NEWPORT, RI, August 28, 2010 -- If wing technology didn’t have everyone’s attention after BMW Oracle Racing’s victorious 33rd America’s Cup, it definitely does now. The high speeds and almost instant acceleration of cambered foils had members of America’s Cup syndicates, top designers, and all sailors in awe.
Canadian C Class Catamaran Team of Fred Eaton, Magnus Clarke, Steve Killing, Rob Paterson, and Rossi Milev have been along for the entire ride, one way or another. Clarke, Paterson, and Milev took six months off from their C Class program to manage wing protection for the largest wingmast ever built for a race-boat: BMW Oracle’s (223 foot) 68 metre-tall wing. Reunited in March, their team brought four wings to the International C Class Catamaran Championship hosted by New York Yacht Club on Narragansett Bay this past week.
“Upwind the camber is moderate, but downwind with the flap set at 40 degrees, the wing will produce almost double the force of an equal area soft sail,” explains Killing.
Eaton and Clarke raced Killing’s latest design, Canaan, to a thrilling victory today in the final day of match racing.
Thrilling for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that they sparred with two of sailing’s most accomplished sailors and proven match-race experts, James Spithill and Glenn Ashby.
"It's fun to sail with your buddies because you mostly sail on your own in the class, and because the guys in the class are universally interesting, “ says Eaton. “They are interested and passionate about sailing high performance boats and I appreciate that because I am too. We rarely get to race these boats. There can't be that many of them since we're all trying to make it a fleet of one — we're all trying to make the other guy's boat look slow. The C Class is a great exploration of yacht design."
Eaton’s interest in developing his fleet of cats was in large part inspired by American Steve Clark’s 11-year hold of the class trophy in Cogito. Eaton arranged with a French team to race Patient Lady VI, the Australians Ashby and Spithill to race his 2007 C Class trophy winner Alpha, and a second Canadian entry of Rob Paterson and Dan Cunningham to race Orion.
Over the years England’s Team Invictus has been percolating a program with the help of Airbus engineers and the UK’s finest multihull sailors. The UK sailing team of Paul Larsen and Gordon Kaiser made it round the buoys this week, which Clark unfortunately did not — both of Steve Clark’s boats and new wings were damaged right before the event commenced, and the second boat only minutes after the first start.
At the outset of racing, the older Alpha appeared better equipped to handle the heavier air and the Ashby/Spithill team took the lead. The newer Canaan was in her element in the lighter conditions at the end of the week.
The next C Class Championship is slated to be raced in Weymouth, England, date to be determined.