32 INDEPENDENT BEAR
IRC is now a global rating, but in the 1990s it was known as CHS (Channel Handicap System) to reflect its Anglo-french focus. Isle of Wight designer John Corby built a 41ft one-off, Independent Bear, which was so successful under the rule that she demolished all opposition in her first season. Built of glassfibre and Kevlar with a lightweight foam core and carbon deck, she had a narrow beam but gained her stability with a very large keel bulb. Independent Bear’s rating was raised a whopping 28 points the following year, but she still proved tough to beat. The CHS rule was adjusted, and saw a trend for wider IRC designs develop over subsequent years.