As the teams prepare for the 2016 World Championship Marina de Sotogrande, one man is tasked with ensuring all 11 boats in this one design fleet are exactly the same.
We spent the day with international measurer Guy-Roland Perrin to find out how he keeps the RC44 teams in check:
08.00 - Coffee
“I won’t say cheating but the teams are always looking to push limits in order to find out exactly where the limit is. It’s not a problem, in fact it is vital part of the sport, it is how new systems develop. For the RC44 there are two measurement sessions per year usually one at the start of the season and one ahead World Championship event, which is what we are measuring for today.”
09.00 - Team Aqua, Hull inc. fin, bulb, rudder, bowsprit lifted by crane to measure the weight of the boat - minimum 3.1 tons
“During a measurement session we are looking at everything from the weight of the boat to the tiny seal that is on the hydraulic pump that controls the pressure on the forestay. As the class is one design there is a specific serial number for every fitting on the boat to ensure everything is the same.”
11.00 - Aleph Racing, Fin profile taken - 2mm margin
“With every measurement we take there is a maximum and minimum, there is no tolerance outside of that. In this fleet the teams are all very professional, they are playing the game correctly.
The worst in terms of measurement is the children’s fleets. The kids don’t really understand the boundaries , the parents are pushing the kids and the coaches are pushing everyone.”
13.00 - Below deck onboard Bronenosec Sailing Team to check the hydraulic pump seal
“Being a measurer you are always playing catch-up, the teams are consistently one step ahead.
A good example of this recently is how the teams control the pressure on the forestay. The more pressure, the stiffer the forestay and the higher the boat can point upwind. But too much pressure and you are at risk of snapping the mast, or worse.
To ensure all the boats are safe at every event we check the seals of the pump to make sure the pressure hasn’t been changed.
With this seal check in place the teams then looked at the possibility shortening the forestay attachment to the ram as there was no rule for this. So we had to create a new rule and we measure the length of this attachment.
It won’t be long before they are looking for some other loophole within the rules.”
15.00 - Team CEEREF - 1x Main 1x Gennaker 1x Jib 2x Spinnakers
“We measure all the new sails in the fleet, so at every event registration each crew has to declare the sails they are going to use and these have to have the signed sticker that proved they have been measured.
There doesn’t tend to be too much variation in the sails but they still all need to be checked. In total for this years world championship we will check new sails for nine teams, that is between 50 and 60 sails.”
20.00 - Beer
“For this years Wolrd Championship we are hosting an open boat session for the first time. This will allow the boat captian from each team the opportunity to get onboard each boat and have a look around.
It’s a very good practice to introduce to the fleet, in some classes we publish the data, but the open boat allows the guys to see for themselves and ask any questions.
I often get questions from the shore crews who have come up with new ideas on how to improve the running systems onboard, we are always open to this. If it is a small logical change that will benefit the whole fleet we often allow it and roll it out across the board.
However, sometimes the suggestions are just a bit to out-there for us to take on. If it is costly, could potentially cause longterm damage to the boat or is not within keeping with the class the likelihood is it won’t be allowed.
Ultimately we are trying to keep the boys safe, the boats working and keeping the integrity of the class intact.”