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Displaying items by tag: Cape 31

The first Cape 31 in France, Peter Dubens’ North Star 2 set an unbeatable pace by dominating their 27-boat IRC D class with a scoresheet of 3,1,1,1,1 in perfect St Tropez conditions at Frances most significant IRC event, Les Voiles de St. Tropez.

As a result, they were awarded the IRC Sword for outstanding IRC performance amongst all 140 competitors in the modern fleet.

As regular Afloat readers know, the Cape 31 designed by County Wicklow's Mark Mills, an ICRA Committee member, will be racing in Ireland next Spring with the arrival of up to four of the boat into Cork Harbour and Howth.

North sailmaker Sam Richmond who was sailing onboard North Star 2 said, "Fast, fun racing - big smiles all round. We had a bit of luck with courses and conditions but sailed very cleanly against some super competitive IRC boats."

North Star 2’s owner Peter Dubens who controls the North Technology Group of companies including North Sails and Southern Spars brought his Cape 31 to France just to race at Les Voiles, before joining Cape 31 One Design events around the world.

Published in Cape 31
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With up to four Cape 31heading to Cork Harbour and Howth, the South African inspired racer from the drawing board of Mark Mills looks set to be part of the Irish one design scene in 2022. Boasting high-performance features such as an innovative ramp deck, an all-carbon keel fin, and a Southern Spars carbon rig, the light but powerful 31 has been impressing sailors on both sides of the Atlantic. Last week, Cork sailmaker Barry Hayes sailed the Cape 31 on the Hamble last week, and Afloat asked him for his first impressions.

Cork sailmaker Barry Hayes spotted on a Cape 31 on the Hamble last weekCork sailmaker Barry Hayes (centre) on a Cape 31 on the Hamble last week

Is it easy to sail?
It is super easy. The deck layout is super simple and easy to use. All the lines and systems are well thought out with the right rope in the right place and easy to hand.

The Cape 31 has a very clean deck with cross sheeting. Cars are set onboard all the time.The Cape 31 has a very clean deck with cross sheeting. Cars are set on board all the time

How about the performance? 
It’s a weapon downwind, but very stable like it has two rudders (but only has one); the grip and stability are incredible. Upwind it’s the same very quick; the sheeting angle is squeaky tight max in you can’t fit between the jib and the mast. 
It's a super-efficient sail plan with lots of power. 

The sheeting angle up wind is really tightThe sheeting angle upwind is really tight

Will it sail well on IRC?
Well, I think it’s proven that already in Cowes week. It’s got an excellent rating, and it can sail to it. But sailing against other IRC boats up the first leg will take a bit of getting used to. You will need to sail at their angles and speed for the first beat. After that, you're gone, and you can sail it as fast as you like. And the faster, the better! So just hang on in there until the windward mark, and away you go.

Well thought out control line arrangements at the mast Well thought out control line arrangements at the mast

Is it easy to control the power in the boat?
Yes, the stability and sail area allows you to control the boat. There is an excellent main sheet set-up and jib sheeting system, which is cross sheeted. Having the kite sheets send jib sheets along with the outboard sheet all going to the same spot makes it so easy to trim and power up and depower.

How about the halyards? None of them come to a winch?
They don’t need to. The main is 2:1 and set down below at the base of the mast, inside the boat. The jib halyard is 2:1 and loads of power in it. So it doesn’t need a winch. The kite halyard is super easy and just 1:1.

How about spinnaker hoisting and dropping?
This is the best part about the boat. The kite is up and down in 5 seconds, super simple with no one pulling the kite Into the bow hatch. It’s pulled down with the retriever line into the forward hatch, which goes directly to the stern where the line pops out, and the tactician pulls the kite down. The bow main guides it into the hatch, but that’s all. This is by far the best part of the boat.

The spinnaker goes down the bow hatch with a take down system on it. The hatch is nicely roundedThe spinnaker goes down the bow hatch with a takedown system on it. The hatch is nicely rounded

The spinnaker inside the boat on the take down systemThe spinnaker inside the boat on the takedown system

Below see three quick vids showing the big kite of the Cape 31, then the spinny takedown system from the stern and thirdly, closing the hatch

Is there much for the rest of the crew to do then?
Yes, everyone has a role from bow to stern. From trimming the jib downwind in 20 kts to the spinnaker takedown, everyone has a job. It’s full-on fun sailing.

Down the main hatch is the bulkhead which the mast base is set onDown the main hatch is the bulkhead which the mast base is set on.

How does the flat deck on each side of the cockpit work out?
It’s excellent, so easy to walk directly up and down the deck. Having the jib sheets so low and not in the way with the cross sheeting makes it easy.

Is this a boat for anyone?
If you're not going offshore or doing ISORA, this is an excellent option for anyone looking at one Design racing and club IRC racing! Having the one design restriction in place totally controls how the fleet works worldwide. Limited crew and limited sails really keep the costs down. You need to bring your runners and leave your boots at home; it’s not that type of boat. You wouldn’t have time to get them on…

You like the boat. Is it a game-changer?
Yes, I think it is. Mark [Mills] did an excellent job finding a very fast boat, simple to sail, can sail in IRC and complete. With crew and sail limits. It’s not easy to do in this day and age. Job well done, I think...

Cape 31 deck planCape 31 deck plan - The low freeboard aggressively chined hull shape that maximises stability in a breeze but enjoys low wetted surface when upright. Plans courtesy Mills Design

Cape 31sail plan - the new design accommodates a socketed deep carbon keel fin and a powerful sail plan, developed with North Sails South Africa and set on a Southern Spars Cape Town carbon rig Plans courtesy Mills DesignCape 31sail plan - the new design accommodates a socketed deep carbon keel fin and a powerful sail plan, developed with North Sails South Africa and set on a Southern Spars Cape Town carbon rig Plans courtesy Mills Design

Published in Cape 31
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Could it be that the newest Irish one-design keelboat class will be another Irish design?

The news that Irish sportsboat exponents here have ordered up to five Cape 31 One Designs for next season has echoes of what happened almost 30 years ago when the smaller 1720 sportsboat was born in Cork Harbour.

The new Cape 31 was designed by Wicklow based Mark Mills as a simple, clean, high-performance One Design, and it's been turning heads at some of the world's biggest sailing centres.

Now, according to Afloat sources, Irish interest in the South African inspired racer has come from Howth and Cork Harbour and from some very experienced crews seeking a racing boat with 'no pretences towards cruising'. 

The boat, which is crewed by five or six, offers a combination of both upwind and offwind performance in a breeze while retaining lighter airs capabilities which has appealed to many sportsboat sailors.

As regular readers will recall, Afloat has been reporting on Cape 31 developments since its inception in 2017

Cape 31s racing at Cowes WeekCape 31s racing at Cowes Week

There is a fleet in double digits in Cape Town, and, closer to home, the class stole the limelight at this month's Cowes Week Regatta on the Solent.

According to Mills, boasting high-performance features such as an innovative ramp deck, an all-carbon keel fin, and a Southern Spars carbon rig, the light but powerful 31 has been impressing sailors on both sides of the Atlantic.

Designed to be the tightest possible fit for a high cube shipping container to allow easy transport worldwide, it's not entirely clear at this point if the new Irish owners intend to race locally or join the international regatta set, a means to escape the Irish winter.

Cape 31 - The low freeboard aggressively chined hull shape that maximises form stability in a breeze but enjoys low wetted surface when upright. Plans courtesy Mills DesignCape 31 deck plan - The low freeboard aggressively chined hull shape that maximises form stability in a breeze but enjoys low wetted surface when upright. Plans courtesy Mills Design

Cape 31 - The low freeboard aggressively chined hull shape that maximises form stability in a breeze but enjoys low wetted surface when upright. Plans courtesy Mills DesignCape 31sail plan - the new design accommodates a socketed deep carbon keel fin and a powerful sail plan, developed with North Sails South Africa and set on a Southern Spars Cape Town carbon rig Plans courtesy Mills Design

In the UK, promoters say they are also competing against the IRC rating fleet in a bid to make the Cape 31 the "ultimate all-rounder". 

Published in Irish Sailing Classes
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With the launch of ‘Flame’ the first Cape 31 in South Africa last week, Mark Mills Design’s latest high performance design from County Wicklow was revealed.

Conceived and brought to fruition by Cape Town resident and prominent sailor Lord Irvine Laidlaw of ‘Highland Fling’ fame, a regular Cork Week competitor, it is in production and already growing as a successful new One Design class at the Royal Cape Yacht Club.

Boasting high performance features such as an innovative ramp deck, an all-carbon keel fin, and a Southern Spars carbon rig, the light but powerful 31 has already impressed sailors in Cape Town across the full range of conditions they get there. See vid below.

Published in Boat Sales
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The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) Information

The creation of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) began in a very low key way in the autumn of 2002 with an exploratory meeting between Denis Kiely, Jim Donegan and Fintan Cairns in the Granville Hotel in Waterford, and the first conference was held in February 2003 in Kilkenny.

While numbers of cruiser-racers were large, their specific locations were widespread, but there was simply no denying the numerical strength and majority power of the Cork-Dublin axis. To get what was then a very novel concept up and running, this strength of numbers had to be acknowledged, and the first National Championship in 2003 reflected this, as it was staged in Howth.

ICRA was run by a dedicated group of volunteers each of whom brought their special talents to the organisation. Jim Donegan, the elder statesman, was so much more interested in the wellbeing of the new organisation than in personal advancement that he insisted on Fintan Cairns being the first Commodore, while the distinguished Cork sailor was more than content to be Vice Commodore.

ICRA National Championships

Initially, the highlight of the ICRA season was the National Championship, which is essentially self-limiting, as it is restricted to boats which have or would be eligible for an IRC Rating. Boats not actually rated but eligible were catered for by ICRA’s ace number-cruncher Denis Kiely, who took Ireland’s long-established native rating system ECHO to new heights, thereby providing for extra entries which brought fleet numbers at most annual national championships to comfortably above the hundred mark, particularly at the height of the boom years. 

ICRA Boat of the Year (Winners 2004-2019)