It was born with the intention of creating the fastest racing boat in the world, one that can excite as a one-design class but can also make its way to the top step of the podium against the elite of IRC and ORC racing, sailing faster and with a lower rating than all its opponents. Her name is wallywocket51.
With an overall length of 15.5 meters, the wallyrocket51 falls squarely in the classic 52-foot category. It is slightly shorter than a TP52, but is designed to beat any other boat thanks to innovative features, ultralight displacement, and an extremely refined hull. The Wally design team worked on the design of the wallyrocket51 together with Botin Partners-the firm whose resume includes the America’s Cup and whose designs have won the TP52 title for 12 consecutive seasons and have won ORC World Championships and Maxi Rolex Cups, among others.
“The idea of Wally was to create a very rigorous one-design class designed for pure racing that was highly technological and provided great fun, but at the same time could also be very competitive under IRC and ORC classification rules,” explains Adolfo Carrau, Partner at Botin Partners Naval Architecture. “That was the starting point. Given our experience in that size, we started with a 52-foot design, also because that is a size that has proven to be competitive in all sea conditions. But the first secret of the wallyrocket51 design,” he jokes, “is that it’s not a 52-footer, it’s a 51-footer.”
This proved to be a key factor because it allowed the design team to optimize the hull, submerged appendages and sail plan while gaining an expendable rating bonus in other elements. These include a displacement of only 6.3 tons in measured condition-which makes it the lightest racing boat on the market-and which makes the wallyrocket51 very responsive, extremely fast at carrying gaits and quick on planing entry.
All characteristics that usually turn into a disadvantage when sailing upwind; so the wallyrocket51 takes advantage of a technical feature that dominated the 2007 America’s Cup – an adjustable trim tab on the trailing edge of the keel blade. This is a solution that greatly increases upwind lift by exploiting only the aft profile of the blade, reducing drag and providing a neutral drift. With the water flow aligned with the boat, there is a great reduction in hydrodynamic drag: this means that despite having a shorter waterline length, the wallyrocket51 will be able to sail at tighter angles and faster than its opponents.
Vasco Vascotto, one of the world’s most successful racers, along with Argentine racing boat expert Guillermo Parada advised as developers of the project. Their extensive Olympic and America’s Cup experience was harnessed to make the wallyrocket51 easier to maneuver with a smaller crew and even more fun to sail. Both played a key role in defining the future one-design wallyrocket class.
“With the wallyrocket51 we are creating a yacht that everyone is looking for and wants. A boat that can compete in any race course, but at the same time retains great attention to design, is fun and meets the standards of the most modern boats. And possibly exceeds them,” says Vasco Vascotto.
“Contributing to the development of a one design boat that not only introduces a new class for Wally, but will also challenge the most competitive models in other classes around the world, was a really interesting challenge,” adds Guillermo Parada. “We are extremely pleased with the end result, which is not only that of a fast and competitive boat, but also one that is technologically advanced, easy to steer and comfortable in navigation, like all Wallys!”
In addition, the wallyrocket51 can be steered by a crew of only 11 people; the water ballasts at the stern are not only an aid to righting, but also ensure a more neutral pitch, further improving hull strength. The system has a capacity of 550 liters, takes 80 seconds to fill, 60 seconds to empty, and only 10 seconds to transfer water from one side to the other, simplifying adjustments under any conditions. The combination of the trim tab and ballasts is cleverly designed to offer maximum performance gain over rating sacrifice-a choice that, combined with the advantages of length and displacement, will give the wallyrocket51 an edge on any race course.
The deck ergonomics are also designed for small crew, with two columns providing power for everything from mainsail trim to hydraulics, thanks to an intelligent switching system. The midships pedestal can also be replaced by an electric motor to provide power to the winches in small-crew racing.
“This is a very unique approach to developing a new boat, which was needed in today’s racing landscape in that size range. The wallyrocket51 is a project close to our hearts and one that we have been pursuing for years, trying to develop a design that could win any regatta in the world,” says Stefano de Vivo, managing director of Wally. “We finally succeeded, and we expect strong demand once she is admired live. This is a boat that will appeal to all those owners who love racing at the highest level, but want to do it in a new and fun way.”
Its design team has a particularly deep knowledge of the 52-footer world, and it is clear that this design was conceived to perform at its best in racing between the buoys. But it doesn’t stop there. “We looked at everything from stick courses with 6 or 25 knots of wind to classic 600-mile offshore races like Rolex Middle Sea, Rolex Giraglia, RORC Caribbean 600 or Fastnet,” Carrau explains. “It’s a very versatile boat and sails well upwind, downwind and downwind-and it’s also engineered to ISO category A, so it can participate in any offshore regatta. In fact, our simulations show that it can beat the competition in IRC and ORC in any coastal or offshore scenario.”
The wallyrocket51 was conceived to offer owners a one-design racing boat that would allow them to enjoy family cruising while maintaining excellent chances for podium positions in regattas. The design was developed in one year and is expected to achieve considerable success among sailors due to its skillful combination of fun and sporty elements.
The wallyrocket51 uses proven, state-of-the-art materials and construction methodologies. The hull is pre-preg carbon with Corecell, while the deck core is Nomex. The rigging is by Southern Spars made of High Modulus carbon fiber, with Future Fibres AeroSix rigging. The sail plan provides 163.9 square meters upwind and 261 square meters at the carriers. Winches are Harken Air Winch and Spinlock stoppers.
“Fast, fun, easy to steer and revolutionary – like all Wallys,” says Luca Bassani, Founder and Chief Designer of Wally, enthusiastically. “With its incredible reverse leapfrog, flush deck and long bowsprit, the wallyrocket51 immediately became part of the family. True to the Wally DNA, she will feature some revolutionary innovations that not only make her truly competitive, but at the same time reduce annual running costs compared to today’s one-design classes.”
The first wallyrocket51 is already under construction and is scheduled to be launched in 2024.
(New wallyrocket51: the one-design racer that surpasses the concept of rating – barchemagazine.com – September 2023)