A few years ago the idea was mooted to create a new class for boats about 40ft in hull length (IRC band 1.060 to 1.140), largely cruiser-racers with almost entirely Corinthian crews. The P40 Class.
A First 40 is at the bottom of the band and an XP44 is at the top. The class includes but is not limited to J111s, J121s, J122s, Grand Soleil 43s, JND 39s, Mills 39s, Ker 39s, MAT12s, King 40s, and JPK 1180s.
To his great credit, this idea was put together by Dave Swete and then developed with a small group of interested owners. The concept was doing quite well and then along came the pandemic which halted further progress.
As elsewhere, many other factors have contributed to a serious decline in racing participation in the Solent – an area that used to be the strongest in the UK. Some of this may be because there are just too many events and a dwindling fleet being spread more thinly. Numbers for the Hamble spring and winter series, which used to bring everyone together, have dropped drastically. It is a similar story for Cowes Week and the IRC Nationals.
The P40 class is now planning a relaunch with some significant changes. Hopefully, these changes will revitalize the class. Currently the strongest growth on the south coast of the UK is with the Cape 31 class and double-handed offshore. Fully crewed racing, especially inshore, is struggling. Read on.