Sweet… Kuka Light


Det är kul när någon går hela vägen när det gäller design. Kuka Light (Facebook) är ett sådan exempel där man har försökt göra en så snabb 40-fotare som det bara går.

The idea of creating Kuka-Light started to spin around my head when I realised that to improve the Rating of my boat I had to have smaller sails and make the boat slower. This is absurd for a yachtsman used to racing with A class catamarans and with Melges 24 boats. Speed and apparent wind are synonyms of fun for me so I asked myself: why give up on fun and give up having maximum performance?

Här finns lite kommentarer från designkontoret Schickler Tagliapietra.

Det finns också lite Svenskt intresse eftersom Marström har byggt det mesta. Bilder från Håkan Mann på Marström och ägaren Franco Niggeler som också har skrivit lite om tänket.

Some examples of speed… Upwind speed: we sail currently in 14/15 knots of breeze with about 11 knots of speed with a true angle around 45 degrees. Reaching and downwind same wind we achieve 12-13 knots, till now we have only had once wind uo to 30 knots, and max speed we have reached was over 20 knots, absolutely not forcing the boat, as it was during boat transfer with main and jib. As said we are still in a development phase of the boat.

Length 12.80 m
Beam 4.60 m
Draft 3.50 m
Displ (light) 3.200 kg
Upwind SA 116 mq
Downwind SA 218 mq
Engine 30 HP
ISOOSR Cat 1
Sailnumber SUI 4200
IRC TCC 1.437 (motsvarar 1.80 i SRS)

Hereafter some comments about the development of Kuka-Light.

Kuka-Light is a very different boat, a real prototype. Full Carbon Nomex autoclave hull, rotating mast, canting keel and a light displacement around 3,2 Tons. This with a very agressive hull shape (12,8 m of length by 4,6 m of beam). Add to this a full carbon keel blade, an innovative battery system and you understand that such a boat needs a time for developement and lots of small adjustments to develop its full potential.

Kuka-Light was put into water after a two year build time last spring. Since then we fixed a lot of small issues, like the deck plan, the software of the batteries management, the sails and we had also to learn how to sail the boat. Yes, to learn how to sail the boat as you have to sail this monohull like a multihull, it means that you will sail it always in appearant wind mode, never to low, never to high.

Thanks to the expertise of Mitch Booth we could make a lot of improvements in a quite short time. We have seen that due to its displacement Kuka-Light is very very sensitive to the weight position. This means that the crew has to move much more like in a dinghy or a light boat like Melges 24 than on a traditional monohull, but it is very easy to sail and very light on the rudder.

When the wind is over 25 knots the boat is quite wet, a bit like the Volvo 70. Lots of spray and lot of fun with quite high speed.

Upwind we are quite satisfied with the performance we see and we are constantly learning and improving also our reaching and downwind speed, adapting the sails, mast position and so on. I think that we still have more potential to improve our downwind speed, but we are already a very fast boat.

We sailed till now two races, the first one was Palermo-Montecarlo. 600 miles with verylight wind, quite a difficult race where we arrived third behind Esimit (former Alfa Romeo) and a Cookson 50 canting keeler. After we sailed a race in Sanremo (Trofeo Gavagnin) and Kuka-Loght won line honors and handicap, beating a 60 foot canting keeler.

Next race will be the Middle Sea Race starting the 20th of october from Malta.

As in our view the boat now sails up to 85-90% of its full potential we will make some training sessions during the winter in order to optimize our sails and we will also try some differents settings of the boat

Best regards

Franco