Design and History
Stormvogel, measuring 73 feet in length (the maximum limit for the maxi class rating rules in 1960), represents a radical step forward in yacht design history and offshore racing. Her design showcased the typical features of smaller van de Stadt racing yachts: an unsupported spade rudder, a relatively short fin keel, and an extraordinarily light displacement compared to the prevailing norms of large yacht design at that time. A radical “planing” hull, capable of surfing downwind at high speed in strong winds. Simply put, she was an extraordinary yacht that stood apart from the designs of the conservative offshore racing community in 1960.
Bruynzeel won the Fastnet in 1937 on corrected time with the Sparkman and Stephens Zeearend, a heavy displacement yawl, and did further Fastnets in small, light displacement yachts designed by Van de Stadt. Bruynzeel became convinced that light displacement was the key if you wanted to be first boat home in an offshore race like the Fastnet.
The RORC Fastnet in 1961 was the race to prove the concept which Stormvogel then set the tone for a new era of light-displacement Maxi offshore racing boats. Over the next few years Stormvogel claimed many line honours victories in races all over the world – the Middle Sea Race, the Bermuda Race, China Sea Race, Sydney Hobart, the Transpac and more.
60th anniversary – Fastnet 2021
Sixty years on from a sensational Fastnet line honours win, Stormvogel returned to compete in the race to commemorate her 60th anniversary. The 2021 RORC Rolex Fastnet race started with similar conditions to the 1961 edition, featuring brutal 30 knot headwinds. As the tide turned off the Needles, a challenging wind-over-tide scenario unfolded. With two reefs and the #4 Stormvogel possessed ample power and has a remarkable hull form to punch through the turbulent sea conditions. Despite being 60 years old, Stormvogel achieved an impressive 7th place in IRC Overall out of 181 finishers and secured a 6th place in IRC1 class.
The legend of Stormvogel continues to endure showcasing her performance even after six decades of sailing around the world.