Spit and Polish
At SA we have always been enamored with the hard sailed C-Class Catamarans since the beginning. . These technically fascinating beauties have been light years ahead of conventional sailboats in almost every way for decades, and have long held the title of “fastest boats on the planet” for the wind regime that they sail – windward/leeward courses with a wind limit of around 25 knots. In 2007, we watched longtime Anarchists Fredo and Blunted as they finally wrested control of the “Little America’s Cup” away from perennial Cup champion Steve Clark, but only after Clark not only sold Fredo one of his old boats, but also after he gave them the design he used to build the all-conquering Cogito. We were as stoked as anyone to see this incredibly sportsmanlike gesture, and even more stoked to see the Canadians win, hopefully beginning a new age of C-Class competition.
With that in mind, here’s a little update on the Canadians via James Spithill.
In our neverending quest to find out anything we can about the coming monster Deed of Gift America’s Cup multihulls, we try to stay on top of hard sail developments, especially now that the rumors are flying about hard sails for both Alinghi and BMW/Oracle, each of whom have hired one part of the ultimate wing sail specialists; Duncan Maclane and Dave Hubbard. These are the guys that really unlocked the secrets of the ultra efficient Cogito wing, and given the size of the DoG beasts, a wing may be the only way to tame their power without illegal powered winches.
Designers are notoriously tight-lipped, but sailors aren’t, and that’s one reason we are able to keep tabs on our 6’2” red-haired rock star Aussie and SA pal Jimmy Spithill – he sticks out like a sore thumb. Jimmy has spent an awful lot of time getting ready for this match, and is likely to be the starting helmsman on BMW/Oracle’s USA. You’ve seen him screwing around in A-Cats over the past couple of years, even with Ben Hall’s hardsailed A-boat, but a couple of weeks ago he tried something new in Toronto: A C-Class cataramaran. And he capsized it. We caught up with Jimmy while he was on a short vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mex.
SA: So we heard you knocked over one of Fred’s boats in Toronoto…
JS: Yeah, we were in super light air, with Mike [Drummond] trapping to leeward to get a hull out of the water and me to leeward as well, and we just got hit with a puff.