Summit 35 Best IRC Racer

This boat is set up with pure racing in mind. A feature from our January/February 2010 issue

Summit 35 BOTY 368

Walter Cooper

Designer Mark Mills is The Man nowadays when it comes to successful mid-sized IRC designs, especially in Europe, the cradle of IRC racing. Our 2009 Boat of the Year, the King 40 by Summit Yachts (also a Mills design), lived up to the hype in its first year, and given what they saw in the Summit 35, the judges have high expectations for this 35-footer, too.

“This boat is set up strictly for racing,” said Holby. “The cruising amenities are there only to meet the IRC rule.” That said, for around-the-cans-racing, there are a lot of features experienced teams will appreciate. “The boat has a good deck layout,” added Holby, “with details like the jib in-haulers led to the companionway, the mainsheet led below decks, and the smooth, rounded forward hatch [for snag-free spinnaker takedowns]. This boat is responsive in light air and is nicely laid out for racing, making changing gears particularly easy with an electric hydraulic backstay [optional]. The designer and builder really have their act together on this one.”

The vacuumed-bagged hull carries a modest amount of freeboard and generous beam (just over 11′ max beam), which Stewart said gave him the impression he was “on a big 40-footer.”


The boat, hull No. 1, was presented and tested with tiller steering and oversized spinnaker pole, but there is a twin-wheel steering option (as well as an option for a sprit), which the cockpit is already designed to accommodate. The judges said a wheel upgrade would be a wise (and more forgiving) upgrade, particularly for a less-experienced helmsman coming from wheel-steered boats.

Despite claims by Summit’s George Carabetta that the boat was cruising friendly, the judges weren’t convinced they’d be compelled to do any extended cruising on the Summit 35. There is standing headroom and ample sleeping accommodations (V-berth, two aft cabins, and settees), but the judges felt this boat would be better served raced hard and put away wet-the only liveaboard being a dehumidifier. The judges noticed some first-build workmanship issues with the interior finish, but were confident they’d be dealt with in subsequent builds.

“They [Edgewater Boats, primarily a powerboat builder] will get better,” said Holby. “The foundation is good, and overall it’s really well built.”


The test sail revealed a boat that kept to its polars, and the judges agreed it was lively and responsive.With an IRC rating of 1.060, it will be competitive in existing IRC fleets with similar-sized boats. “Overall, it’s a great boat for Key West [Race Week],” said Allen. “It’s definitely optimized to do well under IRC, especially in light air.”

Judges’ P.O.V.
• Straight-up IRC raceboat,
good rating
• Clean, efficient deck layout
• Minimalist interior for low
• Quick through the water, stiff
• End-for-end jibes for symmetric

Test conditions: 5 to 10 knots,
flat water
Recommended use: Handicap racing
Recommended race crew: 8
Stats: LOA 35.09′ Beam 11.40′
DSPL 10,920 lbs. Ballast 5,300 lbs.
SA (u/d) 816/1,889 sq. ft.
Price (as sailed): $295,000