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International C Class Catamaran Championship 2010
(June 28, 2010) In the last week of August a visitor to Newport, RI may look south across the harbor and see the wing sails of seven C Class catamarans on the lawn in front of Harbor Court, New York Yacht Club’s Newport Station. This will be quite a sight.
The New York Yacht Club, after all, is the club that banned multihulls after Nathaniel G Herreshoff’s Amaryllis completely outclassed their racing fleet during the Second Centennial Regatta of 1874. When making the case that the yachting establishment is prejudiced against multihulls, the NYYC’s response has long been shown as Exhibit A. The wings on the lawn should go a long way to proving that 1874 was a long time ago and that the attitudes have changed.
The International C Class Catamaran Championship (IC^4) will be hosted at New York Yacht Club in Newport, RI from August 22-28, 2010. The IC^4 is the successor to the Little America’s Cup as the championship event for the for the C class catamarans. Fred Eaton of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC) won the trophy from Steve Clark during the last event held by RCYC in September 2007. In the next event Eaton will be defending for RCYC and Clark, who will be representing New York Yacht Club, will be among the challengers.
Here is a report at this time of the field that will vie for the title:
GBR - Great Britain will be represented by Invictus. Team Invictus, which debuted with a third place finish in 2003, will be back with a new wing and a more practiced program. Their platform, designed by Clive Everest is unchanged except for new centerboards and rudders. In 2003 their performance was hampered by a split flap wing design that was completely untested. Once they had sorted the control system, the split flap was uncompetitive and could not deliver enough lift without an enormous drag penalty.
The team, which is largely made up of Airbus employees, returned to Filton in England with the intent of building a state-of-the-art wing. It took them a little longer than they would have liked, but they have been sailing the new wing for most of a year and have continued test and refine the boat. Their sailing team includes Paul Larson, who has spent the last seven years pursuing the outright speed sailing record with Sail Rocket. While the speed record eluded him, Sail Rocket’s long jumps have been spectacular. For more information on Invictus, see www.teaminvictus.com.
CAN - Canada has had the largest growth of C Class catamarans in memory. This is entirely due to the commitment and enthusiasm of Fred Eaton of Toronto and the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. They will enter Alpha, the defending champion. They will also enter Orion, which was launched in 2009 and has an aggressive wave piercing hull form. These two boats were sailed by the BMW Oracle Racing team as they were learning to sail wings prior to the 33rd America’s Cup.
The lessons from these two boat testing sessions has prompted Fred to commission a new boat and wing for this summer. Which of these boats Fred chooses to sail will be determined in trials due to begin in early June. Fred is playing his cards pretty close and hasn’t disclosed much about the new design. All of Fred’s boats are excellent, and it will be very hard to unseat the defending champion. Fred will sail with Magnus Clarke. The rest of the Canadian sailing team has not been disclosed.
Fred also owns Patient Lady VI, the 1985 defender which was significantly rebuilt in 2003. He is in negotiations with a French team who wishes to charter the boat and gain experience prior to launching a full campaign. But PLVI will be in Newport.
USA - The United States will be represented by Steve Clark’s venerable “Cogito”, which has been the standard of excellence for over 10 years. Cogito was swept by Alpha in the 2008 series, but Steve and Duncan MacLane think this was more their fault than the boats. She remains a potent weapon, fully capable of winning the regatta. Steve is also building a new boat to his own design which he hopes will be an improvement on Cogito.
The new boat has been taking form in his work shop for the last year and has a number of features which, while not new in and of themselves, have been blended together in an attempt to significantly improve the high speed sea keeping and handling of the catamaran. The wing is a further iteration of the proven Cogito wing, with attention to improving twist control, cleaning up the aero surfaces, and reducing weight. Duncan MacLane, Lars Guck, Oliver Moore and Steve Clark are the sailing team. Bill Slinko leads the support team. David Hubbard is the senior emeritus wing nut who provides performance analysis, perspective and moral superiority.
C Class catamarans are certainly among the most efficient sailing machines and achieve remarkable speeds in very moderate winds. The event begins with a nine race series of fleet racing to determine the seeding for the match racing. The top two seeds have a best-of-9 match race series for the trophy. The third and fourth seeds as well as the fifth and sixth seeds also square off in match racing series. The course is a 6 mile windward-leeward, with one mile legs and three races each day. The course area will be weather dependent, but either north of the Newport Bridge within Narragansett Bay or off Beavertail. The racing promises to be spectacular.
Update: As of August 19, 2010 there will be six teams competing - three Canadian (Orion, Alpha, Canaan), one American (Aethon), one British (Invictus), and one French (Patient Lady VI). There were to be seven teams, but Steve Clark's brand-new wing for Aethon wasn't ready for prime time. Steve will be sailing the boat with the Cogito wing, leaving Lars Guck and Andrew Gaynor boatless.
Additional details at class website.
Training videos: www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/media/10/0820
Photos courtesy of foilborne.blogspot.com and www.teaminvictus.com.
Story assist by Steve Clark.
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