The Return of 7200

Updated 8 July 2003

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These are photos of 5o5 7200, a unique boat that has just been (early 1996) restored to active racing after years off the water. 7200 was built by Waterat Sailing Equipment in 1979 and '80, and was owned by Larry Tuttle himself. The boat was the first of the wood look Waterats, of which about five were built. The later boats were built on Hamlin hull shells, while 7200 is built on a Lindsay hull shell. The hull shell was built about 1979, and the boat was completed by Waterat in 1980. The boat raced the 1980 North Americans, and the 1981 World Championships in San Francisco Bay.

We hope to have photos of 7200 as it was originally, with oak veneer on the seat tanks, and a cored deck with mahogany veneer on top, up on the home page shortly.

Larry Tuttle raced 7200 in California during the mid '80s. At some point the boat needed a little TLC - the finish on the oak tanks was deteriorating, and the deck needed to be worked on, and the boat was derigged and stripped of all fittings in preparation for a rebuild. The work never got done, and the boat was almost forgotten. In 1995, when Ali and Larry discussed rebuilding older super boats and putting them back on the race course, 7200 came up as a possibility. Lindsay 6987 was fixed and rerigged first, but in August of '95 the decision to proceed with the more extensive 7200 rebuild and re-rig was made.

These photos were taken at Waterat as the boat was being worked on. The day it was completed the boat left for LA to be packed into a container for Townsville Australia. Ali Meller & Mike Mills are racing the boat in the '96 World Championship. After the '96 worlds the boat was shipped to Europe and stored for Ali by 505 sailors. 7200 raced the 1996 UK Nationals at Hayling Island, the 1997 Worlds in Gilleleje Denmark, and the 1999 Worlds in Quiberon France. In July of 2003 it returned to the US East Coast.

7200 From ahead. Note that 7200 now has a launcher, with two tack options. The boat can be sailed as a standard launcher boat, or as a forward tack bag boat (my preference). The conversion would take less than half an hour. The boat cannot currently be sailed as a forward tack launcher boat, as the forestay extension blocks the launcher opening when the boat is in forward tack mode. This could be changed by converting to a jib halyard rather than a fixed forestay on the mast. The turning block just astern of the launcher is removed when the boat is not in launcher mode.


A view from astern. Hard to believe this is a 16 or 17 year old boat! The tanks are oak veneer over a cored Kevlar/glass structure. Some of the oak could not be restored properly, so a portion of the top face on each tank is painted.

Note the single low thwart interior.


The front half of the boat viewed from the port side. 7200 has new foils, new mast, and keeps the existing Schaffer boom and original spinnaker pole. A new boom has been added since.

Note that the spinnaker sheets lead from the rail forward over the tank to the ratchet block. The sheet tidy up cleats are in line such that the sheet uncleats when you sheet the sail, but will cleat if you pull the line straight up from the ratchet block.


7200 was stripped of all fittings, the woodwork restored, and a cored glass/Kevlar deck installed. Photo taken inside Waterat after some of the fittings were installed. The unconventional thwart can be seen clearly.


Close up from astern. Check out the shine on the wood!


Gooseneck, spinnaker pole, ram.. Note that the spinnaker pole downhaul - foreguy - lead is on the mast ram car, rather than at the top of the ram track as has been customary. Lowering the block gives a better lead, but means that the effective downhaul length changes as the ram car moves. Since the lead now goes down from the pole end when the pole is stowed, rather than up as it would if the turning block was at the top of the track, the little shockcord tidyup that pulls down on the downhaul may not be necessary.

Ram up - prebend - and ram down are both spectra rather than wire.

The jib barber hauler can also be seen in this photo. The barber pulls the lead out, a shockcord stops the lead from bouncing around.


Closeup of pole downaul lead. The Ronstan traveller car may be better in compression than the Harken traveller car.


Photo of Starboard tank showing starboard jib track. We chose to go with a typical North American jib sheeting system, with a barberhauler for a more outboard lead. The jib cleat platforms are far enough forward that the jib sheet can be lead forward from the turning block rather than aft to a turning block and then forward to the cleat and turning block on the platform.

The centerboard trunk bridge can also been seen in this photo.


Back of CB Case



CB cap and starboard jib sheet system.

Note the bridge tying the two sides of the centerboard trunk together. 7200 has no forward thwart, and relies on a very strong centerboard cap structure and the bridge to tie the two sides together, to keep the trunk stiff.


The cascading vang.

To save weight, virtually all flexible wire was replaced with 7/64s spectra, including the vang.


Mast step detail.

To save weight, 7200's new mast was rigged without a main halyard. The boat is rolled over and the main tied to the top of the mast, as Krister Bergstrom does. In 1999, tired of rolling the boat over before and after each race, I added a UK-style main halyard which exits the mast and is cleated in a small aluminum clam cleat, just above deck level on the starboard side of the mast.

The jib cloth tension system automatically adjusts as the forestay length changes. Shrouds and forestay are now led to the seat tanks, so the rake can be changed simply by adusting forestay and shroud tension.


Starboard compass.

Larry Tuttle found some interesting compasses, and customized the fairings. Note the detail of the barber hauler.


Mast Gate Area