A sleek and sexy yacht is turning heads slicing across San Francisco Bay—the stunning new Pac52 Invisible Hand.
Invisible Hand is the second hull completed in the exciting new Pac52 Class. The Pac52 sailboats are similar to the TP52 Class, but with a lighter engine, more stability, and a taller mast supporting more sail area—Invisible Hand boasts an impressive 4,000 square feet of cloth downwind!
“We’ve already exceeded 20 knots in boat speed; that was on our very first race day, and there’s a lot more where that came from,” said owner Frank Slootman.
The expectation is that the Pac52 Class will become the West Coast’s premiere Grand Prix one-design fleet, inshore and offshore.
“The dream is to bring big-boat one-design racing back to the West Coast; ‘mano-a-mano’ racing with a boat designed to be competitive inshore and offshore. I hope we inspire a bunch of other people to join us,” Slootman added.
Invisible Hand joins the first of this new breed, Victor Wild’s San Diego-based Fox, which won her division in the 2016 Rolex Big Boat Series. Two other Pac52s are currently in production and will soon take up residence in Southern California: Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio and Tom Holthus’ Bad Pak. All four boats are expected to be on the line at the 45th edition of the Yachting Cup, San Diego Yacht Club’s season opener, May 5 – 7.
Later this summer, Invisible Hand will stretch her legs along with Bad Pak in the Transpac and then return to San Francisco for some round-the-buoy racing in the Rolex Big Boat Series.
It was a special treat to see Invisible Hand up close during her recent christening at Svendsen’s Boat Yard in Alameda, CA. Designed by Judel/Vrolijk and built by Cookson Boats, the Hand is every inch the racing thoroughbred—all carbon fiber with just a little steel and titanium. Techies will be interested to learn her gooseneck was 3D printed in titanium.
At her christening, Invisible Hand was in stripped-down inshore racing mode—the galleys, toilet, and navigation station had been removed, and she was equipped with a tiller—a wheel is used for offshore racing. With her silver paint job, iconic graphics, and black sails, she exudes speed.
Slootman has assembled an expert team, which includes renowned navigator Chris Lewis and Dana Riley in the pit. I was pleased the Hand has a female crewmember and told Riley so. She replied that while she’s excited to be part of the program, she prefers to be considered “just one of the sailors.” As well she should be!
John Hayes (mast), Tim Lidgard (trim), Norman Davant (tactician), and bowmen Bennie Allen and Dylan Watts round out the regular crew.
“The crew varies for inshore events versus an offshore race like the Transpac. We sail with 16 around the cans and 10 crew for long-distance offshore races like Transpac,” said Slootman.
“It’s pretty exciting because on the West Coast we haven’t really had any new super-high-performance one-design race boats for a while, and that’s where the new Pac52 Class comes in,” said class manager Julie Servais. “With the first four boats on their way, and more potential teams in discussions with the class, we are putting all of our efforts into ensuring fair and even racing, great parties, great media coverage, and lots of fun and good camaraderie amongst the teams.”
And how much is the entry to this exclusive class? The boats in the fleet right now range from $1.8 million to $2.5 million. “A new boat would be doable for $1.5 million or you could spend up to 3 million if you went for every ‘bell and whistle’ option possible,” Servais said.
Another option would be to rerofit an existing TP52. If you were to go that route, Servais shared there are some attractive options, including Vesper in San Francisco and Spookie on the East Coast, which are available immediately. “They both have the tall mast and would be pretty much ready to race as is.”
It is thrilling to see high-performance one-design racing return to the San Francisco Bay. Kudos to Frank Slootman and his fellow Pac52 owners. Learn more about the class on their webpage.