International C-Class Catamaran Challenge
History

Hellcat

Hellcat, first winner of the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy, sailed in Long Island Sound, New York in 1961. Great Britain won by four races to one.

All about the International C Class Catamaran, the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy (ICCT) and the International C-Class Catamaran Challenge (I4C).

Please note this is a depiction of the history of the class made through research and does not in any way constitute a use other than for information purposes only. The use of the term "Little America's Cup" is for historical purpose only and does not in any way or form show there is any association or affiliation with America's Cup Properties Inc., who are the owners of the registered trade mark "America's Cup".

Contents

  1. What's in a name?
  2. The beginnings
  3. The rules for the International C-Class
  4. The ICCT
  5. The first match
  6. The 1960s – the UK decade
  7. The Australian Quest – the first chapter
  8. The Danes raid (again)
  9. The big wing sails
  10. The Australians return
  11. The British return
  12. The Australians continue to dominate
  13. Cogito, ergo zoom! – the Cup heads back to the US east coast
  14. The I4C and the new format challenge
  15. The winners and challengers of the ICCT over the years

Before you read some of the history of the International C Class also known since 1961 as the "Little Americas Cup" we should say that this event has possibly the least amount of documentation of any major sailing competition. The data given in this section is gleaned from a number of sources, personal contacts, magazines and most significantly "Catamaran sailing to Win" by Max Press. Other tall tales and other details come from Graham Candy, who sailed in the "C" Class from 1966 to 1982 and who rode the wire on two Australian challengers, Quest II when she won the ICCT in 1970 and Nicholas II when she challenged Patient Lady in 1977. Sources also include "Catamaran Racing to Win", by Reg White and Bob Fisher. Finally, wikipedia have a section on the ICCT: International Catamaran Challenge Trophy.

If you have any facts, anecdotes, stories or snippets, please contact us, we would love to add it to our pages and those of the forthcoming C-Class website and ICCCC website.

What's in a name?

The challenge has been universally known by the name "Little America's Cup" and was apt only in the fact that, like the "Big" America's Cup, it is a match-racing event around a similar course. In every other way the two events are worlds apart. The sailing community and press adopted the name from its beginnings in 1961 even though the name of the original trophy (see picture) is engraved "The International Catamaran Challenge Trophy". The history of the Cup has no official biography but the early years are described well in the books "Catamaran Sailing to Win" by Chris Wilson and Max Press and "Catamaran Racing to Win" by Reg White and Bob Fisher, both published in the early eighties. The following pages are a summary of the enormous amount of work that has gone into the boats and the events over the years.

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The beginnings

In the years post World War II, the lightweight low cost building materials developed during the war, particularly marine plywood, waterproof glues, fibreglass, extruded aluminium and synthetic textiles, became available in the leisure market and produced an explosion in off-the beach dinghy sailing and innovative design. Since speed was the goal, it was inevitable that some designers would look to two hulls or more (as well as synthetic sail cloth) in their quest for more speed. As in the dinghy classes, an extraordinary variety of light catamaran classes appeared, each with their passionate supporters. This happened on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as in Australia and other parts of the world where sailing was popular. In 1959, the American "Tigercat", designed by Bob Harris, won "Yachting"s One of a Kind Regatta in Florida, following which an article in "Yachting" described "Tigercat" as "the fastest small sailing boat in the world". This was noted by the British catamaran pioneer, Roderick Macalpine-Downie, who begged to differ. He challenged the Eastern Multihull Association of the USA to a series of match races (one-on-one racing), in a similar format to the America's Cup. The America's Cup is the world's oldest sporting trophy, played for with sky high budgets. It has a history that includes the biggest and most glamorous sailing craft ever built, all (with only one exception) giant keelboats or ballasted centreboarders. Some of the most famous heads of industry nearly bankrupted themselves in the quest to win the Cup or retain it. The proposed match between the catamarans was to be in a similar format - a seven race "winner take all" match between a catamaran from a defending club and a challenger from a club in another country, with the first to win four races taking home the silverware. Both clubs were to be "Corinthian" - i.e., amateur, in the parlance then used in the sailing world. Rod MacAlpine-Downie suggested that the RYA Open 300 catamaran class should be used for the match, to ensure that both challenger and defender would be starting from scratch in designing a boat for and competing in the first event. In this way, the match would be a true test (between the US and the UK) of both design and sailing skills. In late 1962, the International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU, now ISAF) created four restricted (as distinct from one design) categories for off the beach catamaran racing. These were the "A" Class, "B" Class, "C" Class and "D" Class. The intention was to foster international racing in catamarans, and the policy proved highly successful. The Tornado, which later became an Olympic class, is a "B" Class catamaran, while the RYA Open 300 class became the "C" Class, in which matches for the Little America's Cup were raced for the next 34 years. This is why in photos of the early challenge matches and trials, the competing boats have "300" on their sails - replaced by the now famous "C" Class symbol in time for the 1963 match.

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The rules for the International "C" Class Catamaran

Such simple rules encouraged the designers to try some serious innovation - virtually anything was allowed (even hydrofoils if they could be made to work around a normal race course). The class rules remain much the same today. The sailing instructions and course were, like the America's Cup, generally agreed by negotiation between the challenging and defending clubs, well before the teams came together for the match. The course was normally about 20 nautical miles long, with a windward start, a triangle lap, a windward/leeward lap another triangle and a finish at the end of the next windward leg. This put a premium on upwind performance, encouraged very tall rigs and made the reaches spectacular and dangerous.

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The International Catamaran Challenge Trophy (ICCT)

International Catamaran Challenge Trophy

John Fisk returns from the US aboard the Queen Elizabeth with the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy, 1961.

In response to Rod Macalpine Downies challenge, the Sea Cliff Yacht Club (SCYC) of New York put up a trophy, called "The International Catamaran Challenge Trophy" and wrote its deed of gift, drawing heavily from that of the America's Cup. The trustees of the deed are still appointed by the Seacliff Yacht Club, but only the first challenge match, in 1961, was sailed there. The Royal Highland Yacht Club was the official challenger and the Seacliff Yacht Club the defending club. Given the similarity of format to the Americas' Cup, it was inevitable that the trophy would be nicknamed the "Little Americas Cup", but that was never its true title. While the nickname was useful in attracting media attention and sponsorship, piggy backing on the drama and national pride that surrounded the Americas' Cup, many contestants were uncomfortable with the nickname, with its diminutive connotations. (Later on, when the board of trustees for the deed of gift changed the event and changed the class from the C-Class Catamaran to F18s, they made application to officially acquire the name "Little America's Cup" as a trademark name or copyright to be able to keep someone else from using that name for another sailing event (namely the breakaway groups like Invictus and Cogito who continued the tradition of the C-Class Catamaran). Randy Smyth suggested that "Little America's Cup" is kind of demeaning, and that it should really be called "Fast America's Cup."). In 2005, SCYC Nevertheless, in the sixties and seventies, the ICCT or Little America's Cup became one of the four big sailing contests that marked world supremacy in sailing - the Olympics, the Americas' Cup, the Admiral's Cup (team racing in ocean racers, always sailed in the south of Britain) and the ICCT. Each had its own unique character.

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The first match

Hellcat crossing Wildcat

Hellcat crosses Wildcat.

After the first challenge was sent and accepted, the first problem that both challenging and defending teams faced was how to build and sail something as big as an RYA 300 catamaran. No-one other than the great Nathaniel Herreshof, the "wizard of Bristol", had done it before. Most two handed catamaran classes racing off the beach at that time were around 18' long - the biggest were 20' x 10', with about 250 sq ft of sail. Some had spinnakers. In contrast, the challenger and defender would be monsters - another 5' longer and potentially 4' wider, with masts towering sometimes 40' above the deck. Until this time, most catamarans used heavy plywood or timber "bridge-decks" to join the 2 hulls, and some still had wooden masts, so building and sailing a challenger or defender would take the teams into unknown territory - so much so that the first challenge match had to be postponed a year, until 1961.

Wildcat and Hellcat

Wildcat (USA) and Hellcat (UK).

In the USA, Bob Harris planned to defend with an expanded "Tigercat". In the UK, Rod Macalpine-Downie designed and built a prototype, called "Hellcat", with hulls built of double planked 1/8" gaboon plywood and demountable plywood box beams. The boat had to be demountable, because the cost of shipping a rigid structure to the US would have broken the budget, but working out the potential stresses on this structure involved a lot of guesswork.

Wildcat leads Hellcat

Wildcat leads Hellcat into the leeward mark.

Rod and most other designers in the first few years went cautiously, building boats that were only 12.5 feet across the beam. This avoided the enormous stresses that would build in platforms more than half as wide as they were long. "Hellcat II" was built next, in fibreglass, using lessons from the prototype Hellcat and in 1961 it was this craft that McAlpine-Downie took to the US to win the first "Little America's Cup" match for Great Britain. She was built in fibreglass because she would have to be sold after the match to defray some of the cost of the challenge, and the Americans were more familiar with fibreglass than plywood as a building material. There was a weight penalty but the British team were victorious, reversing years of ignominy in the Americas' Cup, and brought the Trophy back to England, where it remained for eight years, despite a number of challenges. The reverse parallel to the Americas' Cup , where the Cup had been put up by the British in 1850 and snatched by an upstart challenger from across the Atlantic, captured the public imagination, reinforced the somewhat unfortunate nickname and attracted significant press interest in the UK. The Americans came back again in 1962 in a bid to reclaim their birthright, challenging with Beverly (Bob Fisher and Van Allen Clark) but they were smartly seen off by Rod McAlpine-Downie sailing in his home waters at Thorpe Bay on the Thames Estuary. His defender was the prototype Hellcat, which was probably lighter and faster than Hellcat II. The thought of the Brits or the damn' Yankees claiming the title of the fastest catamaran in the world stirred up the Australians (as one would expect) and Frank Strange, President of the Australian Catamaran Association, phoned through a challenge from Down Under just minutes after the 1962 match was won. At that moment, the ICCT (and the International "C" Class) became truly "international".

GB and US crews

John Fisk and Rod MacAlpine-Downie sailing Hellcat, Bob Harris and crew sailing Tigercat, 1961.

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The 1960s – the UK decade

This was the start of 8 years of British dominance of the Trophy, in which names such as Clarence Austin Farrar, General Parham, Bob Fisher and Reg White were to become involved, forming a nucleus of the best designers, sailors and builders in the country. First came "Hellcat", then Hellcat II", then Hellcat IIIS (for sloop), which showed the Australians in the 1963 match that they still had a lot to learn. After the Hellcats came "Emma Hamilton" which used 3 lightweight beams and a sailcloth "trampoline" between the two aft beams, and so became the prototype layout for all catamarans to follow. She was the first to use the full potential of the 14' beam the class restrictions allow and she fended off the American "Sealion" in 1964 but struggled to hold off the Australian "Quest II" in 1965. It was only the challenger's capsize in the last race, when well in front, that gave the lady a victory that year. In 1964 and 1965, Emma Hamilton was sailed by Reg White who was later instrumental in the development of the Tornado, (later selected for the Olympics - fittingly, Reg won the first Olympic Gold Medal in the class). The early C class catamarans usually sported "sloop" rigs, a main sail and a jib. Some tried "una" rigs (without jibs) but, even though they had the potential to go better to windward, most had trouble keeping their very tall thin aluminium masts stable enough to get the best out of such rigs. In the US, the UK and Australia in 1964, designer's minds were turning to better and more efficient masts to achieve better aerofoil shapes, as it was clear that it was in the area of the rigs (sails) that the largest advances. A sail plan is nothing more than a one winged plane, with the wing vertical and the fuselage in the water. The only problem in using aircraft design principles on yachts is that wings only need to lift in one direction but sails must perform equally well on both port and starboard tack. Until 1964, the principal sources of scientific information on sailing was Manfred Curry's magnificent work "Yacht Racing: The Aerodynamics of Sails and Racing Tactics", first published in 1936. In 1964, Czeslaw Marchaj published an even stronger work in this field, "Sailing Theory and Practice". It was clear to designers that the thin aluminium extrusions then available would not be stable enough for the high speeds and forces in racing International C Class catamarans and that stronger but heavier aluminium masts would only be a handicap. The solution was wing masts, which would significantly improve the shape of the aerofoil on the leeward side of the sail, making it much closer to the shape of a glider wing. In the US, the first wing mast appeared on "Sprinter", in the 1964 world championships, and inspired Lindsay Cunningham in Australia to use a slimmer wing mast in his sloop rigged "Quest II", the 1965 challenger. Both had straight trailing edges. In the UK, Austin "Clarence" Farrar, an innovative designer and sailmaker, took a different approach. To get the best compromise of camber and twist, the trailing edge of the mast he designed for "Lady Helmsman", which became the 1966 defender, was made curved, such that the wing mast chord was maximum at mid height tapering down towards the top and bottom. The wing mast was up to 40% of the total chord, with the remaining 60% being "soft sail". The wing mast was made from 3mm ply and spruce and came in at just over 90lb in weight. Lady Helmsman and her rig still exist today in preservation at the National Maritime Museum in Cornwall. In practice Lady Helmsman was a master at upwind sailing, and on a reach she was almost too powerful. With such a power plant she won 3 times and was hailed as the "fastest sailing boat in the world" and was "clocked" at over 30mph, a claim that led to the Weymouth speed sailing weeks, still a feature of the British sailing calendar. A tired Lady H lost the trophy to Denmark in 1969 and the trophy has never since touched British soil. French, Italians, Danes, Americans and Australians have challenged in subsequent years, though the trophy has only resided alternately between the USA and Australia since leaving the UK in 1969.

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The Australian Quest - the first chapter.

A strong catamaran racing culture had also developed in Australia post WWII, although earlier innovations had appeared before. In the early years of the 20th century, Mark Foy built a catamaran to compete against the famous 18 footers on Sydney Harbour and was so successful that catamarans were promptly banned from that class. A familiar story! Keen catamaran sailors in Australia had read about the "Little America's Cup in "Yachting" and "Yachting World" and were keen to "have a go". In 1962, after lodging a challenge, the Australian Catamaran Association invited the Cunninghams, then the most successful designers in Australia, to build their own contender and also raised money for a second contender by rival designers, to be built by volunteers. Both were to be shipped to the UK to sail off for the right to be Australia's first challenger for the ICCT. In the end, five contenders appeared, including the Cunninghams' "Quest", the ACA's "Matilda", "Waratah" from Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron (later the home of the famous "Miss Nylex") and "Ann", an Alan Payne design from Sydney. This meant that trials had to be held in Australia to select the pair that would go to the UK, and ensured a strong first challenge from Down under. Not many people know that "Quest" was made of cardboard and sailcloth! The hulls had a core of honeycomb cardboard on which sailcloth was laid and saturated with polyester resin. This was much lighter than plywood or fibreglass, but the problem was that her composite structure could not fully withstand the very high crushing loads from movement of such a wide platform when racing under the pressure of an ICCT match, against a stronger rival. This was solved during the 1963 match by filling a horse syringe with activated polyester resin and painstakingly injecting each cell in the high load areas with the resin until it became a solid mass of cardboard, sailcloth and resin. This worked so well that "Quest I", as she became, was still sailing many years later. However, it did not help her win the Cup for Australia - the British defenders, in their third challenge match, sailed "Hellcat IIIS" to a 4-0 victory. In the 1965 challenger selection trials in Australia, one quite competitive contender, "Waratah", owned by Ron Williams, a welding contractor, had a steel truss bridge deck! She became famous for cartwheeling in spectacular fashion in front of a camera while towing a water skier. The Cunninghams, never ones to give up easily, built a new boat, Quest III, for the 1967 challenge. Initially, she had single sailed rig with a soft "wing", a standard aluminium mast and a soft sail which had pockets sewn into its leading edge that were inflated (on the shore) with an old vacuum cleaner. Eventually, this was abandoned (because it did not work) and she sailed uninflated. She had the same problems as other "soft" una rigs with rig tension, mast stability and twist control, and was easily beaten by the dominant Lady Helmsman.

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The Danes raid (again)

In 1969, another maritime raid by the Danes was successful, a thousand years after their earlier forays to English shores. Leif Wagner Schmidt and his team from the Skoveshoved Sejlklub in Copenhagen, sailing Opus II, carried off the Cup to Denmark, but its stay there was short lived. Lindsay Cunningham's Quest III, now with a wing mast, and Bill Hollier's "Red Roo" arrived from Australia in 1970 to take the Cup away again. Red Roo looked very clean and efficient, but Quest III's rig, covered with control lines to precisely manage the twist in the sail, looked like a giant "seagull strainer". However, despite the extra drag from all those lines, the system, although a little creaky, worked, and Quest III first earned the right to challenge by defeating Red Roo and went on to take the main match, against "Sleipner" (the winged horse of Norse legend) in a nail biting 4-3 victory. One of the Danish contenders to be the defender in the 1970 match was a C Class cat with no stays, in which the bridge deck was a low drag wing and the rig was mounted on a giant ball bearing base in the bridge deck in which the "balls" were inflated rubber. However, it had problems with weight and friction and did not make it to the selection trials, leaving "Sleipner" as the unchallenged Danish defender.

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The big wingsails

Fully rigid "wing-sails" (all mast - no sail, or, if you prefer, all sail - no mast) were a natural evolution from the "wing-masts" of Sprinter, Lady Helmsman and others, in which between 20% and 40% of the sail chord was in the mast and the rest was in a battened sail. One of the first of the full wingsail rigs was the Australian Miss Nylex, designed by Roy Martin, shown below, which sailed in the 1972 Australia selection trials and in the 1974 and 1976 Cup matches at Sorrento in Australia: The Patient Lady (and her husband) In the twenty years between the late 60's and the late eighties, Tony DiMauro, the coffee wholesaler from New Jersey, became one of the greats of the International C Class and the Little America's Cup. With Dave Hubbard, he built a series of boats (I-VI) named "Patient Lady" , named (of course) after his ever waiting wife (C Class cats take up a lot of time) and on these lovely boats developed the first fully rigid wing sails as controllable power plants that are now essential to win the "Little America's Cup". The Patient Ladies dominated for many years and, despite a string of disasters, fended off all challenges to keep the Cup in the USA from 1977 to 1985. In the 1976 selection trials, the rig on Patient Lady III went over the side, denying her selection as the US challenger and possibly the credit for bringing the Cup back to the US that year. In her place, the lightweight flyer "Aquarius V", built and rigged like a big "A" Class, captured that honour, defeating Miss Nylex (and in the process, exposing her limitations) at Sorrento in Victoria, Australia. In the 1977 US defender selection trials, history looked like repeating and getting even worse for the patient Lady team. Her rig went over the side again, but this time a US Coastguard cutter, trying to be helpful, ran over it as it was floating in the water, trashing it completely. It looked like curtains again for the "Lady" but after a marathon rebuilding effort over two nights, she sang again, and won the right, for the first time, to represent her country in the ICCT. She defeated the Australian "Nicholas II" (effectively a clone of Quest III but much more efficient) in a 4-1 match and, in doing so, sounded the death knell for part wing, part sail rigs in the International C Class. The Patient Lady concept evolved through three more configurations in the next seven years, defeating all challenges, until Patient Lady VI.

Patient Lady and Miss Nylex

Patient Lady and Miss Nylex

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The Australians return

Patient Lady VI was seen as the ultimate expression of wingsail technology and with so many successful campaigns behind Tony DiMauro and his team, they were surprised that they were out-developed by the Australians, led by Lindsay Cunningham, in 1985. The Australian wingsail again used the slotted flap arrangement (almost universally used on commercial airliners) but innovative design allowed a degree of overlap of each flap against the wing. This provides more high-energy air from the windward side of the sail onto the leeward side, preventing stalling. This rig proved devastating downwind and in light airs where the very high lift coefficients could be used to maximum benefits. Lindsay's second victory as challenger in the ICCT came in the shape of "Victoria 150" (named after their home state of Victoria's 150th anniversary in that year), and this brought the "Little America's Cup" back to Australia, this time to the McCrae Yacht Club. Her rig was very powerful downwind but also highly complex, with 5 moving sections which were then split again to allow the lower part of the wing to be cambered more highly than the upper part, introducing a crude twist effect to de-power the wing in strong winds. As a measure of how powerful these rigs had become, the double slotted flapped rig on the Australian boats could produce as much lift as a conventional soft sail nearly 3 times its area, however a sail 3 times the area would have such a high centre of effort that would make that area largely un-usable.

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The return of the British

The Hinge

The Hinge

The Patient Lady team did not re-challenge (Tony DiMauro died a few years later), but a British team put together a challenge in 1987 at the request of the Aussies who were looking for someone to race. Twice national Tornado champion John Downey, together with crew, Kieth Bliss and designer Roland Whitehead, put together K37, "The Hinge".

Dr Stephen Fiddes of the aerodynamics dept of Bristol University developed the basic design of The Hinge's rig. This was a radical departure from the slotted flaps that seemed to be converging as the standard rig layout. Fiddes designed a rig with a split flap (as used on older aircraft), these are not capable of producing as much lift as a slotted flap, however the mechanics are relatively simple and the layout would be aimed at attacking on the windward legs of the course. Unfortunately the timescales and financial constraints meant that only 1 boat was built and it was not even tested before being shipped to Melbourne.

"The Hinge" suffered mechanical failures with shrouds pulling out and rudder failures, which added to the other disadvantages, however in the right conditions "The Hinge" showed good windward performance despite a measurement rule handicap and being rather overweight. The split flaps, when closed formed a very clean aerofoil with very little drag. Given more development and less weight, this rig may have given Cunningham's "The Edge" a closer run for its money.

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The Australians continue to dominate

The Wingmill

The Wingmill

From California came the "Wingmill". This had a wing, rectangular in planform but was asymmetrical in section. It worked by being pivoted in the middle, at the top of a pole and one end being held down at deck level. On tacking, the whole rig would rotate about the top of the pole, such that the foot of the sail became the top and vice versa. The first race never happened however as "Wingmill" capsized and broke up before the start, after the 10 minute gun had gone. Some suggested that a hovering news helicopter might have contributed - others that the crew briefly lost control of the rig while tacking (an inherent design problem), allowing it to start the destructive oscillating for which wing rigs are notorious. "Wingmill" could not be rebuilt in time and the Australians (to their disappointment) won the match by default. The configuration was later tried again by the French boat "Otip" in 1991, the first match in many years to have more than 1 challenger. By then, the rules for the match provided for a sail off between challengers to determine who should meet the defender one-on-one. This time the rig on Otip was held under much greater control, with the foot of the sail locking into a device on the leeward hull. Sadly Otip suffered the same fate as Wingmill, capsizing and breaking up. The other contender that year was the more conventional looking US "Freedoms Wing" from California (if a "C" Class can ever be described as "conventional") and was designed by Gino Morelli. She raced against the Australian "The Edge III". Freedoms wing was beaten, but gave a much better showing, winning one race and being beaten by just 1 second in another, in the most dramatic finish the ICCT has ever seen. It was the closest series for many years and showed that the Australians could be beaten.

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Cogito, ergo zoom! – the Cup heads back to the US east coast

Steve Clark

Steve Clark

In 1996 the cup left Port Phillip Bay and headed back to the USA, to the Bristol Yacht Club in Rhode Island, After a very well engineered challenge from the New England team of Duncan Maclane and Steve Clark and their boat "Cogito", supported by Lindsay Cunningham's most long standing rival in US designers, Dave Hubbard. They convincingly beat the defending boat "Yellow Pages Edge" which was in effect a highly refined version of Victoria 150. Lindsay Cunningham had spent the years between challenges building a speed record machine, "Yellow Pages Endeavour" which entered the Guinness book of records as the fastest sailing craft in the world in 1993 with a speed in excess of 47 knots, not bettered by anyone in the world until 2005. Steve Clark, owner and team leader of Cogito is a 2nd generation C class sailor -his father Van Allen Clark had been involved in the Little America's Cup from its very beginnings and was the challenger, on his yacht "Beverly", in 1964. The team and their boat were, effectively, the natural successors to Tony DiMauro and his string of "Patient Ladies" of the 70s and 80s.

For the next ten years, "Cogito", with her smooth single slotted rig, and ability to twist under tight control to make the best of the apparent wind represented perhaps the best-engineered, most professional C class catamaran ever built. It is also probably the lightest C class ever built.

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The I4C and the new format challenge

ICCCT

The International C-Class Catamaran Trophy

After many years without a challenge, change was in the air. From 1996 to 2000 the trophy was on display at Clark's home club; Bristol Yacht Club, Rhode Island. The icct deed of gift stated that if no challenge is conducted for more than four years (two events skipped), the trophy returns to the place of its birth, Sea Cliff Yacht Club in Long Island, NY. Steve Clark returned the trophy in 2000. In February 2002, Team Invictus approached the ICCT trustees and Steve Clark and expressed an interest in challenging. Steve Clark and Duncan MacLane welcomed the renewed interest and talk of a new challenge started. The Australians also lodged an official challenge with Sea Cliff YC at about the same time with a team from the west coast near Perth.

According to Clark, it was actually in December of 2002 that the Australians submitted their challenge and "they were told to go away." The trustees considered that the event should be completely re-vamped. It is not clear where this bright idea came from, but the Club produced a revised deed of gift, which ejected the C class catamaran and replaced it with standard, factory built Formula 18 beach cats. The Club planned the next ICCT for Sept 2003 and invited challengers.

Although a few matches have been held under the revised deed, it cannot be said that they were a resounding success and the ICCT seems to have slipped from the collective consciousness of most of the sailing world.

Team Invictus, along with the US and Australian teams stated right from the start that they were not interested in racing in F18s. So, despite the fact that the C class had been dropped by the Seacliff Yacht Club and even delisted by ISAF (as the IYRU had evolved into) as an international class, the 3 teams agreed to run an event in C class catamarans in 2004. Steve Clark donated a new trophy, called it the International C Class Catamaran Trophy ("ICCCT") and organised a match, which was staged at Bristol YC, Rhode Island in Sept 2004. Two US boats, Team Invictus from the UK (supported by Airbus Industries) Ronstan from Perth, competed.

The event generated a fair degree of interest and this event inspired a challenge from Canada. Fred Eaton was next to challenge Steve Clark and with the Steve Killing designed Alpha (an evolution of Cogito) managed to win 4-1 on his home turf off Toronto.

Fred's challenge had been successful in no small part due to the support given by Steve Clark, who sold Fred Patient Lady VI and gave the Canadian team full access to Cogito and her wing.

This event started to generate more interest and Fred's highly competent challenge meant that there were 2 closely matched teams, but the event needed more.

Technical interest was ensured by the first foiling C class, "Off Yer Rocker". This was not as successful as hoped, and was significantly slower than Alpha and Cogito.

Steve Clark arranged the most recent event in Aug 2010, and was to be hosted by the world famous New York Yacht Club (NYYC). The interest in this event has also been boosted by the 2010 Americas Cup off Valencia where a wingsailed Trimaran beat a soft sailed cat, and the rumours during the 2010 International C Class catamaran Challenge were that the next Americas Cup would be sailed in 72ft wingsailed catamaran. Many of Freds team, and Cogitos designers had been involved and so the location at NYYC, all produced a serendipitous series of events, culminating with the presence of the 2010 Americas Cup helmsman, James Spithill, all of which attracted a huge amount of public attention and brings C class sailing to the very forefront of sailing consciousness.

A full write up of the 2010 challenge can be found elsewhere on this website, however, Fred Eaton successfully defended his title, beating the 2007 winning boat, Alpha (sailed under Australian sail numbers) 3-1 in the final match race series.

The next chapter will continue with the 2013 event, which will be hosted by Team Invictus. Details can be found on the event website.

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The winners and challengers of the ICCT over the years

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