Soto 40 one design to join the Med circuit for next season
From 2011 the Audi Medcup will feature a new class of one design that will join the TP52 fleet and replace the GP42. Eight boats are already entered for next season including three South American teams, two Spanish and one French team.
Designed by Javier Soto Acebal as a strict one design, the class was launched in 2008 in Argentina and has already gained a considerable following in South America with a fleet of 10 boats. By the start of the 2011 season, twenty boats are expected to have been built in total.
The Soto 40 is 12.3 metres (40feet) long, one design has a 3.75 metres beam and draws 2.6 metres, displacing 4200kgs. The boat has a 1.43 metres bowsprit to set large asymmetric spinnakers. Input into the deck layout was given by leading Audi MedCup 52 Series sailors and has resulted in a very clean deck area. The choice was made to forego the use of pedestal winches in order to save weight, keep the cockpit clear and to increase crew activity. An open stern and pronounced wing style deck overhangs to increase crew righting moment are immediately identifiable characteristic, along with a tall all-carbon rig setting a powerful square top mainsail.
Being to a strict one design rule ensures costs are tightly controlled. Only the choice of sailmaker and the electronics packages are open to choice. The sail inventory is limited. The S40 allows for the choice of either a tiller or wheel steering option. No alterations or modifications are permitted.
The sail package and crew weight limit of 700 kgs, plus one guest, is likely to be imposed for the 2011 Circuit. The decision not to use carbon in the hull and deck lay up loses between one and two tenths of a knot upwind, according to the designer and builder, but the costs savings are of the order of €200,000.
At least three South American owners have already committed to join the Audi MedCup Circuit in 2011. Audi MedCup have confirmed they have committed to five new boats of which three are already allocated to teams from Spain and France. While eight teams are expected to be on the start line of the first regatta of 2011, it is anticipated that more will join the Circuit as their new boats are completed and delivered.
There will also be charter opportunities for teams who wish to reach an agreement to charter an existing boat from South America to sail on the 2011 Circuit.
Javier Soto Acebal (ARG), designer S40:
“This is a very exciting advance for the Soto 40 taking our design on to the world stage. I am totally happy about this and very proud of the team that have worked together to get us here. My biggest desire is to see the very even, open level of competition which we are seeing now in South America spread to the Audi MedCup Circuit. Each sailor that is racing a Soto 40 when he comes back to the dock has become a better sailor.”
Norberto Alvarez Vitale, owner Soto 40 #2 ‘Patagonia’ and class manager:
” The initial idea was to forget about rating systems, forget about IMS, design us a boat which is fun. We want to have fun in light winds, we want to have fun in strong winds we want to surf.”.
“The other thing that we had very clear is to bring costs down. For that it had to be one design. In order to be competitive from the very beginning with the boat it has to be a one design. There has to be no development to the boat.”
“In our case that has turned out we raced in Rio two weeks ago and we had a great Chilean boat which won even after he had only got the boat one month ago. All these factors make it fun, make owners want to come to our class and really enjoy racing which is what it is all about. For us it is about the owners and the crew. For us it has been more than what we imagined. We started out with two boats, match racing, and now we have 20 in a year by this December. If that happened in South America where the economy is the way it is I can’t imagine what will happen in Europe once the boat lands in these waters.”
Nacho Postigo technical director Audi MedCup:
“It is a big change to a philosophy for the Audi MedCup. It was a big step forward two years ago to a box rule for the smaller boat class and now we are moving to a one design class. One of the most important reasons is cost, cost of buying the boat, running the boat and resale value. When you exclude development from the equation apart it is also important that when you resell the boat it is still competitive and it has not become outdated. So the value remains.”
“For a newcomer he will have the same tool, the same weapon as all the other boats around. In fact it is more about the sailing skills of the team, not about choosing a designer and how you run the project.”