Originally Posted by MrPelicano
I can't speak for the European market but I don't really understand the current crop of medium-length sport boats like the Bolt 37, the McConaghy 38, the Carkeek 40, the Farr 400, C&C 30 (just announced Mills' design), etc., for the North American market. When I look at what has been going on the past few years, there's an exodus from IRC and high performance sport boats to more benign one-designs like the J/70 and (perhaps) the J/88. Or to nothing at all, since I think overall participation in keel boat events is trending downward.
North America is increasingly looking like a One Design + PHRF world, with a few strong OD classes (J/70, Viper, Melges 20), a few OD classes on life support (J/105, Farr 30, Melges 24), and PHRF, which is designed to protect past investments not encourage new designs or fleet-building. I predict that IRC in North America is just waiting for someone to throw flowers on the grave.
In my pessimism about the NA scene, I can't envision who is going to buy a Bolt 37 or any of the other aforementioned boats. I know Steve Benjamin and others are trying to get a high performance thing going out here on the East Coast, but it's been slow going, largely for economic reasons, I'd imagine. And the West Coast is pretty mucha wasteland. At the most recent Rolex St. Francis Big Boat Regatta, the largest fleet was the Melges 24, and only because the Worlds was in town the following week. There were scarcely any "big boats" to speak of, and the class divisions pointed to the near futility of the whole situation. At least they let multihulls compete, which is progress, I suppose.
All the more reason to continue sailing my Laser and working on my cruising plans for the next few years.
I don't know much about the racing scene but its obvious that in Europe there is a battle between IRC and ORC for supremacy. Some years ago there was the intention to make from the two a single universal ratting but installed interests have been slowing the process. I believe that it will happen someday, sooner or later.
Let me point out that Ker boats have been dominating IRC on the top class on the world scene, including all, except the states were PHRF is still an obstacle to boat development and to fast boats. Both the other two ratting are more accurate by an order of magnitude.
I guess that racing market in US is as low as the market for performance cruisers. Most European brands that make them don't even give themselves the trouble of trying to sell them there and the Asiatic market is a lot more important than the American one : they sell more there.).
Like in the world of motor racing US seems to want to remain isolated and have its particular type of races while the rest of the world is sharing the main championships. Isolationism is never a good thing for development.
I believe that the more important single measure to alter the situation is to reserve PHRF for small club races and abolish that ratting on all medium and main ones, ratting them only in IRC (or ORC). That would allow the faster boats to win them all. But I guess that the Americans like too much to see Westsails 32 and the like winning races. Most Americans have old slow cruising boats ot performance boats fro other eras and they like to see old boats winning. That give them the sensation they have fast boats
Believe it or not a owner of a Westsail 32, supposedly a very experienced sailor with experience in 150 different sailboats and more than 200 000Nm said this about the Westsail 32 performance in very light winds (3.1K):
"Does anyone here really believe that a Farr 38, Elan, or Figaro 35 would be able to do a lot better? Myth #1) The W-32 can’t point. In fact, under exactly identical conditions, it will point equal to the average 30’ racer cruiser. Myth #2) The W-32 can’t run. In fact it runs faster than most 36’ racer cruisers."
and fact is that many American sailors believe this kind of crap: After all the W32 was won major races