The Martyn Smith-designed Firebird will be racing at Cowes for the first time

The Gerber Firebird catamaran will be racing at Skandia Cowes Week – the first time that multihulls have been allowed to race alongside conventional monohulls. At only 8m loa, the Gerber Firebird is rapidly carving out an enviable race pedigree and seeing off the much larger multihull competition. The recent Round the Island Race saw the Firebird narrowly missing out on first place, which went to the 23m IDEC trimaran, but beating the 37m Orange II, skippered by Bruno Peyron, to make second in class.

Grant Piggot, previous Olympic trialist and winner of numerous national and European multihull events will be helming the Gerber Firebird for this year’s event. Piggot reckons that the inclusion of fast-paced multihull events will shock a few Cowes stalwarts this year commenting: ‘Catamarans move so quickly that yachts are taken completely by surprise,’ he says, ‘they see a boat on the horizon and the next thing a blur of two hulls slicing their way past at over 20kts in a fizz of spray.’ Confident that the Firebird will see off the competition, Piggot and sponsors Gerber are hoping for a class win for the Firebird.