Adolfo Carrau about the new Melges 40 and future projects of Botin Partners

Born in Uruguay, Adolfo started sailing when he was eight years old, competed on both dinghies and racing boats. He represented Uruguay in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in the Laser class.

At this moment Adolfo is a partner in the company Botin Partners, the very same company which designed the new Melges 40. He is responsible for communication and contact between the office and the clients and involved mostly in all the hull and appendage development.

We had a word with him right after the first regatta in the history of the Melges 40 was completed. Enjoy!

We are now on the first regatta ever of the Melges 40 class! Everyone is super excited, and how are you feeling?

I’m very positive! This is the only class right now for inshore races that has a canting keel; the boats are super light and accelerate very fast. Even with 5 knots of wind, like we have today, the boat can race and go extremely quick. I had a chance to helm one of the boats today for quite a while, and it feels like helming a dinghy, a big dinghy. I think with time more owners will have a chance to get on the boat and feel it, realize it’s a lot of fun. Right now we have 5 knots of wind; imagine how much fun it will be when we have 14 knots!

You were designing this boat from the beginning, what were the difficulties of design? Did you change something during the process?

No, it was quite straightforward. The biggest decision was about the canard, whether we wanted to go for a single canard or twin daggerboards.

What’s the difference?

The difference is that the twin daggerboards on the sides, so they can be asymmetrical and are a bit more efficient going upwind. The downside is that you have two sets, so it’s heavier. Also, you have to tack them and jibe the boards, more people are involved and require more maintenance. So we did not think it would be good for one design class, we wanted to keep it simple. I think it proved to be a good decision. We didn’t have many other difficulties, we were very clear in what we wanted, it was very smooth, enjoyable experience to design this boat.

Did you use any feedback or experience from the team when you designed this boat?

We worked a lot with both Quantum Sails and North Sails, we did have a lot of conversations with Chris Williams, Jordi Califat, Marco Capitani, and others. I think they provided the most valuable input because they are on their own suffer to predict things for different wind conditions. It was good, we shared some long chats with sail designers and the team.

What is the next project for Botin and Partners? Any big projects?

We have several projects going on, just two of them are a bit top secret. Among upcoming there are what we do every year, the new TP52 generation, that would be generation 14. That’s coming! Now we are in the middle of that design. We also have a few canting keels, that will come out very soon. We mostly have been working with foiling monohulls, it is quite interesting!

It’s an interesting moment in sailing right now, with all the canting keels and monohulls, it’s interesting and fun, right?

Definitely! Most of the owners and sailors are open to light and fast designs. Although the racing rules do not really rate those type of boats well yet, most clients are trying to ignore the rules and just go as fast as they can. The rules will catch up! I think many owners, who are used to fast racing boats, see what can be done with current technology. Melges 40 is a perfect example. The technology was there, it was just about someone having the courage and saying “let’s go ahead with this canting keel 40-footer” and I think it was the right decision.