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Right: with twin helms for the twin rudders, the 3600 is ideal for short-handing with all controls within easy reach

IRC Three, had a TCC of 1.039 while the other 10.80s were all above 1.040. Russian Igor Rytov’s Bogatyr topped the scale at 1.047.

But do rating and race results necessarily correlate? Colley isn’t convinced: “Redshift Reloaded has gone light with a high rating. Have they overcooked it? I don’t know. Game On and Bellino have beaten them an equal number of times with lower ratings. I think at the end of the day IRC has done a pretty good job of ironing out the differences between them.”

Cherry agrees: “They [the French teams] are trying to reduce their ratings whereas Dave Lenz and the guys from North push us towards having the right sails for the boat and sailing to them. We rate a bit faster than the other 3600s in the RORC series and a bit slower than Yes! [Adam Gosling’s JPK 10.80]. I get the feeling that even if you knew the Rule, you might save one or two points, but it comes down more to preparation and learning to sail the boat well.”

The greatest difference between the 3600s is in their downwind sail inventory, especially the choice of asymmetric or symmetric spinnakers. Redshift Reloaded is rated to carry three spinnakers and has four from which to choose: two symmetric spinnakers, a code zero and an A5. As is now commonplace on boats of this type, she carries both a spinnaker pole and a bowsprit, which aboard Redshift Reloaded are the same length to gain the most from IRC’s Spinnaker Tack Length (STL) measurement.

The code zero flies from the bowsprit and the A5 can be flown from either bowsprit or pole. As well as optimising for IRC, the objective, as always, is to find the optimum and most versatile set-up to suit the likely conditions for a chosen race programme.

Lines run aft above deck, either side of the main hatch. Easy access is key – note the double ended vang

Right: although a racing boat, the 3600 is also a fully equipped cruiser with proper bunks and other amenities

Variation between 3600s comes in their arrangements up front. Redshift has a pole and short bowsprit

According to Colley, among the well-optimised Sun Fasts there is no ‘standard’ for the downwind sails set-up. Out of the factory, the 3600 comes with a short bowsprit for flying code sails and a flat reaching asymmetric spinnaker. Some boats have fully embraced A-sails and have fitted longer bowsprits. Others have reverted to symmetrics.

“Generally speaking, it is felt that for RORC racing, those with symmetric spinnakers are having their way more than those with A sails,” declares Colley. “I have gone from an asymmetric set-up on my 3600, back to a symmetric set-up on my 3200 R2 and on balance I favour the symmetric set-up as you have more options. But with A sails, if you fly them right you can get them pretty high these days, and with A0s and a flat A5, you can fill in the slot between asymmetrics and symmetrics.”

Several of the top French IRC boats, such as Night & Day, Raging Bee and Foggy Dew, experimented with A sail set-ups early in 2016, but ultimately returned to their symmetric kites.

Photos: James Boyd/

In addition to the downwind sails, Redshift Reloaded carries a genoa staysail, which doubles as a storm jib. They also have a reaching strut to pole out the jib and as a result don’t have to carry a jib top. “A lot of the Class 40s have that for when you are a bit too wide for a jib and too tight for a kite,” explains Cherry.

Perhaps unusually, Redshift Reloaded is kept in a similar configuration with the same sails whether she is being sailed fully crewed or two-handed. This is mainly for training reasons, says Cherry, so the crew become really familiar with all the sails, their crossovers and how they are used.

Redshift Reloaded has a unique mast which is keel- rather than deck-stepped and with a mast butt adjuster

Chart table. Many race boats now have wi-fi routers hidden away to allow easy downloading of weather files

Apart from sail selection, Colley observes that all-up displacement plays one of the most significant parts in establishing a boat’s rating: “Being 100kg one way or the other has a strong impact on your rating. My 3600, which was hull no 2, was the lightest one they built and my rating was about four or five points higher as a result. But there’s also a trip point in the performance of the boat: if you can keep the weight down, it will get up and surf a bit more easily. So going down the lighter route can pay. However where we are, at about five tonnes, seems to be quite sailable under IRC.”

Perhaps 2018 will be the year when higher rated boats have their day? 36 ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| | ||||||||| |

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