IMOCA one design, but not really

STYacht.com

Super Anarchist
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http://www.sailracingmagazine.com/imoca-class-adopt-one-design-masts-and-keels-by-just-five-votes-at-meeting-in-paris/

The IMOCA class have voted narrowly in favour of a change from a fully open design rule to a limited one-design strategy which standardises mast and keel designs on all new boats.

The changes were announced after a night and day of debating and voting by class officials, skippers and boat owners in Paris.

Reports from the meeting suggest that a move to a full one design strategy was dismissed by a large majority but the choice between remaining as an open class and going one-design for mast and keels resulted in a much closer vote – with 54 votes for and 49 votes against.

So out go wing masts, along with keels made from exotic materials like titanium.

The changes are intended to make the boats more reliable, reduce costs for competitors, make racing safer – all off which could have the knock on effect of making IMOCA events and individual campaigns more appealing to commercial sponsors....
Discuss...

 

mexican

Super Anarchist
Achieves the desired outcomes of cost containment (to a degree) and increased reliability (if all goes to plan) whilst leaving room for individual design choices. Seems like a good compromise so likely to fail on all fronts ... :)

Mex

 

Potter

Super Anarchist
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Essentially this will lead to the designs becoming pretty close to one design. As Clean says, this has been the predicted outcome for a while, but I am surprised that they got it through.

The designers are now unable to make big changes on keel angle (for and aft), no changes to keel weight, no changes to mast height.

I guess there are a lot of details to still work out. For instance, will the mainsail have locks for reefs, if so then that also fixes reefs size, and so that is no longer a sailors choice.

I guess this will have some affect on budgets, but hopefully a greater effect on reliability; though I am not sure how much it would have helped this last VG.

 

Francis Vaughan

Super Anarchist
Well three boats lost keels, so that alone would be a big change - and given two of them were top level contenders it could have totally changed the race. Sam's dismasting is hard to judge, whether it could have been avoided with a new (we assume sturdier) mast design is something we will probably never know. But Vincent Riou's retirement after nearly severing a deck spreader stay on an errant mooring buoy would have been avoided. So likely four more finishers, and quite possibly a very different leaderboard.

From the little seen it seems they have gone for a milled steel keel fin. I do wonder whether the rule is just for the fin, or does include the bulb. The bulb doesn't seem to be so much of a safety problem, and removing flexibility in its design seems overly restrictive. I'm assuming the loss of wing masts really refers to rotating masts and by implication to deck spreaders. I never liked deck spreaders. Whilst the IMOCA developments have been mostly interesting, deck spreaders is one that is a dead end. There is no useful way they can trickle down to other classes and boat designs. How much of the rig is nailed down will be a very interesting question. It could be as simple as a one design mast tube with only the basic rigging points defined. I would worry if it defined every last fitting, as that would seem to have knock effects in the boat design. But I also suspect a few people were getting tired of the eternal rule evading to get every last bit of weight and windage out of the rigs. Anyway, I guess we will know soon enough.

 

STYacht.com

Super Anarchist
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I just chatted with somebody present and involved in this debate. I am going to wait for published details, but the reporting I quoted above hardly accurately represents the changes to the rule as he understood it and stated to me. FV, I do understand that only solid, no hollows, milled steel fins will be legal. So that would seem to simplify things. But, and this is the kicker, changes will come out to the stability parts rule, as it relates to keel cant, so that is a major IMHO.

Check back when we have a proper rule text.

 

Speng

Super Anarchist
4,987
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Cincinnati, OH
Lots of questions:

  1. Grandfathering? Will we have a situation like the old Lombard boats where old dodgy designs are held onto forever because they're grandfathered. If they grandfather it's guaranteed that wingmasted Frenchies are going to hold onto theirs forever (yes see below)
  2. How're they going to cover a class that goes from lightweight flyers like PRB, the VPLPs etc to heavy powerboats like the Juan Ks to superannuated pen-penultimates some of which have fixed keels? (grandfathering)
  3. Specific to the masts how to deal with boats that are deck vs keel stepped? (grandfathering)
  4. Who's going to design them? Or better yet who's going to engineer them (and are they going to do something more intelligent than they do currently)? Who's going to build them?
  5. Can the keels be fiddled (faired etc)?
  6. What happens when they prang these new ones? it's going to happen? (recriminations and angst)

Obviously there's going to be a sweet spot that's either going to fit an existing or future design well. In any case Juan K is not going to be happy (foiled by the OD again)!

Anyhow I predict the normal 50% failure rate in the Vendee...

Here are some answers

The technical committee of the class has been working for two years reviewing the different possible architectural designs of the new boat, to comply with several constraints: to reduce the costs, to increase reliability and to allow the boats to stay competitive. The majority decision reached was an integrated solution, with a one-design mast and keel. The other elements of the boat must conform to the rules of stability, speed, length and construction materials. The boats will remain at 60 feet in length, with a bowsprit of 1.8 metres and the one-design keel must meet the specifications that were previously agreed, with particular note to the rule applying to a single piece of forged steel (Inox) [inox steel forgers do gangnam style, everybody else cry in your beer] for the keel blade

This new rule comes into immediate effect for all new boats [this is where Juan K gets the shaft] while the current boats can continue to sail under the 2012 rules, or can decide to comply to the new regulations.

International ProgrammeThe team at OSM (Open Sports Management), responsible for the development and commercialisation of the international class, presented the Race Programme for 2013/2014 announcing plans to take the boats to the United States and Asia. To this end, the IMOCA World Championship will change its format, organised around two Series. One Series will be solo, the culmination of which will be the Vendée Globe and another will be two-handed, finishing with the Barcelona World Race.

So the programme is status quo: the STAR is dead, no Quebec-St Malo, The RdR is still clashing with the BWR, still fack all racing in the summer and they'll still manage to sneak in a cheeky return race from wherever the TJV finishes.

 

STYacht.com

Super Anarchist
1,691
1
Amsterdam
More about the stability rule changes from daily sail...

'

Following the significant IMOCA AGM in Paris last week, more information is emerging about the latest iteration of the rule for the shorthanded globetrotting 60 foot monohulls. The decisions made at the AGM were the culmination of two years of hard work by the class with the aims of reducing costs, improving reliability and simplifying the boats. The latest rules are certainly the greatest fundamental change to the class since Open 60s came into existence in the 1980s when for the second BOC Challenge, the organisers started rule-making, going from a rule that was simply limited length (56ft for the first BOC Challenge in 1982) to requiring the fitting of watertight bulkheads and movable ballast through the introduction a 10° rule whereby, simply, a boat must heel by no more than 10° with all her movable ballast (then water ballast) deployed. Another bout of rule making occurred in the late 1990s after the spate of Open 60s inverting and, thanks to their wide flush (and occasionally concave) decks, remaining inverted. This was particularly prevalent during the 1996-7 Vendee Globe when Jerry Roufs, the Canadian skipper of Groupe LG 2 lost his life in the Pacific. This led to the introduction of limitations on the Angle of Varnishing Stability (AVS - the angle at which a boat wants to capsize more than it wants to right) and on the size of the cabintop (to encourage righting) and on a mandatory inversion test from a full capsize without a rig, introduced prior to the 2000 Vendee Globe. The latest iteration of the IMOCA rule has finally eliminated two cornerstone rules that have defined Open 60s for years - the 10° rule has finally gone as has the 127.5° AVS limit. It is going to be very interesting, says Hugo Boss skipper Alex Thomson who sits on...

'

 

Speng

Super Anarchist
4,987
13
Cincinnati, OH
So... what's left?

Now they're left with the self-righting test (which has never been used in anger), AVS worst case, stability curve area ratio, and RM limit. I've always thought the 10 degree rule was a bit dodgy but I have not idea about the 127 degree rule. Did they just think them to be unnecessary or what? Is it going to make the boats faster or slower or no effect?

 
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