The Reign in Spain
It’s been a long, long time since a successful single handed racing dinghy has made a dent in our sport, and we’re leaving Palma, Mallorca today with some optimism about this important niche. Meredith and I (along with our European dance consultant Kara) somehow managed to squeeze four days of test sailing, photographing and shooting video of four prototypes of Luca Devoti’s new D-One dinghy in between five nights of ridiculous partying Spanish style, and I am very excited to finally get to bed before 6 AM. I got about 10 hours of sleep over the entire 6 days in Mallorca.
Palma is a true Med Mecca for fans of sailing – the megayacht shipyard contains about a billion dollars’ worth of enormous sailing ships and gin-factory cruisers, while TP52s and other gucci racing porn abound – all with the background of some of the world’s best young sailors training for the upcoming Olympic Class Princess Sofia Regatta. Despite frigid temperatures and rain pissing down for most of our trip, we had a blast – when you’re not partying, there seems to always be something sailing-related to do or watch; a great trip for people who live, eat, and breathe sailing.
The D-One is certainly a fun little thing with major potential, and a most interesting project. Devoti is definitely a crusader, and is hoping that the D-One will start something of a revolution in sailing. He continually talks about “bringing the fun back” to the sport and his hopes are ambitious as hell, especially considering that here have been literally hundreds of single handed race boats since the Laser and not a single one of them have had any real success at all. But this one might just be different, for a few crucial reasons: First, Devoti is massively committed to this project – so much so that he’s built four prototypes and spent god knows how much money and time to develop and perfect the boat. This week alone, the boat was tested by Laser, Finn, and Star Olympians as well as a five-time Musto Skiff World Champ. Engineers and sailmakers have been poring over the details, and the level of refinement they are bringing to the project is impressive. Second, Devoti himself is a former Finn silver medallist, and he’s proven his ability as the successful builder of the Melges 24 as well as the Finn – every Finn used at the last Olympics was from Devoti. Third, he seems to know everyone in sailing – his Olympic, America’s Cup, and ISAF experience guarantee that. Fourth, he is a larger-than-life character, and his enthusiasm is infectious.
We are leaving with a little of that infection, helped along by some great sessions sailing this light, fast, easy-to-sail critter that, even as a prototype, is a sweet little boat that my out-of-shape, unskilled, inexperienced ass could sail in 8-20 knots with no problems and only one capsize all week. We’ve got some recovering to do from a great journey, but once we’ve got some rest and had a chance to go over our data and videos, you’ll read a detailed report right here – this is going to be one to watch.