Race sailing trends, up-to-date: International Yacht Forum sets standards

The second International Yacht Forum Hamburg took place on February 12th, 2011 in the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and may be considered as a great success: 274 participants attended the lectures of 21 speakers. The German Offshore Owners Association had called, and they all came: Particpants traveled all the way from Barcelona, Paris, St. Petersburg and even from Australia. Labeled „Sailing faster“,, the Forum assembled top designers of the international yachting scene in the Albert Schäfer Hall, who spoke about newest trends and develpoments to yacht owners from all over Europe. Volker Andreae, chairman of the hosting German Offshore Owners Association welcomed seven globally known yacht designers: Doug Schickler (USA), John Corby (GBR), Jason Ker (GBR), Malcolm Runnalls (AUS), Mark Mills (IRL), Simon Rogers (GBR) and Torsten Conradi (GER).

One Word, one Rule!

Bruno Finzi (IT), chairman of the ORC (Offshore Racing Congress) affirmed in his speech the intention to unite the organizations behind the formulas ORC and IRC to one single association. After DSV measurer Kay-Enno Brink had explained the technical basis of the ORC formula, IRC master measurer James Dadd presented the background of the IRC formula. Kasper Wedersoe from Danmark introduced the advantages of the Dansk Handicap: Thanks to simple systems and cheap fares, there are quite a few regattas in Danmark which are raced by more boats than there are ORC measuring certificates in whole Germany.

Via video broadcast, Christian Schaumloeffel from the US (it was 6 a.m. in Virginia) introduced the American way: more than 10.000 yachts are sailing the formula PHRF on the american continent. Pelle Lindell reported via skype from Sweden, that there could be found race fields with up to 1000 boats due to the simple SRS formula.

Tension rose when it came to the questioning of the time takers. Friedrich Hausmann, vice chairman of the German Offshore Owners Association wanted to know what yacht owners and sailors really require from a formula. „Would you like a unified measuring formula for races all over the world?“ Nearly 100 percent of the participants spontaneously answered with „yes“. The question whether there should be a new measuring formula did not receive much acceptance: only one-fourth of the participants agreed. The question whether the formula should contain empiric data as well lead to a stand-off situation: about half of the participants lifted their hands. Should the measuring formula contain aspects to protect existing fleeds? This question led to an inconsistent picture, but the majority (about two thirds of the participants) agreed. Cheerfulness and unanimous one hundred percent agreement for the the last question: Should a measuring certificate cost lest than 50 Euros? Opinion: “Yes!”

With the Baltic Circuit sailors can compete in the Baltic area, independent of any measurement rules. "Balitc IRC is redefined as Baltic Circuit - and everybody can participate." Friedrich Hausmann illustrated the success of this idea in the motorsport.

At noontime anchorman Mike Castania (AUS) announced a challenge of a very special kind for the participants: “You will now eat just the same as the participants of the Barcelona World Race find on their menu”. The following was a new experience to most yacht owners: On the buffet were found different sorts of freeze-dried meals, to be heated with boiling water and eaten directly from the bags. After the surprise was devoured, the participants were surprised in a positive way: “Amazing how such a thing can taste so good”, wondered club sailor Morton Grove from Odense/Danmark, who had come together with his wife Lene. “Unusual”, was the judgement of the sponsor and supporter hanseboot, “but why not – it's a good idea!”. Other faces expressed though, that so much offshore might be too much - at least for lunchtime.

Sail faster

Most of the participants emerged from lunch break stronger than before: Torsten Conradi (Judel/Vrolijk) reported from his designer practice: small rudders are faster – but a broach will take its course sooner or faster as well. Roughly concluded: Those who train less should assemble more security reserves and choose a larger rudder. Beside, a part of the theoretical velocity advantage will be accounted for in the measuring, but not the time delay due to non intended course deviation under spinaker.

The canadian north sails specialist Philippe Oulhen, now living in France, came to a differentiated image in relation to the question: genaker or spinaker, which is faster? A genaker is the faster sail in most situations and on most coasts. But a spinaker offers more tactical options and overrules the genaker usually when it comes to medium winds. So choosing of a sail really depends upon the boat, the place and the course.

Arne Guelzow of Carbo-Link and Tim Hall of Hall Spars clearly depicted carbon rigging and carbon masts. Standing rigging made of carbon and masts made of the black gold are durable and safe today, when manufactured well. It is possible to save up to 60 percent on weight in the rigg – but on considerable costs. And the higher righting moment of the boat will be accounted for by IRC and ORC in terms of racing value. In any case a yacht is sailing faster with carbon over deck and it is much more fun, but whether or not the higher racing value will be achieved again depends on the crew. The following discussion lead to an interesting result: an aluminium mast with carbon rigging may be a reasonable option for less financially strong optimizers, because here the costs for saving weight are less than with the mast.

Holger Vogt of Musto afterwards demonstrated the enormous gain in performance through the right clothes, proven by medical data. This is by the way one of the reasons for the dropping out during the Pantaenius Rund Skagen Race, as Martin Baum described in his speech on high drop out quotes during the 2010 race.

The event was framed by an exhibition covering all aspects of yachting and sailing sports: Clothing, technical appliances, keels, accessories, weather conditions, safety - the visitors used the breaks to talk to the market leading specialists. The exhibitors were satisfied with the reactions of the visitors as well as with the organization of the whole event. A quote of Joachim Baumann of m.s.r. direkt GmbH: „In a nutshell: excellent!“

Work was followed by pleasure in the course of the evening: After the prizegiving ceremony of the hanseboot Baltic IRC series the hall of commerce turned into a ballroom. Five winners from four countries were honored: First place winner was king Harald of Norway with the TP52 “FRAM XVI”, followed by Eric Berth with the “Tarok 7” and the “Magnum” of Sami Ranta from Finland, the 4th overall scorer Camilla is from Norway too, a canting keel Cookson 50. On the 5th place the flying Ujiuiui, a 20 year old ultra light boat from Friedrich Hausmann, Germany. Congratulations to all winners!

Live music by the group max&friends was accompanied by video clips of spectacular racing scenes shown on large screens, and the organizers danced all night long with their guests. And having debated and discussed the whole day long, now they all agreed: Next year, same place.

Images for free editorial use:

  • The panel in the morning: Mike Castania, Volker Andreae, James Dadd, Kay-Enno Brink, Simon Rogers, Rob Weiland, Torsten Conradi, Jason Ker, Dobbs Davis, Mark Mills, John Corby, Malcolm Runnalls (left to right)
  • the designers during the morning: Simon Rogers, Rob Weiland, Torsten Conradi, Jason Ker, Dobbs Davis, Mark Mills, John Corby, Malcolm Runnalls (von Links nach rechts)
  • Videoconference with Christian Schaumlöffel, USA
  • boot Offshore Party
  • boot Offshore Party Live Band
  • The Pressrelease as PDF
  • The pressrelease as Word Document


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