Sailing on the Solent just got faster - part 2

James Boyd Photography /
Will the Fast40+s simply end up at the top of their box?
This article follows on from part 1 What could possibly go wrong? This is all wonderful, and we are licking our lips at the prospect of high level racing of this kind taking place in fast boats on the Solent this summer, but, based on past experience, there are several ways even a seemingly successful class like this can rapidly go to the wall. So how can this be prevented?  Firstly, the FAST40+ is a box rule class. Typically in such classes boats rapidly end up gravitating to whatever prove to be the beneficial extremities of the box. While, as mentioned, there are some classes or rating systems under which it has proved necessary to slow boats down, the FAST40+ rule largely prevents this and precedent would suggest that FAST40+s will soon become as fast as their rule permits. At the RORC Easter Challenge there were already three FAST40+s sailing at maximum IRC rating: Otra Vez, Girls on Film and Invictus. However unlike most other box rules, the FAST 40+ has an IRC TCC component to it, so in theory slower, lower rated boats should be able to mix it up with the higher rated faster ones, leaving IRC to create a level playing field. Unfortunately IRC doesn’t take into account the benefit of being able to ride at the front of the fleet in clear air. And it didn’t work in the Mini Maxi class, also a box rule sailed under IRC, but, in comparison, there the length band was comparatively large (60-72ft), ie a 12ft range compared to a 4ft range for the FAST40+s (or 1.8ft for new boats). Perhaps across a much smaller range, IRC will do a better job? Additionally if there is more traffic at the front of the fleet, perhaps it might make it easier for lower