Why an X-332? Hannah Emanuel discovers the appeal of the one-design

The X-332 is now in its ninth season at Skandia Cowes Week and, with just 10 points of handicap between the top and bottom of the fleet, the racing is close and exciting. The 1994 Niels Jepperson design is excellent for racing or cruising. X-332Kisshas won every race in her class so far and looks set to win the regatta.

Skipper David Pinner has recently moved over to racing an X-332. He explains why he likes racing a one-design: “In all the time we’ve raced the boat, we’ve never actually changed position through our handicap. Having spent the last eight or nine years handicap racing, it’s really nice to know where you are when you come to the finish line.”

With such closely matched boats what does it take to get ahead when they are built to race at the same speed? “It takes a long time to break through, just the slightest amount of wind disturbance from another boat can lose your position even if you’ve generally got a better boat speed. You’ve got to look for the air, you’ve got to get it right. Once you get in front you can use the tide and clear wind to gain some ground, but it is difficult to make that breakthrough.”

So how have theKissteam managed to keep leading the fleet? David says “I think from our point of view it is the three elements of boat speed, crew work and tactics. This week we seem to have got them all right. It doesn’t always happen, but this time it’s going well”

The X-332 class association provides a forum for racing and cruising and the class still has some important racing dates left this season. Their national championship will take place in Ramsgate on August bank holiday weekend. This, says David, is the “crescendo” of the racing calendar for the class.

Although the X-332 is a relatively old design now, its performance under the IRC system is very impressive. They are up to ten per cent faster than the Sigma 33 and in yesterday’s racing the front-runners were ahead of the Sigma 38s. “We were half way through the day boats” grins David.