What is a Class 40?
When ever you see offshore racing yachts in the media, they are generally the IMOCA Open 60s that Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS), Robin Knox-Johnston (SAGA), Dee Cafari (AVIVA) and Mike Golding (ECOVER) sail. These boats are extremely powerful, fast and high tech, not to mention tremendously expensive. Another option was the Open 40, a forty foot version, but these too were expensive machines, made of carbon fibre and with the option of canting keels. In 2005 the Class 40 association was formed with an idea to offer a more affordable offshore racing platform. Carbon hulls and canting keels were banned and anything that could become too expensive is carefully controlled. The idea has been a huge success and there are now 142 registered class 40s. Fortissimo is number 97.
Class 40, MC-TEC Akilaria RC1, “Fortissimo” – aka “40simo”
Our latest addition to the fleet, is our Class 40 offshore racing yacht. Built by MC-TEC she is a series production model built to the Class 40 rule. The Akilaria RC1 designed by Mark Lombard was developed for a dual role of fast cruising and offshore racing, with the ability to be sailed single handed but also with accommodation for a full crew.
The Class 40 rule ensures a lot of safety features are on the boat, and they are built to a standard that ensures they are safe to be sailed offshore, across oceans. This inherent safety, a well thought out cockpit with aft mainsheet and inboard winching positions lends the design very well to taking novices out on the water to explore high speed sailing, yet also providing experienced sailors with the opportunity to sail on a boat that offers performance unlike any other yacht of this size. Fortissimo will be used for RORC offshore racing, long distance cruising across and along the English Channel, and for day sails in the Solent.
This is a very special boat that just 5 years ago was only available to professional sailing teams, we are now offering you the chance to experience the thrill of sailing onboard these amazing vessels.
Manufacturer and model: MC-TEC, Akilaria RC1
Year: 2008, commissioned in 2010
Length: 12.1 m (40 ft)
Beam: 4.5 m
Draft: 3.0 m
Weight: 4,700 kg
Why Sailing a Class 40 is Special
Those of you who’ve sailed on Fortissimo will know that she’s a fabulous boat to push and hone your sailing skills. However, if you haven’t sailed on her we realise that it might initially sound a bit intimidating to be sailing on a thoroughbred racer on one of our experiences. So in order to help you see why she’s so great to sail we thought we’d provide some more detail for you! We could spend all day talking about why it’s so rewarding to sail on 40simo but here are a few of the best reasons for sailing a Class 40 with us:
You’ll quickly come to realise that Fortissimo sails like a big dinghy, in so much as if you sail her well she’ll reward you for it. That means she’s a great way of developing your sailing skills, honing your wind awareness, technical ability, understanding of sail plans and much more. What’s more, with our RYA qualified instructors you’ll get the highest quality teaching and instruction on all of our experiences.
Navigation and Pilotage
On all Dream or Two experiences you’ll be an integral part of the crew and that means you can get involved in the passage planning, navigation and pilotage. As we’re able to cover larger distances than other boats it will test your understanding of tides and route planning over longer distances. There is also no greater test of your pilotage plan when we’re running along at 15 knots and your marks are flying past you at speed!
With a cruising speed of around 10 knots you can cover plenty of miles in Fortissimo. If mile building is important for your RYA certifications then you can really clock them up on-board with us. We view this as just a side-benefit, but we all like to build up our mileage total and our time at sea.
Adventure and Destinations
With greater boat speed comes the opportunity to travel farther afield and to spend more time exploring our destination. A quick trip across the channel (a day sail on Fortissimo) can see you sampling French cuisine or exploring the untouched beauty of an island like Sark in no time at all. We believe that adventure is an important part of our sailing experiences and there is plenty on offer.
Best of Both Worlds
While Fortissimo is a racing yacht, the first generation of Class 40s were conceived to have a cruising capability. So we have a cooker, heads and a fridge along with plenty of space down below to sleep and socialise in the evenings. At the same time she’s not lost any of her racing pedigree and you’ll really experience what that means with plenty of fast offshore sailing.
These are just a few of the reasons why Class 40 sailing is that little bit more special than other boats you may have sailed before. However, if you’ve never sailed before then coming onboard Fortissimo with us is also a great way to see if a life on the water is for you.