Falmouth to host International C-Class Catamaran Challenge 2013

Friday 20 May 2011

Falmouth Harbour

Today Team Invictus are announcing the return of a premier sailing event that has not been seen in the UK since 1969. It’s title is the rather sober “International C Class Catamaran Championship” (ICCCC) but to the sailing world it has become universally known as the “Little America’s Cup”

Team Invictus are an engineering led team based in Bristol who in August 2010 went to New York Yacht Club in Rhode Island and came a credible 3rd. This earned them the honour of organising the next championship and today they announce their choice of Mylor in Falmouth as the venue.

The dates are set as 25th August to 1st Sept 2013 with the week before for training. It promises a very high profile for Falmouth; the event attracts an international audience who will see what a beautiful area this part of Cornwall is. Team Invictus have teamed up with a consortium from Restronguet Sailing Club, Mylor Yacht Club and Windsport International to host the event in the village of Mylor at the upper reaches of Carrick Roads and look forward to creating a great event.

We are very excited by this opportunity, and we are right at the front of the resurgence of this great event. In 2010 there were 5 teams and 7 boats; already we have 10 teams and maybe up to 20 boats and this will help drive Falmouth’s economic regeneration.

The winner of last years championship, Fred Eaton said: "We are looking forward to defending the International C Class Catamaran Championship at Falmouth. I have had the pleasure of racing in Falmouth before in International 14s and will enjoy returning. The town and the area are rich with inspirational history for a sailor and the people are very welcoming. I know that it will provide a great test for both the boats and crews at our next Championship."

This event has had a cult following since it began in 1961 through the continually innovative developments that have evolved over the years. And its story began as a reversal of the 1851 America’s Cup story; the Brits went to the USA and brought the trophy back to these shores.

The events nickname came about because racing was based on a similar format to the AC races, the same course, and it was a match race series (one on one). The boats however, were very different. They chose the International C class catamaran, a development class with basically 3 simple rules, length, width and sail area, which gave designers maximum latitude for innovation.

Over the years, they evolved, and today the C class are the pinnacle of sailing technology. They are powered, not by sails, but by powerful wings with aircraft style flaps which propel these sleek craft, weighing less than their crew at two and a half times the speed of the wind.

Yesterday the Palermo based “Challenge Italia” announced their challenge, headed by Roberto Grippi, and including Luna Rossa sailors Francesco Bruni and Pierluigi De Felice.

An undisclosed Swedish team will also announce their challenge on Swedish national day on the 6th of June and two French teams, one Swiss and one Australian team are also close to announcing challenges” in addition to the US and Canadians.

“The planning starts now. We want to make this a great event, we want cameras on the boats, GPS tracking and facilities to watch from the shores and on the water. We also do not want to forget, this is the end result of 3 years of hard toil for all of the teams, and so we also need to put on a good party”.

The wingsails on these boats are incredibly light, made from carbon fibre to aerospace standards, they generate as much power as a conventional sail more than twice their area. C class sailors call themselves “wingnuts” and it is the technical challenge of designing the most efficient craft that really motivates them.

But winning is a team activity; the sailors must learn how to sail these greyhounds. “C class catamarans are easy to sail, but very difficult to sail well”. To address this, the team are also announcing their latest sailing recruit: Tom Phipps.

Tom is based and grew up in Mylor and he will start to learn the ropes on the teams current boat ‘Invictus’, helped by Gordon Kaiser, crew in the 2010 LAC. Tom’s track record is impressive, including several national titles in both keelboats and catamarans.

To fund their challenge, the team have secured a number of new sponsors, including Atlantis Weathergear for clothing, ANSYS for structural and aerodynamic analysis and Advanced Composites Group for materials. The team are also in discussions with a few potential sponsors to cover both the build of 2 new boats and for the event itself.

The first of the new boats will be based on linear developments along current trends and will provide a low risk and competitive boat to compete against the current generation. The second boat will take a number of new ideas and bring these together into one boat, which the team expect will take the C class to the next level.

Team Principal, Norman Wijker says “Forget the Big America’s Cup, small is beautiful; come and see for yourself”.