The Boat

Majic 2's great ARC 2006 adventure
Peter Howe
Thu 31 Aug 2006 09:49

Majic 2 (40 ft. LOA) was built under license in Les Sables d'Orlonne (near
La Rochelle) by J-Composites in 1998. J-Boats are usually constructed at
their main plant in New England, USA, but for the past 10 years certain
designs are are also built in France. Majic 2 was one of the first J120
designs to be built there, and is the second French-built J boat owned by
Peter Howe. The previous one (Majic 1) was a slightly smaller design J110
(36 ft LOA).

Peter has owned Majic 2 since 2004. It was purchased new by Sir Graham
Dorey, a previous Bailiff of Guernsey, and named Agenor, after a rock in
Channel Island waters. In the last 2 years, since Peter bought it, it has
undergone a major refit, and renaming, to prepare it for the spring 2007
caribbean regattas. In addition, it has been equipped with many extra items
of equipment, such as water maker and satellite communications, for the ARC
(Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) which starts from Gran Canaria on 26 November

The yacht carries a full suit of racing sails. 3 different size headsails, 3
different size and weight spinnakers, storm headsail and trysail. The
spinnaker rig is not conventional, in line with many J-Boat designs. It has
no pole, but flies off the end of an extendable 2 metre bowsprit. The
spinnakers have an asymmetric shape, which develop optimum speed when the
wind is coming from over the helmsman's shoulder rather than from directly
behind. Unfortunately the trade winds generally blow due westerly at that
time of year, and since that is the direct course to the finish in St Lucia,
conventionally rigged yachts will be able to set their spinnakers and sail
directly downwind at a fast speed. Asymmetric rigged yachts, such as Majic 2
will have to sail 30 to 40 degrees off the direct track (rhumb line as it is
called) in order to maintain fastest speed, jybing back onto the other tack
periodically in order to maintain progress along the rhumb line. In
principle, Majic2 will cover more ground at a faster speed, which will
ultimately put it ahead of the other yachts. Of course, the weather systems
will have a dramatic effect on wind speed and direction, and this is the
uncertainty factor which will determine the many routes taken.

Majic 2 has sleeping accommodation for 7 crew whilst in harbour. At sea,
most of the forepeak (which has 2 berths) is used for sail stowage, so only
4 or 5 berths are useable. However since a watch system is always maintained
for long distance passages, only half the crew will be sleeping at any one
time, and thus a crew of 8-10 could be carried for a serious race. In
practise a crew of 4, in 2 watches of 2, will be sufficient to deliver the
boat from Guernsey to Gran Canaria, and 5 crew will do the Atlantic
crossing. These will be organised in 2 watches of 2, with the 5th crew
floating between watches.

Apart from a back-up of traditional sextant and tables, the main navigation
tool will be GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) system. The yacht is
equipped with an electronic coloured chart plotter with integrated satellite
positioning. It will also carry 4 hand-held GPS plotters, powered by plenty
of AA batteries as backup. In addition, the boat is equipped with a laptop
which contains over 1000 admiralty charts, which can be connected to one of
the hand-held GPS in order to receive positioning data.

Long distance communications will be made through the IRIDIUM satellite
system. The yacht is equipped with a phone, for voice communications
anywhere in the world, and also integrated with the PC laptop for connecting
to the Internet. This will enable sending and receiving of emails, and
surfing the web. Most importantly, the downloading of weather data and
alerts, in order to decide the optimum route to our destination.

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