The class originated at Marblehead in the USA and had an overall length of 50 inches suitable to fit across the rear seat of a car of the day. The Marblehead is light, responsive and very fast. This IRSA international class rule is ‘open’ allowing great design and construction freedom within the main speed determining parameter restrictions of 1290mm length, 700mm draught and 0.5161 square metres of measured sail. Within these simple limits the Marblehead has developed a boat of ultimate efficiency and excellent performance.
Current hull designs are very narrow with stability coming largely from the deep fins. This has allowed most post-1991 designs to remain competitive and give very close racing. Use of simple swing rigs allow some designs to be rigged very easily.
Today this class is the Formula 1 of yachts and this is where hi-tech is the norm, with virtually no limits on the hull, rigging, construction material, design or fittings. Unfortunately with Formula 1 comes cost, the result of “hi tech” materials and multiple rigs. This has reduced activity in the class as it has been replaced by other more economic classes.
There are a considerable number of perfectly serviceable boats of the class around which allow enjoyable sailing and would allow the development of a vintage Marblehead class.
January 2018 News
The IRSA Technical Committee has issued an update for the Marblehead Class Rules here.
and the Class Rules may be found here