50s to maxisThe Royal Ocean Racing Club has announced the details of the 'IRC' big boat to join the IMS 600 Class already announced for the Admiral's Cup 2003.
RORC's Admiral's Cup Steering Group have come up with a class that is rated by IRC but comes with the following limitations:
Current IRC(Endorsed) required
TCC between 1.280 and 1.600
DLR less than 120
LOA greater than 15.15 M (49' 8")
Hull factor greater than 9.9
Commodore of the RORC, Peter Rutter stated: "The criteria would provide an exciting class for modern boats ranging down from the latest maxis through boats such as the Volvo 60 to the newest IRC big boats of around 50ft. The aim of the class is to be as inclusive as possible".
RORC claim that the IRC TCC is aimed at encouraging race orientated 50 footers to take part while at the upper end, 1.600 fits with the modern breed of maxis while still retaining some control over the spread of speeds within the fleet. This rating limit of 1.600 has also been used successfully for the Sydney to Hobart Race.
"The idea is to be as inclusive as possible and to try and make it as exciting an event as possible which will really attract people," RORC General Manager Peter Wykeham-Martin told madfor sailing. So at one end of the spectrum Farr 52s such as Bear of Britain would fit in, while at the other maxis such as Nicorette, Morning Glory and Wild Thing could also be included. Conversely Gianni Agnelli's Stealth, the Fastnet elasped monohull winner, would be too large.
It is unclear at present whether the turbo-sleds from the East Coast of the US would be interested as they are optimised for downwind racing nor whether the latest generation of maxZ86 maxi yachts, such as the new Zephyrus V would fit within the parameters laid down by RORC. Wykeham-Martin also believes that it could attract the Volvo Ocean 60s - they would certainly be suitable for the round Ireland component of the Admiral's Cup but whether racing a boat with water ballast around the buoys is realistic remains to be seen.
RORC are aware that a TCC of 1.280-1.600 is a wide rating band and that results are likely to be more conditions dependent - the bigger boats for example should be better round Ireland while the nimbler Farr 52s should favour round the cans courses. However the additional constraints such as the displacement length ratio (DLR) and 'hull factor' RORC believe should even this out they say.
"We number crunched through all the factors to get the boats we wanted," said Wykeham-Martin. "The underlying criteria was to get a modern racing boat. We've got to realise that this is about the Admiral's Cup so we've got to keep it at the top end". This viewpoint seems to be slightly at odds with the choice of the IMS600 as the second boat.
To shed a little more light on what the 'constraints' for the big boat class are: DLR is a measure of how heavy a boat is. The lower a boat's DLR, the faster and more 'racy' she will be. Modern racers are generally in the range c50 to c120, with smaller boats tending to be slightly higher than larger boats of similar general type. RORC say they have created a maximum DLR limit to help constrain the boats into a specific type and so improve the quality of the racing - essentially it means that RORC are encouraging modern race boats to take part rather than cruising yachts.
Hull Factor is a factor within IRC assessed by the Rating Offices to address features within a yacht which it is not possible to address directly by measurement. It acts as a modifier on a yacht's rating with higher values having a greater effect. Values range from c4 for such as an early 20th century Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter through c12 for a modern fully race oriented design. The assessment of Hull Factor by the Rating Offices is objective and may not be varied directly at the request of a boat.
So like the DLR a minimum hull factor has been set the minimum level it has because modern race boats will have a Hull Factor of 10 and above.
Following expressions of interest from a large number of Clubs, the RORC has decided that there will be no restriction on the number of entries from each country, although only one team entry per challenging Club (the Club must be affiliated to a National Authority) may be submitted. It is likely that there will be an overall cap on the event of 25 teams. It was further announced that 25% of the crew (including owner/charterer/skipper) must be members of the challenging Club prior to 1 January 2003. This 25% would be capped at 5. The crew weight restriction to be applied would be published in the Notice of Race in November 2002.
Peter Rutter commented that he was most encouraged by the expressions of interest in the new format Admiral's Cup from abroad: "There have been strong expressions of interest from USA, Australia, Italy, Greece, France, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Hong Kong and the host country Ireland. Within the UK, five Clubs - the Royal Yacht Squadron, West Mersea Yacht Club, Royal Southern Yacht Club, Royal Thames Yacht Club and the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club - have already registered an interest in entering, and up to four Clubs from Ireland have expressed interest in raising teams".
The Admiral's Cup will be held in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland from 12 to 26 July 2003.