A key event in the South of England,theVice Admiral’s Cup gathers every yearhundreds of boats for a regata week–end. For the first time, the venerable RORC has opened its doors to the multihulls and it was the Diam 24 od which lead the way.Matthew Mulhenkamp was one of them and shares his experience in the Royal Ocean Racing Club magazine.
Joining RORC in 2015, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed competing in several major offshores and fleet racing on the Solent. Wanting to experience something a little different, I took the opportunity to charter one of two Diam 24 One Design trimarans that were made available to UK sailors for the Vice Admiral’s Cup by the French manufacturer, ADH Inotec. Six Diam 24s were racing in this, their inaugural regatta in the UK, welcomed by the RORC. It was also the first time multihulls have taken part in the Vice Admiral’s Cup.
My first impressions of the Diam 24s were their simplistic and extremely functional design and deck layout, with an eye to detail. I was coming from racing a J/70, a Melges 32 and a First 40, all requiring long set-up and preparation times. In comparison, our Diam 24 was able to go from fully stowed on the trailer to sailing within an hour with just three people. Vianney Ancellin, owner of ADH Inotec and creator of the Diam 24, was onsite to help and advise the fleet, along with his support team and UK agent. They shared with us both rigging and technique-based advice throughout the weekend.
On the water, the Vice Admiral’s Cup made for a busy race track. It was particularly exciting at times to thread through the FAST 40+ fleet, with both fleets in close contact and neither needing to take avoiding actions. The Diam 24s were being sailed in different modes largely based on experience levels, but what stood out was just how tight and exciting the racing could be. This was down to the strict One Design class rules making it less about equipment and more about the tactics and boat handling.
At times a bit of local knowledge of the Solent tides paid dividends. The fantastic sailing weather we enjoyed over the long May weekend helped for sure, in particular the first two days which were fresher than the last – a good range to test both boats and crews. For us, making the jump from monohulls was not particularly demanding. Having all headsails on furlers and sail controls well positioned, certainly made it easier and we did have a very competent multihull expert join us to round out the crew of three. The biggest issue we faced was getting comfortable with
the speeds involved: With eight knots in the pre-start with the jib furled, quickly accelerating to 13 knots upwind, and 22 knots downwind, you can cover a lot of miles quickly. The other charter boat did have a slightly larger issue, capsizing on one of the fresher downwind legs on day two after overstanding the gate and
coming at a very hot angle under full canvas. This is a rarity in the Diam 24
fleet, but it was impressive to see the boat quickly righted, without damage, with help from a support RIB.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Vice Admiral’s Cup weekend with its well-organised racing laid on by the RORC with the excitement and fun of sailing a new class. The charter experience and support was so great, on and off the water, that I have since purchased my own Diam 24 for use in the 2018 season.
With a major event scheduled monthly from March to September, the ethos is quality racing with events
to attract a high turnout of owners. The race schedule includes the Vice Admiral’s Cup, Round the Island and Cowes Week so it will be competitive for sure. For the more adventurous the Tour de France à la Voile offers great racing in July, however that may be too time consuming for the majority of our Hamble- based fleet.
With a prime 2018 UK calendar ahead we certainly hope to see the French joining us in UK waters. With our UK fleet numbers quickly hitting double numbers, we anticipate providing more great racing. Bring on the Vice Admiral’s Cup 2018!
Matthew Muhlenkamp – Diam 24