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IC Worlds set for development breakthrough

by Steve Clark / on 3 Dec 2007
Development Canoe - Tin Tear Drop International Canoe
The next International Canoe World Championships will be held at the McCrae YC in Australia. The event will take place straight after the Christmas festivities. Starting on the 27 December with the Australian Nationals, the Worlds get underway on the 1 January and there will be nine races finishing on the 6 January, then the New York Canoe Club Challenge Cup on the 7th.

At the Worlds there will be a significant number of development canoes as well as the standard International Canoes and the Asymmetric version. At the latest count twelve development canoes have entered the event, out of 38 overall entries – 22 IC and four AC.

Something of a turn-around for the class when you consider that there were 26 AC at the last worlds in 2005 held in the UK. The AC is most popular in the UK, with the standard IC still most popular elsewhere. The USA has been the driving force in the DC cause with some notable work also now being done in the UK. Of the eleven expected USA entries seven are DC versions.

Steve Clark of the USA has been a major mover in the DC, here he comments on the scene:

'I don’t know how many people know it, but the IC was a development class much like the I-14 for much of its existence. That is to say from 1934 to 1971. In ’71 the hull shape was made 'one design' in an attempt to lure professional builders into the class and reduce the costs by making manufacturing of canoes possible.

This strategy had pretty mixed results, canoes could be bought from a number of small boutique builders, but the cost reductions of mass production never materialized and ICs continued to be very individual and idiosyncratic boats.

Further the stagnation of hull design kept the IC mired in a performance range that, while still superior, was capable of being challenged by a generation of newer designs.

One response was to add spinnakers to the existing designs, which make the boat look pretty spectacular and directly address the largest performance deficit.

But this also has the effect of making an expensive and complicated boat that is hard to sail more expensive, more complicated, and even harder to sail. As such much of the world outside of Great Britain has had trouble buying into the concept.

Further, after I had spent about a year sailing with a spinnaker, I concluded that the Canoe hull shape really wasn’t very well suited to asymmetrical sailing.

The boat could not really heat up like a catamaran; neither could it skip from wave to wave like a skiff. In fact what it felt moist like was a sport boat, which was not really consistent with the canoe sailing.

So some of us looked at what else we could do. In America, we were never particularly happy with the decision to make the class a one design. And a number of our members continued to design and build boats to the original box rule. Further it seemed that the boat could be built much lighter than the current rules allowed.

So what emerged was the notion of reverting minimum and maximum dimensions in the pre 1971 rules with a significant reduction in sailing weight. The existing class minimum sailing weight of 83 kg was based on the best boat building practices of the 1930s and 40s. The best practices of the 21st century indicated that the weight could reasonably be reduced to 50 kg.

What this means, ultimately is that the current DC hull weighs about 20 kg, or about the same as a sea kayak.

Other refinements were incorporated as well, we took a hard look at the midsection rules that were essentially the same as those in the I-14 and at the various abuses and dodges that have been used to cheat the intent and tried to craft language that was bullet-proof. Further we removed the requirement for jibs allowing una-rigs.

On the water, the new boats are lively and quick and very enjoyable to sail. They retain the sparkling upwind speed that has been the hallmark of ICs.

Downwind, sailing fairly aggressive angles often results in better VMG, so the runs become far more strategic and tactical.

Instead of sailing runs as if one were racing a Laser, one now sails more like a 505 or 470 where one looks for opportunities to get into 'wave passing mode.'

There have been several pretty interesting approaches to the re-opened design space. Moth sailors and designers Andy Patterson and Phil Stevenson have drawn on their Moth experience to build what musty be considered very Moth-like 'Tin Tear Drop' and '21st Century Hollow Log,'

Canoe sailors have been, perhaps, a bit more conservative in the sail plan, thinking that new hulls under their existing power plants would be a pretty good place to start. But even so, there is a fairly good range of solutions represented at this first World Championship. It will be interesting to see what we learn.'

Another new DC builder is American Chris Maas who will be at the worlds with his just launched USA 242, String Theory. Then there is John Kells with USA 244, Meyham.

GBR sailors are not ignoring the DC movement despite the popularity of the AC version in the UK. Prolific dinghy designer Phil Morrison has produced a DC for Phil Robins and it will be interesting to see how the reletivly conservative Morrison design compares with the latest American thinking.

At the recent UK nationals, with 32 IC and AC canoes and one DC, Alister Warren who will be at the worlds. IC winner was Simon Allen and AC winner was Robin Wood.

IC Worlds 1 January - Entry at 2 November
AUS 18 Regatta Manager Christian Knott IC
AUS 12 Mums Pride Frank Raisin IC
AUS 13 hurt Kyle Knott IC
AUS 14 l'escargot tout chaud, Seth Dunbar IC
AUS 16 Eric Tim Wilson IC
AUS 20 Twist of Fate Hayden Virtue IC
AUS 21 21st Century Hollow Log Phil Stevenson DC
AUS 25 Rat Geoff Harman DC
AUS 7 Erica the Loch Wallaby Jim Reeder IC
AUS 8 KAOTIC Alex Kalin IC
AUS 9 Superstition Kevin Knott IC
CAN 235 Wonk Rob Paterson DC
GBR 233 Ice Warrior Mike Shreeve IC
GBR 256 Stiletto Felicity Robson IC
GBR 280 Mongoose Peter McLaren AC
GBR 283 Hurricane John Robson AC
GBR 295 Extended Play Colin Newman IC
GBR 299 Sunshine Colin Brown AC
GBR 308 Monkey Alistair Warren DC
GBR 311 Scarlett OHara Phil Robin DC
GBR 312 TBA Simon Allen IC
GER 56 Amok Ullmann Peter
GER 68 nameless Roger Regitz IC
GER 73 Sambasocke Tobias Kunz AC
GER 74 Desaster de luxe Eckhardt Pagel IC
POL 1 Old Dog New Tricks Mikey Radziejowski IC
SWE 101 In The Meadow Johan Elfström IC
USA 201 Blue Meanie Samel Moore IC
USA 202 Matilda Christopher Moore IC
USA 219 RapaNui Bill Beaver IC
USA 220 Mostly Harmless George Saunders IC
USA 239 Josie Steve Clark DC
USA 240 Uncle Walter Oliveer Moore DC
USA 241 KAITO Willy Clark DC
USA 242 String Theory Chris Maas DC
USA 243 Donkey Des Olsen DC
USA 244 Mayhem John Kells DC
USA 92 Alice David Clark DC

38 South / Jeanneau AUS SF30 OD - FOOTERMySail SkipperX-Yachts X4.3

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