New Swiss phenomenon

We look at the M2 catamaran class and speak to president Rodolphe Gautier
Last year we reported on the new phenomenon on Lake Geneva - the all-carbon Decision 35 catamaran, as Alinghi boss Ernesto Bertarelli has as his local play thing when he's at home in Switzerland. This year the new phenomenon in Swiss lake racing is the class of 28ft M2 multihulls. Back in the 1980s two multihull classes of this size developed side by side in Europe - the 26ft micro-multihulls in the UK as typified by the Firebird catamaran and the smaller Dragonfly and Farrier tris, and the Formula 28 - slightly larger and more extreme with no pretentions towards accommodation, and largely preferred on the continent. In the intervening years, about the only place Formula 28 sailing has survived with any fleet numbers has been Switzerland. With a rule that is now 17-18 years old and boat building technology having moved on apace in the intervening years, factions in Switzerland deemed it time to upgrade to a new rule. As a result last October a group of Swiss owners got together to create the new Association des Proprietaires M2 (AM2) class. "Our idea was to get all M2 owners together to increase our skills and to put our efforts together to have better access to regattas," says class President, Rodolphe Gautier. The two principle M2 fleets in Switzerland are on Lac Leman (also known as Lake Geneva) and the fully Swiss Lake Neuchatel to the north. The new class attempts to combine these fleets and this they have successfully done with, at the last count, 17 boats in the association including some old Formula 30s being grandfathered in. The class was also set up to offer a lower cost alternative to the Decision 35. Significiantly it also aims to encourage design development. Unlike the one design Decision 35, the