tell us why IRC is
working for them.
BY DAN DICKISON
Building For IRC he enthusiasm with which owners sive standards. Fewer than three that can be partitioned as well. In
of existing boats have embraced weeks after taking delivery of the the main cabin, we have settees,
IRC is encouraging. More than 570 boat, they won their class in the and the backs of those are de-
boats in this country were issued 2006 Bermuda Race. Since then, signed to pivot and act as upper
IRC certificates in 2006, and those the boat has proven competitive in bunks. It’s very comfortable down
vessels range in style from an Is- various inshore contests, includ- below. So, we do the competitive
land Packet 40 to a swing-keel 86- ing the American YC Fall Regatta. events with a full crew and we
foot maxi, to Ticonderoga, the What was the boat’s genesis? cruise with family and friends.
classic 72-foot Herreshoff ketch. We started this project with a How did you feel about Snow
However, the best sign the rule dual-purpose boat in mind. We Lion’s performance under IRC
has gained a foothold on this side wanted a boat that was easy to sail this past season?
of the Atlantic is that a few own- with just my wife and myself on We’re extremely pleased. The
ers are building, or have built, new board, but would also be competi- boat is very stiff. It slides through
boats specifically designed at tive with a full crew. Because we the water with no fuss, and it gets
competing under the rule. don’t have runners or overlapping up to speed quite easily. And, it’s
To get a better idea of how the jibs, it’s an easy boat to sail. very competitive upwind with the
rule is being embraced at the Our boat has a full cruising inte- TP 52s. Because it has a very sim-
grand prix level, we surveyed rior, including two enclosed ple rig—no running backstays and
three owners who have either re- heads, a proper galley with a three a permanently mounted bowsprit
cently built a new boat or are burner stove and oven. We also instead of a spinnaker pole—it’s a
Larry Hunting- awaiting one on order. have an onboard heater, and a very easy boat to sail.
ton’s Ker 50 cabin table permanently installed. You’ve competed under IRC
Snow Lion is a
true IRC , The interior is designed so that with a number of different
of New York, N.Y., has owned his the forward head and the forward boats. Do you feel that racing
Ker 50 Snow Lion for less than a cabin can be closed off as a suite, under this rule is competitive?
year, and his crew have set impres- and there are also two aft cabins Yes, extremely so. There were a
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number of new IRC boats this past works, and we like it this way. thing he had ever done. But now
season, but also a full fleet of com- Have you begun to get a we have a legitimate racer/cruiser
petitive TP 52s, roughly the same sense of the competitive lifes- IRC boat. Unlike most contempo-
size as our boat. We sailed com- pan of an IRC boat? rary designs, we have a full cabin
petitively against both groups. I don’t think I could predict that. house, and that helps down below.
Are there refinements you’d This boat is one with no extremes, Another area where we had
make to IRC at this stage? so I think it should stay in the input was on the keel. John initial-
The most fundamental point to sweet spot of the rule for quite a ly proposed a vertical fin with an
Henry Fretz, and his son
long time. L-shaped bulb. But we ran the
numbers on a torpedo bulb and
that seemed to work out well. So,
Gus, of Kent Island, Md., took that convinced John to include
delivery of their all-carbon Corby our torpedo bulb keel instead. To
41.5 Wahoo three years ago. Built me, it’s the best keel in the world.
by Vision Yachts in England, Also, my son Gus, who steers
Wahoo immediately made its mark our boat, moved to Cowes for five
in 2004, taking class honors at months and supervised the con-
Block Island Race Week (six struction of the boat firsthand.
firsts) and Annapolis Race Week That really makes a difference on
(two firsts and two seconds). a project as big as this.
Despite this early success in Why does the boat have a re-
around-the-buoys contests, Wahoo tractable bowsprit?
was created with offshore racing Well, you have to recognize that
as the primary emphasis. Its suc- it adds six feet to the boat going
cess in short-course events, says around the buoys. Also, it’s on
Henry Fretz, is testimony to the hundreds of J Boats, so it’s a
boat’s all-around prowess. proven concept. But, I’m not sure
Why a Corby design? that I’d do it the same way today if
A friend of mine built a Corby 41 I were to do it again. It took some
called Barlo Plastics. He sails his convincing, because our project
own boats just like I do, and I was the first boat that Corby had
understand about IRC is that for liked the design of his boat. I went ever done with a bowsprit. And I
Corby 41.5 the first time in maybe 30 years, it over to Europe and met John don’t think any IRC boats had yet
is possible to have a dual-purpose Corby and I liked him. Also, Vision done that. The trick, really, is
ically for IRC, boat that is competitive. For so Yachts is a really good yard. At the building the right asymmetric
but it does well
under the rule. long you either had a race boat or time, they had just gotten a can- spinnaker design, and these sails
you went cruising, but not both. cellation in their schedule. Ulti- have gotten better and better.
The reason I got interested in IRC mately, the people at Vision built Do you prefer distance racing?
is that these boats are functionally me a beautiful boat. Yes. We like to do long races.
now as they were when I was a The other reason I like this de- The around-the-buoys competi-
boy. When you went to a regatta sign is that I’m intrigued with tion on the Chesapeake for boats
back then, you stayed on the boat. masthead sailboats and non-over- like ours has nearly faded away.
The IRC brings us full circle to lapping headsails. I really wonder We have only five or six decent
that concept, and I think it’s truly why so many boats go to fraction- boats in our size range now. But
a boon to the sport. al rigs and give up that additional also, I just love distance racing.
Look at this way, this season area, especially on spinnakers. Events like the Mac races and
there will be 50 new boats racing How much input did you have other long races. Going around a
COURTESY CORBY YACHTS
that have been built expressly to in the design of the boat? course with mile-and-a-half or
compete under IRC. That just John Corby did the lines and the two-mile beats isn’t fun for me.
didn’t happen under the previ- hull shape, but how it’s laid out on Given your preference for
ous rule. So, it’s pretty clear the deck and down below is more my offshore racing, why go with a
sailing public—the owners design. The way we laid out the in- tiller?
really—are saying that this terior is totally different from any- It’s a personal preference. We
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like the feel of a tiller as opposed It’s something like a TP 52, but marily in lighter breeze.
to a wheel. three feet longer, with more free- Reichel/Pugh designed a near sis-
Is there a reason you prefer board and more accommodations tership called Yendys that’s being
a boat in the 40-foot range? below. It will also have more right- built now for an Australian owner
To me, a 40-foot boat is an ideal ing moment than a TP 52. We’re by the same yard, but our boat
size. It’s just easy to manage and expecting the boat to arrive in will have a slightly larger rig
still comfortable offshore. Newport in mid April, and then we because of where we sail. I don’t
So, why chose an IRC design? have a full season of regattas. want to say too much, but the
This boat wasn’t designed with We’re anticipating a blend of designers have tweaked the
IRC in mind. In fact, with IRC, you windward-leeward events and off- design for the requirements of an
don’t design to it, you just design shore distance races like the inshore and offshore boat to
good fast boats and the rule gives Block Island Race, the Halifax make it appropriate for venues
you a good rating. If you make a Race, and the Stamford-Vineyard along the East Coast.
boat with a lot of sail area and Race, as well as the New York One of the reasons that prompt-
good stability, the rule will figure Yacht Club Cruise next August. ed me to lean in the direction of
it out. If you make an ultra-light Our season really doesn’t stop this new boat is my admiration for
flyer like the Farr 36, the rule will once the boat is in the water. We several of the larger boat pro-
put the boots to you because that’s really like a mixture of inshore, grams I’ve come to know. There
not what it’s all about. It’s a good closed-course racing under IRC are a group of owners with boats
cruiser/racer rule. and some distance events. Essen- in the 65-foot range, notably Bob
We travel a lot with our boat, so tially, I wanted a multipurpose Towse with Blue Yankee, and we
we used to end up with four or boat, so the new boat will have a greatly admire their success.
five different ratings, but now, galley, a watermaker, a fridge, and Is there anything unusual
under IRC that’s not happening as a dining table—racer/cruiser. about this new boat?
much. The rule is leveling that out. What other considerations One interesting aspect of our
It’s good to know where you stand. factored into the new boat? new program is that the boat is
Under PHRF, I sail in the Chesa- We wanted to get a boat slightly being built in China and the spars
peake with a 3, but in New Eng- smaller than the 60-footer that will be fabricated in Argentina.
land I’m a 9. we’ve been campaigning, to sim- The winches are coming from
Also, the IRC offers a better sit- plify our lives, yet we wanted it to Italy, the sails from Nevada, and
uation for people like me who im- be large enough to go offshore the electronics from all over.
port their boats. Under PHRF, anywhere. Our expectation is that How successful has IRC been
when you bring a boat in from an- this boat will have the excitement in your view?
other country, it’s random what of a TP 52, with the greater right- As we all have become used to
you’ll be rated. But under IRC, ing moment and accommodations the scoring in IRC, and more boats
that doesn’t happen. inherent in an IRC boat. have become rated, we’ve come to
So, why an IRC boat? agree that it’s a pretty decent rat-
, of New York, I greatly admire the TP 52 class, ing system. It’s simple to use, and
N.Y., has competed for almost five but those boats are a little Spartan allows you to know where you
years on board his Farr-designed for offshore work, in my view. The stand during the race. And the ad-
Carroll Marine 60 Rima, which TPs are really an inshore, spon- vantages that some boats have
was built in 1998 and optimized in sored class located primarily in over others in certain wind condi-
recent years to compete under the Mediterranean, with only a tions tend to even out over the
IRC. Now, Brim has a new boat handful of boats campaigning course of a season. As, more boats
under construction, which he’s here in the U.S., so we felt an IRC in the U.S. have now begun to be
tentatively calling Rima2. boat would be more appropriate built to the rule, I think it’s pro-
What is the design emphasis for the kind of racing we do. ducing some interesting boats.
of the new boat? What were the main priori- They’re interesting to look at and
This boat is a Reichel/Pugh 55, ties you established when con- well-performing. The boats we’re
and it’s currently under construc- sidering the design? beginning to see aren’t stunted in
tion in China by a joint venture be- We asked the designers to take their spinnakers as they were
tween McConaghy, of Australia, into account that the racing on under IMS. And, they’re really
and JinLi Composites, of China. the East Coast takes place pri- more aesthetic boats.
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