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Big Fun in Small Packages: VX One Design

The VX One Design meets the club criterium: portable and affordable. New Boats from our September 2011 issue.

September 2, 2011
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Sailing World

VX One Design

The VX One Design is a well-priced offering from designer/builder Brian Bennett, who brought the Viper 640 to market in 1996. He’s set off on his own with a slick looking 19-footer, built in Savannah, Ga.

“Sailing, being the expensive sport that it is, will attract certain levels on the economic scale so you need to provide a good boat at a reasonable price,” says Bennett, who is determined to bring a modern boat to market for less than $30,000. “While there’s lots of competition in the small sportboat market, this is new competition for three-person boats like the Lightning and Flying Scot—this is something new to offer in this niche.”

The goal, says Bennett, is to deliver a high-performance boat that’s suitable for a wide range—from eager junior racers right on up to mature, experienced sailors. To achieve this, the boat will accommodate three different sail plans using the same rig package, much like the Laser Full Rig and Radial. The fundamental boat, called the VX One-Design CS, will have a “moderate, Viper-esque sail plan,” while the Junior Sport rig (aimed at teens to college-aged sailors) will carry a smaller gennaker and smaller square-top main. Eventually, for the upper end of the class, there will be the Super Sport (SS), carrying a bigger main and masthead gennaker, with the addition of a topmast backstay system and other necessary hardware. All versions will use the same jib.

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Bennett says he will initially work on delivering the CS version, both domestically and internationally, with the long-term goal of developing Super Sport class racing as an international pro-am type of sponsored sailing circuit—“the pinnacle of VX sailing, to which VX sailors can aspire to compete in,” says Bennett.

In terms of construction, Bennett and his team are emphasizing durability and longevity, using a “conservative level of technology.” Major components will be resin-infused with Vinylester and E-glass with PVC cores. “I’m willing to pay a bit of weight penalty,” he says, “but I feel that it’s got great internal structure where it needs to be, including a leading-edge trunk design with a full-height guide system [for the extruded aluminum lifting keel with integral weed cutter].”

In working with Harken and Southern Spars, the later of which developed a three-piece mast as well as numerous custom fittings, Bennett says he’s able to price the boat right while deliver a quality package. “That’s what we’re looking for in the whole project—to have very close tolerance from boat to boat. That’s what a true one-design class needs.”

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For more: www.vxonedesignracing.com

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