose his boat in such a vogue.
Sparkman and Stephens aficionado Tapio Lehtinen believes his Gaia 36 Asteria is the proper vessel for the rigours of the Golden Globe Race, regardless of being the oldest yacht within the fleet having been inbuilt 1965. Lehtinen accomplished the 2018 version, the primary ‘re-running’ of the well-known solo non cease race, in fifth place in the identical boat, after being hampered by ineffective antifouling that resulted in large underwater development.
Nonetheless, an even bigger refit than anticipated meant Lehtinen was not capable of absolutely realise his imaginative and prescient for the boat final time. He purchased her in 2017 in Italy, nevertheless it was solely after crusing dwelling to Finland that important delamination was found within the deck. Ultimately the whole deck and coachroof was sliced off and used as a male mould for its substitute.
On the identical time, the hull was stripped proper again to a shell, with all furnishings and bulkheads eliminated. Even the gelcoat and high 1mm of the hull laminate was floor away after which relaminated with Kevlar to enhance impression resistance in opposition to collision with floating objects.
“The boat is now how I might have appreciated it to be 4 years in the past,” he instructed me in Les Sables d’Olonne the day earlier than the beginning, “however then we simply didn’t have the time to get to this customary.”
The Gaia design dates from 1961 and Asteria is the second boat of a complete of 15 constructed. She has very related traces to the Swan 36 which was first launched simply two years later, though Asteria’s rudder is mounted on the trailing fringe of the keel, relatively than the Swan’s extra trendy fin and skeg profile.
“It’s the one boat within the GGR that was initially designed for racing,” Lehtinen added, “and I wouldn’t wish to race with a cruising boat.” Nonetheless Asteria is way modified in comparison with her authentic specification.
In addition to three watertight compartments and foam buoyancy within the bow, there’s a pair of watertight bulkheads aft, which aren’t required for the race, however make sense for the rigours of the course. The primary is simply forward of the rudder tube, whereas the second is a few toes additional ahead. All through-hull fittings are positioned between the 2, nearly eliminating the possibility of a failed pores and skin becoming sinking the boat.
Typical cockpit locker lids are infamous for letting in water throughout extreme climate. Due to this fact flush-fitting Lewmar hatches have been used as a substitute when the brand new deck was fitted. The deck now additionally has a wider cockpit coaming to facilitate the becoming of enormous winches – there are three either side. On the identical time the cockpit properly is narrower than the unique. It was specified to precisely match the width of the liferaft, minimising the amount of water the cockpit will maintain when pooped by a wave.
Hand and foot steering
The very substantial aluminium tiller has an extension that in benign situations allows Lehtinen to steer from the entrance of the cockpit, the place there’s a transparent view of the telltales. Noting that Jean Luc Van Den Heede, who gained the primary version of the revived Golden Globe by a big margin, hand steered for lots of the race, Asteria can also be arrange in order that Lehtinen can steer from a place of consolation and security in correctly difficult situations.
To do that he tailored an concept from Bernard Moitessier within the authentic 1968 Golden Globe. He can sit within the companionway, utterly enclosed by the cuddy and washboards, steering along with his toes in stirrups, from which traces are led again to the tiller.
The ultra-sleek cuddy can also be a singular characteristic. These of some Golden Globe boats look weak in a knockdown, or add appreciable windage aft, which can impair steering downwind in wild situations when these boats lack the management of extra trendy designs with spade rudders. Nonetheless, Asteria’s cuddy design was primarily based on these used for racing powerboats and, regardless of being extraordinarily light-weight, is rated to resist capsizing at round 100 knots of boat velocity!
When the coachroof was rebuilt Lehtinen took the chance to scale back the width of the companionway. It now precisely fits his body, so he doesn’t rattle round within the house in tough climate. There’s additionally further strengthening on the companionway, with full top fore and aft bulkheads either side which might be bonded into the hull construction.
Lehtinen says the significance of that’s one thing he remembers from Miles and Beryl Smeeton’s expertise on their 46ft ketch Tzu Cling, which misplaced the coachroof when pitchpoled on the method to Cape Horn within the late Fifties.
For this version of the race he additionally modified from a WindPilot to a Hydrovane. This fits Asteria properly because the chord size of her keel is unusually brief, which suggests the rudder held on its trailing edge is a good distance ahead and has restricted impact. Nonetheless, the Hydrovane’s auxiliary rudder, mounted on the again of the lengthy, drawn out counter exerts numerous leverage. In some ways it due to this fact works extra just like the spade rudder of newer designs and permits Asteria’s foremost rudder to be locked off, performing like a trim tab.
One of many modifications Lehtinen has made for the reason that 2018 race is to suit a steady line furler to the ahead forestay that allows hank-on sails to be furled. In the direction of the top of the race, when his massive light-weight genoa was worn and weak, there was a threat of it being irreparably broken in squalls because it was time consuming to douse. The reefing system means the sail may be wrapped away in a short time.
Downwind this keep can be used for the hank-on storm jib. Nonetheless, when crusing upwind the storm jib may be flown from the babystay along side a fourth mainsail reef (in lieu of a trysail) to present a extra balanced sail plan. To present the mast applicable assist for this Asteria has a second pair of operating backstays.
Standing rigging, usually 7mm or 8mm wire for a ship of this dimension, is upgraded to an enormous 12mm, with Norseman-style terminals and each chainplates and the encompassing construction beefed as much as match. The mast, new for the 2018 race, is of a heavier part than customary.
The Yankee on the primary forestay and staysail are each curler furling sails and have been used for the earlier GGR. They’re manufactured from very heavy Dacron, with substantial reinforcement, and have been absolutely serviced together with re-stitching the place it was discovered needed.
Mainsail reefing is completed completely within the cockpit, utilizing separate luff and leech pennants. The sail is ready up with twin sheets, every with a purchase order resulting in reverse sides of the cockpit. It’s a easy association that offers effective management over sail form with out the necessity for a traveller. The boat is ready up with two poles for gybes, whereas the leeward foreguy may be led aft as a preventer. There’s additionally a jockey pole to maintain the spinnaker pole off the guardrails.
It’s additionally noticeable that there are various substantial chrome steel handholds on deck and that jackstays are as near the centreline as potential. Given Asteria’s slim beam and effective ends Lehtinen makes use of a brief tether to make sure he can by no means be washed over the guardwires.
His bunk is on the starboard facet of the saloon, with a deep leeboard supplemented by webbing straps throughout the highest, to make sure there’s no likelihood of being ejected and injured even when the boat is rolled via 360°. A steering compass and barograph on the foot of the bunk means Lehtinen can instantly test key information on waking up, together with the speed of change of atmospheric strain.
The rest of the inside could be very useful, with a sail stowage space ahead, a small navstation on the primary bulkhead with the permitted electronics: VHF and SSB radios, plus an old style climate fax that permits synoptic charts and even satellite tv for pc climate photos to be downloaded through HF radio. These are all encased behind waterproof panels.
LOA: 10.97m / 36ft 0in
LWL: 7.77m / 25ft 6in
Beam: 2.95m / 9ft 8in
Draught: 1.83m / 6ft 0in
Displacement: 6,985kg / 15,400lb
Sail space: 50.17m2 / 540ft2
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