The voice of reason

As half of the famous Joubert-Nivelt partnership Bernard Nivelt has been one of the most influential designers of the modern era. Among his most significant designs was the One Tonner Diva, top scorer in the 1983 Admiral’s Cup and leading an invasion of lighter, fractionally rigged offshore racers...

Seahorse: You have a great deal of experience drawing moderate but successful IRC designs; how do you think that system is evolving for faster boats?

Bernard Nivelt: It’s clear that in the sub- 40ft size range lighter-weight boats are becoming more competitive under IRC. For example, my new JND34 will weigh around 15 per cent less than the A35 that I designed for Archambault in 2005.

SH: Is there a concern that the rule may now go too far in making smaller and lighter boats more competitive?

BN: [Laughing] No – I’m certainly not worried about that! I hope the rule continues to evolve in that direction and that the lightweight 30ft boats also become competitive under IRC. I think this is necessary if we are to attract a new generation of younger owners to the sport who want to sail in offshore-capable high-performance boats but can’t afford a 50-footer.


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