Décision 35: a grand prix platform
The D35 Class is quintessentially Swiss, representing the very best of local design and technology. The one-design class was founded in 2004 by Swiss sailors who wanted friendly, high performance, competition on Lake Geneva. They achieved this through the Challenge Julius Baer, an annual series organised by the ‘Association des Multicoques de Compétition’, that includes eight regattas on the Lake. The series continues to attract not only the 'crème de la crème' of Lake sailors, but offshore champions and America's Cup winners alike. The D35 gives these world class sailors an opportunity to meet on equal terms making the racing all about crew skills.
Alinghi.com continues its pre-season catch-up with Pierre-Yves Jorand (mainsail trimmer on Alinghi's SUI1), this time about the class and the small adjustments that have been made for the 2010 season:
What changes to the boat (optimisations) have been made for the 2010 season?
PYJ: “Well for obvious reasons (the Cup) we were fairly busy until the end of February so Yves Detrey (bow/mastman and boat captain) and Nils Frei (trimmer) moved very quickly from the Alinghi 5 project to the D35 in March and they have been working hard since then on the boat preparations and trying to save some weight. Joao Cabecadas (who was on the Alinghi rigging team) produced and delivered brand new rope for the rig, so the boat is in really good shape despite it being in its seventh year. We can feel the boat getting slightly softer, but I am sure it will still be very fast.”
Have there been any Class adjustments for this season?
PYJ: “There has been a very small adjustment in terms of crew weight. The maximum weight is still at 462kg but the minimum went up to 415kg which pretty much blocks everyone to six crew members. Other than that there are no changes.”
How much of the performance is the platform and how much is the rig programme and sails?
PYJ: “The platforms are really close because we have strong check points and Guy-Roland Perrin, who was in charge of measuring Alinghi 5 and BMW Oracle Racing last winter, looks after the Class. He is very strict, so in terms of weight the boats are very equal; the performance difference in terms of the platform is almost nothing. The biggest area of performance difference between the boats is in the sails where we can see a couple of per cent of variation in the depth. The crew members constitute any other difference.”
How much has the Alinghi 5 experience of the last few years brought to the D35 programme?
PYJ: “Well this is a one design class and the boats are very close in performance so the only way to make a difference really is with the crew. Ernesto, Nils, Yves and I have sailed a lot together recently and this certainly helps in terms of communication and boat handling and means that we can focus on the minutiae to try and make a difference. I would say that it is the people on board that will produce the edge this year.”
D35 technical specifications
The D35 has the distinctive feature of three hulls, the outer two acting as floats and the central hull acting as a strengthening structure. It is constructed from materials produced by cutting edge technology and its improved aerodynamics result in a light and fast Lake racer.
Designer: Sébastien Schmidt
Length Overall: 49ft (14.95m)
Hull Length: 35ft (10.81m)
Overall beam: 29ft (8.74m)
Dry weight: 1200kg
Main Sail Area: 268ft2 (81.6m2)
Solent Area: 134ft2 (40.7m2)
Jib Area: 69ft2 (21m2)
Top Speed: 30 knots
Crew: 5 (minimum) – 6 men or 7 women (maximum)