IRC weapon

We look around Piet Vroon's new Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens and get the low down from her designer
Boat of the moment, racing under IRC in the UK this season, seems to be the latest Tonnerre de Breskens of seasoned Dutch owner, Piet Vroon. Since she was completed at Salthouse Boat Builders in New Zealand in March and subsequently shipped to Europe, she won her class in the UK IRC Nationals and then competed in three RORC races winning two of them. With the Channel Race coming up followed by the Rolex Fastnet Race at the beginning of August, she is lining up well to win the RORC’s championship for the 2009 season. And this is with her owner sailing as usual with a predominantly amateur crew, from Holland, Belgium, South Africa, New Zealand and the UK, supplemented with support from his sailmakers at North UK and from the Ker office. Following on from several Lutra-designed Tonnerres and Formidables, including his 2001 Rolex Fastnet Race winner, Vroon’s latest boat is a Ker-designed 46 footer, his first from the Valencia-based Brit and his team. While length-wise this makes her directly comparable with John Shepherd’s 46 footer Fair Do’s VII, Jason Ker says the new Tonnerre is more of a 2009 incarnation of his 55 footer, Aera, which owner Nick Lykiardopulo took to a Rolex Sydney Hobart race win in 2004. “ Fair Do’s is a cruiser racer, designed with a full interior, whereas this is a comfortable gentleman’s offshore racer,” says Ker. “This is more focussed to offshore than Aera, but on Aera we had watertight bulkheads as well, an enclosed head, a galley, etc.” According to Ker, the significant design difference compared to Fair Do’s is that the new Tonnerre is designed primarily for racing offshore and thus has a hull shape with good reaching potential. However Vroon’s design brief was also for a boat that could perform well around