A Bigger, Faster Rage

Dieter Loibner | Professional BoatBuilder Magazine

The making of a bigger, faster Rage: Plywood mold stations between the bulkheads will be removed after the hull skins of spruce, cedar, and carbon composite are finished.

California designer Tom Wylie and Oregon boatbuilder Steve Rander, both industry veterans, have one more long, skinny, and predictably swift boat in them. A recent visit to the workshop under Sexton’s Chandlery on NE Tomahawk Island Drive in Portland, Oregon, found Rander hard at work on an 80-footer (24.4m) from Wylie’s drafting board. That boat, code named Global Voyager, will be a larger copy of Rander’s famous Rage, the 70′ (21.3m) cold-molded and tiller-steered sled he built in 1993. It took line honors and set a then-new elapsed time record at the 1994 Pacific Cup, the first of many top-flight results.

The client for the new boat is familiar with Wylie’s philosophy and partial to driving a boat by tiller, a memento of racing 505 dinghies in his youth in California. The design brief he turned in was easy to condense: a bigger, faster Rage that’s also more capacious and comfortable for extended family cruising. Hence his wish list included amenities like a “bathtub light,” a sunroom, a hookup for a washer-dryer, a hard dodger, and two cockpits.

Dieter Loibner | Professional BoatBuilder Magazine

The boat is a commodious version of Rage with a modest sail plan.

Wylie and Rander thought wood-composite would be the appropriate material for this vessel, which ideally will have a six-person build crew to meet the tight schedule to launch in spring of 2024, in time for the next Pacific Cup. “We ran the numbers, and wood gives very little to carbon,” Rander said. For the inner skin he will use 1⁄4″ x 3″ (6.35mm x 76.2mm) Sitka spruce strips in the 0° direction (i.e., longitudinally), which will be visible in the interior and Western red cedar for the concealed surfaces. That will be followed by unidirectional carbon at 90° to centerline, and by ±12-oz/sq-yd (407-g/m2) carbon over 1 1⁄4″ (31.75mm) M80 Corecell 5-lb (2.3-kg) foam and M100 Corecell 6-lb (2.7-kg) foam above and below the waterline. The outer skin is all carbon, first ±12 oz/sq-yd, then four layers of 11-oz/sq-yd (373-g/m2) cloth.

Dieter Loibner | Professional BoatBuilder Magazine

Steve Rander, 76, who also built and raced the 70′ (21.3m) Rage, shows some of Wylie’s detail drawings. Rander came out of retirement for this project.

By comparison, Rage, which was built 30 years ago by Schooner Creek Boat Works (Rander’s shop at the time), has a hull of two diagonal layers of 1⁄8″ (3mm) cedar veneer set at 45° on each side of a 1″ (25mm) Divinycell H80 foam core with epoxy resin. For the outside layer, Rander used spruce farthest from the axis and cedar next to the core, all sheathed with one layer of 6-oz/sq-yd (203.43-g/m2) glass overall and an additional layer below the waterline. The interior was finished in mahogany and teak.

“Wood is a fiber like cotton, carbon, or E-glass,” Wylie said. “We run it in the 0° direction bow to stern so it is visible inside, and I bet this will be considered a wooden boat. There will be 12 bulkheads that we [can] use like a tool, but we also could put in steam-bent oak frames.” It’s a fast and economical way to build a boat of this size in a short time, while making it light enough to be competitive on the race-course and safe for voyaging. Because there is no need to build a plug or a composite mold, the construction will take less material and time, and thus lower cost. But labor is a concern, because finding a handful of skilled and motivated hands for the job won’t be a slam dunk in this economy.

Global Voyager Specifications:

LOA 80′ (24.4m)
DWL 72’6″ (22.1m)
Beam 13’9″ (4.2m)
Draft 12’6″ (3.8m)
Displ. 29,500 lbs (13.4 t)
Ballast 12,750 lbs (5.8 t)
Sail area 2,100 sq ft (195.1 m2) main and jib