Helmed by Paul Hemsley
|Hull weight||72 kg|
|Mast height||6.5 m|
|Mainsail area||10.0 m2|
The Blaze was designed in the mid-90's by Ian Howlett, one time International 14 designer and associated with Americas Cup design work and John Caig, winner of Fireball Worlds. It is a powerful winged single-hander with well developed 10 m2 sail. Unusually in recent performance designs both foils are pivoting enabling the centreboard to be adjusted from the wing as well making it particularly suitable for estuaries and shallow lakes.
The Blaze was originally built by Ian Howlett and John Caig, and marketed by Topper International from 1996. In 2000 an active class association ran a sail development program to produce a more responsive sail, dropping some of the excessive leech of the original that proved 'difficult' in any real breeze for many helms. The slight loss in area was countered by a more efficient sail and balanced handling characteristics, and the class rapidly adopted the sail with numbers raced and sold rising very rapidly. In 2006 Topper moved out of performance composite boats and the manufacturing and marketing rights transferred to Cirrus Raceboats (www.cirrusrace.com) who have refined the boat further and work with Rondar to produce the current boat. As of November 2007 there are just under 250 registered boats.
The Blaze class is concentrated in the UK but there are boats in many other countries. Under the guidance of the Class Association the Blaze has developed an almost cult following and there are plans to pro-actively develop fleets in other countries.