Just a Dream or Two, or Are You Living Them?
It was probably the worst day of the year for smog, the weather forecasters were advising people to stay in, but we had been invited to the launch of the yacht Fortissimo. So risking all, we headed down to Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth to meet Jannine Stoodley and James Close who are the directors of Dream or Two Sailing and would be our crew for the day. On arrival the smog was so thick that even the iconic Napoleonic forts in the Solent were hidden from view. However we had enough time to have a good look around the boat before setting off.
Fortissimo is a purpose built Class 40 racing yacht, and the company, Dream or Two, had recently taken delivery of this number 97 of 142 registered in the class. She had undergone a refit to add a few extra features to the spartan interior of this ultra lightweight racing machine. This provided the “luxuries” of some cushions for the berths, toilets behind new bulkheads and an alcohol power cooker.
What is a Class 40?
The familiar offshore racing yachts such as Hugo Boss (Alex Thomson), Ecover (Mike Golding) and Aviva (Dee Cafari) are part of the IMOCA Open 60 Class. As the pinnacle of racing boats they are naturally very high tech in order to achieve maximum performance, however this also means very expensive! Even the smaller Open 40 Class boats are expensive machines, due to the carbon fibre construction and canting keels. A more affordable, high performance offshore racing yacht was needed and so in 2005 the Class 40 association was formed. Carbon hulls and canting keels were banned and anything that could become too expensive is carefully controlled.
After a welcome coffee and sandwiches, and a chat with Jannine and James, our crew for the day, we slipped the lines and headed out of the berth. The smog was quite thick, and the usually clear view of the Isle of Wight was nowhere to be seen. We quickly hoisted the sails and got underway, passing the Sir Ben Ainlie’s Base for his America’s Cup challenge. Jannine took the helm and demonstrated how Fortissimo handled. Soon I was invited to take the helm, which I eagerly accepted. The twin tillers were an unfamiliar configuration for me, but after a few tacks I got in the groove. Her turn of speed was impressive even on the light winds that prevailed, and as expected of such a light boat she was agile and responsive.
Dream or Two Yacht ‘Fortissimo‘ Technical Details
Manufacturer and model: MC-TEC, Akilaria RC1
Year: 2008, commissioned in 2010
Length: 12.1 m (40 ft)
Beam: 4.5 m
Draft: 3.0 m
Weight: 4,700 kg