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Stoneways Marine 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Union Nationale pour la Course au Large: Successful lift-off for the (future) Class 30

by Maguelonne Turcat 19 May 2021 05:59 BST
Union Nationale pour la Course au Large © UNCL

In response to its Request for Proposals for the future Class 30, over twenty-five applications from various candidates from the sailing world arrived in a dedicated inbox at L'Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL), organiser of the competition with its British partner the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC).

The indisputable success of this project intended to inspire tomorrow's international training boat for offshore racing is an acknowledgement of its relevance as it brings together a number of the leading lights of naval architecture and prominent yards. Now, the support of America's Storm Trysail Club has given the initiative even further traction in the US by fleshing out the circle of organisers and with it the potential for the large adoption of the future one-design.

An enthusiastic reception

A key player with multiple offshore racing accolades, French legend Michel Desjoyeaux perfectly understands the appeal and the impact of such a project on a national level: "Being a part of a process to design an affordable and attractive craft in a bid to recreate a crewed racing dynamic among active youngsters seems like an obvious move to me. This method for training crews has disappeared of late as there's no longer a boat that fits the bill. Prior to the switch to the Diam 24, the Tour de France à la Voile was often the first taste of offshore racing for numerous crews. Today, it is these crews who are quitting regattas and who need to be won back with this new one-design, which has to perform well and be attractive. That's why we've decided to stand up and be counted with CT Mer Forte".

A fleshing out of the Jury

The main new feature of this venture relates to the Jury, which has evolved since the project was launched: in addition to the four members of the UNCL and the 3 members of the RORC, a new American member, the Storm Trysail Club based in Larchmont, NY, to the north of New York City, is stepping up to the plate. This very sociable Club is the reference offshore racing club in the United States and so it shares the same values and experience as the RORC and the UNCL.

A renowned mover and shaker, its sphere of influence extends far beyond Larchmont thanks to its 12 geographic stations encompassing the most famous stretches of water on the East coast, the great lakes, Florida and California, where it operates a fleet of 8 Figaro 2s. This addition further reinforces the international dimension of the project as the organisers were always keen to ensure that the French projects do not make up more than half of the proposals.

Eight teams selected

In line with the scheduled programme, early May, the International Jury studied application requests from 9 different nationalities and made a pre-selection according to a matrix of weighted criteria, including how well the project was understood, references regarding design and production of similar boats, its eco-design credentials and its ability to innovate.

In the end, six teams of architects/yards were selected on the basis of designing a new boat, including some world famous names in naval architecture and global boatbuilding, as well as two other teams with existing boats featuring similar specifications, who have to align with the brief, particularly to match boat price expectations. The applicants' various preliminary design proposals are expected by mid-June.

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