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Ovington 2017 VX One Gold Cup

The VX Evo: We speak to designer Brian Bennett

by Mark Jardine on 26 Apr 26 April 2017

Following on from the high performance VX One sportsboat, which has growing fleets around the world, Brian Bennett has designed the VX Evo, a singlehanded asymmetric dinghy. We spoke to Brian to find out more about the boat.

Mark Jardine: Who is the VX Evo aimed at?

Brian Bennett: Looking at the development of asymmetric, apparent wind sailing and where it's going, it is where sailing is at - it's either apparent wind with a assymetric kite or it's foiling - that's where the sport has evolved to at this point. The Evo is about providing a one design platform for that growing audience. If you're going to have a market then you've got to aim at the core of it and I think the VX Evo presents a really good opportunity for bigger sailors in particular, but also two smaller sailors, to gain a skill-set that they might not have.

Mark: It's a big, long single-hander, with a beamy cockpit and a simple layout for such a powerful boat with an asymmetric kite. How stable is the Evo?

Brian: It's built with a lot of form stability. If you look around a modern TP52 for example, the hull forms are quite similar to the VX hull-forms. With the Evo we actually copied what we call the 'Comanche cusp', which is a kick out on the transom on the chine line, which washes the wake flat, not allowing it to rise up the topsides. It's all about providing power through form stability, making the boat stable. It's a big stable dinghy with very low wetted surface area and straight waterlines when you sail it at the right angle.

Mark: Am I right in thinking that over in the United States you were aiming this at sportsboat owners who were maybe looking for a dinghy they could take out between events for a blast and club racing?

Brian: The goal is to enliven the whole sailing scene with fun and sustainable product, that also offers safe platforms to develop the new paradigm in sailing skill sets. In essence want more sailors, not less, but we want to attract the more keel boat sailors into an easy to sail, easy to learn platform. This boat is really all about low cost of ownership, ease of operation, ease of access to the water. Yes, it's ideal for a J70 or Melges 20 owner who wants to learn how to sail his asymmetric yacht better, or a keelboat sailor who's never experienced asymmetrics and high performance, giving them an opportunity to sail on a solid platform.

Mark: I see you have a two-piece mast?

Brian: Yes, you can slide the rig under the foredeck and transport it easily and everything can be carried inside the cockpit.

Mark: What is the all-up weight of the boat?

Brian: The all-up weight is 77kg. It's a double vacuum epoxy lay-up, so the technology is high. It's an engineered boat which has gone through the USA's certification for small craft, so the panel stiffness is engineered to last. The goal with all our product is to build a 15 year race-life boat, and if you take care of the boat it will last a lot longer than that.

Mark: What's the interest been so far in North America, Europe and the UK?

Brian: We're just about to ship our third container of boats to the USA and there will be another one directly following that. By summertime we should have between 35-40 boats actively racing in the United States. The Paris Boat Show was great with six boats sold there, Dusseldorf was good as well, and interest at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show was fantastic too. It's been a good start.

Mark: What does it mean to be working with a boat builder such as Ovington?

Brian: It's awesome; these guys are a no-brainer choice. Super guys to work with, nice people, honest, they stand by their product and they know how to build a good boat, without question.

Mark: Many thanks for your time Brian.

Brian: No worries!

Find out more about the VX Evo at www.ovingtonboats.com/shop/vxevo.html

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