by Jane Fossett and Naeve Rossini
This weekend Corry Kamachi released the new WildWind Open 60 sailboat, the JMO-60.
So what’s an “Open 60?”
The new JMO-60 is a high-performance ocean racer, inspired by the RL Open 60 Class boats. The International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA) sets the specs for the Open 60 (“60″ refers to it’s 60 ft length) describing it as “The most successful ocean racing class” currently on the water. IMOCA also sets rules for competiitions and helps organize many high-profile, long-distance ocean races world-wide. These are the cutting edge thoroughbreds of extreme sailing; lightening fast, carbon-fiber tough, and an inspiration to behold. This boat belongs in SL.
And Corry got it right! Here’s a diagram of the RL Open 60, above.Frankly, I like the SL version more 🙂 !!
The JMO-60’s form faithfully follows the speed-craving sleek shape of the Open 60 wedge, down to the details of its swing bulb keel, its carbon-fiber spars, and even it’s satellite communications dome (I assume that’s so a global skipper can stay logged in to SL while rounding Cape Horn). The hull comes in two flavors: one is stripped down to the essentials needed for 100+ region ocean races and arduous sim crossings. The other is more nuanced, prim-laden and contemplative. It’s the fancy version for those late nights when your ocean passage is done, and you decide to grab a mooring at some tropical marina in an exotic estate along the race route… and perhaps invite the natives aboard.
True to RL form, however, I admit the JMO-60’s cabin is pretty spare. You’ll find inside an uncomfortable bench to lie on and a compact nav station, just like the RL racer’s accommodations. Sorry ( 🙂 ): The Open 60 Class specifications don’t include options for a hot tub or sexgen animations. If you want those things, you can (a) Buy another boat, or (b) Wait till the race is over.
Your decision will depend, I suspect, on how much you really want to win that next SL Global Challenge Race…
Sailing the JMO-60
The JMO-60 comes with a blizzard of adjustable settings and sailing options that allow the skipper to customize the vessel to their preferences, and it shares many features in common with two other WildWind ocean racers, the larger VOJ-70 (modeled after the Volvo VOR-70 standard) and the small but speedy RCJ-44 that was previously discussed in these pages. I’ve posted copieds of the Information Notecards that come with the boat to a webpage here, for sailors’ ease of reference.
JMO-60 will carry a skipper and two crew members. The skipper is responsible for all the sailing, and the helm cannot be shared (or ‘loaned to’) your sailing friends. Sometimes the crew is there just to keep you company, I guess; can’t complain about that!
This is a boat that will keep the skipper busy, too! It comes with a standard mainsail and three different headsails that each optimize performance under different points of sail. There’s a working jib, a Genoa jib (for lighter air) and a Genniker for a downwind boost. The boat lacks a true spinnaker, but frankly on an ocean racer where only one skipper is in charge of the helm and all sails, putting up a parachute in RL sound pretty suicidal. Although the RL Open 60 spec does include a spinnaker, the IMOCA strongly advocates a limited set of racing sails, for safety as well as design compatibility. Believe me, there are so many racing adjustable features on the SL version of the boat that three headsails are more than enough!
Like other boats in the WildWind line, JMO-60 has a swing keel and the rigging can be adjusted to optimize acceleration, speed, or turning ability to suit the particular race conditions. OH! Did I mention you can reef the masinsail too? 🙂
JMO-60 comes with an unassuming ‘button HUD’ that attaches to the upper left corner of the viewer and lies along the left side of the screen. Most racers will probably want to switch to chat commands however, since they are generally more reliable under lag conditions in a crowded fleet. A simple, numerical “info HUD display” superimposes all the sail data you would ever need right in the middle of your screen, so you’ll never miss that wind change…
The JMO-60 just hit the water a couple days ago, and there are so many features to this boat it will take several weeks to sort everything out ( actually, the way I do stuff, it could take me years!). Given the excitement about the boat, however, I thought it would be fun to report some basic performance data and compare it to similar boats in the fleet.