1720 - a madforsailing test

Peter Bentley tests the current flavour of the month in sportsboats
The 1720 Sportsboat Class got started when a small group of Irish yachtsmen, led by Clayton Love and Stephen Hyde, felt there was a need for a new boat that would be cheap, up-to-date and suitable for club racing in Cork Harbour. Tony Castro designed what was then called the Cork 1720, but their popularity has subsequently spread beyond Southern Ireland, with fleets thriving in the Solent and elsewhere. Peter Bentley was once again doing the honours as the madforsailing reviewer, shortly after the boat was brought onto the market and this time in a ten to 12 knot breeze. The 1720 is characterised by the short deck-level guard rails that prevent hiking. Crew sit inboard and there is room for four or five people in the open cockpit of what is virtually a day boat. There is some cramped storage space below decks, but I don’t think even an estate agent would describe it as accommodation. The safe feeling and durable build both contributed to madforsailing high scores. The boat felt secure enough to deal with extreme conditions and the deck layout is arranged in such a way that it’s virtually impossible to work the boat with the hatch open - which avoids any risk of J24-style swamping. The windward performance felt crisp and even in the lulls (down to six knots on our test day), the boat never felt sluggish. But downwind, despite the immense power of a 68 sqm asymmetric spinnaker, she was relatively slow to accelerate and in moderate conditions, reluctant to plane. We also discovered that she doesn't behave so well if heeled. Constant easing on the sheets is required to prevent a broach - but recovery is fast. There were more details we weren’t too sure about - the foot braces aren't quite enough