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Chris Todter On His Role As The J Class Technical Director

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Chris Todter On His Role As The J Class Technical Director
Chris Todter On His Role As The J Class Technical Director

The new Technical Director for the J Class is Chris Todter (USA) who has seven America's Cup campaigns under his belt as either Technical Director or Design Coordinator. 


Since his appointment three months ago he has been liaising with Owners, project managers and crews as he seeks to direct refinements and improvements to the J Class rule to ensure that racing between the classic yachts from different eras and designers' philosophies is as fair and equable as possible across the widest range of wind and sea conditions. 

"I am very pleased to be involved in the J Class in this role which really is all about the people, the boats and the technology." Todter opens, "Simply put, my role is to maintain the rule to ensure fair racing." 

"My mandate is to be able to step in and tighten up the class rule. Racing has become very competitive in recent years which is a natural progression and healthy for the class, but the rule needs to be up to the job." he explains. 

His first objective has been to understand and rectify loopholes which existed, some of which had been a source of discord among teams. "What we are seeking to do it to minimise any arms race. Racing has to be fair and fun or owners don't stay with the class for long." says Todter who most recently won the America's Cup with the BMW Oracle wing sailed trimaran in Valencia in 2010. 

"The boats are so different that the idea is to improve the handicapping technology by scanning the hull shapes of each of the boats and using more advanced CFD to better know the drag and the actual righting moments of each boat, to create more accurate VPPs to work with. Bear in mind that, for example, we are working with a 20% difference in displacement. So we are trying to employ the best technology to deliver the most accurate handicapping."

He has started the scanning and evaluation process already, the first yacht to be scanned being Topaz, but all of the existing, active fleet will be scanned in the near future. 

"Our mission is not to re-write the rule. Ninety per cent of it is good, we are looking at additional clarification and restriction. My job ultimately is final arbiter, judging what is fair and reasonable."

Chris Todter – Partner 

Involved in 7 America's Cup campaigns as Technical Director/Design Coordinator, winning with Oracle trimaran in 2010. Hydrodynamic consultant for James Cameron's expedition to the bottom of the ocean and M Ship senior scientist developing high speed planing craft M80 Stiletto for Department of Defence. He is an extensive patent holder with broad experience in acoustics, aerodynamics, contra hydrodynamics, instrumentation, and software & analysis.

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