About a year and a half ago we had an idea that a class 40 racing yacht would make an excellent vessel for Dream or Two’s Fastnet campaign in 2015. At the time it was an idle comment, but the more we discussed it and dreamed about it, the more convinced we were it was a good idea and an adventure worth pursuing. Initially we were just browsing and looking into the feasibility of operating a Class 40 as a coded vessel for skippered races and day sails, but over the past year a lot of work and research has gone into the project and now culminates with the launch of Fortissimo, our very own Class 40 racing yacht!
Fortissimo is an Akilaria RC-1 Class 40 built by MC-TEC and designed by Mark Lombard, famous for designing boats such as the Figaro II class, IMOCA 60′, and ORMA 60 multihulls. Class 40 is a box rule, where boats can be to any design as long as it fits within an imaginary box of 40 foot long, 4.5 metres wide and has a draught of 3.0 metres. The actual rule is more complex, but you get the idea. Carbon fibre hulls and canting keels are banned to keep costs down. The boats are designed to be sailed offshore single and double handed, or fully crewed.
In races such as the Route Du Rhum, the Class 40 is now the largest class to take part in the classic transatlantic race. They are not constrained by handicap rating systems, so the designers have been able to optimise the design to be as powerful and fast as possible, yet relatively easy to handle. The result is a sailing experience that is more akin to dinghy sailing, but taken offshore, with comfortable accommodation for up to 8 people. So far the sailing has been spectacular, and effortless, she sails fast, but is designed to do it, she is not on the limit of control at speed, but in her element. It is so exciting to be able to sail a yacht like this, that until now has been only accessible to professional racing teams.
Fortissimo is the only class 40 in the UK that is available for any one to come and have a go on and see what these boats are all about. We are offering day sails in the solent and timed laps around the Isle of Wight, as well as channel and west country cruising, RORC racing, the Round the Island Race and the Fastnet Race. Based in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, next door to the Ben Ainslee Racing America’s Cup HQ. It should be an exciting year.