Shown here is the Italia 11.98 CHRISTOPHER DRAGON sailing with her new A3 instead of code zero before winning the ORC class at the 2022 Larchmont Yacht Club Edlu Race. Two weeks later, DRAGON won the 180-mile Stamford-Block Island Race. According to skipper Andrew Weiss, “The picture shows us with the A-3 up at 80 degrees true wind angle in 7 knots of wind. The sail works great.”

Weiss said the boat’s designer, Matteo Polli, recommended not having a Code Zero to race under ORC because of the penalty Code Zeros incurs. The smallest, non-penalized spinnaker allowed in ORC has an 85% mid-girth. That is why Weiss went with a small A3 instead of a Code Zero.


After the Block Island Race, where CHRISTOPHER DRAGON won in her class as well as took First Overall in ORC, Weiss wrote, “We worked with the boat’s yacht designer and UK Sailmakers to build a relatively small and flat A-3. It is as small you can go without incurring a penalty under ORC; the mid-girth is little over 85 percent. We built the sail out of .9-ounce material at the suggestion of UK’s Butch Ulmer. I’m glad we listened; the sail stood up well while loaded-up.

“We didn’t see any other boats flying A-3s at the beginning of the Block Race. They all had code sails or jibs. We used the sail on and off for about 60 percent of the race and it’s the reason we think we won.”

“At times we realized we were overpowered and thought about taking the sail down. The main was flogging, which isn’t productive nor good for the main. The crew discussed what we could do. We decided to try putting in reef in the main. When we did, the boat was back under control. The main didn’t flog anymore and we thought we were about one-third of knot faster. On the way out, we were having hard time keeping up with the Sunfast 33, which are great reaching boats. Reefed, we were about equal to them; whenever the wind dropped couple of knots, we were faster. We eventually passed all of them going out the Gut [Plum Island Gut].

CHRISTOPHER DRAGON is currently racing in the 630-mile Newport to Bermuda Race.

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