Lurking in the shadows of The Boat Works refit sheds is the latest Tony Grainger custom-designed performance sailing multihull, Australia’s first fully carbon fibre trimaran and destined to be the fastest, built with the aim of smashing offshore race records.
The 12.8m Grainger R42, named “Venom” will be an exceptional bluewater racer, as well as comfortable cruising yacht and is being built by Jamie Morris from Australian Custom Multihull Yachts, who said the brief for Venom was clear: “Build Australia’s fastest trimaran and win races”.
“The owner, Bob Dunn, wants a line honours boat for offshore racing – Brisbane to Gladstone, Hamilton Island series and the new Brisbane to Hamo race planned for next year. He approached me because of my history of multihull racing.”
Morris is a seasoned boat builder and champion multihull racer, including 7-times winner of the Brisbane to Gladstone aboard his boats Flatchat and Simply the Best.
“The owner is an experienced multihull owner and has had a Grainger design previously. His plan is to compete at all major events around the Eastern seaboard from her home base in Adelaide.
“Venom is built using carbon fabrics and epoxy resin systems supplied by ATL composites. The carbon fibre makes the boat light and stiff. She’ll weigh 3,300kg and her wide beam – 35 and a half feet – means she’ll be stable. We’ll give the Kiwis a run for their money!” he said referring to dominating NZ tris such as Frank Racing.
Morris has undertaken three different boat builds in three years at The Boat Works and considers it “the one-stop-shop of boat building”.
“They have great sheds, the facilities are excellent. Everything’s here. Marine Trade has a huge range, most of my stuff comes from John. Nothing’s ever a problem. When we need to use the forklift for 20 minutes or a few hours, it’s not a hassle. We use different sheds for different jobs and the hydraulic Sealift is the first one of its kind in Australia. I would only rely on that for lifting out one of my boats.”
Bob Dunn’s new Venom will be a vision in white and black, with a massive redback spider encircling its hull. The 19m rotating carbon masts are by French specialists, Lorima, the preference of superyachts and round the world racing yachts.
“The rest of the boat is pretty much all made in Australia,” said Morris, referring to Quantum Sails from Brisbane and the other components sourced from The Boat Works and surrounding Coomera Marine precinct.
“Grainger Designed boats are characterized by their brilliant engineering and style, from Tony Grainger’s many years of expertise,” said Morris.
Tony Grainger was responsible for the design of Indian Chief, the former Boat Works’ boat which took out line honours at the 2015 Hamilton Is Race Week, along with many other titles in her time.
Based in Indonesia, Grainger said of his designs: “I’m always aiming to resolve all the elements of the design for a cohesive and pleasing outcome”.
“Ideally the outcome should look natural, not forced or contrived, but hopefully also expressing a unique style rather something that is generic in nature.
“I work with elements of performance, seakeeping, the functionality of the boat from the perspective of the crew, the accommodations, the engineering, the styling and also the practicalities of the construction.
“If the final design expresses these attributes and the boat performs accordingly then I think you have a successful design.”
Grainger identified two outstanding features of the new Venom “no compromise between cruising and racing and the formidable team of experienced sailors working on the project”.
“Venom been designed for an experienced trimaran owner who had a clear vision of the type of boat he wanted to sail. He was able to articulate clearly the compromises he was willing to make and the compromises he preferred not to make.
“His philosophy on the design was very much in keeping with my own vision of the ideal cruiser racer trimaran and so the design work came together very fluidly. And thanks to Dan Bradford and Claude Petit who both worked with me and made valuable contributions throughout the design process.”
The experienced team collaborating on the project comprises builder Jamie Morris, Joel Berg for the rig, Ben Kelly for sails and the engineering is in the hands of Warren “Skip” Miller.
“Jamie, Joel, and Ben have a heap of experience in the multihull racing circuit and have sailed together on various multihulls,” said Grainger. “I have worked with Skip Miller on a number of projects going back to 2011 and especially enjoy working with him for the way we are able to trade ideas back and forth. And Skip is not backward in letting me know when I come up with an idea that is not a good idea, or simply won’t work!”
In terms of exceptional features, Venom is optimized for offshore racing.
“The boat is engineered to Category A Offshore so it’s not a lightweight racer such as you might design primarily for racing around the buoys or short coastal bursts. It’s designed to be able to handle the kind of sea conditions you might expect in the Southern Ocean, however, it does incorporate the features I consider essential to good performance in an offshore trimaran: good beam clearance, high buoyancy floats, and a relatively fine main hull. It will have three rudders for good control in rough seas and to provide some redundancy.”
Known as the master of multihulls, Grainger has a history of designing champion racing yachts. When pushed, he singled out a few of his designs for special mention.
“Among my own designs the first three that come to mind are Born to Run (my first design), Trilogy, and Ullman Sails which has just won the Airlie Beach Race Week series and is the current holder of the Australian Multihull Championships.
“Ullman sails also had a very long run of race wins including Airlie Beach Race Week and the Australian Multihull Championships under her previous owner Tony Considine, then known as Mad Max. In the case of Mad Max and Trilogy, it is really the effort put in by the owners and the crews that has made these designs so noteworthy. I should also mention the little trimaran currently known as Dux Nuts, certainly one of my favourites and dating back to the late 1980s.
“As for other designers, I really admire designers who seem to be able to repeatedly produce design work in a range of genres, not just sailing multihulls, that appears both elegant and effortless. Nigel Irens and Gary Lidgard are two whose work impresses me. Is their work really that effortless? I’m not sure, but it certainly appears that way and it is something I would love to achieve.”