class of the classe
In Class 40 events, the standard version Akilaria, originally launched in 2006, of which more than 30 have been built, has become the most prolific Class 40 being raced. After four years of Class 40 racing, many podium finishes and tens of thousands of offshore miles, the builder in conjunction with designer Marc Lombard have launched a new version of the Akilaria Class 40 – the RC2. To date, more than six RC 2’s have been built. The first RC2 arrived in the States last summer for USA shorthanded sailor Joe Harris.
According to designer Marc Lombard the original boat was conceived at a time when the Class 40 was supposed to be a cruiser/racer. Today it is evident that some boats are being used for racing only. “There was a need to make sure that the Akilaria stays at the highest level in competition, so we decided to make a boat that is optimized in all ways for being at the maximum potential of the rule."
The new boat fits within the constraints of the Class 40 box rule that is essentially: LOA 12.19m, Beam max 4.50m and 3m maximum draft with a minimum displacement of 4,500kg and water ballast limited to 750kg a side. On the rig side, the mast can be a maximum of 19m above the water, upwind sail area of up to 115sqm, downwind sail area is unlimited and the bowsprit can extend 2m beyond the bow.
Compared to the original version, the RC2 has a new hull shape that is more powerful due to the boat having minimum freeboard within the class rule. Aside from reducing weight and windage – at the expense of internal comfort, Lombard points out – minimum freeboard also means the hull has less righting moment in its 90deg inversion test. But this has allowed the designer to increase stability. The result is the new Akilaria has a monster chine, starting at the transom and extending most of the way to the bow.
“We added more stability in the middle of the boat,” says Lombard. “At the same time, it is narrower on its floatation beam, but it is wider when it is heeled. This means it has less wetted area when it is light, and has a little more wetted area but more stability when heeled. This is a design trend we have developed lately. It is something that has also appeared on Open 60s, so the use of the chine is optimized.”
“Now the boat is at the maximum everywhere – minimum weight and maximum righting moment, and the max righting moment is based on the best configuration to make it as stable as possible. So there is an increase in power. We have increased the aspect ratio of the mainsail also, the mast is a little bit further aft and the boat is a little bit wider aft. The boat should be better in light air, which was not the best point of sail on the original version. Also dead downwind performance in light and medium conditions is improved. The boat is most powerful on a reach, so it has very good all-round performance. We don’t want to have holes in the performance. On every point of sail there is a little plus.”
The cockpit has also been improved so that it is possible to race the boat without the crew falling all over one another, but again not so good for cruising, says Lombard. The Akilaria cockpit is very Open 60-like, wide and now open-ended at the transom. Twin companionways allow access to below, either side of an Open 60-style tunnel through the cabin top which all the lines run aft from the mast, including the main sheet. All lines terminate at a mid-ships pit area which is fitted with all the jammers and two utility winches.
The mast is carbon fiber made by Lorimar, with twin swept back spreaders. The boom and bowsprit are also carbon. Standing rigging is rod, fore and aft rigging is textile. On deck perhaps the most radical feature is the carbon fiber articulating bowsprit. This allows you to cant the sprit to windward allowing for deeper downwind sailing angles. The bowsprit is operated with control lines that lead aft to the cockpit. For complete specifications, pricing and photos – please contact [email protected]