"Modern" version of the 12 Meter Class by Tom Ehman

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Doug Lord, Jan 21, 2016.

  1. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member

    Is there really a demand for a large unwieldy boat that needs a large crew and has to be dry sailed?What can you actually do with it?From my spectator's viewpoint,I would rather see an AC between two exciting modern boats than selecting from a pool of sluggish behemoths for a final that is as exciting as watching paint dry.
     
  2. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    It's an interesting question, though, about what a "modern boat" is, and whether the AC should be sailed in them.

    Arguably the AC has very rarely been about leading edge design, and normally much more about big mainstream boats, similar to the normal type of racing keeler. Was Reliance not a modern boat, because cats and more radical scows had already been invented? Was Ranger not a modern boat because her dimensions were radically constrained by the Universal Rule, and because she ignored the move towards amateur crews, smaller boats and ocean racing? Was Courageous not a modern boat because she was created after Manureva, Toria, Monitor and Mayfly, Windward Passage and the Windsurfer?

    At a guess, the fastest-growing international sailing "fleets" in the world could be RS Fevas, Bic O'pens, RS Aeros, the Beneteau First 40 and 211, J/70, and perhaps the Kona One, WindSUP boards, Hobie sailing kayaks, Moth and 12' Dinghy. So arguably the "modern boat" tends to be something that gives away performance in favour of economy and practicality. The Super 12 arguably fits that model about as well as a big day racer could. It could be a very good thing for the sport if this is the model of the future.
     
  3. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    =============
    So the Moth, arguably, gives away performance in favour of economy and practicality?!
    Seems to me that there is a consensus that the America's Cup boats should be,arguably, as close as possible to the fastest, most high performance boats on the planet capable of sailing on both tacks around a course.
     
  4. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Doug, please read the post.

    The point was that arguably the "modern boat" TENDS to trade performance for economy and accessibility. That does not mean that they ALL trade performance for economy and accessibility.

    The point is that the Super 12 may be as much a "modern boat" in 2016 as the Laser was in 1970, the Hobie 14 in 1968, or the J/24 was in 1978. None of those were the most radical thing afloat, they were all significantly slower than the state of the art, but they were all in line with the way trends in the sport were going and they all captured the mood of the moment.

    The list, which just came off the top of my head (but is influenced by my memory of actual hard data such as ISAF stats) includes;

    1 hyper-performance leading-edge class; (Moth)
    1 class that is fairly quick, but significantly slower than some of its type (J/70)
    1 class designed about 15 or 20 years ago as a cruiser/racer (Benny 211 or whatever this year's model is called)
    1 class designed about 4 years ago as a cheapish cruiser/racer (Ben 40)
    1 class designed pre WW1 and still often built in mahogany (12' Dinghy)
    1 class designed as an update on a 1969 design, and little if at all faster around a course than the '69 design (Kona)
    1 type that is similar to but much SLOWER than the 1969 design referred to above (WindSUPs)
    1 type that is slower than the 1860s design that originated the type (Hobie monohull sailing kayaks) or slower than a '70s design of the same length and style (Hobie tris);
    1 type that is a modern interpretation of a very moderate type (Aero)
    2 cheap poly popouts that are not much faster than '40s designs in the same category; (O'pen, Feva)

    The above included a lot of the fastest-growing, biggest-selling sailboats in the world today. Arguably a reasonable definition of "modern boat" would have to include these boats as they are among today's top sellers and the fastest growers. Most of these boats are a loooong way from being fast or radical.

    Sure, the Moth is fast and radical - but it is the only one among these top sellers, therefore it alone cannot obscure the fact that there is a general tendency among the top selling "modern boats" to be economical craft that are rarely much faster (and often slower) than comparable craft 15 to 165 years older.

    PS - yes, my list is not definitive - but I if we want to define "modern boat" we can look at what is selling best and/or most active in these "modern days", and it wouldn't be too far wrong in such terms.


    Researching the history of the sport shows that participation increases when new designs and the promotion of the sport centres on craft that concentrate on economy and accessibility rather than high performance, so the current trend could be great for the sport - as long as these growing classes are not ignored or sabotaged by those who claim that high-performance is "the future of the sport" or that slower boats are not "modern classes". The sport has many futures and ignoring most of them by acclaiming only one as "THE future" and only ultra fast craft as "modern" will do incalculable harm. It would be as if people of the '70s had spurned the Laser and Windsurfer and instead spoken about the International Canoe as a "modern class" and "the future".
     
  5. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    I think what a lot of people don't get is that speed is of diminishing utility, meaning the more speed is increased the less additional value it has.

    The reason for this is because it often comes ever greater costs, such as ease of use, carrying capacity, and purchase costs.

    Imagine a line between carrying capacity and speed, for the same cost.

    Say, for a given price, I can have a boat that moves 2000 lbs at 3 kts, or one that can move 200 lbs at 30.

    Now I may not need to move 2000 lbs, so I may be willing to trade off some capacity for speed, so I may end up with a boat that will move 500 lbs at 12 kts.

    This is definitely true with power boats. The most common tend to be outboard powered aluminum skiffs, which rarely go over 12 kts.

    Few people are going to settle for one that does just six kts, with the same load, even though it will use far less fuel.

    Even fewer will insist on one that does 80 kts, but needs ten times the power, or has expensive, vulnerable gear.

    This probably why we don't see many foiling power boats.

    IMHO, multi hull sailboats are still around because they grant a considerable increase in speed with a very low cost in lost utility in other areas.
     
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  6. DC Landis
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    DC Landis Junior Member

    sharpii2,

    Thinking of your 80knt comment and expensive vulnerable gear. Reminds me of drag boats. Boats are very expensive to run, break down all the time and if they are just for pleasure, not racing, not very many people really want them.

    The Super 12 is trying to siphon off some of that 12 meter romance, which is fine, they just need to call it something else. Anyone interested in that type of boat will know exactly what it is. I don't think they are trying to appeal directly to any other market than 12 meter lovers.

    I guess when it comes down to it, the boats designed by Farr look like pleasant boats for a modern 12 style boat. Nothing to crazy, which I think is a reason people want the 12's back.

    I agree with your not extreme idea as it has gone through the decades.

    Cheers, DC.
     
  7. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member

    Is there any real 12 metre romance?Had they not been selected as the post WW2 America's Cup class they may well have died out as you need a large crew to operate effectively.I would suggest that they were artificially kept alive just for the AC and if their inherent qualities were all that appealing,a number might have been built since they were dropped from the competition.I readily admit to not having sought detailed information about the numbers built in the last thirty years and maybe we have a contributor here with the information about new builds.

    A modern 65 foot daysailer represents a lot of money for a limited set of capabilities.You need a lot of storage space and a large crew and you could sail a lot faster without needing to organise a huge crew if you simply bought a 35 foot trimaran.Without wanting to appear too cynical,my suspicion is that the large keelboat is a notion that appeals to the competitive sailor who is over the hill and likes the idea of being part of the afterguard of a big boat in order to get close to the action that they remember and which physical decline has made unattainable,while hoping their history might encourage an owner to hire them.

    I also have doubts about whether it would be possible to establish a class structure which will allow a meaningful amount of racing action.What would be the critical mass needed to persuade a regatta to include a start for a new class?I salute the bravery of anybody willing to venture into new territory and I would expect the design to be very well done in this case.Time will tell if there really is a demand for such a boat.
     
  8. DC Landis
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    DC Landis Junior Member

    wet feet,

    I won't specify the type of people, but yes, there is a demographic that yearns for the old school race boats. They are still a viable class in the NE and those who race them love them. The 12's rely less on crew then modern boats, a C&C 30 One Design sails with a crew of 8, a lot of crew for a 30 footer and the numbers proportionally go up with boat size.

    I think just a viable new class for racing isn't the complete idea behind the class. The boats will allow young and old to sail and race on a boat that isn't overly demanding. Look at the AC 45 videos, those sailors hike and hike hard and an average sailor, regardless of age, wouldn't be able to hike an entire race. I personally wouldn't be interested in the idea of sailing any type of 12, but I know people who would be very interested in sailing on them.

    Getting more people out sailing, regardless of design, is something I think we can all agree on would be good for the sport we all love. If the class moves forward and gets more people sailing and racing there really is no negative. If people are willing to invest in the Modern Style 12, I'm at least wishing them all the best. I hope it all works out better then anyone dreamed.

    Cheers, DC.
     
  9. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

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    I personally would love to skipper one of the new boats. Racing one of these boats would be loads of fun! I just think the new class has run roughshod over the existing class and that should be corrected.
     
  10. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Is there any evidence for the idea that youth is so much more important nowadays? Sailors of earlier eras retired from top-flight competition at a much younger age than many sailors of today. John Bertrand, Paul Elvstrom, Peter Mander and many others retired from top-line small-boat racing when they were about the same age as Gashby is today and Frank Cammas will be in the next AC. Oh my god, I just realised that Tom Slingsby is in his 30s.... that makes me feel old.

    Yep, a 35 foot tri may be faster - but the tri would be beaten by a foiling kite, so if we're going to look at pure speed then there is only one answer.

    Pure speed doesn't really matter in sport. The world's best Tour de France cyclists ride slower than a teenage girl can ride in an "unlimited" Human Powered Vehicle. I think Michael Phelps is a slower swimmer than a teenage girl using flippers and a snorkel, if I recall correctly. We can and do cheer on Wiggo and Phelps so we should cheer on the best sailors on keeled monos too.

    Will this class get critical mass? Good point. Personally I think a class with more offshore ability, like the 12s had before the AC, would have been a better idea. The way the TP52 class has been going for 15 years shows what can be done.
     
  11. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    One that really amused me was transcribing a report of a Canoe sailing International racing event from the 19thC. In flowery language it described the scene in the clubhouse with some of the veterans reminiscing about their glory days whilst the new generation were out racing. Puzzled slightly, I looked up the dates. One of the key reminiscing veterans must have been about 35...
     
  12. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member

    I share this sentiment.It is the purely daysailing nature of the new class that I suspect will be a limiting factor in its success.I also wonder whether the W-classes and the Spirit varieties are also seeking the same type of owners and whether the result will be universally ;-) good.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2016
  13. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    "Super 12"

    From Scuttlebutt tonight:

    Tom Ehman did not want to respond to Scuttlebutt's inquiry on this matter but his organization did follow with a press release. Here's an excerpt:

    "Britton Ward, the lead designer for the new Super 12 Class, says the racing yachts will sail on average one minute per mile faster than the International 12 Meter Class yachts that raced in the America’s Cup from 1958 through 1987. The Super 12s are a modern take on the classic 12 Meter yachts. A new, rule-legal 12 Meter has not been built in three decades.

    “The Super 12s are one-design 65-foot monohulls designed by our team at Farr Yacht Design in Annapolis,” Ward said. “The Super 12s are an homage, a tribute, to the International 12 Meter Class, inspired by the elegance of their aesthetic. While a Super 12 will resemble a 12 Meter from the waterline up, the underbody and rig will be modern.”
     
  14. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    If Ward is comparing these boats to the 1987 vintage 12s, then that speed translates to something a touch quicker than a TP52. It's possible that the "Super 12s" have a TP52 size rig on a longer, skinnier hull. That actually sounds like a more interesting boat than I was expecting.

    Fully lit, this class could be lots of fun to watch - really quick, but something most sailors can relate to, like these.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzoJkupXAqY
     

  15. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    I get the impression the boat and it's premier event are being designed together, and are being modeled on events like the NYYC Invitational-Cup, which is currently competed in 42' Swans.

    If so, there is a real chance that the NYYC event may get diluted, and those are some of the same people who own the 12's. So while I think the 12 Metre bunch has a legitimate gripe about the new boat's branding and marketing, some of the effort may be directed at protecting value a race in that uses totally different boats.

    At any rate, I suspect that any noisy controversy will only benefit the new boat. And I don't see that as a problem legally. It's only if the 12 Metre class actually suffers damages that a real risk appears. Otherwise, it is mostly a minor slap-on-the-wrist sort of behavior. Now that the 12 Metre Class has publicly stated it's objection, I would expect them to go very quite and use lawyers.

    As far as the boat goes, the jib sheeting options appear too restricted. These will be enormously jib sensitive boats, and I think they will want the full gamut of jib sheet adjustments to be sailed well on race day, even on an up-and-down course. Could just be a simplified rendering. The hardware doesn't appear to be scaled accurately in the rendering anyway.
     
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