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Corinthian Class Developed for SuperYacht Association

Published on November 19th, 2016

The America’s Cup has been the laboratory and breeding ground for many of the developments that have trickled down into recreational competition. Beyond the products in use are the skills learned by the sailors involved.

When the event shifted to multihulls, crew sizes shrank, which impacted those people who had built careers chasing the Auld Mug. Along with aging superstars from the Volvo Ocean Race and elsewhere, this surplus of sailing talent and skilled personnel needed a new home, and they found it in superyacht racing.

What once were massive boats built for comfort and cautiously raced has transitioned into a heightened level of commitment and competition. However, even for some of the kings and queens of industry, the impact of professionalism has been too much.

The response to this sentiment for the SuperYacht Racing Association (SYRA) membership has been the launch of a new initiative: the Corinthian Spirit Class. Here is the statement from SYRA Executive Director Peter S Craig:

The superyacht racing circuit is thriving with new yacht owners coming on the scene every year. Yet stakeholders agree that there is a need to broaden the appeal of superyacht regattas. Recognizing this need, a new class has been developed with the primary goal of attracting more yacht owners and growing participation. The Corinthian Spirit Class offers an alternative to what is viewed by some as increasingly competitive and resource intensive racing.

The new Corinthian Spirit Class is intended to differ with an emphasis on close, fun racing, featuring reduced regatta expenses, streamlined access to a superyacht handicap, and minimal impact on the yacht captain’s resources in the lead up to regattas. By addressing concerns about what is required to get yachts ‘race ready’, this new class will attract yacht owners who have participated in the past and those who have yet to compete.

Event organizers are enthusiastic about offering this option to their racing entrants. “We feel this initiative has great potential for the Superyacht Cup Palma going forward,” said Event Manager Kate Branagh. “We know yacht owners who love the superyacht racing scene, but aren’t all about the racing. Providing them with an alternative that doesn’t require excessive race preparation or augmenting permanent crew, while still enabling them to participate and compete has already been very well received.”

2016-11-19_6-56-26The Corinthian Spirit Class features a modified eligibility criteria, with no spinnakers and only jibs on furlers or hanks. With no spinnakers, the need to augment permanent crew is minimized. The handicapping philosophy for the new class eliminates the need to optimize one’s yacht for racing.

“This new class has been a discussion item at our last two SYRA annual meetings,” remarked SYRA Executive Peter Craig. “An important part of our mission is to ‘enhance the enjoyment of superyacht owners’ and this initiative is all about that. The expected fleet building will not only be good for yacht owners, but the industry as well.”

An important initiative goal is to keep the racing fun and close without owners having to optimize yachts. Working with the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC), the handicapping process in simplified, with a shorter application and reduced fee from the ORC. They will issue special Corinthian Spirit handicap certificates (ORCcs) – a one-number handicap that incorporates a subjective pre-regatta assessment on the preparation / optimization of the yacht to race.

The SYRA is available to assist the captain as needed. Safe racing has been and will continue to be a top priority of event organizers and the SYRA. There will be no compromise to safe racing with the Corinthian Spirit class. The standard Racing Rules Appendix SY will be invoked and as with all superyacht racing, an ‘RRS-Safety Afterguard Member’ will be required.

At press time, the 2017 Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta, St Barths Bucket, Superyacht Cup Palma and Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta are offering this new class.


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