It has been decades since a racing dinghy for the larger helm has been launched. Yet in this time the population has grown – apparently we are mostly heavier and larger than in the past.
During this period there have also been a series of technical developments that made rigs more adaptable and easier to use. The impact of innovations such as composite masts and modern sail materials on racing is that today lighter and lighter helms can handle boats that years ago would have effectively been denied to them.
Put another way …. The bigger helm is frequently at a disadvantage today, even in classes where they previously dominated.
We are ‘larger’ and technology has worked to give a differential and greater advantage to the lighter helm.
It sounded like something needed to be done.
Heavyweights also approached Cirrus arguing for a Blaze based setup but one specifically developed for the larger helm. The best way of doing this was to focus on rig development and use the proven and highly effective Blaze hull and related hardware systems.
The Blaze-Halo concept was born - We would use the technical advances in design and sail material to put an expanded sailplan on the hull and offer the larger helm a ‘Heavyweights Blaze’. 30% of adult males currently have very limited choice when it comes to 'weight-capable' singlehanders.
The result was well suited to the target market. The Halo sail area is 11.5m, powerful but still very manageable and refined if you are the right weight. This is no larger than used by the Devoti D-1 but Halo does benefit from additional width/leverage ... and of course the simplicity of 'no spinnaker' and lightness. Early versions used a longer special Halo mast - but from August '14 the sail was revised by North allowing it to be carried on regular, totally standard Blaze spars. This significantly reduced the cost to get into Halo racing. Switching between 'Blaze' and 'Halo' setup only takes a couple of minutes to adjust the mast rake.
Halo is fast. In suitable wind it will plane upwind with ease and is exceptionally quick by most standards off-wind. The additional sail area allows Halo to go ‘deeper’ at speed if the course requires yet the single sail rig can easily cope with the tightest reach without compromise.
|Hull:||4.20m foam epoxy sandwich 72kg with wings/centreboard &c.|
|Foils:||Epoxy foam sandwich|
|Wings:||Maximum width 2.48m|
|Mast:||6.50m regular Blaze/Fire/Halo mast
|Sail:||11.50 metres - fully battened
|Handicap||'Great Lakes' = 1015 (clubs numbers vary around 1000-1020)
Please note these figures are NOT manufacturers recommended numbers. Cirrus merely reports on those currently in use at several clubs and by other handicappers. The Portsmouth (PN) numbers are questioned by many regarding Halo as they have recently assessed Halo at '987' - making it possibly the very FASTEST regular hiking class ... well just about anywhere. Halo is seriously quick in capable hands as we know .... but we still expect it to settle down at a higher number in time.
Halo is not an ‘equalised’ class but given the concept and specification users need to be larger than the more typical adult male across the range of conditons.
The highly developed North Halo sail is very efficient. Coupled to the Cirrus wing system that can be set to 2.48m width Halo is capable in light winds, superb in medium breezes and yet is still highly enjoyable in real breeze when other classes may be thinking twice. However with Halo it really does pay to be larger than average.
Crew need to be relatively heavy to get the best out of Halo, particularly in any real breeze. Anyone is very welcome and can join in and race Halo but many lighter crews will do better in Blaze mode.