Here are my observations and thoughts following the IC worlds re the different designs. I was sailing one of the three Josie hulls that were there. Steve Clark finished second on his and Steve’s son Willy also had one. Steve and I had identical rigs but I was using a different foil package. Steve’s were his standard issue which he’s been using on nethercots for a while, pretty big board and the rudder is the same as the tip of the board. I used a set of 505 molds built for the Pegasus guys, and I was gibing the board. After the event I’m pretty sold that it is worth it. I was able to climb on everyone and had speed, definitely a winner.
The Josie hulls have a rectangular section forward, very full and flat. It’s very loud in the waves but you can push them harder and harder and she just skips right along. Steve is talking about rounding out the section a bit to try and quite them down a bit. We had one day with good 6-8 foot swells and when you fell off one of them the landing was definitely jarring, but I’m not sure how bad of a thing it is. Compared to the other hulls it seems to me that we operate in a much more of a planning mode. If you had the knuckle in the water she would sort of get stuck on it but you could easily pop it out and once you did she would skip along with the front six inches clear of the water. Definitely much more of a planning dinghy type of feel to it than the others.
Chris Maas’s boat, String Theory, has a very different feel to it. It felt much more like a catamaran. String theory has a very very fine entry with a more rounded section. She feels very low drag, I never felt her get stuck and she got up to speed very quickly. The boat moving through the water looks smooth and effortless. In the video it looks like we were flogging the Josies much harder. I’m not really sure how much of a penalty Chris is paying having the winglets for the shrouds. At times he looked like he was shedding quite a bit of water off them, but we never had really choppy conditions. In talking with Chris he is thinking about adding some more volume down low forward to give him a little confidence in the bow not going down. The other thing he told me he was planning on doing was lowering everything as much as possible. Keeping the center of gravity as low as possible seems to make a huge difference in how stable they are.
We spent a day trading boats after the event and it was shocking how different each of the different hulls were, and yet the racing was incredibly close. Allistar Warren’s Monkey had a completely different feel to it. She was wider than the others but she was always right there in the racing. Only sailed her for a little while so I can’t really say too much about her.
Del Olsen’s Donkey was very interesting. Del took the bottom of a NOGO 55 hull, which is Bill Beaver’s design to the old one design rule, then cut it down and stuck vertical topsides on it. He made the bow as fine as he could, which ended up around the same as the Josies. I was most struck by how docile she was. In my short sail on here she seemed to me to be the best behaved of all the DC hulls. Del was working through some issues (he started building in August or something crazy like that) but had some definite moments of speed.
John Kells’s Mayhem proved to be a very nice little boat. She is somewhat more along the Josie lines but a little less aggressive. John also had some breakages but definitely showed speed. He was right in the game upwind and I couldn’t hold on to him on the reaches. My biggest concern with the Josie hulls is that I was definitely slower than most on the reaches. Not sure how much of that is the hull and how much of that was how I was sailing the boat. I’ve never been particularly fast on the reaches but I had a very hard time holding on to people this last week. But when the reach was pretty fine and you could really light it up and get into a full planning mode I felt like I was moving on people. But definitely need more time in the boat to get a real sense of it.
Phil Stevenson’s 21st Century Hollow Log is another one that is very different from the others. I sailed her in the Aussie nationals over last Easter so have a pretty good sense of what she can do. Down wind and on the reaches she is absolutely blazingly fast. The hull is very slippery and with the big mainsail Phil was able to do quite a bit of damage off the wind. Upwind he struggled a little, but he wasn’t falling out the back. But I am extremely impressed by how successful Phil was in keeping her upright. It was all I could do to gybe her in breeze, but I’m sure Phil’s moth experience helped. Its hard to say what is doing what because she is so different than the others in so many ways. It would be interesting to see her with a standard rig on her, because I have a feeling that the hull could be very fast. But then again it could be all in the rig. Part of me thinks that it is the way of the future, every other class that has the option to put all the area in the main has done so. Yet a 10 square meter sail is a mighty big sail and my biggest struggle on her was catching the boom in the water. So I’m not sure.
I didn’t actually get a chance to sail Phil Robin’s Scarlet O’hara. She was designed by Phil Morrison and built by Andy Paterson, so she’s got a pretty damn good pedigree. Phil like many of us struggle from having too few hours in the boat and as a result had some kinks to work out. But the boat showed some jets. He was the only one to beat Chris (Steve won one when Chris broke his tiller extension), and that was on the day with the big swells. I was first to the weather mark and he just blew by me on the reaches and he was gone after that. It’s a pity that we didn’t see more of her because I think she could be a real winner. Steve did sail her and he seemed impressed.
Rob Patterson from Toronto sailed Wonk, she was Steve’ first attempt at the new rules and very much the predecessor to Josie. Rob struggled quite a bit as it was his first real IC event and he definitely didn’t do Wonk justice. Wonk provided many lessons that went into the changes in Josie but there is definitely some potential there. The most striking thing about Wonk is her reversed wave-piercing bow. She does pitch pole fairly easily if you aren’t careful and far enough back, there is great video of Rob going over that will hopefully be a hit on youtube, but I’m not convinced that it is wrong. There are some other issues with her that make her a little tough to handle but I think there is a lot of potential there.
The last one is Geoff Harman’s, she didn’t show particularly well, but we’re not sure that it’s an issue with the hull. The rig was definitely sub par and I think Geoff was struggling a bit, so really hard to make any sort of assessment on the boat.
The other DC was Dave Clark in Alice, who is anything but a new boat. She’s USA 92, and Steve’s first IC back in the 70s and she wasn’t new then. When Steve was rebuilding her he pinched the bows a little too much so she no longer measured in a nethercot, but she does under the new rule. So Steve and Dave did a beautiful job putting her back together and got her down to 70 kg. She’s got the same rig and foils as the rest of the Clark boats and was actually pretty quick in the light stuff.
A couple things about the event itself: The Aussies did a fantastic job putting it on, and the McCrae YC team are probably the best RC I’ve ever dealt with. We had a full mixture of conditions, everything from 18 kts to very light stuff. All good racing though. The racing was exceptionally competitive often with only a couple of boat lengths separating us at the finish. As far as the comparison between the new boats and the nethercots: we were definitely faster but were certainly just walking around them. In the pre-worlds we all started together and most of the time it was all new rules at the front but in a couple of the really light stuff Hayden, who ended up world champ, was right there at the front. During the worlds it was often a strug gle to make up the 5 minute lead we spotted them. Chris and Steve caught the leaders a couple of times but usually the by the end the leaders on the DCs were in the midst of the IC leaders. But great racing and I’m looking forward to the next one in Germany.
On politics: the plan for the new rules is that we vote on them becoming the International Canoe rule in April or so. That would mean that there would be no distinction between ICs and DCs they would all be ICs. The sense I got from the worlds was that there is generally strong support for this. The Australians are certainly excited. The Germans seem intrigued and it I think the Brits are on board. Kind of hard to tell. The Swedes however are the only ones who are openly against it. The class there is struggling as it is and there is no interest in building new boats, which is too bad. We had our usual class meeting at the worlds and when a straw pole was taken for the change the response was pretty much unanimous support, which is good. So I think it will all go through, but we should know soon. By enlarge the overwhelming sentiment I got from the other competitors was excitement about where the class was heading and a feeling that we are embarking on the next chapter of the story of the International Canoe.
One final note, its great news that there were 10 sailors in the fleet in their 20s or younger, and only half were related to each other! The youth movement is growing!
So all and all a great event and there is promise for a bright future for the class.