Jul 022011

I have written previously about the Journeyman not being allowed to enter the SRS class in Gotland Runt due to the high SRS rating we were assigned. (The fact that Thomas Blix’s TP52 with an even higher rating is apparently welcome in some races anyway is a different story ;-) )

We have now gotten the boat into the IRC Endorsed class, and the story is pretty similar. We get a rating which has very little base in reality. As you can see here, looking at boats that will participate in Gotland Runt we are rated roughly as fast as this yacht, and only slightly slower than this. Both which are highly optimized racing machines. Nothing on the Journeyman is highly optimized for racing. In fact, it’s rather the opposite. Everything is optimized for easy handling in rough conditions by an average crew. So we get rating hits on almost every design choice, even though they don’t mean much for performance.

The two main examples are the rigging and the Code-0. Yes, we have a carbon rig. But it’s built for ease of use durability, not for racing performance. It has only two spreaders, no backstays or checkstays, a single point main sheet and a permanent inner forestay. All of those features cost us performance, but do not reduce the rating. The Code-0 is designed for maximum usability and durability offshore. This gives the sail a shape which according to IRC rules makes it an upwind foresail, not an asymmetric spinnacker. A “Largest Foresail Area” of 186 m2 is of course a huge rating hit, especially since there is no way we can use this sail above TWA ~ 90°.

I realize the rating rules are what they are because most racers try to optimize everything inside the rules. But for a yacht like Journeyman where this is clearly not the case I feel like there should be some kind of “reality check” built into the rating.

Not that it matters much to us anyway, we are mainly in the race to promote the Ocean Search project. But it still leaves me with a irking feeling of having an unfair disadvantage…