Length overall: 20 metres
Beam: 5.20 metres
Draught: 3 to 4.80 metres
Displacement: 16.7 tonnes
Ballast: 7.6 tonnes
Build method: Carbon fibre/sandwich construction
Mast height: 30.30 metres above water
Sail area upwind: 226 square metres
of which mainsail: 146 square metres
Jib: 80 square metres
Sail area downwind: 566 square metres
Motorisation: 110 HP Volvo Penta D3
65-foot Performance Racer-Cruiser from KNIERIM Yachtbau
Even the concept of this 20-metre yacht is unusual. Built using high-end technology and designed for ocean racing, she has tremendous potential for speed; but she requires only a small crew of six to eight to sail her, and also carries everything you could wish for on a cruising holiday. The designers of the new Botin 65 describe her as a Performance Racer-Cruiser. Built in 14 months at KNIERIM Yachtbau, she has now been christened Caro and has put in a convincing performance on her maiden voyage on the Kiel Canal. Having already built many other noteworthy racing yachts including the first German America’s Cupper Germany I in 2006, the Knierim yard, a member of the DEUTSCHE YACHTEN – Superyachts Germany working group, has come up with yet another exceptional high performance yacht of real beauty.
“We had already built a 49-footer a few years ago for the owner, who lives in Switzerland; he was very pleased with her and still owns her”, says Knierim Managing Director Steffen Müller. “But now he has realized his dream yacht.” The owner found the most convincing concept to meet his exacting requirements at Botin Partners. This design office based in Santander in Spain and run by partners Marcelino Botin and Adolfo Carrau took up the challenge with relish, and a multitude of designers and engineers worked on the project under Carrau’s supervision over a period of three months.
The hull shape immediately catches attention for being particularly beamy in the stern, measuring 5.20 metres at its widest point. A good 45 percent of the yacht’s 16.7 tonne displacement hangs as ballast in the lifting keel generally found only in cruising yachts. This allows the draught of 4.8 metres to be reduced to 3 metres when in port. “The righting moment is 15 percent higher than that of the STP 65 racing yacht Container that we built in 2009”, explains Steffen Müller. So nobody has to sit up on Caro’s windward rail to trim the hull.
Nor is any effort required to set and trim the black transparent carbon sails from Doyle, as these are hydraulically operated by push-buttons. And you will not see any muscle men cranking away like fury at so-called coffee grinder winches in the uncluttered cockpit. Whether you are sailing with the racing boom or the cruising version with its mainsail roller furling system, everything works as if by itself. This is why there are only eight cup holders forward of the two wheels, whereas you might expect a yacht like this to need a good 16 to 20 people to handle her.
Besides the lifting keel, the double rudder below the water is another special feature designed to give the helm maximum control even at high speeds. In ideal reaching conditions the yacht’s top speed is likely to be so high that Carrau advises the crew to set an upper limit and to do their best not to exceed this. Little wonder, with the yacht carrying 566 square metres of sail on her carbon mast which towers a good 30 metres over the water.
On the subject of carbon, Caro is of course built in resin pre-impregnated carbon fibre. The cleanly laid out deck and structures are a sandwich construction with a Nomex honeycomb core, while the hull has a foam core for better compressive strength in the slamming areas and also for better protection against rough encounters with tenders etc. One hardly needs to mention that the precision of the forms such as the hull, deck and keel bomb is guaranteed to within one-tenth of a millimetre by KNIERIM’s gigantic five-axis milling machines.
In boatbuilding, anyone seeking to minimise weight without sacrificing comfort soon comes up against limiting factors and is forced to make uneasy compromises. But in the Botin 65, the crew has a galley with a proper oven rather than a Bunsen burner and the owner has his own cabin in the bow with a wet room and shower. It is just that the wash basin and WC bowl are made of pure carbon, like the shell of the navigation corner seat and in fact the whole of the interior, which is overlaid with a paper-thin veneer of Cocobolo as a discreetly chic touch. This hardwood from Central America is heavily grained, with a dark orange hue. The Knierim boatbuilders have done a good job below deck too.
“At the end we spent a long time considering whether the yacht’s overall weight could take a six-millimetre teak deck”, reveals Müller, who now gazes on the end result with pleasure: certainly it gives a definitive touch of cruiser elegance to the yacht’s styling. Caro’s baptism of fire under competitive conditions comes in mid August with the classic ocean race the Rolex Fastnet, for which her amateur crew will be reinforced by two highly experienced professionals. Whatever happens, KNIERIM’s newbuild is certain to cut a fine figure.