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Making Short-handed Short Work - Onboard Rapido 60

by Anna Merchant, C-Tech 11 Feb 2021 22:56 NZDT
C-Tech's SnuffAir in action onboard the Rapido 60 Romanza © C-Tech

Meet Jaz and Dougall, owners of the 60ft performance cruising trimaran, Romanza. In 2017 the two ocean lovers sought after a boat that could be comfortably managed shorthanded but also be quick enough to compete well in their favorite local races. Really, a boat that could do it all. Although a tall order for many yacht designs, there was one that caught their eye and three years ago Jaz and Dougall opted to build their very own Rapido 60.

Upon launching, Romanza sported a furling A3 kite, which although convenient, was soon determined to be inadequate in both shape and size to really get the boat trucking downwind. Jaz and Dougall didn’t enjoy feeling slow and knew they could get more out of the boat with something even bigger. Not wanting to spend a huge amount on a ‘trial’ product when their first option hadn’t succeeded, meant it was time to get creative. They were able to source a much bigger second-hand A-sail, but the next challenge was finding a safe way to manage it shorthanded. After some research a few prospective possibilities came flying at them. Not knowing what the best product was, they chose based on the company they knew well through previously working with, trusting and relying on for sail battens and hardware.

Then came the unveiling of their true downwind speed with the use of an enormous new free flying A Sail, assisted by the inflatable SnuffAir to keep everything comfortably under wraps. The speed gains made from this choice were unreal as Jaz exclaims after getting a tidy second place in the Bay of Islands Sailing week - a huge improvement on the previous year. “We did better than last year (4th) with a creditable second. Yay!! Romanza just gets faster the more we race her and the addition of a large A Sail (297sq/m) certainly helps our downwind VMG.”

So what’s next for team Romanza? Jaz excitedly spills the beans on their busy summer cruising calendar; destination, Nelson and the blissfully breathtaking Marlborough Sounds. “We are planning on doing that trip basically two handed, just the two of us so every time we have a downwind we are going to need to be able to get that sail up and down, and there’s no way if you see the size of it, that we could do that without the SnuffAir. It’s been a magical gift.”

The SnuffAir has well and truly proved itself during its time onboard Romanza and some could say it’s now the highly regarded third member of their shorthanded crew. “We’ve had it for 12 months now and have used it flawlessly. It’s even better than I expected actually, this is a massive sail and personally I don’t think you could beat this” - Dougall says, in anticipation of their upcoming trip down to the stunning South Island.

Learn more about the SnuffAir at

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