Originally Posted by PCP
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 canít point. In fact, under exactly identical conditions, it will point equal to the average 30í racer cruiser. Myth #2) The W-32 canít run. In fact it runs faster than most 36í racer cruisers."
and fact is that many American sailors believe this kind of crap: After all the W32 was won major races
Well, that would certainly explain the huge W32 class in this year's TJV.
I think you have captured the American attitude quite well, and all my Canadian friends will agree with you (and even more so when it comes to American disdain for solo racing). The U.S. is primarily the land of "Beer Can" racing, a perfectly fun pasttime that does not require much effort.
Before someone attacks me by listing all the great American racing sailors / programs, let me say: "Well, of course, in a country with > 300M inhabitants you are bound to get a few great, passionate sailors." But my point is that the American racing landscape is ruled by the law of conservation - i.e., make sure that every boat on the water has the potential to win, regardless of how old or how obsolete the design (e.g., IOR).
The net impact of this attitude is that the evolution of yacht design is being driven by European and South American designers, and even great American designers, like Mark Mills, ply their trade overseas. Note: I'm talking about race boats and performance cruisers. There are still great cruising designs being done in the U.S., but the emphasis is not on performance.
Let me also allow two caveats to my rant: Melges and J/Boats. Both use American designers and both have developed and produced extremely successful racing and performance cruising boats. The irony, of course, is that their premier boats of those types are primarily successful in Europe (M24, M32, J/111, J/109), not in the U.S.
Anyway, enough ranting. I am more concerned right now about the decision to have a 1-leg MT race. Is it even possible to carry enough water and food on a 6.50 to make it from Sada to Pointe a Pitre, and still perform properly? Hard to imagine how the boats will be able to sustain a plane in the early days, even with everything stacked in the transom. But, I suppose there is no alternative and certainly better than canceling the event altogether. Oh well...