Inviting optimised IRC52 footers to the 52 Super Series proves to be right
Across the range of wind conditions which were encountered the IRC 52 footers were always in the racing mix.
The second event of the 52 SuperSeries in Costa Smeralda, Sardinia last month highlighted the success of the series’ initiative of racing invited IRC optimised 52 footers on equal terms in real time with TP52’s.
The French boat Paprec Recylage finished their first regatta on the 52 SuperSeries with a good third place and a second, whilst Peter Cunningham’s PowerPlay also made a strong debut. More of the IRC oriented 52 footers are due to compete next week at the third 52 SuperSeries regatta, Palma’s Royal Cup and class manager Rob Weiland is confident more owners will choose to join the action in the future.
We took a lot of positives from the regatta especially finishing second in the last race, but we were over the moon to find the boat is quite competitive.
Paprec Recyclage’s tactician Sebastian Destremau
When we came here we really had no idea because we knew from last year at Copa del Rey that it was slow but we made a lot of changes – we changed the keel – but then to come and find ourselves competitive with a team which is mostly amateur, we can sometimes be up there, alongside the ‘big boys’ really was very encouraging.
We felt our best was under spinnaker we did not lose anything against anyone I don’t think, upwind and close to good teams we struggled speed wise, but it is really positive for us. We are looking to change our programme we hope and join more events because the team had a lot of fun. If we sail well we can be in the middle of the fleet.
The philosophy of this team has been to improve together, having the right atmosphere for the owner. This will never be about just winning but having good fun and getting better, racing at a high level, together. If we can do it with what we have in terms of a boat, skills and resources then anyone else can come in and do the same. We don’t have a shore team, if the boat is broken we do it ourselves. We made mistakes and learned a lot, but buying a good boat which is not expensive. I think we probably spend 10% of what some of the top teams spend, but here we are.
Rob Weiland, class manager, explains how the fleet of 52 footers is composed:
The 52 concept, so mixing TP52s and IRC52s on basis of a maximum tcc of 1.390 (so level rating, but at two levels as a TP52 within its box on average rates 1.385) worked well at the Audi Sardinia Cup, providing good and close racing. As the conditions were often one-sided in Sardinia we will have to wait till the Royal Cup to see how it works at breezes expected to be well over 10 knots. But I have little doubt that also in 12 – 20 knots we will see minimal difference in performance between IRC52s that are optimized towards the 1.390 number (like by having a deeper draft keel and carbon rigging) and the TP52s.
The idea, to set the rating limit higher than for a TP52 serves to promote the older boats with very similar performance, racing boat for boat. In close windward-leeward racing this will function better than giving slower boats an age allowance, so rating credit, and scoring on corrected time.
Being slower means the older boats have no real means to defend themselves in close racing and are right from the start forced to tack away in the less favourable direction. A boatspeed potential based rating does not credit for this. In a way the TP 52s are more boxed in than the IRC52s and the IRC52s can use this freedom to optimize further than a TP is permitted.
Share this article: