Sailing World - - Winget 2019 SW -

For the early years of the New York YC’S In­vi­ta­tional Cup, its bi­en­nial Corinthian bat­tle of the burgees, the club re­lied on pri­vately owned Club Swan 42s. Once the 42s be­gan scat­ter­ing around the world as own­ers sold them off, how­ever, the club had to seek an al­ter­na­tive. Com­mit­tee meet­ing after meet­ing even­tu­ally led flag of­fi­cers to agree to bite the bul­let and build a fleet from scratch.

Re­quests for pro­pos­als went out to a select field of de­sign­ers and builders, and the com­mit­tee ul­ti­mately chose a util­i­tar­ian Mark Mills de­sign to be built by West­erly Ma­rine in Santa Ana, Cal­i­for­nia. Stake­hold­ers were keen for an Amer­i­can builder and in­dus­try part­ner­ships to keep costs in check. North Sails would build and ser­vice the three-sail class in­ven­tory, Harken got the hard­ware, and Melges Per­for­mance Sail­boats was brought on board to sell and com­mis­sion the boat and then man­age the class and its pro­mo­tion. Be­cause the IC37 is de­signed to be raced and char­tered by all-am­a­teur crews, cost, sim­plic­ity and easy up­keep were three driv­ing man­dates. “The boat is not built to be ex­treme,” says Melges’ Andy Bur­dick. “It’s built to be fun.”

In 10 knots, the boat re­ally gets up and goes, and is ex­cit­ing to sail, he adds. “We toned down the boat for ef­fi­cient crew work and sail­han­dling across a range of con­di­tions.”

The IC37’S con­struc­tion is your rou­tine epoxy layup, noth­ing too high-tech, but cer­tainly solid and well built, Tom Rich says. A slow start and a tight sched­ule to get the boats on the wa­ter and tuned for its Septem­ber 2019 In­vi­ta­tional Cup forced the club to im­ple­ment a sec­ond pro­duc­tion line at Fi­bre Me­chan­ics in Eng­land. Each builder is on the books for 10 boats apiece, with the first 20 boats go­ing to the club. Melges’ qual­ity- con­trol team is mon­i­tor­ing weights and tol­er­ances, and Bur­dick says they’ve all been close. Ev­ery­thing is weighed — from hull to deck and ev­ery bulk­head in be­tween — and one-de­sign cer­tifi­cates are is­sued at the fac­tory.

The New York YC’S full-time fleet man­ager en­sures the boats stay true and work with boat cap­tains for hire. They’ll be in and out of the wa­ter a lot, and on the road as well, so there’s a sin­gle-point lift, and the keel in­stal­la­tion re­quires sim­ple tools and a bead of Sikaflex. Trail­ers will even­tu­ally carry boats south for a Florida win­ter cir­cuit. At 7,500 pounds, a boat cap­tain or de­liv­ery driver can sim­ply hook it to the du­ally diesel and go.

The boat is beamy (12 feet), and the cock­pit is big, clean and clut­ter-free un­til sheet tails start fly­ing. Pit up­keep will be es­sen­tial for clean ma­neu­vers be­cause foot cleats are ev­ery­where. “It’s some­thing they’ll have to stay on top of,” Allen says. “Some­one will def­i­nitely have to be on top of cleanup be­tween ma­neu­vers.”

The fore­deck’s job is rel­a­tively easy. With class rules man­dat­ing only one kite, one jib and one main, there will be no head­sail changes, but there will be a need to master a new skill of zip­per­ing a reef into the jib in the prestart when the breeze reaches the up­per end of the range. The boat’s broad-shoul­dered asym­met­ric spin­naker ex­its and en­ters from the off­set fore­deck hatch, with very lit­tle as­sis­tance from the bow team. That’s the beauty of its string take­down sys­tem when done right. The kite can be car­ried right into the mark, un­loaded and out of sight in sec­onds. It’s a great tac­ti­cal weapon. Be­neath the hatch is a big roller bar and pur­chase to pull the kite swiftly into the bow­els of the boat. No need to send any­one be­low to run the tapes; all bod­ies stay on the rail.

An ex­pe­ri­enced and strong pit per­son will be an as­set to any team, Ste­wart says, be­cause there’s plenty go­ing on in the mid­dle of the boat and loads are con­sid­er­able. Crosssheet­ing isn’t al­lowed un­der class rules, so the jib will al­ways be trimmed at the lee­ward winch. Crew com­po­si­tion is a big con­sid­er­a­tion here, the judges note, be­cause the boat is sen­si­tive to weight place­ment, and it will cer­tainly be faster with the trim­mer in­cluded in the weather-rail stack. “You could sail with six or seven crew, but weight on the rail is good, so prob­a­bly eight is ideal,” Bur­dick says.

At the back of the bus, the speed loop would in­clude the main trim­mer, helms­man and, ideally, a light­weight work­ing the back­stays. “Crew weight move­ment fore and aft and in and out is a big deal,” Chuck Allen says. “It’s a big boat, but you have to sail it like a lit­tle boat.”

And that’s how it will most likely be han­dled when even­tu­ally used for in­ter­club team rac­ing and match rac­ing at the Canada’s Cup in 2020, the premier bi­en­nial match-race event of the Great Lakes.

Cost was a ma­jor con­sid­er­a­tion as well, es­pe­cially given the fi­nan­cial un­der­tak­ing of the club. The quoted price for the boat, with sails and ba­sic Gps-based elec­tron­ics, tops out at $340,000.

“It’s a fun boat, es­pe­cially in breeze be­cause it’s re­ally stable. Once the teams get some time in the boats, the rac­ing will be re­ally close,” Allen says. “It’s pretty cool be­cause there’s not a lot of big­boat one-de­sign sail­ing in this coun­try. There isn’t any­thing out there like this right now.”

Built and de­signed as a Corinthian- friendly one- de­sign racer, don’t ex­pect it to rule any hand­i­cap fleets. “This is stripped-down, big-boat one-de­sign rac­ing for any­one,” Bur­dick says. That’s what the draw to the class will be: a boat that’s about the sail­ing, not what you do to the boat when you’re not sail­ing.

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