IC37: Ready to pull back the curtain

Published on May 22nd, 2019

The Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup was first run in 2009 alongside a newly launched fleet of one-design Swan 42 yachts – the eighth one-design class initiated by the New York Yacht Club.

As the amateur inter-club competition grew in prominence, so did the Swan 42 in its popularity overseas as a successful in handicap design. With class interest waning in the USA, boats were departing, leaving the NYYC with a problem for how to host their biennial championship.

The solution was announced in May 2017 that the New York Yacht Club would undertake a project to create a fleet of 20 37-footers, all owned and maintained by the club, with the 2019 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup as the target.

Designed by Mark Mills and built by Westerly Marine (USA) and FIBRE Mechanics (GBR), the project has now progressed to how the Melges IC37 Class will witness the club’s 20 boats converging on the starting line next month.

“We are proud of the build quality, the design, and the equipment chosen for this project,” says International Melges IC37 Class President Phil Lotz, “but more importantly, we are proud to bring a visionary concept forward in the sailing world, creating more joy in the sport through a strong class that simplifies sailing and limits the arms race.”

The Melges IC37 Class features strict class rules in support of Corinthian sailors which require coed amateur crews, limit teams to a single set of one-design sails, provide incentives for youth participation, eliminate costly masthead wind instruments, restrict private regatta coaching, and mandate a simple tuning matrix managed solely by mast step shims.

The inaugural year of IC37 one-design racing will feature one-design competition at seven regattas in Newport, R.I. followed by a winter series in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The 20-boat fleet of NYYC boats, chartered to members, will line up for the first time in June (see schedule).

Now that the initial 20-boat fleet has been delivered, the builders are working to construct the privately-owned boats, purchased around the world.

Will the Melges IC37 Class endure the pressures of competition that can destruct organizations? It will come down to the culture that gets established, as strong classes exist not for the boat sailed but for the people that sail them.

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