“New” Little America’s Cup Attracts Dynamic C-Class Catamarans and International Talent
[Source: New York Yacht Club] Six (possibly seven — pending dramatic repairs) of the fastest, lightest, highly innovative 25-foot catamarans will compete on America’s Cup courses off the coast of Newport, RI.
August 22-28, New York Yacht Club will host the International C-Class Catamaran Championship, also known as The Little America's Cup.
Nine fleet races will seed the match racing contenders for actual Cup racing. With speculators reviewing monohull and multihull options for the (Big) America's Cup, this C-Class event provides all of the technology, sportsmanship and spectator highlights that favor a multihull design.
“The boats are the most efficient sailing machines on the water,” maintain Fred Eaton and Magnus Clarke. Winners of the 2007 trophy at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, in Toronto, they will unveil their new boat, Canaan, in Newport.
Designers are free to experiment. There are no weight or material restrictions. The boats are custom built by the teams to be extremely light — to the edge in fact. With wing rigs they are capable of twice the wind speeds seen on most race courses.
“We can fly a hull in less than five knots of breeze while double trapezing in just six knots of wind,” says Clarke. They can sail fast, but can their repair skills match their boatspeed? A wing was destroyed by a 30-knot gust during mid-July sail trials.
“The mast and control system look intact, and it seems that many of the moldings are OK as well. This wing is not dead, it’s just pining for the fjords!” commented Steve Clark in an online review of the photos. His optimism sums up the technological camaraderie of the fleet.
Clark, along with three longtime multihull champions from Bristol, RI will race the new Aethon, and Cogito, the former gold standard C-Class Cat. The regatta will be as much about twist control as it will be about the latest in pre-impregnated unidirectional carbon, laminate strength, Autoclaves and thermal coefficients.
James Spithill, helmsman of BMW Oracle’s 90-foot catamaran, and winner of the 33rd America’s Cup, will ramp up the focus with fellow Australian Glenn Ashby, an Olympic Silver medallist in multihulls and nine-time, A-Class, world champion.
Paul Larsen, another renowned high-speed sailor will drive England’s entry, Invictus. The event will also feature the French team of Antoine Koch and Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant.
Six days of sailing, six boats, and only seven design rules. If the Toronto-based shore crew can pull together another wing assembly, the start line will see seven high-speed cats. Three races a day, each totaling six miles, will make for remarkable racing. The exact location on Narragansett Bay is weather dependent.
Sailors, designers, engineers, and lovers of high-speed action can inspect the boats at close range for days prior to the event at Sail Newport, Fort Adams. From August 21 onwards boats will be stored at NYYC. Live footage and post-race interviews will be available.