Wally building wallyrocket51 one-design racing yacht
The Ferretti Group builder is building the wallyrocket51 “to create the world’s fastest race boat that can thrill as a one-design class” yet “top the podium against the elite in IRC and ORC”.
Wally is preparing to rock the world of racing yachts with the wallyrocket51, with the first unit in build scheduled to launch in 2024. The wallyrocket51has been pitched as a “one-design rating-buster race model” and is pitched to rival the TP52 in the coming years.
The brand has even stated its ‘aim to create the world’s fastest race boat that can thrill as a one-design class but which can thread her way to the top of the podium against the elite in IRC and ORC racing by sailing faster and rating lower than anything around her’.
Stefano de Vivo, Wally’s Managing Director, said: “This project represents a truly unique approach to the creation of a new boat that was very much needed in today’s competitive landscape for this size. The wallyrocket51 is very close to our hearts and has eluded us for years as we sought to develop a design that could win any regatta in the world.
“We’ve cracked it at last and we anticipate strong demand for the wallyrocket51 once the world sees it perform. This is a boat that will appeal to all those owners who love to race at the highest level but want to do so in a new and entertaining way.”
The Wally team has worked on the design with Botin Partners, whose resumé includes the America’s Cup and whose designs have taken 12 consecutive TP52 season titles, ORC world championships and Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup titles, among others.
Vasco Vascotto, one of the world’s most successful competitive sailors, and Argentinian sportsboat ace Guillermo Parada have advised as project developers. Their combined Olympic and America’s Cup experience has helped make the wallyrocket51 easier to handle with less crew and more fun to sail. They’ve also been instrumental in shaping the forthcoming wallyrocket one-design series.
At 15.5m LOA, wallyrocket51 sits in the pocket of the classic 52-footers, slightly shorter than a TP52, but designed to beat them due to innovative features, ultralight displacement and an exhaustively refined hull.
Being a 51-footer has allowed the design team to optimise the hull, underwater appendages and sailplan by getting a rating bonus that could be spent on other elements. Those include a displacement of just 6.3 tonnes in measurement condition, which makes the wallyrocket51 very reactive, super-fast downwind and quick to plane.
While that would normally mean a disadvantage upwind, wallyrocket51 employs a feature that dominated the 2007 America’s Cup – an adjustable trim tab on the trailing edge of the keel. This produces a huge amount of lift upwind on a smaller keel stem profile, reducing resistance and delivering neutral leeway.
With the water flow aligned with the boat, there’s a big reduction in hull drag which means that despite having a shorter waterline length, the wallyrocket51 will be able to sail higher and faster than competitors.
The wallyrocket51 can be raced by a crew of just 11. A water ballast system in the aft quarters not only helps with righting moment but also delivers more neutral pitch, which further improves hull resistance. The system has a 550-litre capacity, takes 80 seconds to fill, 60 seconds to ditch and just 10 seconds to transfer from side to side, making it easy to fine-tune in any conditions.
The combination of keel trim tab and water ballast has been designed to offer a greater performance gain than the rating sacrifice they entail which, in combination with the length and displacement advantages, will give the wallyrocket51 the edge at all points of the race course.
Deck ergonomics have also been considered to cater to the smaller crew, and twin grinder pedestals provide grunt to everything from mainsail trim to hydraulics thanks to a clever switching system. The midships grinder can also be replaced by an electric motor to provide power to winches for shorthanded racing.
The hull is pre-preg carbon with Corecell, while Nomex is used as the core for the deck. The rig is by Southern Spars, made in High Modulus carbon fibre, with Future Fibres AeroSix standing rigging, and the sail areas include 163.9sqm upwind and 361sqm downwind. Winches are Harken Air Winch, and the jammers in the pit are Spinlock.
Luca Bassani, Wally’s founder and Chief Designer, said: “The wallyrocket51 is fast, fun, smart and revolutionary, like all Wallys. With her dramatic reverse sheerline, flush deck and long bowsprit, the wallyrocket51 is instantly part of the family. And true to Wally’s DNA, she will feature some ground-breaking innovations that not only make it the most competitive vessel but also reduce the annual running costs versus the existing one-design classes today.”