The deepening recession doesn’t seem to be putting a damper on the growth of the kind of fast, exciting, relatively inexpensive boats that we love here at SA – both inshore and offshore. Here’s an update on some of our favorites:
Mini Transat and Class 40: This weekend’s Bermuda 1-2 is the most important shorthanded ocean race on the US East Coast, and the two-way race is welcoming a sizable first-time Class 40 fleet as well as a strong Mini turnout. This is a tough race in every way, and these slick classes racing level will definitely bring something special to a race that should continue to grow as shorthanded racing gathers steam in North America. Here’s the latest weather/Gulf Stream briefing for the Friday start, and here is a slightly outdated entry list. Follow the boats here, and follow the action in the Ocean Racing Forum. Plenty of Anarchists in this one, so pick your favorites.
Open 5.7 and 6.5: Boats are in full production, with three brand new Open 5.7 coming out of the factory this month and another 6 are on the production schedule for next month. Congrats to Columbia Yachts who’s doing a great job! April May; 2 new owners in Southern California in, 1 in the Northeast, 1 more in Newport, RI (to be confirmed soon we hope). Cal race week with 7-8 Open 570s and LBRW 10-13 boats for the West Coast Championship and High Sierra Regatta in July (9-10 boats). More Open News.
Melges 20 and Viper 640: Both boats are experiencing some order backlog in the US, with consistent racing in pockets in the NE, SE and Texas (Viper) and the Midwest and NW (M20). The Melges team hasn’t surprised, getting the rig and sailing development sorted out quickly, while both North and Quantum have jumped on sail development. Anarchists “Schoonerman” is running demos almost every week for prospective SF Viperers, while at least two new Vipers are headed to the Great Lakes, with the nicest new sails for the V640 coming from out of the Doyle Boston shop in Ontario.
i550: We just can’t get enough of this cheap-as-chips class, full of young, enthusiastic home builders. One thing you won’t be able to do with your shiny new production sportboat? Flip her over in your garage with a few friends after you get the deck stuck on. They just look like a good time for a great price, even before they hit the water.
The rest: Also with a few orders on the books (as we hear it), the Ultimate 20 continues to hold its value and provide solid fleets as recently as the 12-boat Detroit NOOD. Hull numbers 1 and 2 of the FT-7.5 are either enroute or already in Southern California. The Longtze 650 continues its Euro-circus with colorful sails and lots of wacky Frenchmen, and the Shaw 650 is still a mysterious beast hiding behind door # 2.
The most complete chance to see the majority of these boats will be at the Chicago Sportboat Demo Weekend in just a few days. Even if you’re not in the market to buy one of these sporties, go and sail them anyway – you might change your mind…
Photo by Pat Reynolds.