For the last decade San Diego designers John Reichel and Jim Pugh have been designing the racing sailboats that can only be described as the thoroughbreds of modern yacht racing. Their illustrious stable includes such notables as Wild Oats, Blue Yankee, Pyewacket, and many more. Their design “win list” reads like a who’s who of competitors in some of the world’s most prestigious yacht races, such as the Sydney Hobart Race — in 2006 Wild Oats XI became the first boat in 42 years to score back-to-back line victories. Other recent triumphs include the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), where in 2006 the Italian maxi yacht Capricornio smashed the course record crossing the line in St. Lucia in 11 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds.
So what happens when you mix these bloodlines with a plan for luxurious modern cruising accommodations and state-of-the-art engineering systems brought together in build, fit and finish of Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding? In short — the yacht Baraka.
Built for experienced bluewater sailor Jean de Fontenay, Baraka is designed for uncompromised performance cruising either short handed or with a full crew. Above the waterline its racing heritage is clearly visible in a clean, unencumbered deck layout, low-profile cabin trunk, and lack of bulwarks or toe rails. The transom is wide open, and there are port and starboard pedestal wheels to assure excellent forward visibility. A very serious mainsheet traveler, a 12-cylinder hydraulic Navtec Commander system, is mounted just forward of the helm stations and aft of the port and starboard cockpit settees and centerline carbon-fiber table. A massive Harken 990 hydraulic winch separates the two steering carbon fiber wheels and are backed up by twin Harken 990 primaries and manual Harken secondaries. The helm area and the cockpit proper are at the same level as the deck, and being open to the stern there is no way for this area to hold water.
The sail inventory (Quantum — carbon/mylar/dynema) is stowed in an oversized locker that is accessed from fore deck, and a retractable sprit is built into the bow and is deployed hydraulically. The sail locker is separated from the forward cabin space by a watertight crash bulkhead.
Given the Spartan, all-business racing machine look and functionality of the topsides, below decks is a horse of a different color. The layout will accommodate elegant socializing and dining as easily as it will handle a crew of offshore racers pounding their way to Bermuda: in style.
Baraka has port and starboard double staterooms aft and a full head to port, which also serves as the day head. A sizeable port dining table and settee are opposite the state-of-the-art nav station with a dual-function LCD monitor. A fully equipped galley area is just forward of the nav station. The entire interior is finished birch with an off-white headliner, giving the entire interior space a light and airy Scandinavian feel. Lyman-Morse’s woodworkers’ skills are evident wherever you turn. To save on weight, structural wood surfaces, such as bulkheads, are constructed of matching birch veneers that have been laminated to a carbon-fiber/CoreCell sandwich. Non-structural components and cabinets are cored in Plasticore laminated to the veneer. All of the woodwork was finished to perfection prior to cutting and installation.
The owner’s stateroom is forward and features a centerline double berth, an en suite head and stall shower, and a starboard side ship’s office with a built-in flat panel computer monitor and ample cupboards, lockers and drawers.
Like all of its Reichel-Pugh stablemates, Baraka is built to go fast. Achieving the relatively light displacement of 45,522 pounds with a cruising interior was no small challenge. Lyman-Morse, which is clearly a leader in building yachts using the patented Seemann Composites Resin Infusion Molding Process (SCRIMP), built the hull using the technique that involves laying up carbon fiber and a core substance (in this case CoreCell) in the mold, infusing it with epoxy resin and vacuum bagging the hull to force out any air before final oven curing. SCRIMP used with coring produces an incredibly stiff, lightweight and durable hull structure.
In addition to being light and powerful Baraka is also a dream to sail. The boat has an upwind SA/D ratio of 29.6. A unique retractable bulb keel and stainless steel fin can be extended, dropping the draft to 14 feet for upwind work, or raised to 8 feet for shoal water and downwind runs. An 8-foot draft rudder made by Composite Solutions helps Baraka tack like a Turnabout.
Through this current collaboration between Reichel-Puch and Lyman-Morse we may very well be seeing the future of high performance cruising yachts. The proof is in the sailing, and this is one fast and able boat — one that is not only capable of winning races, but also fast passagemaking in style. Thanks to the collaboration of these visionaries, the compromises that designers and builders have faced when striving to create such a hybrid yacht may soon be a thing of the past.