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Thread: One design, anyone?

  1. #1
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    Default One design, anyone?

    I’m about to start talking at length, always a risk, so let me present my lack of qualifications first, so the discussion thus enabled has context. I am not old enough to be widely experienced (36), I have less than 2k solo offshore miles under my belt and not all that many more fully crewed, and I’ve never done a Transpac of any flavor. I sailed a couple of 3BFs in a Moore 24 the better part of a decade ago and I bet not more than ten of you have even met me in person. Furthermore I left the West Coast entirely in 2014.
    But….
    I love sailing, love shorthanding, am not too bad at sailing in general, and am moving back out there shortly with intentions to stay. I have a few coins I’m willing to expend on the sport and the kids are out of diapers. I am *really* excited about the concept of coming back out there with the resources to play in the game I couldn’t quite set up my last time out there. I want to make shorthanding a habit, a routine, the regular way I experience time on the water, because I think it is hard and fun and the people that do it are pretty damn interesting to be around. Thus, I introduce the Major Concepts of my rant—mostly derived from several nights spent reading all the stuff on this forum for the first time in half a decade.

    Major Concept #1: OD offshore racing sounds awesome.
    Major Concept #2: Cool things like OD offshore racing happen when at least four or five folks get together and commit together.
    Major Concept #3: A series of OD offshore events, a “solitaire du California” if you will, is most likely going to come from the aforementioned group assembling from the collection of folks that populates this forum and chases Mai Tais every couple of years. The group seems Corinthian in spirt, but mostly unencumbered by the resources and/or sponsorship to execute Concepts #1 and #2 by just throwing cash at them. In other words, we’d have to really talk about it, and agree to it, to make it stick.

    I’m not going to pontificate on the long-term thoughts that may develop out of this (Crosspac? Races to Japan or Tahiti?) because that’s just too far out. But I’d love to get something with potential kicking to give me something to do when I finally kick the kids out of the house.

    I personally think OD racing to Hawaii sounds awesome, and OD racing up and down California by semi-regular working stiffs like myself also sounds cool as hell. In another life, some of us would live in France on our Minis, trying to work our way up to Figaros and Class 40s and eventually run an IMOCA 60 in the Vendee Globe. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can say pretty confidently that the life choices enabling said extended living in France have passed me by. Just because it has doesn’t mean the fire is extinguished. So. Je pense que we should talk about how to get close.

    The simplest, very quick, short-term solution for how to get close to this is for a few of us to decide “We’re going to do this” and all go out and get the same boat. Olsen 30s are sort of the West Coast equivalent of Figaro IIs, seems to me, but you could make arguments for a Moore 24, Express 27, Santa Cruz 27, or maybe even a Hobie 33, as classes that five folks could assemble in a hurry and compete straight up with no handicap in a SHTP or around the bay. This would be easy enough to do, would not require titanic financial resources, and would be pretty fun. I would put my money where my mouth is and buy/equip/race any one of those boats if we could reach that kind of agreement.
    A corollary to this concept is to create a ‘level’ class. Pick a rating band and some basic similarities like SA/D and everyone just agrees to race level. I don’t have the ‘ratings committee’ type experience to speculate on what this might look like, I just know I’d rather spot somebody 3 seconds a mile to join a class and race level with other folks than be all by myself and hoping that I win on corrected time.
    In the medium or longer term, that lead-in concept doesn’t quite cut the mustard. None of those boats, Hobie 33 perhaps excepted, are still in production, and they are all frankly getting long in the tooth. Not everyone is up for major re-coring projects, and throwing money at old boats has a limit. After a few years the OD class would likely die out from a dearth of assets, or people willing to dump money into aging boats, or (heaven forbid) a big race causing an old boat to have a major failure. I’m not saying it isn’t worth doing for 2020, say, but surely the O30 one-design fleet to Hawaii is going to whittle down by 2030. So, boats still in production become more interesting. The first five guys to commit may have to be more resourced than others, but if they later upgrade, their secondhand warhorses will be snapped up by folks like myself at 27 who had the desire but not the $$ to join the first wave.

    So let’s talk about what kind of boat some of us might decide to throw down for if we’re thinking past the next couple of SHTP cycles.
    Personally, I’d divide this sort of thought into three categories: Little, Medium, and Sorta-Big boats. Little boats are the kinds young or adventurous sorts sail, say from Mini to Moore 24 in size. Sorta-Big boat start to invoke serious passagemaking capabilities but also invoke major cost and transportation difficulties. Let’s call the bottom end a Figaro II at 33ish feet and top it out with a Class 40. Bigger than that is a discussion for loftier people than myself.
    I could be persuaded to put my money where my mouth is on a small boat that’s easy to transport. I’d call it my toy and cruise my family around on something more comfortable. I absolutely would love to have a Class 40, but that’s just out of my reach at the moment and may forever be so. I would be super interested in a bunch of Class 40s ripping up the Pacific, but would need someone to foot some major bills to play all by myself. Ergo, my most specific interest is in the Medium boat. A boat big enough where you could slog some hard offshore miles, but not spend a fortune to do so. A boat where you could be serious about your solo career but also daysail with your semi-non-sailor wife and kids, maybe even take it out for the weekend with said crowd, and the same things that make it easy to run as a singlehander would make it fun to sail casually. A boat that may be cheap enough to be a realistic aspiration for the crowd here. Furthermore, as a one-design, you can make cost-controlling decisions that compromise overall performance but don’t change the game between us at all. A carbon rig is faster than aluminum, but if we all agree to sail with alum, a few bucks have been saved. If we all agree on a very restricted sail inventory, the quality of the racing won’t change much, but the cost sure will. This can drive other, basic design decisions. Sure, a big fat boat will have more form stability and thus may be faster, but if we are trying to maximize participation, something that goes down American highways without a permit is better, right? OD racing doesn’t care about absolute speed, just closeness.

    To be easy about this, we could just select an existing class that’s still in production. I think Minis are too expensive to be the right answer, even if we all get the same flavor like a Pogo 2. Plus, not great as a daysailing boat or family overnighter or buoy racer… I heard the H33 molds are still out there, and I wonder if that boat could be cheaply modified to work—it would sure save some serious, and maybe expensive, R&D.
    I’ve sailed a bit, and looked at a lot, the Seascape/Beneatau First 27. It’s an interesting concept. She’s pretty stiff for a small boat, light enough to be quite fun, and fits the bill pretty well in all the non-offshore-racing areas like cruiseability. But some of that doesn’t quite work for me. The hydraulic easy-lifting keel is great for trailer-sailing but isn’t a win for me offshore. It evokes too many memories of my time on the other end of the VHF in the ’17 B1-2 when Justin was stepping off Spadefoot because his easy-lifting keel was doing things it shouldn’t. The hole cut in the bottom to facilitate most of the cockpit floor lifting up to use the little outboard doesn’t quite do it for me, either. If this boat had a fixed keel and either no aux propulsion or a little inboard, I’d be much happier. Also, cost: Probably more than 100K to get a 27’ boat shipped from Croatia to the West Coast, fitted with sails and AIS and an autopilot or two, and set up to go to Hawaii. Seems stiff! For that price you could ship over a 2005 Figaro II with all the bells and whistles, fully calibrated with good sails. Which, on the whole, isn’t a terrible idea. Or, for that matter, import another few Sun Fast 3200s like I have, which wins fewer points for race-sexiness than the Figaro II but sure makes the wife and kids happier!
    Getting a bunch of Figaro IIIs shipped over here makes some sense in terms of direct compatibility with the next level and an already-laid-out max-performance pocket offshore rocket. But…yeesh….$$$$! Also, I can’t quite imagine teaching my daughter to dock a boat under power when said boat has foils sticking out the side that would cost an arm plus a leg to repair if she misjudges the approach… too much speedster will mean not enough regular joe Corinthian participants.
    So, let me throw out some thoughts, in the hope we’ve got a naval architect in the audience.
    May I suggest the Left Coast 28? I pick 28 because it’s about the smallest you can go that can generate quasi-standing headroom, or enough for my wife anyway, and carry an inboard diesel, and smaller is cheaper. Smaller boats are less physical which caters to the old geezers among us, but also for the aspiring women, and remember that Paris 2024 has an Olympic medal for mixed-gender offshore racing. I submit we should build her to a modern design, probably with beam carried aft and perhaps hard chines, though out of glass rather than carbon for cost. Freeboard higher rather than lower for interior volume and a drier ride. Cockpit small and well aft but open, perhaps with a hard dodger or at least a well thought out soft one. Deck-stepped aluminum rig and fixed bowsprit for simplicity and leak prevention. Large, full battened main on wide-spreader rig with a single backstay and no overlapping headsails. I’d suggest asym kites for simplicity, though an argument could be had about those, or about making the sprit pivot. Twin aft stern- and cassette-mounted rudders for ultimate simplicity and replaceability, set up on a ‘fuse’ to pop up if you hit something, with a spare foil in a purpose-build locker aft, near the liferaft spot. Beam something you could put on a trailer without a major pain—I know 8’ is a thing, but nobody seems to bother the O30 guys at a little over 9’. Push that beam aft for form stability, and maybe forward like the latest Class 40s for downwind speed, too, though I can’t quite stomach the aesthetics of the full scow business. Build her strong to take a beating and last, at the cost of a little extra weight, because it’s an OD class. Little 10hp inboard Yanmar saildrive with a big alternator for the non-sunny days. I don’t think a sexy two-way electric drive/hydrogenator with lithium batteries meets the cost/simplicity/reliability angle at the moment, though I’d love a nerd to prove me wrong.
    A few more thoughts on the boat for cost control and fun racing… The interior can be pretty simple so long as it has a couple of good at-sea berths and a well equipped nav station. The toilet…well… is a requirement for a lot of married folks. You could make an argument that the keel shouldn’t have a formal bulb for reasons of seaweed. I’d suggest a fixed keel, but would be open to a clever engineer creating a way to take the thing off with a big wrench in an hour’s time, which would really facilitate easy road movement. Target displacement and SA similar to the Seascape, 2500lbs and ~500 sq feet of SA upwind. Restricted sails: Say, a reefable 100% jib—argument could be made for a furler-- a staysail that doubles as a storm jib, main with three reefs to avoid requiring a storm tri, big kite, chicken kite. A code 5 or 0 could be fun, but would add cost. Perhaps require the main, jib, and staysail, and permit two downwind sails and one extra? Let the sailor decide if he wants a jib top, a code sail, or a spare kite? If we’re going full OD, why not OD the autopilot, too? Get Brian to set us up with a sweet, reliable, cheap, redundant Pelagic setup. Twin rudders= not too much power required, further driving down the cost of the electric package. A built-in solar panel setup.
    We can’t avoid cost on the electronics angle, because safety requires a nice VHF and AIS with expensive cable and a splitter. Wind/Speed/Depth, of course. A plotter, perhaps on a swing mount so it can be in the companionway, or just set up NMEA to WiFi and let the sailor pick his or her tablet.
    Overall, she probably rates between 80-96. Anyone thinks such a craft can be put on the start line for a SHTP for less than $80K? I seem to recall the intro price for the FT 10M was 40K all up, in ’07 or thereabouts. Is it the right boat for a race to Tokyo Bay and back? Probably not. But it’ll get you up and down the Left Coast, and back and forth to Hawaii, in decent enough shape.
    I think I’d put my money where my mouth is if it could be done.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default

    Been suggested from time to time..... never seen anyone get it close to critical mass. Building a new boat and getting it ready for the SHTP starting line for $80k is doable if you build it yourself, likely not from a builder. Good Luck.

  3. #3
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    There are 60-some-odd J/105s floating around the bay with maybe a third of those active in crewed one design racing every year, there are a couple of 105s that show up for GVR, 3BF etc. I think they represent an excellent opportunity to reach out to those other 40 boats and reactivate them.

    I would love to see a single or double handed category in Spinnaker Cup this upcoming Memorial Day Weekend... with enough lead time, might be able to get a doublehanded J105 fleet together in time for 2020 Spinnaker Cup.... 16 signed up for 3BF this year. I would be interested in helping with some of the legwork to get that going.

    Express 27 and Moore 24 would also make good options. Someone in their 30s or 40s can reasonably afford to purchase and campaign one of those. Buying a new boat is graybeard-only territory.

  4. #4
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    My thoughts after posting this message were, meh, looks like this idea isn't going to excite anyone in the theory stage.

    So, guess I should show up for a few events and talk to folks and see where it goes.

    I've only sailed a J105 a handful of times and can't speak to its potential for singlehanding, so I'm curious if there are more informed folks here that could weigh in. That does seem like a boat that's old and common enough to be cheap but big enough to be 'comfortable' as those things go.

    I'm personally tempted to try to kickstart this thing with an E27 or M24 as I could probably justify owning one of those as well.

  5. #5
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    I have proposed a new "Singlehanded/Doublehanded" One Design boat in the 28 foot range, on this forum several times. I still think it's a great idea, sort of a "West Coast Figaro" but it's never gotten any traction.

    A J-105 is a pretty good choice for starters, for something like this.
    S-2 7.9: "Wildcat of Loch Awe"
    1968 Selmer Series 9 B-flat and A clarinets
    Piper One Design 24, Hull #35; "Alpha"

  6. #6
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    I've sailed J105's a lot. It's a great doublehanded boat and popular in Europe for that. It's not a great singlehanded boat. It could be, but you pay a big premium for these popular OD boats and lose a lot of value when you take them out of the class via mods.

    The challenge with this one-design idea is to get us to sell what we have and get into another boat solely for the OD benefits. When you've seen so many OD's come and go (and if you like what you have) that's a big ask.

  7. #7
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    Not that I'd be up for it, but Wyliecat is for sale; molds, tooling etc.
    http://www.latitude38.com/classified...0Opportunities

    An argument could be made that a Wyliecat 30 meets most if not all of the original premise.
    Also, you already have nearly enough sailing in the SSS on a regular basis for a class start.

    No, I don't have any idea of what Tom wants for the business, nor the baseline $$ in materials & labor for building one, let alone operating the business.
    But I bet Tom does...

    DH

  8. #8
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    May I submit the Dehler 30 OD for consideration? It's a strong contender for the 2024 Olympics, doesn't cost too much more than a lightly used J/105 ($100Kish), is built in the biggest boatyard in the world by one of the largest manufacturers in the world, it's CE Class-A right out of the box, comes with water ballast included, has a hybrid diesel electric drivetrain, has 3 different major sail-makers supporting it (it's rigged like a mini VOR boat), has a carbon rig, and it looks pretty.

    https://www.yachts.group/us/dehler/b...ne-design.html

    I always like the expensive ones. But yea, if 4 more folks want to buy one of these with me, PM me. Let's make it happen.

  9. #9
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    You know where I stand on Wyliecat 30s. I think it's a great boat for single/doublehanding and its been successful sailing OYRA/SSS races and the Hawaii Races. The problem, as I see it, is/was the high price for a new 30-foot boat. There was a one-design fleet when I bought mine and we had 8 boats going to Vallejo and in SSS races. Unfortunately as skippers retired or moved on many of those boats were sold out of the Bay. We're down to about 4 boats actively racing. I'm always open to having folks join me in the fun crew beer canners I sail to see how the boat sails. Pat B.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveH View Post
    Not that I'd be up for it, but Wyliecat is for sale; molds, tooling etc.
    http://www.latitude38.com/classified...0Opportunities

    An argument could be made that a Wyliecat 30 meets most if not all of the original premise.
    Also, you already have nearly enough sailing in the SSS on a regular basis for a class start.

    No, I don't have any idea of what Tom wants for the business, nor the baseline $$ in materials & labor for building one, let alone operating the business.
    But I bet Tom does...

    DH

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