HomeINTERESTCarkeek Designs stand the test of time in legendary waters

Carkeek Designs stand the test of time in legendary waters

As two new Carkeek-designed boats approach the Fastnet Race in nine days’ time among the hot favourites, the success of three earlier generation boats in the Aegean 600 this week in Sounion, Greece, underlines the longevity of great design. 

Optimum S-Samos Steamship, a Carkeek 47 launched in 2014, came first in ORC and third in IRC overall. I Love Poland, the Volvo Open 70, (formerly Il Mostro / Puma, launched in 2008) came second in the IRC overall, and finally Carbonita (a Neo57 designed in 2020) confirmed its versatility as a racing-cruiser, claiming third place in the ORC overall. Well over a decade ago, Carkeek Design Partners began anticipating the direction of the racing calendar with a first generation of inshore-offshore designs.

“It is particularly interesting that the C47 design concept we developed in 2011 continues to be a success,” Shaun Carkeek, the founder of Carkeek Design Partners, said.  “The original idea was to have a progression in the design for dual-purpose racing, combining inshore and offshore, and that versatility means that they can still be raced successfully on this growing 600-mile race circuit. 

“And with Carbonita we were trying to do something different again, perhaps weaving the spirits of two boats – a racer and cruiser – into one. The brief was for it to be as fast as a 52 series, but quickly adaptable to a family cruiser.

“We are potentially entering a golden age for inshore-offshore racing and boats are being designed and built for those twin demands, and we can see clearly the ones that have stood the test of time. Owners want to know their boats will be competitive for a long time and nothing builds that confidence like results.”

Three champions one mould

Optimum-S, now raced by Periklis Livas & Vaggelis Nikolopoulos, was one of three Carkeek 47’s built in Dubai by Premier Composites. It was raced by Germany’s Harm Müller-Spreer successfully under the name Platoon, and would go on to win Kiel Week before heading to Perth, Australia to be campaigned by Craig Carter under the name Indian.

A further two Carkeek 47s were built out of the same mould as Optimum-S in Dubai; Stark Raving Mad is being successfully campaigned by Jim Madden in the West Coast of the US and Black Pearl owned by Stefan Jentzsch from Germany, who has gone on to win many races, including the Cape2Rio race.

Anticipating the rise of the 600-milers 

The exciting growth in the number of 600-mile offshore races is new, and excellent finishes for the three classic Carkeek boats in the Aegean 600 shows how well they anticipated the direction of the race circuits.

The original concept has evolved, as can be seen in the more extreme designs of Ino Noir and Rán VIII, who are leading contenders for the pinnacle of this 600-mile circuit, the Fastnet Race. 

The 50th edition of the biennial 695-mile Fastnet Race starts from Cowes on July 22. As preparation,  Rán VIII, the CF 520 owned by Sweden’s Niklas Zennström (back-to-back overall winner of the Fastnet Race in 2009 and 2011), was an in-class winner in the RORC Cowes to Saint Malo last week and came third overall in IRC.  Rán VIII beat Ino Noir, a C45, into second overall in the RORC 2023 Morgan Cup in June.

It is the second successful collaboration between the Rán team and Carkeek. The first was Rán VII, the One Ton Cup and Fast40+ champion, which was World Sailing Boat of the Year in 2018. Rán VII received the award for “its outstanding boat design, innovative concept and ground-breaking technological advancement,” World Sailing said. “Designed by Carkeek Design Partners and launched on 13 April 2018, Rán VII is a pioneering boat.”


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