I am looking for opinions on deck layout. The racing program will consist of w/l racing in the northeast US and KWRW, random leg day races (think Heineken or Rolex St Thomas) and the occasional offshore event (max 1 per year). I am partial to the look of the classic coachroof and two pit winches with centerline hatches, but offset hatches and a single pit winch seem to gaining some traction. I understand the advantages of the offset hatches for w/l and straight run of the spinnaker below decks, but I just can get over the "look". Is the compromise of a more traditional deck layout too much on a performance boat of this size...the boat will have wheel steering if that helps.
While I often dream that we will cruise the boats I have owned, 99% of the use has been racing. The pure simplicity of the newer race designs appeals to me as well.
I will also admit to enjoying the thought process behind the design, selection, preparation etc. as much as the sailing. Anyone want to offer an opinion on "to have/not have" a halyard lock for the jib. the boat will have a winter circuit between KWRW, Heineken, and St Thomas Rolex and spend the summers on the east coast. Mainly W/L, random course day races , with the occasional 200nm+ passage race (maybe once every 2 years).
Right now I am focused on the Mills/Summit 45 and hoping that we might get a design/build spec to meet my budget and have a boat in the water for the winter 2013 sailing season.
Why to buy a new boat at this time? I think that is a great question and I will take a stab at it from my perspective.
Until recently I owned the J122 Otra Vez, which was an almost perfect answer to IRC in the 40 ft, 1.09-1.12 rating band. But I want faster and bigger, but it has to do well in IRC and not cost $1M a year in running costs. The early generation high performance 40-45's like Sjambok, Chutzpah seemed to pay a big penalty on the rating and many times ended up as the slow boat in a class with the IRC52's.
I think the newer designs (like the Ker and Mill's) have had the benefit of a lot of trickle down in design and sail handling from the 52's and have the potential to compete across a class that will likely span 1.20 - 1.275 TCC. In any given rating band, IRC favors the longer boat and I think the 46's will be in with the 43's, etc more than with the 52's.
While none of this is cheap, to put a new 46' all carbon race boat built by NEB or McConaghy on the startline for 900k is much better value than available a few years ago.
The Otra Vez mantra has always been, Have Fun, Look Good, Place Well. I think these designs fit the bill almost perfectly.
The mills 45 has been around for a few months, he had a proposal to build them at vision yachts in the uk for $695k if four orders could be found. Target irc rating is 1.25-1.275 with the size of the sail plan being the main variable.