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Custom Racing Yachts

Rapid Transit, an Antrim custom 49

Rapid Transit, a custom Antrim 49

Rapid Transit is a canting keel 49-foot carbon fiber racing yacht designed by Jim Antrim and built at Berkeley Marine Center. The boat was designed for both speed and ease of handling. It is capable of speeds in excess of 25 knots! The yacht features the latest construction techniques and materials, including extensive use of carbon fiber, including a carbon fiber mast built on premises. RT's design includes a daggerboard for upwind tracking (the canting keel is used primarily for reducing heel), and twin rudders.

A superb team was in place to create and carry out the design. The yacht's fins, (rudders, daggerboard and the keel), were also manufactured on the premises. Cree, the yard owner/manager, is no stranger to yacht building. In a previous business with partner John Palmer, he built some two dozen custom IOR racers, mostly Gary Mull and Doug Peterson designs. Jim Antrim worked for Mull at the time, as did another local boat design legend, Carl Shumacher.

California Condor, an Antrim Class 40

California Condor – an Antrim Class 40

Northern California's first Class 40 sailboat was launched at Berkeley Marine Center in early 2010. The collaboration between builder Cree Partridge and naval architect Jim Antrim, was named California Condor by owner Buzz Blackett. Within weeks of the launch, Blackett and his crew, including Antrim, were racing California Condor to Hawaii, in the Pacific Cup. The boat is currently being successfully campaigned in Bay and ocean races.

The Class 40 is a close relative of the Open 40, famous for long-distance ocean racing. The Class 40, however, is designed for greater comfort, and keeping costs more in line. Water ballast is used instead of a canting keel, and the hull is primarily fiberglass instead of carbon fiber. Over 100 have been built in Europe in the past four years, and several can be found on the US East Coast. The boats can vary significantly within the "box rule" specifications, which define the overall dimensions.

Blackett's decision to join the Class 40 fleet grew out of his crewing in the Pacific Cup on another Antrim design, the highly successful Antrim 27, ET. The requirements for greater speed as well as greater comfort came together in California Condor.

His selection of Berkeley Marine Center as the builder was a natural choice. The yard's credentials in the world of custom yacht building had been solidified with the launch of two previous Antrim designs, including the ultra-light custom Antrim 49, Rapid Transit, in 2009. The highly acclaimed, canting keel, carbon fiber racer has been consistently hitting downwind speeds in the high 20 knot range. Blackett also wanted to be an active participant in the design and building of his racing yacht. "The ability to get involved was one my motivations for building locally," he stated. "Working with Jim and Cree has been great, and the boat is every bit as well built as I'd hoped."


With Transpac behind us, here's a video of Rapid Transit put together by crew member Will Partridge. The voyage was a bit of a family affair, with skipper/owner Jim Partridge, RT's builder and older brother Cree Partridge on board, along with Will.