FLY was the original Aerorig fast cruising yacht designed by Americas Cup designer Ian Howlett and built by Tom Richardson at the Elephant Boatyard on the River Hamble. She is clearly very practical as an ocean going yacht, both in terms of the seamanlike systems above/below decks and their suitability for long passages and/or sailing in remote areas.
All sail hoisting, reefing and manoeuvres can be carried out alone by her skipper. Under power she is very manoeuvrable using a combination of prop-wash onto the large spade rudder and her 18hp bow thruster.
She was built with a huge budget for a welathy businessman who among the companies he owned at the time, was Carbospars. The high specification this 'mini superyacht' was built to is self evident from the quality of the stainless steel fabrications, the custom Hyduron (military spec. aluminium bronze) propshaft and seacocks. The walnut joinery and cabinet work was completed by the late Paul Litton, who individually selected the trees from which the interior was built. The design, engineering detail and finish in its day was second to none which was reflected in her build cost some twenty years ago, of over two million pounds.
The present owner (only her second since built) sailed her single-handed from Antigua back to the UK. He also crossed single-handed the Atlantic to the Caribbean in fifteen days, which coincides with his stated mean daily passage planning mileage of two hundred to two hundred and twenty miles per day.
In twenty three years she’s only had two owners and it’s not hard to see why it would be hard to part with FLY once you’ve owned her. Viewing is a must, don’t just rely on the pictures or these words if you're looking for a cruising yacht in this size range. FLY is going to be attractive to a certain owner not just because of what she's capable of doing and for sure whoever buys her is going own a lot of boat and a good deal of pleasure for the money spent. The yacht will be in the water on the Clyde until around the end of September 2014 before being brought ashore for the winter.
The Aerorig is an asset on this spectacular seventy foot yacht for those who cruise short-handed particularly if they intend to make long passages. There are three very obvious ‘stand out’ features of this superb yacht. The first two are the quality and attention to detail in her construction and interior fit out which is evident in the stills and video taken onboard. The third is the Aerorig which replaces the conventional sloop or ketch rigs seen on yachts of this size. While the Aerorig might put some potential purchasers off, it shouldn’t, because it’s operation is simplicity itself and it is very impressive how easy it makes it to sail a seventy foot, nigh on fifty tonne yacht alone. It's an asset on this seventy foot yacht for those who cruise short-handed, particularly if they intend to make long passages. Having said that, in the last twelve years Fly has day sailed a good deal as well as completing several Atlantic trips, one of them solo with her current owner.
For those who have not come across the Aerorig before, it is made up of a mast, a main boom and a fore-boom. The mast is totally unstayed and is mounted in two bearings – one on the bottom of the hull and one in the deck. These allow the mast, and therefore the whole rig, to rotate freely. The jib is completely self-tacking and mounted on a traveller on the mast. As long as more sail is set behind the mast than in front of it, the Aerorig will weathercock into wind if left to its own devices. The whole rig can therefore be controlled and the sail angle set by restricting the angle of rotation using a single, lightly loaded mainsheet.
The sailplan is amazingly easy to manage and trim compared with a conventional rig. The reason the mainsheet loading is only about one third of that on an equivalent sloop rig is because the rotational force of the jib offsets that of the mainsail – creating a “balanced” rig. Shorthanded passage making is easy, the low sheet loads and absence of many of the normal control lines are safer with children on board. An Aerorig also has no standing rigging to maintain, the visibility and space on deck are improved, sailing on a dead run is no longer the concern for the cruising yachtsman that it can be on a conventional sailboat. Anouvering the yacht, jibing the Aerorig is simple, short tacking to windward can be completed by one man, qucikly and effortlessly.