The One Metre Class
An outline of One Metre model Yacht Racing
Author: Gilbert Louis Posted on: 23/12/04 Print Version

Alternative Sailing

Ever wanted to have a bird's eye view of the racing area and see how your boat is positioned amidst the whole fleet? Well now you can! All you need is a boat. Nothing new here!

What's new however is that you don't need a crew but some reliable electronics kit and I'm not talking about your trusted compass, repeaters, VMG, wind speed, depth, etc - much less expensive and complicated - a transmitter, a receiver, a winch for your sails and a servo for the rudder. Why?

Because now you're sailing a model boat. More precisely an International One Metre boat, or otherwise known as IOM boats.

They are regulated by national and international bodies, so you can compete at National, European and World Championship levels. This is an international class with some big fleets throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc but also in Ireland.

Like their bigger siblings they have to comply to their own class rules but we can narrow it down to few basics ones. The boat has to be maximum 1 metre long, weigh 4 kg minimum ready to race, and you are limited to a 2 channel radio (one to control the sails and the second for the rudder), 3 rigs are allowed. Somehow restrictive but they still allow boat designers enough freedom to come up with quite radical designs. The results make for really good racing. It also allows for the class to evolve.

These are no toy boats that you would put on a pond, but rather "toys for big boys" and girls. Like their bigger counterparts tuning is key to optimum performance. Mast rake, rig tension, leech control, kicker, Cunningham, etc.

In this class it is not the electronics or how much you spend on them that will make the biggest difference but rather your ability to tune your boat to the conditions, your tactical and strategic skills as well as your knowledge of the rules.

Racing is under the same RRS as any other boats - with some alterations of course.

Many IOM sailors are also sailors in bigger boats; dinghies, cruisers, sportboats, etc and so we find some of the same faces out there in bigger boats too.

The Irish fleet is for the moment rather small in numbers but we have skippers who have represented Ireland at major international events like Europeans and Worlds. At present our most active season is during the big boat low season as Howth Yacht Club hosts our Winter and Spring series running from September to April. And we also have our National Championships.

We even have our own dedicated website where you'll find all information about the IOM activity in Ireland, technical tips, photo gallery as well as racing results and news.

We are quite active in the Dublin area but we call on all other current owners or interested skippers to make themselves known so we start networking and sharing information. We have few skippers in the Wexford area who are looking to grow the class there, but we are always keen to know of others in Ireland.

One of the benefits of this class is its cost. Part of the rules have been designed to keep the cost low, only allowing for more modern materials like carbon only to be use for specific applications like for the rudder and the keel. Also limiting the number of channels to two, one for the rudder and one for the sails.
This means that more of the performance and success of each skipper comes from the tuning and handling of their boat. This is clearly demonstrated at the recent European Championships where the top 10 included 9 different boat designs and skippers form 7 different countries.

In Ireland we enjoy a rather active second hand market, which allows new comers to buy their boat and accessories ready to race for under Euro Symbol1,000. But, for the more demanding skippers, a variety of new boats are also available and vary in cost based on the model and the level of finish desired. All in all it makes it a very enjoyable class to sail in - and on a modest budget. A new set of sails costs between Euro Symbol70 to 100.

So interested yet? We hope through this article we triggered some interest in this different form of sailing and we hope to see you soon. Come to see us in Howth harbour we are currently racing most Sunday mornings (see the calendar on our website).

Jeff Kay from HYC checking the set-up