Clearly something isn’t right here….
The 2012 Bermuda race results are now official, and GryphonSolo2 will receive a few prizes at the awards ceremony tonight. We came second in our double-handed class of about 10 boats and also second in the double-handed division of about 20 boats. We were also the first boat to finish in the DH class, beating our nearest competitor (Dragon, a fellow Class 40) by nearly 8 hours. It was a great race and while we are pleased with the results of having the best elapsed time by a wide margin, we lost first place on corrected time to a J-120 named Mereille that finished 14 hours after us. A J-120 is also a modern forty foot boat that is known to be fast, although they do not carry water ballast like GS2 and do not have the same beamy hull shape and flat bottom that allows GS2 to plane early and often in reaching and running conditions.
Nonetheless, although Mereille sailed a strong race against her peer group of J-120’s and beat them across the line by 4 hours, we sailed a very strong race against 4 other American Class 40’s, (Toothface, Dragon, Icarus, and Amhas) and beat them by margins of between 7 and 9 hours, which is very unusual given the typically close Class 40 racing we experienced in the Atlantic Cup, where boats finished the offshore legs within minutes and sometimes seconds of one another. So, while we had said before the race that we felt we were really only racing against our fellow Class 40’s because of the onerous handicap delivered to Class 40’s under the ORR handicap system administered by US Sailing (Mike Dreese, where is our Class 40 Cup?), we still felt disappointed that we were not able to correct out on top after turning in a very strong performance relative to our peer group.
I made inquiries with naval architect Jim Teeters from US Sailing about how ORR actually works and how the handicaps are derived, and Jim offered to work with me to further examine the wind conditions and boatspeeds seen during the race to compare to the predictions made by the rating rule. ORR is a complex rating handicap system, so it will take a bit of time to crunch the data, but I hope we will come out with some answers that will shed light on why one 40 foot boat needed to beat another 40 foot boat by 19 hours to win the class on corrected time. – Joe Harris.