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Old 02-05-2014
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Re: More on Mills and Chines

Interestingly, Mills drew chines on his design for the VSA 45 IRC racer, as well as on the 38-foot short-handed cruiser-racer. However, in his brief comments on the IRC boat, he doesn't mention the import of including chines.





While I haven't weighed in on the heated exchange with Bob Perry, I confess to having been a bit puzzled by his reference to his conversation with Mills on this topic.

Here's what Mills says about the 38: "This chined high performance cruiser-racer combines a modern comfortable interior with the most visible and useful Open design type traits to create a very versatile, fast, and powerful shorthanded performer."

He then goes on to observe: "The resulting design would have high initial stability without crew on the rail making it a pleasure to shorthand and cruise, and offers exceptional reaching performance, important to the non-racing cruisers and offshore racers alike."

This is essentially the case Paulo has been making from the start, yet somehow Mills didn't mention these points to Bob in the course of their conversation on the topic? I find that hard to believe.

What Mills doesn't comment on is whether or not chines are of value within the IRC framework - i.e., crewed buoy / short-distance racing, with a relatively equal balance of upwind and downwind sailing. I'm going to go out on a limb and conjecture that he would probably say the same thing Paulo has been saying: "Under IRC, fully crewed boats, competently sailed within their design parameters, don't really benefit from chines."

And my experience racing against the Ker 43 "Ptarmigan" (now "Otra Vez") at Block Island Race Week in 2011 under IRC would seem to confirm that. In light-to-moderate conditions, on windward-leeward course, "Ptarmigan" was unbeatable, in the hands of a very experienced racing crew (I was aboard a custom Schumacher 50 - we were only competitive against "Ptarmigan" in really light breeze, upwind and VMG running). "Ptarmigan" was also very fast in the 2012 Newport-Bermuda Race, finishing first in IRC 9 (only 6 hours behind the fastest TP52 in elapsed time - and probably would have done better but apparently lost all their instruments in what was a very wet and windy race). Interestingly, the Carkeek HP 40 "Decision", which sports a very mild chine quite a way aft, beat "Ptarmigan" by 5 hours on elapsed, and also corrected out ahead by the same in Division "8" IRC, beating two TP52s in the process.

All this to say that I find myself aligned with Mills and Paulo over Bob on the chines topic. I'm looking forward to an opporunity to sail Rob Humphrey's Elan 320 design and form my own opinion.
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