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Little America's Cup action set for September 2013

by Norman Wijker and Huw Traylor - Team Invictus on 19 Oct 2012
Team Invictus, Falmouth UK Team Invictus http://www.teaminvictus.com/
There is now just one year’s time to the return of C-Class Catamaran racing to the British shores, last seen here in 1969! The competition involves teams designing, building and racing light, fast and exciting C-Class catamarans to a minimal set of simple rules.

Preparations within Team Invictus, the host team, are getting into gear. Originally the event was scheduled for August 2013, but some of the teams entering are also taking part in the America's Cup in San Francisco next summer, so to allow these teams to compete, we have moved the date into September. Race week will be 23rd-29th of September 2013 with the week before this available for boat-tuning and familiarity.

The event will be held in the waters near to Falmouth, UK; Restronguet Sailing club (where Ben Ainslie sailed early in his sailing career) will be organising the racing, catamaran expert Brian Phipps at Windsport will be providing the teams with shore side facilities and Mylor Yacht Club will provide access to their splendid new clubhouse.

Competing, we will have the host of the 2010 event and former champion the USA’s Steve Clark bringing 'Aethon' with a new wing - we might also persuade Steve to bring a new boat! Reigning champion (2007 and 2010) Canadian Fred Eaton will also be there with Canaan, and again, we expect designer Steve Killing, currently part of Emirates Team New Zealand’s design team will unveil something new to raise the bar even higher.

In 2010, a new team entered under the French flag, including Ben Muyl and Jérémie Lagarrigue, gaining experience sailing Patient Lady VI. They are now working on separate challenges. Jérémie is now at Swiss Team Hydros. Sponsored by Lombard Odier the team is already moving ahead with a new build platform and a very serious challenge while Ben initiated the French challenger, ChallengeFrance, sponsored by ABM Manutention.

In Italy, Challenge Italia project leader Roberto Grippi is also forging ahead and is probably the most advanced in terms of design and crew training. He has gathered some top class names including Francesco Bruni and Pierluigi de Felice, both sailing with Luna Rossa’s challenge for the 34th America’s Cup. Again, they are blessed with perfect sailing conditions in Palermo. The European challengers are therefore strong and well-funded, which means that we can look forward to a great event.

Team Invictus has also had interest from Spain, Australia, and New Zealand and are even some rumours of another UK team, though these have not been confirmed; they are, like Team Invictus, still looking for a sponsor willing to back this exciting class. It is certainly clear that the class is undergoing a level of interest that hasn’t been seen since the early days of the class in the 1960s.

With one year to go, the game is getting serious now, with many questions and rule clarifications etc. to be sorted out in the meantime. To this end, the C-Class community is looking to gather in November to discuss all aspects of the event and we will keep everyone informed of the outcome of this (if you feel that you have an interest in this, please contact us: norman.wijker@teaminvictus.com).

Finally, Team Invictus intends to compete next year, as well as to host the event. In parallel with our event organising work, we are working hard to develop a boat which will allow us to improve on our third place in 2010. The search for major sponsorship continues, for both the event and the development of the new Team Invictus boat; support for the only declared UK challenger would be welcome – please contact us if you would like to help!

Major financial support is still elusive, though we have been lucky enough to gain in-kind support of those who can transform our ideas into reality; in particular we welcome the support of Advanced Composites Group in Derbyshire and Oxeon in Sweden, developers of Textreme®. These two companies will enable us to develop a new wing concept, which has been designed with the assistance of ANSYS software. Design changes will be both in the concept as well as the design details that allow the wing to work with low drag for upwind and high lift coefficients downwind. We are also grateful for the support of Atlantis Weathergear for providing team clothing, and we hope that we can get them to produce event based clothing as well.

Our progress has been boosted by a partnership with a new team from Europe; they are finalising their sponsorship arrangements and will be announced very soon. The synergetic partnership will collaborate completely off the water, but we will each compete fiercely under our national flags on the water. This provides both parties with an ability to compete in a world where economic conditions make finding financial support much harder to find. This partnership is already moving forward; the first wing will start manufacture in October. Our side of the bargain will come in the form of the wings fixtures fittings and controls with the continued help from EADS and Exeter University and their titanium additive layer manufacturing capability.

On the water, we have been without a wingsail since the backstay failure in the Solent in the Weston Cat Open in 2011. In the meantime, Tom Phipps has kept himself busy, becoming Dart 18 National Champion recently, so congratulations to him. We are looking forward to getting Tom on Invictus again and we may well take up our new partners offer to sail in Europe over the winter. Tom’s ability left us in no doubt that he is the right person for the job, as he immediately got Invictus moving as fast as she ever has with only minutes on board. When we combine this clear ability with the local knowledge gained through growing up on the shores of Carrick Roads where racing will take place, we are confident that we have a ‘good man at the helm’.

Finally, we would like to announce that Phill Brown our composites manufacturing expert, who left the team in 2010, is returning, and we also can announce four new team members, Huw Traylor and Helen Williams working on sponsorship, Martin Oughton on manufacturing design and George Seyfang our Aerodynamicist.

So it is one year to go; we will be updating you more regularly from now on, and to this end, we will be updating the Team Invictus website more frequently, as well as developing a dedicated website for the event website, So please watch this space and join in on the conversation. C Class Catamaran Championship website
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