This edition was very difficult and the majority of the over 100 boats racing did not complete the race. Lot of head winds and 40kn gusts, with strong tides against the wind made it almost impossible for the smaller boats, even if the waves were not big.
The Silverrudder is the biggest European coastal solo race reuniting some of the best amateurs from the North of Europe. It is raced in the Baltic around Funen Island in Denmark and it is innovative since it is not an handicap race but a race by boat sizes, a format that I would like to see expanded to more races.
The classes are Keel boats: From 18.00 to 25.00 feet incl. From 25.01 to 30.00 feet incl. From 30.01 to 35.00 feet incl. From 35.01 to 40.00 feet incl. From 40.01 feet and upwards. Multihulls: From 18.00 to 28.00 feet incl. From 28.01 feet and upwards.
This is a good place to look at boat performances while being sailed solo and fast on coastal conditions, with upwind and downwind sailing. We can get some interesting facts:
The biggest boat was a fast Wasa 55 (24h42m02s) that seemed well suited to the conditions and solo sailing, narrow, light and not needing much sail. However it was slower than much smaller boats from the two categories below (medium and small). The fastest from the small boats, a Farr 280 was almost 2 hours faster.
We can see that the fastest boats by far (strong winds, small waves) were the Dragonfly Trimarans and again the smaller trimaran was faster (28 - 15h13m28s) than the bigger one, (35 – 17h02m44s) more cruising orientated.
We can see that theoretically faster bigger monohulls were handicapped by the superior difficulty to sail them solo and that only one was effectively faster (not by much) than much smaller boats, but easier to sail solo. The fastest monohull was a XP44 (19h09m59s) followed by a JPK10.80 (20h07m01s) a First 40 (20t35m18s) and by a small JPK 10.10.
We can also note that on average the bigger boats (only one bigger than 50 ft) were not faster than the two classes below, 35.01 to 40.00ft and 30.01 to 35.00ft.
Even more meaningful is that the abandon rate is much bigger in classes over 35ft (70%) than in between 30 and 35ft (54%).
This reinforces my opinion that smaller boats (over 30ft) in coastal conditions, sailed solo by an average sailor can be faster and safer than bigger boats solo sailed. The better the sailor the bigger the boat it can sail solo but as you can see here there was only a boat over 55ft, that was far from being the fastest among the big boats and that the average size on the unlimited class was about 43/44ft. And remember, most of the ones that are racing here are considerably better than the average sailor.