Wednesday, March 24, 2010

RC 44 Class: Coming to America

by Bernard Schopfe
The RC 44 Class Association announces today its project to expand to North America. Twenty-two One Design RC 44’s have been built to date. The latest one is currently being finalised, and will be shipped to Newport (Rhode Island) this spring, allowing pro sailors and potential owners to test-sail the boat.

Dee Smith, a professional sailor and project manager involved in top level yacht racing events, has been named RC 44 agent for North America. 'This is a great opportunity to start a very exciting new One Design Class here in North America', he commented. 'The RC 44 has proven to be a huge success in Europe and we feel there is a need for a boat that is both exciting to sail and cost effective to run here in the States. We already have many established teams looking to acquire an RC 44 and get this party going.'

The RC 44 is a light displacement high performance One Design sailing boat. It was designed by four-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts, together with naval architect Andrej Justin. The RC 44 was created for top level racing in international regattas under strictly controlled Class Rules. The concept and the design features of the RC 44 are dedicated to the amateur helmsmen racing in fleet racing sailing events.

'The North American circuit will be adapted to the owners’ desires', explains the RC 44 Class manager Bertrand Favre. 'Some characteristics of the Class are fundamental, such as the One Design aspect, the amateur owner driver and direct umpiring. However we are also open to new ideas regarding the format of racing. One thing is sure: thanks to the easy logistics of the Class, it will be possible to sail in great locations in the US, both on the East and West coast and even on lakes.'

When they started designing the RC 44, Andrej Justin and Russell Coutts immediately included the transportation and storage issues in their thoughts. As a consequence, the stern of the boat is removable to allow the transportation length to be less than 40 feet. The keel fin attachment is also easily removable whilst the carbon mast is assembled in two parts. Therefore all equipment can be stored and transported on a flat deck container which can be transported in a cost effective way.

The RC 44 will be displayed and test sailed in Newport in the middle of June (dates tbc).