GP42s to go bowsprit
The International GP42 Association announces today several innovations to the class rules that for the 2011 season and beyond will reduce operating costs while not compromising on their high-performance nature. These include some structural changes to the boat as well as new limits on crew, sails, and outside assistance.
“We have been exploring ways to make cost-effective evolutionary changes to the GP42s without compromising on performance,” says Javier Goizueta, President of the GP42 Class and owner of current Audi MedCup GP42 Series leader Madrid-Caser Seguros. “These boats are fantastic to sail, and the competition has been intense, but we want to attract new teams to join us yet not make the existing fleet uncompetitive. We think these changes strike the right balance.”
The changes for 2011 include the following:
- Allowance of a removable bowsprit of a maximum length from 1.5 to 1.7 metres. The final length will be determined from a study of existing designs and optimization to sail design and rating rule parameters;
- The change to bowsprits anticipates use of larger gennakers and a reduction of crew needed for downwind crew work. Therefore a lower crew weight limit will be imposed from 800 kg to 720 kg plus the addition of one mandatory on board guest. This reduces the number of crew onboard by one. The guest will be restricted to the stern section of the boat and not allowed to hike with legs outboard;
- Sails will be limited to seven per year, down from the existing nine. These will be 1 mainsail, 3 jibs, 2 gennakers, and 1 staysail, plus one free sail of any type.
- No outside assistance will be allowed before racing, except to transfer guests.
In addition to these approved changes, square-top mainsails may also be adapted, depending on the participation of teams who have already made this change to their boats and are currently racing outside the Audi MedCup. A change in bulb weight to compensate for the change in crew weight has been deemed unnecessary, given the addition of the onboard guest.
“These and other ideas have been in discussion for over a year now,” says GP42 Class Manager Paolo Massarini, “and we have received a lot of constructive input from designers and builders for the right solutions. So we feel these are evolutionary changes in line with the current design trends, and should help both attract new interest and enhance the current value of the boats and the class.”
Ximo Lopez from Longitud Cero in Spain and Vittorio Urbinati from Marine Composite in Italy, both experienced builders of GP42s, have already assembled very attractive proposals for the construction of new boats based on these changes. Lopez has built the two newest GP42s, last year’s Botin & Carkeek-designed GP42 Series Champion Islas Canarias Puerto Calero, and this year’s series leader, Madrid-Caser Seguros. Urbinati built and owns the Reichel/Pugh-designed Sea Wonder 007, a perennial winner of numerous regattas in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Assuming interest, these and other boatyards are even considering building new boats off the same mould…Lopez, for example, says he can build up to five more boats off tooling made from his last two hulls.
“These boats and the racing we enjoy is absolutely fantastic,” said Roberto Monti, owner/driver of AIRISESSENTIAL. “We want to use these changes and other incentives to attract more owners to our group, as we feel there are many others out there who can appreciate the value of close racing amongst truly high tech, high performance yachts.”
Once finalised, these changes are intended to remain unchanged until 2014, giving a measure of stability to the class and preserving the value of the existing designs.