Christophe Launay Photography /

Eaton and Clarke successfully defend

Little America's Cup concludes in Newport

Saturday August 28th 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: United States

Canadians Fred Eaton and Magnus Clarke successfully defended the Little America's Cup today off Newport, Rhode Island. Canaan.

In the second day of match racing between Canaan and the Glenn Ashby/James Spithill driven Alpha, Canaan won the first match race by about five minutes in light winds.

In the second race, the start line was off the pier in Jamestown with the weather mark to the west of Gould Island. Alpha led at the start by 10 seconds and at the first weather mark by 46 seconds. Canaan, however, used her lower and faster gear on the downwind leg to regain the lead at the second mark by seven seconds. On the second weather leg, the boats split tacks. Alpha stayed close to Jamestown, while Canaan went east, more to the center of the channel. Canaan extended her lead to about 48 seconds and later enjoyed her second gun of the day, leading the series 3-1. The racing was called after this, causing Fred Eaton and Magnus Clarke to successfully defend the International C-Class Catamaran Trophy that they first won in 2007.

In the Consolation Round, Invictus was first, Patient Lady VI second and Orion third.

The Canadian C Class Catamaran Team of Fred Eaton, Magnus Clarke, plus designer Steve Killing, Rob Paterson, and Rossi Milev have been along for the entire ride, one way or another. Clarke, Paterson, and Milev took six months off from their C-Class program to manage wing protection for the largest wingmast ever built for a race-boat: BMW Oracle Racing’s 68m-tall wing. Reunited in March, their team brought four wings to the International C Class Catamaran Championship hosted by New York Yacht Club on Narragansett Bay this past week.

“Upwind the camber is moderate, but downwind with the flap set at 40 degrees, the wing will produce almost double the force of an equal area soft sail,” explains Killing.

During this week they found themselves sparring with two of sailing’s most accomplished sailors and proven match-race experts, James Spithill and Glenn Ashby.

"It's fun to sail with your buddies because you mostly sail on your own in the class, and because the guys in the class are universally interesting, “ says Eaton. “They are interested and passionate about sailing high performance boats and I appreciate that because I am too. We rarely get to race these boats. There can't be that many of them since we're all trying to make it a fleet of one - we're all trying to make the other guy's boat look slow. The C Class is a great exploration of yacht design."

Eaton’s interest in developing his fleet of cats was in large part inspired by American Steve Clark’s 11-year hold of the class trophy in Cogito. Eaton arranged with a French team to race Patient Lady VI, the Australians Ashby and Spithill to race his 2007 C Class trophy winner Alpha, and a second Canadian entry of Rob Paterson and Dan Cunningham to race Orion.

Over the years England’s Team Invictus has been percolating a program with the help of Airbus engineers and the UK’s finest multihull sailors. The UK sailing team of Paul Larsen and Gordon Kaiser made it round the buoys this week, which Clark unfortunately did not — both of Steve Clark’s boats and new wings were damaged right before the event commenced, and the second boat only minutes after the first start.

The next C Class Championship is slated to be raced in Weymouth, England, date to be determined.

From Christophe Launay/



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