Over the years, as handicap systems have gone out of style, older Grand-Prix racing yachts lost value and struggled to find acceptance within the latest rule fashion. It is rare opportunity and welcomed advantage to see this Box-Rule class equally competitive under IRC. TP52s have proven to be very competitive in IRC in their box-rule class configuration but there are many changes easily done that make the TP52 even more competitive and an all-around performer. At venues worldwide under various weather conditions the optimized TP52 is a threat to win any IRC race. FYD has provided optimization services to several owners who have realized the high quality and value of the Farr TP52’s and their enormous potential for IRC racing. The result is a growing fleet of IRC 52’s enjoying fast, competitive and exciting racing with the ability to target events outside of the Med Cup series.
The optimizations can be done in stages and can be tailored for specific venues and conditions. The sail plan is an obvious and cost effective starting point. Conversion to spinnakers flown from a fixed bowsprit is especially appropriate for IRC optimization because it sails at tight downwind angles even when utilizing a spinnaker pole. Eliminating the spinnaker pole offers the additional advantage of a simplified deck layout and easier crew maneuvers. There is little to no performance loss and a significant handicap gain from this change. We recommend an increase in spinnaker area (roughly 10% depending on course type/conditions) for most venues to enhance the marginal surfing performance while still receiving a handicap reduction. Other sail related optimization could include an increase in the jib mid-girth for light wind venues or an IRC optimized mainsail girth. The TP52 rule limits jib & mainsail girths with maximum limits whereas the IRC rule is more open, an increase in sail area could offer a valuable boost in performance against handicap especially in light, sloppy conditions.
A second, very constructive change is increased stability especially for moderate and strong wind venues. Most TP52s carry internal ballast (in the range of 150kg-300kg) and lead encased in fabricated steel fins to stay within the class stability limits for VCG. Since IRC does not limit the ‘vertical center of gravity’ (or stability and keel draft in general) a more efficient arrangement for IRC is a deeper draft, fabricated steel fin with the internal ballast and fin lead moved to the bulb. Stability can be increased on the order of 10% (a practical limit beyond which significant structural upgrades would be required). The IRC handicap is only changed for the modest increase in draft (100mm) yet a substantial gain in upwind performance occurs, offset by a small decrease in downwind performance (added keel volume and wetted surface). For the new keels we have designed with the biggest increases in righting moment we have recommended some strengthening of the keel structure as a prudent step.
FYD TP52 optimized for IRC including QUEST, COUGAR, PANTHERA, RAGAMUFFIN, are winning races from Australia to the Solent. Check the Farr Yacht Sales website to see more Farr-designed TP52s ready to win IRC races for you.
Farr Yacht Design, Ltd. is acknowledged as the top racing-yacht design team in the world based upon one of the most extensive and impressive records of winning yacht racing results ever compiled by a single design group.