#modelboats – The IOM or International One Metre model boat class is truly international. At more than one level writes Gilbert Louis.
With fleets on all continents across multiple countries: New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Malta, the UK, the US, Israel and a number of European and Scandinavian countries to name a few.
In total 26 National Class Association (NCA) are registered to the International Class Association (ICA) and of which 20 countries had skippers representing them at the 2014 European Championships in September.
Australia, Croatia, the US and the UK, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands have well established big fleets for sure, while others have smaller fleets like Malta, Ireland without forgetting emerging ones like Israel, Chile. So we have a good mix of representation across the world.
In fact the IOM is probably the most sailed boats in the world as not everyone is into racing. A lot of people would pick IOM boats because of their attractive size (which allows them to be easily packed in any car and are quickly ready for sail), their class rules (open enough to allow people to design, build and race their creation if they want and yet be competitive due to the class limitation), their popularity as stated in previous paragraphs and because they do react quite like full size boats too.
The other dimension of the IOM's truly international status is simply the boat itself. Looking at my boat for example, most of the parts are coming from various locations in the world. You can also get it all from one supplier but in Ireland we don't have any so we source our parts elsewhere.
My boat was designed in Australia by Frank Russell, built by Neil Suitor in Northern Ireland, sailed by me in Ireland, the sails come from New Zealand and Australia, the masts from France, the Winch from Australia, the booms and ball–bearing goosenecks from the UK, fittings (mix from the UK, France, Italy and the US), the appendices and the bulb come from the UK, the rudder servo bought from Germany, batteries from Hong-Kong.
You may think wow what a headache to find the right parts you are looking for with all this. Well no because I am quite picky with what I want to use on my boat. You can simply order all the parts from one providers. Most of the big providers will have all the parts needed so then after that it comes to personal preferences. I have listed them in our class site www.iomireland.org for your convenience.
But sure half the fun in model activity is building it yourself or customising it to make it unique to you. Trying new stuff, modifying it so it suits your setup, etc... it's all part of the fun !
Even the Irish IOM fleet itself a mix of French (your scribe), Irish sailors of course and now a new skipper from Sweden who recently joined us.