Rothmans originally sailed with a crew of up to 16 and finished the 1989-90 race in fourth place overall, taking 131 days to complete the 33,000-nautical-mile course. It was Smith’s second race, having completed part of the course onboard Simon Le Bon’s maxi, Drum in 1985-86.
Rothmans’ best performance was in Leg 2, from Punta del Este, Uruguay, to Fremantle, Western Australia. It was a leg across the notorious Southern Ocean that claimed the life of Tony Phillips from Creighton’s Naturally. Although the now-famous Steinlager 2 won every leg of the 1989-90 race, the battle on this leg for second, just an hour and a half after Steinlager 2 had claimed line honours, was an intense one and the duel between Rothmans and Merit was fierce. Covering each other, with Smith using his full range of match racing skills, the two giant maxis gybed 18 times in 20 minutes. Smith’s America’s Cup experience showed, and Rothmans overtook Pierre Felhmann’s Merit, to come in 28 seconds ahead.
On the second night of Leg 6, from Ft Lauderdale, USA to Southampton, a diagonal shroud on Rothmans’ mast failed. The crew acted quickly to prevent a dismasting and put into Georgetown, South Carolina, for repairs. When they set out again, they had lost 280 nm on the leaders and it was the end of the possibility of the high budget Rothmans winning any leg.
Nowadays, life for Rothmans is a little less dramatic. Built by Paragon Composites, this 1989 Rob Humphrey’s 81’ Kevlar/Carbon/Epoxy fractional sloop had a full refit in 2011. Her hull and topsides have been fully faired and painted and she has a new suit of sails. The boat is in original and fantastic condition and has been continuously maintained. She is in her original racing trim and is sure to be competitive in the Legends Race. Her home port is Stockholm and she will sail under the flag of both Sweden and the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS).
To sail one of the great maxi-raters is a dream come true. A bit like driving James Bond’s famous Aston Martin. There might be more modern and even faster ones, but there is absolutely nothing like it. And the Legends Race 2018 is once again a true and dignifying pinnacle for Rothmans and generations of Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race fans.Ludwig Uhlmann, the owner from Nuremberg in Germany.
Designer: Rob Humphreys
LOA 24.5 m (80’)
Rig: Fractional sloop
Crew: 13 - 16
Results Whitbread Round the World Race 1989-90
Fourth overall (best result 2nd Leg 2)
Elapsed time 131.04.54.23
Skipper: Lawrie Smith