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Dawning of a New Era?

One Design

Dawning of a New Era?

For better or for worse 2010 brought us the first
exclusively multihull Americas Cup and the promise of more to come. The old mug
reaches deep into the subconscious of every racing Catsailor but is it possible
that this turn of events is already starting to change the demographic for
racing sailors?

Again this year I have ranked the top 25 One-Design classes
in North America based on a three year average number of participants at class
championships. I say welcome to the first One-Design Survey of the new epoch,
year 1 AM (After Monohulls). Yes it’s a bold and not
particularly well founded statement but maybe it’s possible that all of your
previous experiences have taken place in the epoch Before Catamarans (BC).
Maybe this year’s survey begins to support my capricious assertion that we are
at the dawning of a new era. If not it will at least make for some good forum
fodder.  

While not exactly crowding out the top of the list,
catamarans have made a measurable surge this year with three classes (up from
one) in the top 25. The three classes are the Hobie Cat 16, Formula 18 and the A Class Catamaran.  

Complete results are below followed by an explanation of how the ranking is calculated.

 

Place
  Class

2 BC

1 BC

1 AM

3yr Av

1
Laser Radial

88 (CA)

142 (NJ)

93 (TX)

107.67

2
Laser

77 (CA)

104 (NJ)

67 (TX)

82.67

3
Thistle

59 (FL)

83 (CT)

98 (MI)

80.00

4
Lightning

97 (RI)

65 (NY)

75 (NJ)

79.00

5
Sunfish

52 (PA)

76 (SC)

88 (NY)

72.00

6
Flying Scot

69 (NJ)

74 (WI)

50 (MS)

64.33

7
MC scow

69 (WI)

51 (OK)

71 (GA)

63.00

8
E scow 

71 (NY)

46 (WI)

68 (NJ)

61.67

9
Vanguard 15 

77 (NY)

45 (NY)

56 (RI)

59.33

10
C scow

59 (WI)

71 (WI)

38 (NY)

56.00

11
29er

65 (ONT)

41 (ONT)

55 (ONT)

53.67

12
Hobie Cat 16

56 (IA)

54 (ONT)

50 (NV)

53.33

13
J/22 

NA

37 (TX)

51 (NY)

52.00

14
J/24 .

54 (NY)

44 (MX)

48 (MA)

48.67

15
Butterfly

54 (MI)

38 (MI)

49 (MI)

47.00

16
Albacore 

39 (ON)

50 (ON)

47 (ON)

45.33

16
Snipe

31 (MA)

44 (FL)

61 (MD)

45.33

18
Lido 14

43 (OR)

47 (CA)

42 (CA)

44.00

19
505

31 (OR)

69 (CA)

23 (IL)

41.00

20
Formula 18

33 (FL)

36 (ONT)

51 (WI)

40.00

21
Star

30 (MI)

47 (CT)

42 (CA)

39.67

22
Catalina 22

36 (TX)

35 (FL)

44 (AL)

38.33

23
A-Class Catamaran

28 (CA)

42 (FL)

43 (MI)

37.67

24
Inter Club

35 (NJ)

55 (NY)

21 (MA)

37.00

25
Y flyer

49 (GA)

26 (IN)

36 (AR)

37.00

Let me review the un-scientific method for determining this
list of the top twenty five one-design classes in North America. What I have
done is taken the number of boats competing in each class North American or
National Championships for each year. The location of the championship is also
included. I think this is a good measure of relative class size and activity.
To rank the classes I use the average number of boats over the last three
years. Classes don’t technically need to be strict one-design so long as all
the boats are designed to a rule and not a handicap. 

This list has some notable exceptions. The first is that
there are no junior classes on the list. I define a junior class as a class
that has a maximum age requirement in their rules. Both the 29er and the
Butterfly slip under the bar on this one. 

I have also not included ice boats. If I had the DN would be
at the top of the list every year and is by far the worlds most popular ice boat. 

I have excluded jr classes and ice boats not because I have any inherent prejudice against them
but because you don’t need a survey to tell you what classes are at the top of
these segments of the sport. As I mentioned the DN is the top ice boat every
year and since it is sailed on a different surface than soft water boats they
are not really in competition with the classes on this list. A similar thing is
true with jr classes. There is a small number of them and it’s relatively easy to figure
out what jr boats are most widely sailed. 

In my opinion the list that
I’ve presented here is where the class warfare is taking place. These classes
are more or less in direct competition with one another for market share in the
one-design racing world.  

Another metric I’m looking at as of last year is what I call
a One-Design Index. It sums the top 25 National or North American events by
participation to come up with the number. Results from 2003 are below.

Chart