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The M Class Reinvented

by Stuart Bayliss 22 Nov 2015 11:14 GMT 22 November 2015

The M Class dates from the Universal Rule of 1903. A number of these superb yachts were built during the period of the late 1920s and at least a couple, with their classic lines, even exist today.

The website details the history and background of that class, and describes the new M Class being created, showing a number of possible design variations which could be used to build new yachts, utilising modern construction methods, whilst ensuring similar performance for all boats in the class. That site includes the new version of the universal rule of measurement, to which the new boats are to be designed and built.

Racing in the new M Class is envisioned as periodic sets of races held in various locations accessible to these boats by delivery under their own power. Between events, or even in conjunction with them, good cruising would be available to each owner, or even groups of owners. While maintaining a good deck layout for racing, these boats now will feature a very nice interior, with sail locker on deck, good private crews quarters, comfortable accommodations for the owner, and semi-private quarters for several guests. The new measurement rule includes many safeguards to ensure nearly equal performance for all the boats, without totally eliminating the fun and the challenge of experimentation with the design and equipment.

The M boat is sized about midway between the famous J Class, and the presently-being-revived Q Class, making the M boat about 26 metres overall, with plenty of stability to be a powerful boat, even somewhat short-handed, but also to cruise without having to use greatly reduced sail sizes.

The new M Class measurement rule incorporates a number of provisions to limit 'over development' and maintain a classic look. Yachts are expected to be almost identical in speed, and performance. Improvements in the class would usually be small and hard to come by, ensuring that racing would be very close. The boats would probably enjoy a longer-than-normal competitive life and would always remain beautiful as well as functional. Yet, because this is not a One Design Class, the fun of design, development and equipment experimentation would remain.

A modern M-boat will be a true racing boat, capable of the same kind of performance that one expects from a J-Class or 12-Metre: a powerful boat, but also very seaworthy if properly equipped.

For cruising, the boat's large fore triangle and 80% rig allows a good distribution of sail between main and fore triangle, making it easy to balance. With the large fore triangle, adequate cruising performance can be achieved without the use of overlapping headsails, making short handed sailing considerably easier.

The drawings [PDF] detail the proposed combined racing - cruising sail plan featuring a quadrilateral jib for exciting, fun racing and split head rig for easy cruising.

Find out if this is your kind of boat:

Much more about the M Class and Q Class yachts can be seen at:

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