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Sunday, March 10, 2013

IOM in Review: Scharming Mk. IOM's from Germany

Editor's Note:  Like Bob Wells, I've been fascinated by Michael Scharmer's IOM designs for a long time; using little more than ingenuity, wood, glue, staples, and cellophane, Michael has made some amazingly competitive IOM's...which goes to show it's not just how much you spend. This is good for the sport, and the hobby!

This article is republished with the kind permission of Bob Wells, from his excellent IOM UPDATE newsletter (March 2011), available here. Bob is a member of the well respected Seattle Model Yacht Club, and his newsletters are must reads for skippers of IOM's, and several other classes. Thanks Bob!


Playmate (Twins) of the Month! … GER 09: Once again thanks to our Euro staff photographers we can present more exotic Deutschland beauties, and this time we have twins. While near identical as far as I can tell, the slim contemplative one is in a classy stained wood livery and the slim brash one has the red dress on. These are not pampered queens either; they were very competitive in the 2010 GBR and Euro Championships among others. In fact the GER 09 designs are easily the most competitive ladies we’ve presented in our fledgling Playmate section yet.

The designer/builder is Michael Scharmer, who probably only needs an introduction in our newly formed fleet. I first read about him in a Lester Gilbert report from the ’02 Euro’s in Fleetwood, England. Lester wrote in admiration, 

“The most interesting boat of the event was undoubtedly that of Michael Scharmer (GER 09). His design "Scharming Mk VII" had a number of unique points, not least being a wooden mast and wooden booms, with fittings consisting almost exclusively of just steel staples, line, and bowsies. Scharmer started in "E" fleet, but by the end of the event was in "A" fleet as the top GER skipper and had clearly developed the tune of his rigs very effectively indeed.” 

I read this before I had any intention of joining an IOM fleet. I was so impressed with his design and performance with the wood mast, that I remember his name to this day. As in the last newsletter I have no insight to these boats or Michael Scharmer beyond what I see and read in the Internet, but that won’t stop me from noting my observations.


Michael Scharmer and his distinctive Scharming Mark-XVC at GBR Nats. The minimalist form is something like you see in a Philippe Starck design. Photo © Hanneke Gillissen
So how competitive is Herr Scharmer with his noodle of a wooden mast? On the table below I did a little research and compared Michaels performance against the best USA skipper in major regattas, Craig Mackey. It takes a range of skills to do well in major championships, which they both obviously have in abundance. Only Scharmer competes at this high level with a wooden mast though, and that extra bendy stick has to be a decided disadvantage. He is also one of the few these days who compete at this level with his own distinctive design, which he builds inexpensively and quickly in simple wood construction. I read somewhere that he is the “master of the budget boat”. He is a master all right.



Scharming Mark-XVc at the 2010 GBR Nats in brown turbulent W. Kirby waters – note the aft bend in the middle-upper portion of the mast. I’ll speculate that this inverse bend is caused by pounding in waves coupled with that flexible mast. This is not good of course. Among other things it allows the jib luff sag. Photo © Hanneke Gillissen
Her twin at 2010 Euros – Notice her flat deck/sheer line & lots of depowering twist off-wind. Photo © Hanneke Gillissen. 


Again at 2010 Euros – This action photo shows her flat deck/sheer line viewed looking down a little. It shows the small well that the mast/vang recess into, requiring the vang to be short and steeply angled. This small mast well and short vang are both unique in IOMs as far as I’ve seen. Note the dramatic lateral bow flair at the deck and the almost circular transom. The bow flair is to resist the bow sinking downwind, and there is a lot of fullness in his bow to accomplish this. There are some hatches on the deck fore and aft, but they conceal themselves well in these photos. (As an aside, it looks to be a RRS infraction here with Rob Walsh, but zoom lens can mislead?) Photo © Hanneke Gillissen. 
Again at 2010 Euros, and the Scharming is a total design departure from the gold Lintle. This photo shows his shroud termination, which connects inboard and cantilevers outboard for a wide base above. The obvious reason is to keep the shroud base above water as she heals. Narrow hull forms resist healing less than beamy hulls, but have lower drag. I think Michael pays a lot of attention to achieving a low-drag hull when healed. Photo © Ingrid Bluem 
I’m not sure why they are weighing the Scharming without foils here, but it shows the oval hull/deck form nicely. Michael is on the right. Photo © Hanneke Gillissen. Editors Note: Reader Arjan vd Cingel from the Netherlands comments: "That picture is made before the German Nationals at Luebeck. The reason is very simple, if the room is not high enough [you weigh] the boat and foils separately and [add] the numbers together" Mystery solved!
Building a Mark XIV by Michael Scharmer: Check out this ’05 article by Michael that is translated to English and describes his simple approach to custom building his Mark IV design. Michael described this design as a further development of his ’04 and ‘05 skinny chine hulls in plywood. The Mark IV hull evolved to a rounded planked form with a skiff deck in plywood, and here Michael describes his preference for “v” over “u” hull forms. From the dates on the pictures the build time, including three rigs, is 55 days; and I read somewhere he builds about one IOM per year. You will see a picture of his oval jib swivel tubes. His mast is laminated wood that he planes down to eventually squeezes through a 10.7mm hole


GER 09, a Scharming Mark XVc on the right. I included this photo to illustrate how skinny this design is. The A-rig sails are from Cellophane fabric, supposedly from a florist? It appears Michael makes his sails. Photo © Ingrid Bluem





Scharming Mark XVc making a leap in the turmoil of W. Kirby, a wonderful action shot. Note no counterbalance is used on Michael’s smaller rigs, which I think is atypical from most in the class? You’ll find no telltales on his sails on any of the photos either. I don’t know what that shiny thing is on the gunwale? A patch from yacht wars maybe? Photo © Hanneke Gillissen.
An older sister: Here is a slightly earlier Scharming design iteration at the ’09 Worlds in BAR. It has a rounded hull form with a flat deck. Same wood mast of course. Photo was downloaded from the Barbados regatta hosts’ web site.
An older cousin: GER100 is another Scharming iteration (Scharming Mark XV) seen here at the ’09 Worlds in BAR and later at the ’10 GBR Nats, but this was sailed by Dieter Lagemann. It has a rounded hull form and foredeck with a flattish aft deck. The stern looks wider than the latest Scharming designs shown above. Same wood mast and booms of course, and it looks like Sharmer sails too. I include this photo to show others sail Michael’s designs too, finishing 51st out of 72 in a very tough ’10 GBR Nats fleet. Photo was downloaded from the Barbados regatta hosts’ web site. 
A much older sister: This Scharming finished 4th in the ’04 Euros in ESP, and is a painted example of his earlier skinny chine hulls in plywood. The foils and bulb have evolved considerably, but the hulls appear to be a more incremental progression with a consistent narrow beam. This photo is from Anders Wallin’s web site.

Michael Scharmer does it his way with his own skinny boats. Salute! Photo © Hanneke Gillisse

1 comment:

  1. This repost corrects some graphical errors from the original posting. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete