Skip to main content

The Dynamic Duo

Eavesdropping on an in-depth discussion of rating rules will send a casual bystander into a deep sleep as effectively as any hypnotist, and IRC—the successor to IOR and IMS—is no exception to this, er, rule. All I can say with any kind of authority is that boats designed to IRC tend to be a good deal more interesting than the rule itself. Over the last few years we’ve seen a steady stream of IRC

Eavesdropping on an in-depth discussion of rating rules will send a casual bystander into a deep sleep as effectively as any hypnotist, and IRC—the successor to IOR and IMS—is no exception to this, er, rule. All I can say with any kind of authority is that boats designed to IRC tend to be a good deal more interesting than the rule itself. Over the last few years we’ve seen a steady stream of IRC racer-cruisers that look fast, are easily handled and seaworthy, and therefore should have longer lives than most purpose-built racing boats of the past.

Two versatile new designs from Sydney Yachts exemplify the direction established by IRC. The GTS 37 and GTS 43 are from the offices of Ker Design, whose eponymous principal Jason Ker is responsible for a string of highly successful racing boats, including the South African IACC boat Shoshaloza, the surprise package of the America’s Cup in 2007.

The traditional formula for small IRC boats, says Ker, is to “maximize displacement to increase stability, narrow waterline to minimize wetted area, and put on just enough sail area to survive in lighter winds against the main competition.” Together with some other “go-slow” features, such a philosophy reduces the boat’s rating relative to its length, so great speed is not necessary for it to sail to its rating.

Ker says he used Computational Fluid Dynamics (computer-modelling technology for the study of things that flow) to reduce the drag of the hull forms and foils, searching not so much for a good power-to-weight ratio as a good power-to-drag ratio, while keeping in mind good performance and handling characteristics. The result was a pair of hull shapes that Ker says are “significantly” more efficient than existing Sydney designs, and that should be able to beat bigger IRC boats on the water as well as on handicap, thus leading to greater owner satisfaction.

Ker says he used Computational Fluid Dynamics (computer-modelling technology for the study of things that flow) to reduce the drag of the hull forms and foils, searching not so much for a good power-to-weight ratio as a good power-to-drag ratio, while keeping in mind good performance and handling characteristics. The result was a pair of hull shapes that Ker says are “significantly” more efficient than existing Sydney designs, and that should be able to beat bigger IRC boats on the water as well as on handicap, thus leading to greater owner satisfaction.

Both boats are intended to serve as comfortable cruising platforms when not on the racecourse. Generous beam makes for commodious accommodations, and the three-cabin interiors have all the amenities expected of the modern cruiser.

The big-main-small-jib configuration should make the boats easy enough for a family crew to sail, though the relatively deep draft (7ft 6in for the 37, a whisker under 9ft for the 43) would sure keep me on my toes when entering strange anchorages. Nevertheless, these attractive racer-cruisers are fine examples of the way performance boat design is trending.

Most of us associate Danish builder X-Yachts with boats tailored for performance first and comfort second, but in the last couple of years the converse has also been true. The yard’s Xc—“c” for cruiser—range has been growing, and the latest to be launched is the Xc-38. An all-round cruiser with bluewater capability, this 38-footer has a voluminous hull to carry the tankage and equipment necessary for cruising, yet gives little away in terms of performance to its sleeker sisters. With its rod rigging, laminated sails and high-tech running rigging—and space for a washing machine belowdecks—this is no ordinary cruising boat.

Related

fa70b13c-8eec-4c35-b30f-f89e497b469a

Crowdsourcing Age-of-Sail Weather Data

Although big, multi-million-dollar projects like the Large Hadron Collider and the human genome project with their legions of PHD’s tend to grab headlines, there’s still a part of play for the “citizen scientists” of the world. Amateur birders have long contributed to an ...read more

01-LEAD-Ultime-race-Yvan-Zedda,-OC-Sport-Pen-Duick

Ultims to Race Solo Around the World

For years now, maxi-trimarans, both solo-sailed and fully crewed, have been racing the clock on their own around the world in an effort to set ever faster records for the world’s fastest circumnavigation under sail. Back in 2000-01 there was also a no-holds-barred ...read more

P1-01-LEAD-018_CARYNBDAVIS_AMISTAD

Juneteenth on the Water

Discovering Amistad and Mystic Seaport Museum have partnered to organize their third annual Juneteenth festival, featuring concerts, speakers and a reflection on the lasting legacy of racial injustice in America. Declared a National Holiday in 2021, Juneteenth celebrates the end ...read more

Lead-2021-01-17-vue-03-34-av-tb-01

New Multihulls for 2022

Lagoon 51 In keeping with many of the more recently launched models created by French multihull builder Lagoon, the Lagoon 51 is all about comfort, “en plein air,” in particular, as the French might say. Topside, a whopping 80 percent of the boat’s flybridge is given over to ...read more

bermuda

How to Spectate on the Newport Bermuda

The biannual Newport Bermuda Race starts on Friday with the first warning signal at 1 pm. Whether you’re tracking a loved one’s progress or just spectating an event that draws pros and weekend warriors alike, there are plenty of ways to stay up to watch. The starting line will ...read more

03-Hyeres-220429_SOF2022_SAILINGENERGY_1933_3184-copy

US Sailing Strikes Gold in Hyères

After being skunked or nearly skunked at multiple Olympiads, could the US Sailing Team (USST) now under the direction of Olympic veteran Paul Cayard, be finally turning it around? If its performance at the 53rd French Olympic Week regatta in Hyères, France, where the team posted ...read more

P1480042

New York City’s Newest Fleet

120 children enrolled in Brooklyn Boatworks’ STEM and life skills-focused program launched their hand-built optimist prams on June 14 from Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The launch is the culmination of years of student work, with boats in process before the pandemic caused the ...read more

AdobeStock_197518370

Charter: Off the Beaten Path

So, you like to charter in the Caribbean with its warm waters, swaying palm trees, steady trade winds and strong rum drinks. What’s not to love? It can be easy, though, to get stuck in a rut when chartering year after year in the same place. Sure, the British Virgin Islands are ...read more