The 2.4 Metre originated from Stockholm in 1983 by local yacht designers who used the “R Metre” rule to create a single-handed keelboat the 2.4mR. It is a thoroughbred racer that has the complexity of a sophisticated keelboat, without the high costs, and the fingertip feeling of a dinghy. As a sister to the bigger 6m, 8m and 12m yachts, she possesses the typical powerful Metre boat sailing style.
Level Playing Field
Since the helmsperson sits down in the boat facing forward with all the trim controls within arms reach, the sailing is not physically demanding and racing is done in one open class with men, women, young and old, able and disabled sailors racing together. Because the crew weight is always close to its centre of gravity, the 2.4mR is insensitive to differences in size of the helmsperson. Instead, 2.4mR racing focuses on sophisticated sail trim, tactics and strategy.
The 2.4mR soon became a popular class for its unique qualities and has now spread world wide. In 1992, the 2.4 Metre Class attained “International Status”, and official World Championships have been held annually since then, attracting 60-100 boats. Since the 2.4mR is so well suited for sailors with physical disabilities, it has been selected as the single-handed class at the Paralympics in Sydney 2000 where sailing for the first time was a full medal sport. The biggest fleets are found in the Scandinavian countries, Italy, England and Australia.
Because the 2.4 Metre has been a construction class, the boats have developed much in the early years, and are today superior in performance and safety compared to the earlier “Mini 12” versions. Being a construction class, there are different designs built by various boat builders. Some designs are built by “hobby-builders” and they contribute to the healthy development of the Class. However, the Norlin Mark III-design has been dominating the result lists since 1991 and today 90% of the active boats are Norlin Mark III’s. There are production boat builders in Finland, USA and Australia that manufacture the Norlin Mark III 2.4mR and in Sweden where the Stradivari 2.4m and Eide 2.4m are built.
The Class Association regularly works on the Class Rules to detect and avoid any loop holes in the rules and prevent “break through” designs that would make existing designs obsolete. While the “R Metre” rule has been around for almost 100 years and has undergone extensive elaboration, especially during the America’s Cup 12 Metre period, the 2.4 Metre Class Rule is kept very “strict”. For example, it does not allow wing keels or exotic materials. However, the Class Rule does allow variations in equipment to level the playing field between physical differences of strength, size and abilities of the sailors, yet keeping the equipment at reasonable cost at the same time.
The combination of keel boat and dinghy qualities makes the 2.4mR the perfect boat for single-handed match racing. This format is a very demanding and effective way to test and improve one’s tactical skills in both match and fleet racing. Furthermore, the 2.4mR is ideal to race on short courses close to shore. Spectacular match racing regattas with a race announcer is relatively easy and inexpensive to put together. But most importantly, 2.4mR sailing is all up to the helmsperson. There is no need for an elite level crew that is otherwise necessary if one wants to be competitive in match racing.