The sport of sailing doesn’t really need another boat design. Seems like every week there is another shape, another length another magic ratio for sail area to weight. In the discipline of match racing, which sells itself primarily on the talent of the skippers and their crew, the boat is even more irrelevant, but nevertheless, the World Match Racing Tour have announced a design competition to create a boat for new venues joining the Tour.
[cleeng_content id=”177028048″ description=”99 cents or 10,000 hours. The path to being an expert can be easy or hard. ” price=”0.99″]Until now, the World Match Racing Tour has evolved in such a way that individual events, some with long histories, brought their own boat to the tour. It’s one of the levellers of the series that each team has to come to grips with a different kind of boat, but it also provides a ‘home-team’ advantage to local wildcard entries. The type of boat has never really been an issue for the fans because the man-on-man nature of the discipline has made the boat largely irrelevant.
WMRT have created a strategy that aims to position the series as the premier monohull match racing championship. New boats are required not to attract fans, but to attract sailors who might otherwise be tempted to multi-hull competitions. Several of the events on the tour use boats that seem to be the result of commercial sponsorship decisions rather than the best boat for the purpose.
New venues will be required to use new boats. The application and bidding process for new host venues being headed up by Terry Newby of Regatta International has apparently been overwhelmed by responses – with 57 venues from six continents having registered their interest.
The primary aim of the boat design brief is:
…to ensure that the designs are conducive to closely fought, head-to-head match racing which takes place on a two lap windward leeward configuration with the first leg to windward and the finish downwind.
Other things that yacht designers need to consider are…
Damage and Repair
Due to the combative nature of match racing, boat to boat contact often occurs and any damage has to be managed quickly and efficiently. As a result designers are being challenged to take into account the fact that the boats need to be easily repaired and ensure consideration is given to the need for suitable reinforcement in areas prone to contact. Further consideration should be given to some form of sacrificial or reinforced bow and stern elements as well as incorporating a sailplan that is easily reduced or increased between races or race days, and could include multiple rigs.
Exciting and challenging to sail
WMRT is challenging designers to be as innovative as possible to create a fleet of identical boats that generate exciting racing while being challenging to sail. The design must enable the boats to be set up and tuned quickly and allow replication of settings across the fleet. They will not have to conform to any other racing rule or class requirements.
Designers must take into account that manufacturing the boats in the Event host country may be required, but they should also identify a suitable builder that is able to offer a construction and commissioning service.
Terry Newby of Regatta International who is overseeing the submission of designs said:
“WMRT is at the forefront of match racing and as the Tour looks to expand it’s vital that events have access to boats that deliver great racing in the conditions anticipated at their venue. Only through the latest technology and innovative design will this be achieved.
“However, when conceiving these designs it is important to ensure that the boats are conducive to the essence of match racing – close, fiercely fought, tactical head-to-head races. We’re not looking for a one size fits all solution, excitement and drama can be fast paced on the edge of control but it can also evolve slowly as a battle of wills and tactics. The argument as to what boats will provide the best match racing will continue but what we want to develop are boats that will help us to capture the emotional highs and lows of the sport and showcase its excitement to the global audience. ”
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