Kaneohe Bay, HI, July 20, 2016 – Strong winds propelled Manouch Moshayedi’s super maxi Rio 100 across the Pacific to set a new Pacific Cup Fastest Passage record. Crossing the finish at 13:51:13 local Hawaii time (16:51:13 PDT). With an elapsed time of 5 days, 2 hours, 41 mins and 13 seconds, Rio 100 knocked two hours off the record set in 2004 by Robert Miller, whose 139-foot Mari Cha IV finished with an elapsed time of 5 days, 5 hours, 38 minutes and 10 seconds.
Rio 100 sailed a course slightly above the rhumb line for the entire race, taking advantage of breezes fed by the well-behaved Pacific High as well as remnants of Hurricane Celia. Many of this year’s crew of 16, including navigator Christopher Branning, were also onboard for the 2015 Transpac when Rio won the prestigious Barn Door Trophy with an elapsed time of 7 days, 5 hours, 34 minutes, and 07 seconds.
If the name Manouch Moshayedi sounds familiar to our readers, it should. The Newport Beach-based sailor owns and skippers the Bakewell-White 100 Rio100. But he’s also keen on a design that’s half the size of Rio. “Last year my friend Victor Wild, the owner of the 2006 TP52 Bud, decided to upgrade to a newer version and searched around for a 2011 boat, but after meeting with Gavin Brady, he decided to build a new boat instead,” writes Moshayedi.
“Cookson’s in New Zealand had already built a 2015 boat that was designed by Botin Partners and one that was designed by Judel/Vrolijk, so they had the molds available. Gavin had built a second boat at Cookson’s out of the Botin mold for another owner, so building a third boat was quite easy, and they proceeded to build a new boat for Victor called Fox.” The new boat arrived in San Diego at the end of March.
Moshayedi discussed the boats with a few other owners. “By talking to Gavin, the builders and suppliers, we discovered that if we buy all the materials in bulk we could save almost 30% off the cost of a new boat, and therefore we went forward with getting the specs and pricing together.”
The boats will be based on the latest design by Judel/Vrolijk. “There are some improvements over the boats in the SuperSeries in the Med that we have made specifically for California sailing, including taller masts, larger mains, larger jibs, larger spinnakers and lighter displacement,” explains Manouch. “These boats were designed with offshore racing in mind to make them more waterproof. All the sheets and lines are placed on deck and, to prevent leaking, don’t penetrate the deck; the hull will have foamcore which is more suitable than Nomex for offshore and deliveries.”
Moshayedi believes that the new boats will be faster upwind, faster reaching and faster downwind than the TP52s that race in the Med. “There is absolutely no better racing than on a TP52,” he says. “Racing these boats on a boat-for-boat basis is extremely exciting. This is the best way to race — just bring your boat and whoever gets to the finish line first is also first in class.
The SoCal owners are planning for six inshore regattas per year plus two offshore races as a class. Rolex Big Boat Series will be on the regular yearly agenda of the fleet, and they might also race their boats as a class in Key West Race Week.
“We have set up the rules so we could race these boats more cost-effectively than in the SuperSeries by limiting the number of paid crew on board and the number of sails that could be purchased every year. Our class will also be strictly for owner-drivers,” says Moshayedi.
Cookson’s is building two boats, and Premier Composite Technologies in Dubai is building one. They should all arrive in California during March 2017. Among the new owners are Frank Slootman of Invisible Hand fame and Moshayedi himself, who added, “We are actively looking for any other owners who would also order boats. Our goal is to build a fleet of at least 10 boats on the West Coast, and I think once people find out that there are already four here doing boat-for-boat racing, there’ll be interest from others.”
Even though they come from TP52 molds, the new boats can’t be called that. “We don’t have a license to use that name, as it belongs to the guys in the Mediterranean. Go figure — Transpac boats in the Med but not in California. We’ve chosen ‘Pacific 52’ as the name of our boats and fleet.” Or, ‘Pac52’ for short.
Manouch Moshayedi is the driving force behind the rejuvenation of the 52′ West Coast, having owned several boats bearing the Rio emblem, His enthusiasm for fast moving monohulls is contagious. Recent adventure with Rio 100′ has created a buzz in the offshore arena, and now Manouch is steering a group towards reintroduction of the 52′ Class, here on the West Coast where the whole concept was derived.
Manouch was gracious enough to provide us some insight into his previous sailing escapades and the new class which will be cited as the Pacific 52
PD: Manouch, you owned a TP 52 in years past named RIO that you campaigned up and down the West Coast, What can you tell us about Rio and the class at the time?
MM “At the time I had a 2007 TP52 (RIO) which we raced up and down the coast, there were several TP52s on the West Coast then but unfortunately they were all from different vintages and had to race under either IRC or PHRF handicap rating, even though it was fun, we never had the close racing that a class of similarly designed and vintage boats would have.
I later purchased a 2011 TP52 (RIO) which I campaigned in the SuperSeries in Key West, Miami and then in the Mediterranean, this was a different experience altogether, 8-12 similar boats on the line and very close racing where boats finished within seconds of each other, for me this type of racing was most challenging, fun and a great learning experience.”
PD: More recently you moved onto RIO 100 and have had some incredible adventures with her, some of your favorite moments?
MM: “After the SuperSeries, we decided to build Rio100, this is an incredible boat, very powerful, fast and for an ocean racer, quite comfortable.
We built the boat at Cookson’s in New Zealand who always does a fantastic job with their boats, raced the boat in Yates Cup in NZ in which we were the first monohull to cross the finish line and then took the boat to Sydney for the Sydney to Hobart race of 2014.
The start of the Sydney to Hobart race is something that has to be experienced, in exact contrast to the reception sailing gets here on the West Coast, S-H race is treated as an event that Sydney residence make a point of watching.
There are about a hundred boats participating in the race, there are at least ten times as many boats around the start line watching, there are thousands of people on the hills around Sydney Harbor in addition to multiple helicopters who are hovering above the racers.
Of course this was a lot of fun and one of the most favorite moments but we have had a great time racing this boat, last year during SoCal300 once we turned the corner around the islands, we had a period of a few hours that the knot meter stayed in the mid twenties, it was a great experience and I think most participants also felt the exhilaration during that race.”
PD: You have been instrumental in getting the SoCal 300 up and rolling, and by all counts has been receiving rave reviews, what was your impetus to get that rolling?
MM “Owning a 100’ boat, you can’t participate in most races except for the long distance ones so knowing that we only have two races a year that we could practically participate in, I started talking to SDYC and SBYC about setting up a 300 mile race from SB around the top of Richardson Rock and around all the channel islands to SD, we got approvals from the two clubs, at the same time I asked my father in law Jost Von Kursell who is a great sailor to donate one of his old silver trophies that he had received in 1960 to this race and he agreed and now the boat that corrects overall based on its ORR rating gets their name on a plaque on this beautiful perpetual trophy which travels between SDYC, SBYC and the club of the winning boat.”
PD: The idea of reigniting the TP 52 class on the West Coast, what was your inspiration for that?
MM“I can not emphasis the great sailing that one gets out of class racing a TP52, these boats are powerful, extremely fast and agile and pound for pound the best sailing anyone can participate in so when FOX was built, I started talking to the other owners and found others who shared the same idea so that’s how PAC52’ was started.”
PD: In the Latitude 38′ article, you mention some of the differences including taller masts, larger mains, larger jibs, larger spinnakers and lighter displacement, are there some Specs and line drawings we can share with our readers?
MM “All of these boats are being built from the existing 2015 moulds of SuperSeriesTP52s, FOX was built out of the mould of SLED, two boats are being built out of the mould of Provezza and one is being built out of the mould of Platoon which are all current participants in the TP52’ SuperSeries. the masts are taller by 60cm, the sails are larger by about 5%, the engines are lighter by 100KG.”
PD: How much wiggle room in design in the various builds will be allowed?
MM“I think if a boat is designed as a TP52 and has a mast that is not taller than what we have specified, would be able to participate in our class.”
PD: There is also mention of a limit of pro’s on board, has the number been solidified?
MM “We have tentatively agreed on having no more than five pros on the boats, this is in contrast to 12 on the SuperSeries boats which will significantly reduce the cost of racing these boats.
PD: Reaching out to perspective owners, especially former TP52 owners, how has the response been?
Well, we already have four boats and I think as the word gets out, there will be other interested parties.
PD: Will Rio 100 stay in the family, or is she destined for another home?
“Rio100 is our long distance boat which will continue doing the three races per year, the PAC52’ is more of an inshore racing boat.”
PD How soon do you expect to accept delivery of the new baby and your 1st projected events?
MM “All three additional boats should be in California by early next year, we are looking forward to doing the Yachting Cup in SD as our first class event next year.”
PD: Thank you and the best of luck getting this rolling!