Black Baza

SAIL # HKG 2296
LOA 12.8M
BEAM 4.17M


2017 SFR IRC 1 1 1
2016 HKHN IRC 1 1 1
2016 RCSR IRC 1 1 1
2015 HKVN IRC 1 1 1



Steve Manning (OWNER / PIC), Conrad Manning (C), Isamu Sakai (C), Ben Harding (C), Aymeric Gillard (C), Win Kaaka (C), Ryan Betonio (C), Aaron Taunt (C), Alex Gough (C)


Anthony Root (OWNER), Alexadner Gough (C), Joanna Aleh (C), Oliver Boote (C), Ryan Betonio (C), David Salembier (C), Simon Cooke (C), Wade Morgan (C), Noel Drennan (C)


Anthony Root (OWNER / PIC), Ross Vickers (RADIO / NAV), Ryan Betanio (C), Wade Morgan (C), Magnus Doole (C), Jonathan Rankine (C), Kevin Peet (C), Jamie Thompson (C), Oliver Boote (C)


Steve Manning (OWNER), Wade Morgan (C), Jonothan Kenneth Rankine (C), Akira Sakai (C), Ryan Betonio (C), Conrad Manning (C), David Henri E. Salembier (C), Jason Corall (C), Magnus Doole(C), Jamie Thompson (C)


Black Baza, a 42’ custom design by Jason Ker is jointly owned and campaigned by Anthony Root and Steve Manning.  Whilst shey may only have been launched in Hong Kong in October 2015, her team includes veterans of multiple America’s Cup and Louis Vitton challenges, Volvo Ocean Races, Middle Sea Races, Fastnets, Sydney‐Hobarts, NYYC/RORC Trans‐Atlantic Races and grand prix regattas. On a combined basis, the team has participated in more than 80 Category 0 and Category 1 offshore races around the world. Members of the team have done over 20 China Sea race crossings and have seven class or overall Rolex CSR wins among them.

Previously, Anthony Root has won IRC Racer 2 in the 2012 and 2014 editions of the Rolex China Sea race with his previous boat, Red Kite II.   

How does Black Baza stack up against Red Kite II?

Says Root... "Black Baza is a completely different concept from Red Kite II. RK II is an Archambault 35, a well established production boat optimized for IRC. It was an exceptionally effective boat in all conditions, from inshore racing in light airs to offshore reaching in heavy weather. It provided an excellent platform to build a successful program. Over four years, we completed over 250 races, with a 65%/90% win/podium record. In 2014, we finished second in the Asian Yachting Grand Prix Circuit, missing first overall by ½ point and two seconds in the last leg of the last race of the season after 10,000 miles and 100 races in nine months.

Black Baza is a custom designed, new generation, high performance boat. Switching from RK II to Black Baza is like swapping a production sedan for a formula race car. To get a feel for Black Baza’s speed and performance, click on this link to see its first entry into Hong Kong harbor a few days after its launch:

We chose to do a custom design primarily because of the lack of production designs well suited for the mix of light air regattas and offshore racing that characterize Hong Kong and SE Asian events. We wanted a boat that could provide high octane sailing and win both against similar designs and older designs traditionally favored by IRC, like the highly successful Mills/King 40.

From the outset, we realized that there are no magic solutions to building a competitive IRC boat. IRC is too quick to spot and plug any rating gaps that give a disproportionate advantage. Instead, a winning boat requires achieving small incremental gains across all aspects of design, construction and components. So we approached Jason Ker to develop a new evolutionary hull design based on his successful Ker 40 and then worked closely with Pure Engineering, Southern Spars, McConaghy Boats, and North Sails to develop a powerful, effective racer within IRC parameters. Everyone involved in the design and build program delivered terrific service and quality product on time and on budget. Project manager Wade Morgan did a brilliant job in integrating the rig and gear into an efficient, racer‐friendly system capable of delivering the extra performance margin needed to win. 

We view the 40 footer class as the most competitive in Asia. It is unlikely that the Black Baza program will achieve the same degree of success as the RK II program, but we look forward to the challenge. Our second place in class in the China Coast Regatta and our first place overall in the HK‐Vietnam race showed that the boat can deliver thrilling performance and racing success.

However, our less successful results in the lights airs of Raja Muda and Kings Cup also the challenge of sorting out a new design and complex systems across all conditions in competitive events.

With the benefit of the talent and commitment of a superb team, we are confident that our overall performance will improve as we become more familiar with and improve the boat. We expect the wide range of conditions of the China Sea Race to test the full scope of Black Baza’s capabilities."

Black Baza won IRC Overall in the 2015 Hong Kong to Vietnam Race.  The goal this time is to lift the China Sea Race Trophy but, says Root, "we are realistic about the vagaries of the CSR, particularly the infamous Luzon Hole, that can play a decisive factor in the final outcome. Our plan is to maximize our performance during the more predicable initial two‐thirds of the race to position ourselves to deal with uncertainties of the Luzon Hole as well as possible.  Of course, our goal is to win both our class and overall (we will leave line honors to the boats with the longest waterlines). We were fortunate to win our class in every CSR in the Red Kite II program. But the ultimate satisfaction is the total experience of working together as a team, the adrenaline rush of offshore reaching, harnessing the elements to maximum strategic advantage, and getting the most out of the boat.

Says Root "The HKV and RCSR are very different. The former is virtually entirely a downhill race and can be
affected by strong currents along the Vietnam coast. The RCSR is a mix of reaching and drifting with some, but less, current. "

There are more similarities between RSCR and Sydney‐Hobart according to Root "Both involve two completely separate races: typically an initial heavy air passage followed by a light air finish. The race is
often won or lost as much by the timing of arrival at the Derwent River and the Luzon Hole as performance in the rest of the race. So the goal is to be leading the race when you reach the light air and hope for favorable timing. "

This is Root's third China Sea Race.  "The CSR is a highly tactical race. While the race is typically driven by the northeast monsoon, the actual winds in any given year can vary significantly, particularly as the winters northerlies give way to the summer southerlies. Unfortunately, this battle can mean wallowing in the middle of the South China Sea waiting for the conflict to be resolved. Making a call early in the race whether to go north or south of the rhumb line is key, but one year we had to do both."

Root and his team are looking forward to continuing the development of all aspects of the Black Baza program, learning how to get the most from the boat and maximizing the performance of the team.  "The beauty of the CSR is that it gives a wide range of boats the opportunity to win. Variable winds at the start and the middle of the race drive the timing of the entry into the Luzon Hole, which in turn is a major driver in the final outcome of the race. So there are nearly a dozen boats with teams capable of winning, including prior overall winners. Within that group, the key competitors are likely to be Alive, Ambush, Antipodes, Mandrake, FreeFire, KLC Bengal7, Standard Insurance Centennial, Straight Up, and Zanzibar."

Notable members of Black Baza’s team include:
1. Wade Morgan: Boat captain of Abu Dhabi team in 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race. Three America’s Cup challenges: member of the Young Australia team in 2000; sailor and boat captain on Luna Rossa, including Louis Vuitton Trophy races. 14 Sydney Hobarts, 5 Middle Sea races, and 3 Fastnets. Project manager for supermaxi Alfa Romeo 3. Sails regularly with Neville Crichton, including as boat captain on Loyal. Team leader on Black Baza’s winning HK‐Vietnam race 2015.
2. Magnus Doole: Sail designer for North’s New Zealand with over 30,000 nm of offshore race experience. Actively sails on full range of the world’s leading race boats, from 40 footers to super maxis. Race experience highlights include: America’s Cup sailor on Team Shosholoza in 2007; TP52 Super Series; multiple offshore races, including NYYC/RORC Transatlantic Races, Auckland‐Fiji Race, Auckland‐Noumea Race, Round
Ireland Race, and Chicago‐Mackinac Race. Magnus regularly participates in grand prix races/regattas around the world and is a regular participant in RHKYC China Coast Regattas and offshores races, including the RCSR and HK‐Vietnam races (he was on Black Baza for its overall win in HK‐Vietnam last year).
3. Kevin Peet: Former boat captain of Vodaphone 60 trimaran, one of world’s fastest boats. He ran the youth team training program at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, training many of today’s top racers, and was a project manager for Emirates Team New Zealand. Over 50,000 nm offshore experience, including: Auckland‐Fiji Race (5 times); Auckland‐Noumea Race (3 times); and the Double Handed Around NZ North
Island Race. Kevin was team leader of the Red Kite II program from 2009 to 2014 and achieved a class and/or overall win in virtually every regatta and 100% class/overall win in every offshore race, including Rolex China Sea Race 2010, 2012 and 2014; RHKYC San Fernando Race 2009, 2011, 2013; and HK‐Vietnam 2013. He played a lead role in RK II’s 2013‐2014 Asia Circuit program, including wins at the King’s Cup in Thailand and Commodore’s Cup in Philippines.
4. Jono Rankine: Jono is one of Hong Kong’s leading sailors and regularly participates in major offshore races and regattas around the world. His experience includes frequent roles as main trimmer and driver on Lucky, one the New York Yacht Club’s most active and successful racers, including Fastnet 2009, Middle Sea Race 2010 (overall winner), and the NYYC/RORC Trans‐Atlantic Race 2015 (overall winner). Other offshore races include HK‐Vietnam Race 2011 on Audi Ultra Maxi, 2013 on Kukukerchu Ker 40 and 2015 on Black Baza (overall winner); China Sea Race 2012 on Zanzibar (overall winner) and 2014 on Kukukerchu Ker 40.
5. Ross Vickers: Ross is one of the most experienced offshore sailors in Hong Kong, with over 30,000 nm of offshore experience. He has participated in over 30 Category 2 races in Australia and New Zealand, as well as the Category 1 Auckland‐Fiji Race. He regularly serves as navigator, weather analyst and tactician on Asia’s top race boats.