Multihulls are racing as a fleet during Skandia Cowes Week for the first time.

Multihulls will be racing as a fleet during Skandia Cowes Week for the first time. Competing under the Multihull Offshore Cruiser & Racing Association (MOCRA) rule, the fleet is open to fast cruiser racer catamarans and trimarans with an overall length of between 7.5m-12.2m and rating between 1.160-1.450.

Nine boats have signed up includingWingover, the 10.9m Twiggy design sailed by Brian Wilkinson who is preparing for the 2005 STAR – Single Handed Transatlantic Race. She was built in 1992 in the British Virgin Islands and is a heavily modified Lock Crowther design.Wingoveris the only boat of its type north of the Equator. In her modified form, she bears resemblance to a half-scale ORMA class trimaran thanks to a rotating wingmast and water ballasting. Given that these features were incorporated into the boat during her four-year build, the design was clearly ahead of its time.

According to Cowes Combined Clubs director Stuart Quarrie the introduction of multihulls should not cause problems with the monohull classes. Commenting on the situation he said: “It’s only a small fleet so I don’t really think it’s going to make any difference. It’s not like the maxi-cats – the Oranges of this world – will be out there. The Royal Ocean Racing Club has been running a multi class for several years now and the Royal Southampton has been staging a lot of multihull racing in its evening and weekend series; neither organiser finds it a problem.”