AUS 111 Glenn Ashby – photos © Gordon Upton / www.guppypix.com
A Class World Championships at Hervey Bay, Queensland
‘The odd thing is, it’s not usually like this here…’ How often do you hear that at a regatta from the locals eh? After losing two more days of sailing at the ‘A’ Cat Worlds in Hervey Bay on the lovely Fraser Coast, this time due to Northerly winds making it too unsafe to launch the rescue boats etc into the ‘Texel’ style breakers.
Even though they had officially got a championship after they had sailed six races for the series, the race committee, acknowledging the fact many had travelled thousands of miles to be there, finally managed to get in three races more on the last scheduled day of the event. And what races they were too!
The day started pretty calm, and with forecast 6-8 kt winds. The media boat zipped of to a nearby beauty spot, called with the typical no nonsense Australian parlance, Pelican Banks. Essentially a sandbank with pelicans on and reminiscent of a cartoon desert island minus that single palm tree, to do an interview about the upcoming day and including a subsequently erroneous weather forecast.
The start was delayed and hour or so, as the previous two days of onshore wind and associated waves had virtually removed the launching ramps onto the beach and turning them into little 2ft cliffs. But the organisers had quickly managed to mobilise some real engineers and all the bush engineers from amongst the sailors, together with volunteers and some local council guys to construct a new launch ramp to access the beach.
Eventually the boats sailed out to their start areas, and after the traditional wait race offices seem to enjoy the world over, the wind to decide to settle on a NW direction. The arrangement of the courses were such that spectators could conveniently watch the bottom of the Classic fleet and then motor over a few hundred yards to the top of the Open fleet. This is something that split course fleet class operators should take note of as it proved a very popular situation.
The Classics were first away, after a General Recall mainly due to the tide flow, and with the wind a nice 7-9 kts. Fleet overnight leader, ahead with a 7pt cushion, Andrew Landenberger (AUS 908) wasted no time in drawing ahead of Scott Anderson (AUS 31) with Alberto Farnassi (SWE 59) and the others following on to the left of the course towards the shore. But as the race progressed the wind slowly started to increase up a notch. Landy won his sixth bullet and Scotty his fourth second. Alberto was beaten by Graeme Parker (AUS 967) and Landy’s son, Andy Landenberger (AUS 300) – a name to watch for the future.
Peter Burling 7 & Blair Tuke 777 – photos © Gordon Upton / www.guppypix.com
Over on the Open fleet, also after a general recall and then a black flag that saw Joseph Randall (AUS 1014) and Todd Woods (CAN 66) getting DSQ. Tom Bojland (DEN 77) was rammed from behind resulting is his tiller bar breaking and causing him to turn, upon which he was then rammed in the side. The unhappy Dane was awarded average points for the last three races after the protest making him 33rd.
Unaware or unconcerned by all this drama, TNZL helm Peter Burling (NZL 7) blasted around the top mark ahead of Micha Heemskerk (NED 7), followed a minute later by series leader Glenn Ashby (AUS 111). Glenn had a 5pt lead from Mischa going into the race, so couldn’t let up the pace. By the second lap the trio had been joined by Bruce Mahoney (USA 311) in his highest position of the series so far, and this was how the finish positions were as Burling, clearly getting to grips with his boat and their new larger rudder winglets and started sailing like a monster. Glenn in third, then sailed straight over to his support boat and capsized. He’d had a board raking issue that took nearly all the time until the second start to fix. As other boats finished, their personal battles gained them or lost them valuable last day points.
Race two started in an increased 12-14 kt wind. And this was the moment that young kiwi Micha Wilkinson (NZL 96) made the ballsiest move seen in the whole regatta. He did a magnificent port flyer, from the pin end, right across the bows of all the America’s Cup and Olympic superstars, probably something he will wake up a 3am in a cold sweat thinking about later, but a magnificent thing to behold. It got him his best finish of ninth as a result.
Glenn, with his newly fixed boat, wasted no time in getting to the top first, in about 8 mins as usual. The sailors who have mastered the upwind foiling in this division really made big gains here. It was interesting to see the almost 15 deg less angle they were sailing compared to the non upwind foilers. But their speed, almost a third faster, easily made up for the lower angles. At the bottom of lap one, Glenn was fully in command again. Mischa, who had maybe listened to our Pelican Banks weather forecast, seemed to be struggling with his setup in the increasing winds, which was unfortunate, as, being described in the past as a ‘Big Old Unit’, he usually gets faster as the wind gets up.
photos © Gordon Upton / www.guppypix.com
At the line, Glenn was 2 mins ahead of Burling this time. Behind him was another ETNZ sailor Blair Tuke (NZL 777) who had regained his earlier week form. Darren Bundock (AUS 88) finished just ahead of Mischa this time and closely followed the Adam Beattie (AUS 14) in his best regatta finish of sixth.
A little further back Tom Johnson (AUS 1065) was closing in on the line after fighting to get past Stevie Brewin (AUS 4) and Bruce, had a lovely little crowd-pleaser of a capsize on his final fast gybe, 200 yards from the line allowing the others to slip past again. His displeasure was probably heard ashore.
So, came the final race of the 2018 Worlds. Glenn lead Mischa by a more comfortable 9 points. But still needed to stay on the dry side of the boat and finish in the top nine boats, so still couldn’t drop his guard. By now, the wind had gone up again, 15–19kts. Rather more than the pelicans on their bank been forecasting, and many boats had a lighter wind setup, such as less mast rake, so may have been powered up more than their sailors were.
At the first bottom mark, Glenn, who reached that in 14 mins, blasted around in the blustery conditions, but his boat had a little leap as he hardened up onto his upwind leg. But lap two he had lapped possibly 25% of the fleet, chased by Burling and Tuke with Mischa chasing hard in fourth. By the finish, he’d lapped most of the fleet to cross the line and perform his traditional hull flying victory dance. Burling and Tuke arrived a few minutes later, trailed by Mischa. As the rest of the fleet arrived, tired sailors flipped boats on gybes, others in the groups of two or three fought hard to arrive overlapped and foiling over the line, all glad to have taken part.
And, as usual, the sail back to the beach was even better. No least for some of the Classics, as they arrived from their further upwind race area. This, of course gave Landy and chance to show he was at least as fast downhill as many of the foilers, something he did with his characteristic big grin.
Winners at the Worlds – photos © Gordon Upton / www.guppypix.com
To sum up – this has been one of the classic ‘A’ Cat World Championships. Although half of the days were un-sailable due to too much/too little wind and the associated water states, is was hugely enjoyable for all. Yes, a few things got broken, but it was a hard fought Worlds in a cutting edge boat after all, and with the strongest fleet seen in many years by some margin. In the end, two characters dominated as we all expected. Landy in the Classic division, Glenn in the Open, but neither had it their own way all the time, no walk in the park for them. They had to fight this time to be the World Champions, and the class is all the better for that.
Now the circus moves on, next year to the slightly less warm, but definitely less turtle or shark-infested seas of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy in the UK. And many Open division sailors here this year have realised that the foiling nirvana of Portland Harbour, with it’s smooth winds and flat water is what awaits them. Just pack those 3mm wetsuits guys and you’ll all be fine!
More information at www.a-cat.org
Wednesday and Thursday look to be blown off as the Northerlies are in control. It will all go down to the wire in Friday’s last three races.
No results posted Wednesday or Thursday for the A-Cat Worlds at Hervy Bay, Australia as strong Northerlies hit the event.
Australia’s Glenn Ashby has a five point overall lead after six races completed. He leads from Holland’s Mischa Heemskerk and Blair Tuke of New Zealand.
In the Classic fleet event, Andrew Landenberger leads by seven points from Scott Anderson with Graeme Parker in third place.
2018 A-Cat Worlds – Open Series after 6 races, 1 discard (69 entries)
1st AUS 111 Glenn Ashby 1 1 1 -5 1 3 – – 7 pts
2nd NED 007 Mischa Heemskerk 4 3 2 -9 2 1 – – 12 pts
3rd NZL 777 Blair Tuke 2 4 5 -8 3 4 – – 18 pts
4th AUS 88 Darren Bundock -7 5.5 4 1 4 7 – – 21.5 pts
5th NZL 7 Peter Burling 3 7 9 -14 10 2 – – 31 pts
6th AUS 4 Steven Brewin 8 2 8 7 6 -9 – – 31 pts
7th AUS 25 Stephen Brayshaw 5 6 3 -32 9 11 – – 34 pts
8th ESP 97 Iago Lopez Marra 9 14 10 6 -22 5 – – 44 pts
9th NZL 270 Dave Shaw 11 9 6 -25 5 16 – – 47 pts
10th USA 311 Bruce Mahoney 13 11 7 11 -14 6 – – 48 pts
2018 A-Cat Worlds – Classic Series (45 entries)
1st AUS 308 Andrew Landenberger 1 1 1 -5 1 1 5 pts
2nd AUS 31 Scott Anderson 2 2 3 -8 3 2 12 pts
3rd AUS 967 Graeme Parker 6 -9 9 1 2 3 21 pts
4th SWE 59 Alberto Farnesi 3 3 2 -14 9 7 24 pts
5th USA 165 Bob Webbon -15 6 4 13 5 5 33 pts
6th AUS 960 Neil Caldwell 20 7 6 -25 4 4 41 pts
7th SUI 65 Charles Bueche -19 12 8 4 8 11 43 pts
8th USA 99 Ben Hall -17 8 5 11 7 12 43 pts
9th AUS 300 Andy Landenberger 13 10 (46 DNS) 7 12 8 50 pts
10th AUS 954 Paul Neeskens 4 5 14 -19 17 18 58 pts
by Sailweb, www.sailweb.co.uk
photo © Gordon Upton / www.guppypix.com
A Class World Championships at Hervey Bay
And it all started out so calmly. A day that initially promised so little at first, it ended with a bit of a bang as the day’s three act drama unfolded in a building wind from the North.
Both Classic and Open courses flew the postponement flags for a good 60 mins, and half of the fleet elected to remain on the sandy beaches of Hervey Bay. The others sailed out to the racing areas to test the conditions and finalise their low wind settings. A few of the foilers managed to find little gusts and jumped up on their wings for a couple of hundred meters before landing back down like ducks. Eventually, the wind direction stabilised and the flag dropped, flushing all the sunbathing cats from the beach.
In an 8 kt wind, the Open foilers seemed to have a little trouble coming to heel. One start was cancelled 30 sec before the signal and most of the fleet seemed to be over the line. Then they had 2 general recalls as the light wind didn’t stop boats drifting over the line in the tide flow. So, with recourse to stronger action, the PRO hoisted the Black Flag. This did the trick, and they were all off into the teeth of this 8 kt wind. A few of the sailors tried to get upwind foiling, but they all quickly realised it was a forlorn hope in those winds.
At the top mark, and much to his huge surprise and pride, the Holland Composites DNA designer,Pieterjan Dwarshuis, (PJ to everyone who can’t pronounce Dutch names), beat this World class field by a good 20 boat lengths and reached the wind hole that was the top mark. Others floated around, including Glenn Ashby, who rounded 3rd.
At the spreader nearly all gybed around and got into their low drag mode of mainly wishing they still sailed a Classic ‘A’ Cat. But Glenn sailed off in the direction of Bunderberg, presumably to get some rum. He sailed way out in search of more pressure, which he hoped to find nearer the shore.
At the bottom mark, it was Australian Mark Bulka who rounded first, and led the drifting fleet back upwind to the repositioned and shortened top mark. Glenn somehow managed to get back, rum less, and was about 10th or so.
Over the next two laps the field shifted about even more with the lead changing on each leg as the sailors hunted about for more pressure. At the finish, it was Darren Bundock who won the tactical waterborne chess game, closely followed by Bulka and Bob Baier (GER), then Nils Palmieri (SUI) with Glenn in 5th.
Over on the Classic course, it was a similar story. Series leader, Andrew Landenberger, could only manage a 5th, and 2nd place sailors Scott Anders (AUS) had an 8th. It’s an ill wind, as they say and AUS Graeme Parker (AUS) claimed the bullet.
Back on the open course, the second race started cleanly in a much better 12 kt breeze. First at the top this time was Emmanuel Dode (FRA) on his DNA F1x, but then the race went more to the Ashby playbook, with Mischa Heemskerk (NED) for too far behind in 2nd. Ashby’s ETNZ team-mate was 3rd with Bundy in 4th.
The final race was, again, a clean getaway. This time the wind was a good 12 – 14 kts, right in the zone for the foilers. Plenty of action around the course as the sailors fought their individual duels with their peers. At the first mark Bruce Mahoney (USA) was on the money, having a good race with Bulka at the front. Ashby was ever present looking to pounce, but it was Mischa who put in the performance of the day, by the last downwind drag race to the finish, he held off a strong challenge from Peter Burling to blast over the line at 25 kts.
Then came Glenn and Bundy. The remainder of the fleet all came shooting through, many closely fighting for positions right to the end, as befits such a championship field of this strength.
This 2018 Worlds seems to have come alive as both divisions had a bit of a shake up. Landy, on the Classic course is 7 points ahead of Scotty. And Mischa is chasing Glenn by 5 points. Further down the fleets, positions are being swapped madly. It’s still all to play for race fans!
Thursday definitely looks to be blown off as the Northerlies are in control. It will all go down to the wire in Friday’s last three races. They can’t wait.
More information on the event website at www.a-cat.org
highlights video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=62&v=jl9MPN8YoD4
by Gordon Upton
Glenn Ashby © Gordon Upton / www.guppypix.com
Racing started in earnest at the ‘A’ Class Worlds on the beautiful warm waters and beaches of Hervey Bay in Australia.
The weather was a little kinder, following the cancellation of the first day’s racing after all the fleet had arrived at the race areas.
The winds had dropped to a lovely 12 – 18 kts. However, it was swinging 10 to 15 deg all day – becoming a feature of the South Easterly wind direction as it comes over a promontory, and this also results in more gusty conditions.
The effect was to make it seem like sailing on a huge lake, and indeed the lake sailors felt at home. Getting into the correct sequence with the wind swing was a skill few mastered, with even the best getting caught out sailing into headers and holes occasionally.
The skill came in joining the dots of the areas of higher pressure to maximise the VMG. Staying on a constant heading would cost you dearly.
Two courses are run, one each for the two ‘A’ Cat divisions. This is the first Worlds where the two different versions of this 52-year-old development class single-handed thoroughbred catamaran have been separated in a championship.
The Classic, usually the C and straight board, boats that do not foil but sail in a displacement mode and the Open or Foiling division where all the boats are allowed to fly on their foils.
Both types will measure as ‘A’ Cats, but due to their speed differentials and differing sailing angles in higher wind conditions, it was elected to allow a separation of the types into two divisions. Most events run the two together and split out the results, but for the big ones, it is separated for safety reasons. In Hervey Bay this year we have a split of about 70/30. The split meant that many more Classic sailors turned up, as they now no longer feel they had been left behind due to their lack of circus skills or desire to remain in one piece.
This year, the standard of competition has gone to a whole new level. There is a hand full of America’s Cup sailors in the fleet and at least a dozen Olympians, plus Carolijn Brouwer (NED) the current Volvo Ocean Race champion and who was awarded 2018 World Sailor of the year.
On both fleets, the race officers got all their three races away cleanly. The tide flow away from the line certainly helped in that regard. On the Open Course, the superstars lost no time in starting combat.
Carolijn Brouwer c Gordon Upton / www.guppix.com
The nine-time ‘A’ cat World Champion, and ETNZ winning skipper Glenn Ashby set off like a scalded cat from the pin end and in the first two races pulled ahead to a good lead buy the first mark. He then simply increased that distance on the rest of the fleet. His ETNZ teammate, Peter Burling tried his best to hold onto him, as did the Dutch double world champion Mischa Heemskerk and Burling’s Olympic Gold winning 49er teammate, Blair Tuke. Glenn’s Olympic silver Tornado helm, Darren Bundock tried in vain to keep up also.
But Glenn was having none of it. In the third race, he found himself in a hole, something we can all do with monotonous regularity, so we can take comfort from the fact it happens to the world’s best cat sailor as well.
This dropped him down to 5th at the first top mark. AUS sailor Steven Brayshaw held the lead for a whole lap – something he can tell his grand kids about, and with Misha following before the little Aussie caught them both, passing them as if they were stationary too. He did a 13 min lap on race one, taking eight mins to reach the top mark 1 nm away.
Glenn’s boat was fitted with the latest Exploder Z23 foils, as were the others in his ETNZ team. These had only arrived 48hrs earlier, but they proved good enough for them to chance using them at the Worlds. It is of note, that when these boats foil past, there is always a hum from the foils. All boats except Ashby’s that is. His was silent in this regard.
The other thing the ETNZ guys are doing is dialling differential rudder rake. This is like increasing the downforce on a racing car. The windward rudder is raked to a lesser angle than the leeward one giving the windward hull more grip in the water at the T foils on their tips pull rather than push, and allowing more power to be put into the rig.
On the tack and gybe, they pull a control that reverses it all to the other side. This is pretty sophisticated stuff and requires a good deal of setup knowledge as regards the optimum angles. We saw it in the last America’s Cup, and this is a good example of technology trickle-down from such events.
Further down the fleet, other battles ensued as sailors found themselves amongst their peers on each new tack crossing. Gains and losses where maid, as were mistakes, several on the last gybe before the finish as they tried to thread the needle of a start line after coming in from a fast, shallow angle on their foils. There was no particularly favoured side to the course as the wind was swinging back and forth. Trying to remain in sync was the challenge here.
At the end of the three races, Glenn leads with three bullets. Mischa and Blair traded positions with each other and Mischa came out on top. The reigning World Champion, Stevie Brewin, who was struggling for pace at the previous week’s Nationals, got a second in Race 2 but ended the day in 6th behind Bundy, who in Race 2 had his rudder tangle in the top mark anchor line as he rounded the newly positioned mark. This damaged his rake mechanism. He protested the committee and was awarded average points for that race as redress. Several sailors went for a swim, a few just before the finish at the last gybe under pressure. But none were eaten.
Andrew Landenberger – photo © Gordon Upton / www.guppypix.com
Over on the Classic course, former European champ and AUS Olympian Andrew Landenberger dominated from former World Champion AUS Scott Anderson. Landy has ‘switched codes’, to steal a term from rugby, and moved onto the Classics. He feels the racing can be closer and more enjoyable as it offers him fewer near-death experiences. This is something we are finding in the A Cat fleet more, especially with the older sailors who’s boats now have a new lease of life in the Classic division.
On his new Exploder Ad3 Classic, he dominated in a similar way to Glenn on occasions. In the Classic, tactics tend to come to the fore possibly a little more, as the actual water has a greater effect on them as they are in it and not in the air.
Landy finished with 3 clean bullets but Scott was continually chased around the course by the ‘Big Swede’ Alberto Farnassi on his old Marstrom. Wind is this guy’s friend so beware when it is blowing, as he’s usually right up there. AUS sailors Matt Johnson and Paul Neeskins finished the day in 4th and 5th.
David Brewer – photo © Gordon Upton / www.guppypix.com
It was a good hard day of racing for both fleets. The gusts and shifts made for some good tactical and enjoyable racing. It is great to see the ‘normal’ sailors having a good time alongside the superstars on the same course.
The next day promises a little less wind, with three more races are programmed of each fleet. This is fun!
For full results: sailherveybay.com.au/live-results
More information on the event website: at www.a-cat.org
by Gordon Upton
Glenn Ashby won the A-Cat Australian Championship with six wins from seven races to finish 12 points ahead of Pete Burling of New Zealand.
Ashby dominated the 60 strong Open foiling fleet national championship which was also the A-Cat pre-worlds event in Hervey Bay, Australia.
Burling was the only other competitor to win a race, but only once dipped into double figures.
In third place was Holland’s Mischa Heemskerk, and fourth was Aussie Darren Bundock, with fifth Stephen Brayshaw, sixth Steve Brewin and seventh Jacek Noetzel of Poland.
And it looks like this group, plus Blair Tuke of New Zealand and Mark Bulka of Australia will be the main title contestants when the World Championship starts on Sunday.
Winner of the Classic fleet national championship was Andrew Landenberger, counting seven wins from the nine races. Landenberger finished six points ahead of Scott Anderson, with Graeme Parker in third place.
2018 A-Cat Australian Championship (top 10) – Open Fleet (60 entries)
1st AUS 111 Glenn Ashby – 6 pts
2nd NZL 7 Peter Burling – 18 pts
3rd NED 007 Mischa Heemskerk – 28 pts
4th AUS 88 Darren Bundock – 30 pts
5th AUS 25 Stephen Brayshaw – 31 pts
6th AUS 4 Steven Brewin – 32 pts
7th POL 1 Jacek Noetzel – 43 pts
8th NZL 777 Blair Tuke – 54 pts
9th AUS 16 Mark Bulka – 65 pts
10th AUS 1065 Thomas Johnson – 67 pts
2018 A-Cat Australian Championship (top 10) – Classis Fleet (38 entries)
1st AUS 308 Andrew Landenberger – 7 pts
2nd AUS 31 Scott Anderson – 13 pts
3rd AUS 967 Graeme Parker – 30 pts
4th SWE 59 Alberto Farnesi – 33 pts
5th USA 99 Ben Hall – 35 pts
6th AUS 49 Matt Johnson – 55 pts
7th AUS 67 Trevor Brown – 56 pts
8th AUS 27 William Michie – 62 pts
9th AUS 300 Andy Landenberger – 64 pts
10th AUS 984 Leon McNeill – 66 pts
by Sailweb at sailweb.co.uk
A Class World Championship at Hervey Bay Sailing Club
Double World Champ NED Mischa Heemskerk © Gordon Upton
As the season in Europe slowly draws to a close on what has been for some, another rather frustrating year of too much/too little wind and with most European class associations are looking towards their final regattas of the year, it is now only some four weeks until the World Championships and the Hervey Bay crowd get their Barbies lit.
What awaits them are sandy beaches, tropical weather, warm seas, migrating Humpback Whales, and if the natives sharing posts to my Facebook page is anything to go by – spiders, snakes, jellyfish, sharks and mythical bears dropping from trees, also apparently lie in wait their European and US visitors!
This year, probably due to the location, we are to be graced by more sailing glitterati than we have seen in many years. Now with an entry list of over 100 sailors booked in. But due to the distance and expense, only 19 European and 13 North American sailors are attending this year, however, their presence will most certainly be felt. This is the first time the two fleets are officially being split into the two ‘A’ Cat divisions for a World Championships and are to sail on separate courses.
This was a superb move by IACA, as it has rejuvenated many fleets around the World whose non-foiling sailors had felt rather left out by the foiling revolution overtaking the class since 2015. As a result of this being an open event, a good sized fleet of 43 Classics and 61 Foilers are looking forward to some great racing action on the waters of the Pacific.
Former World Champion and Olympic silver Tornado medalist, Scott Anderson – photo © Gordon Upton
Former World Champion and Olympic silver Tornado medalist, Scott Anderson, heads up the 27 strong AUS Classic fleet contingent. Alongside him is another Tornado silver winner, Andrew Landenberger, a former European Champion, is one of the sailors who have started a return to the Classic discipline after realizing it can provide much closer racing and one of many who have possibly decided that they really can’t be bothered with mastering the circus skills sometimes required to sail a foiling boat at that level. Chasing them, particularly if the wind gets up, may well be smiling SWE sailor Alberto Farnassi.
Tornado silver winner and former European Champion Andrew Landenberger – photo © Event Media
The Classics are also honoured by the presence of the two famous and venerable mast-makers in the persons of Piet Saarberg and Ben Hall. Also making up the Classic fleet will be three Kiwis, three more Americans including Bob Webbon, and Bob Orr, an Italian, a Swiss, in the body of IACA President Charles Beush, and a Brit.
Meanwhile over on the foiling course, several big names are vying for the top dog’s spot. Favourite amongst them must surely be Glenn Ashby again, now going for this 10th World title after his victory as the ETNZ America’s Cup skipper. Last seen in a World Championship at Punta Ala in 2015, he was untouchable at the Warnemunde Europeans back in August, and has to always be the man to beat. However, never say never, and things can happen to the best of us, especially in sailing.
Glenn Ashby © Gordon Upton
Close on his tail will be a gaggle of other top racers. Current and three times World Champ Stevie Brewin will surely be fighting hard to retain his crown. Stevie was away on a somewhat interesting F18 campaign in the summer, so didn’t race in Germany. But he’ll be back now and up for this one. Stevie’s training mate, Glenn’s
Olympic silver medal-winning Tornado teammate, Darren Bundock, will also be hot in pursuit of his former America’s Cup rival. But he’d better keep an eye out for his wife, the Volvo Ocean race winner and multipal Olympic medalist Carolijn Brouwer, who is also no slouch on the ‘A’ cat. Steve Brayshaw, Brad Wicht and Adam Beatie will also be fighting hard.
Three times World Champ Stevie Brewin – photo © Event Media
Coming over the Tasman Sea to challenge are another couple of America’s Cup sailors in the shapes of NLZ sailors Olympic and World 49er champion, Blair Tuke, and his Olympic 49er teammate and ETNZ winning helm, Peter Burling. They will be also be up against the larconic Kiwi Champ Dave Shaw, who finished 4th at the Sopot Worlds last time. There will also be a European challenge for podium places from Double World Champ NED Mischa Heemskerk.
Former European Champ Bob Baier is coming from Germany. A couple of handy Polish sailors will also be ready to pounce as National champions Jacek Noetzel and Robert Graczyk are coming over. Two French National Champion sailors of Jean-Luc Le Coq and Emmanuel Dode will also be putting of a good show as will the top Swiss sailor Nils Palmieri and ESP sailor Lago Lopez Marra. All are capable of a top ten finishes.
Not forgetting our other North American friends too. Their strong fleet includes their National Champion Bruce Mahoney along with Larry and Andrew Woods and Michael Krantz, who will be fighting for good places too.
Hence we are expecting some hot racing at Hervey Bay in both fleets. Some results may surprise us, other merely confirm our expectations. Whatever happens though, it won’t be boring, especially if those migrating whales arrive in the start area.
Bring it on!
More details on: www.a-cat.org
by Gordon Upton
Sir Russell Coutts at the SailGP global racing league launch © SailGP
SailGP set out to redefine sailing with the launch of its new global racing league: five grand prix events featuring six national teams on identical wing sailed F50s – the world’s fastest, most technologically advanced catamarans.
Spearheaded by Larry Ellison and Sir Russell Coutts, in season one, SailGP will bring intensely competitive, high-speed inshore racing to fans in Sydney; San Francisco; New York; Cowes, UK; and Marseille, France, as world-class crews compete for the championship trophy and a $1 million prize.
Kicking off in February 2019, SailGP’s inaugural season will feature teams representing six countries – Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States. Each five-person crew will race on identical 50-foot foiling catamarans. A new boat class, the F50 is a redesigned, supercharged incarnation of the exceptional AC50 used for the 35th America’s Cup last year. Twelve months in development at the hands of pioneering technicians and engineers at Core Builders Composites in New Zealand, the F50s are expected to break the 50-knot (60mph/100kph) barrier.
“SailGP is the evolution of sailing,” said Ellison, SailGP founder. “With equally incredible technology across our one-design fleet, we expect to see thrillingly close and competitive racing amongst national teams. And, with a modern, consistent format, SailGP will provide a new opportunity for talented sailors who want to race for their countries.”
“SailGP distills all of the most successful, exciting and relevant elements of high-performance, professional racing, while adding the extra edge that comes with nation-versus-nation competition,” said Coutts, SailGP CEO. “We are aiming to be pioneers of new technologies, boat design, commercial partnerships and global audience engagement. But with every crew on the same groundbreaking F50 catamaran, this isn’t a tech arms race, rather the ultimate test to establish the best sailing team in advanced foiling catamarans.”
Sanctioned by World Sailing, each grand prix will comprise two competition days with five fleet races, culminating in a final match race between the two leaders. After SailGP’s Sydney inauguration in February (15-16), the league moves on to San Francisco in May (4-5), New York in June (21-22), and Cowes in August (10-11), before the Marseille final in September (20-22), which features a winner-takes-all, $1 million championship match race between the season’s top two teams to conclude three days of racing.
“World Sailing is thrilled to be working with SailGP to bring a new, exciting and fan-friendly elite racing league to life,” said World Sailing CEO Andy Hunt. “SailGP is an ambitious project that is spearheaded by an incredible forward-thinking leadership team. We’re excited about SailGP’s commitment to innovate and advance the sport forward and by working in partnership, we will aim to inspire millions more people to fall in love with sailing.”
SailGP was created by Ellison and Coutts, who have been instrumental in the commercial development of competitive sailing. The innovative new professional sailing league – featuring an ongoing calendar of premium global racing among national teams in the world’s most advanced catamarans – will engage the next generation of fans and create a pathway for future sailors. SailGP will be a commercially driven sports property, eventually maturing to a franchise model.
Renowned luxury house Louis Vuitton, which partners with the world’s biggest sporting events and packs the most legendary trophies; Oracle, industry-leading global provider of enterprise cloud computing; and Land Rover, the world’s leading manufacturer of premium all-wheel-drive vehicles, join SailGP as founding partners. Additional details and sponsors will be announced at a future date.
With a primary goal of growing global viewership and broadening its fanbase, SailGP’s broadcast plans focus on comprehensive live coverage complemented by centrally produced highlight programs, and cutting-edge screen applications and services. Whisper Films has been appointed as the league’s host broadcast production partner and will play a key role in delivering a personality-driven broadcast utilising patented and leading-edge immersive media technologies, while Talisman Sports and Media is handling global media rights distribution.
The Great Britain SailGP Team was also introduced to home fans during the London launch. Skippered by Rio 2016 Olympian and world champion Dylan Fletcher, Great Britain’s vastly experienced crew includes Olympic bronze medalist Chris Draper as team CEO and wing trimmer, Olympic silver medalist Stuart Bithell as flight controller, and Olympic champion rower Matt Gotrel and Extreme Sailing Series winner Richard Mason as grinders.
“The concept of SailGP immediately excited me,” said Great Britain helmsman Dylan Fletcher. “This league allows us to compete with and against the best, and to challenge ourselves in every way possible while sailing the world’s fastest catamarans. We have the opportunity to push the limits of our sport, and this is a very proud chapter in my career. What Larry and Russell have created is truly unique, and I am confident it will capture the attention of audiences around the world.”
SailGP is sailing redefined. Established in 2018 and headquartered in London and San Francisco, SailGP is an annual, global sports league featuring bold, cutting-edge technology and awe-inspiring athleticism. The fan-centric, inshore racing takes place in some of the most iconic harbors around the globe and culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race. Rival national teams from Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States battle it out in identical supercharged F50 catamarans, engineered for intense racing at electrifying speeds exceeding 50 knots (nearly 60 mph/100 kph).
Visit sailgp.com for more information.
For the first time since its launch, the Easy To Fly (ETF) Class will attend the Garda Foiling Week! The monotype foiling catamaran was created by French skipper Jean-Pierre Dick.
Designed by naval architect Guillaume Verdier, winning designer of the last America’s Cup, the ETF was conceived to fly with 8 knots of wind and with 3 crew members on board. Launched at the end of 2016, ETF currently sails on European waters with, 4 boats in Switzerland, 2 in Germany, one in Denmark and one in France.
The ETF has a European Championship consisting of 5 qualifying races: the ETF Series 2018. The Garda Foiling Week will be the 4th stage and promises to be a hard battle for the podium amongst the participants, separated only by 7 points.
Jean-Pierre Dick says,
“I am very happy to attend the Garda Foiling Week. Lake Garda is a hot spot for foilers and a breathtaking sailing scenery.
I imagined a human-sized flying catamaran, in between a dinghy and an extreme, in order to provide non-professional teams with the adrenaline of flying.
This year we are rolling out the ETF Series, it is an important step towards the creation of a dynamic class and we are happy Garda Foiling Week is part of it.”
The ETF presents at the Garda Foiling Week 2018:
Luna (SUI) / Skipper : Guillaume Girod
Tixwave (SUI) / Skipper : Bernard Vananty
Cool Runnings (DEN) / Skipper : Thorlikd Junker
ABC Arbitrage – Ville de Nice / Skipper (FRA) : Jean-Pierre Dick
Rankings of the ETF Series after 3 qualifying races:
1 Luna (SUI): 7 points
2 ABC Aribitrage – Ville de Nice (FRA) : 7 points
3 Tixwave (SUI) : 8 points
4 Cool Runnings (DEN) : 9 points
5 Ste – Catherine (GER) : 14 points
ETF Series 2018 : 5 qualifying races in Europe
1 Grand Prix de Nice (FRA) : May 1st-6th
2 Grand Prix de Suisse (SUI): May 31st June 2nd
3 Bol d’Or Mirabaud (SUI) : June 9th
4 Garda Foiling Week (ITA) : June 28th July 1st
5 Martinique Flying Regatta (Fort de France) : November 17th – 24th
Concept : Jean-Pierre Dick
Architect : Guillaume Verdier
After 16 years sailing the world’s seas and taking part in 4 single-handed round the world races, Jean-Pierre Dick has clocked up 6 wins in the IMOCA class. He is the only record-holder for the number of wins in the Transat Jacques Vabre, 4, the most recent in 2017 with Yann Eliès. In November 2017, he decided to change his boat to fly on the Easy To Fly.
His main wins :
2 Barcelona World Races:
•2008 with Damien Foxall
•2011 with Loïck Peyron **
4 Transat Jacques Vabre races:
•2003 with Loïck Peyron
•2005 with Nicolas Abiven
•2011 with Jérémie Beyou
•2017 with Yann Eliès
Hull length: 8,10 m / 26.6 ft
Beam: 4,30 m / 14.10 ‘
Mast height: 13.70 m / 44’
Draught: 1.20 m / 3.93’
Weight (with sails): 350 kg / 717 lbs
Main sail: 29,5 m²
Jib: 11 m²
Code 0: 26,5 m²
Gennaker: 49,5 m²
Max Speed: 35 knots
More info on Foiling Week, entries for the races and booking for activities at
Team Tilt – © Pedro Martinez / GC32 World Championship
On Lake Garda, the Schneiter family’s Team Tilt, managed by father Alex and steered by Olympic 49er sailor son Sébastien, was crowned first ever GC32 World Champion. Apart from a brief falter in the final race, the Swiss team over three days never finished a race lower than fourth, despite tricky conditions, a variety of race courses and wind strengths that Lake Garda threw at the 13 teams.
In the same year as they finished second overall on the GC32 Racing Tour in 2016, Sébastien Schneiter competed in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and last year skippered the Swiss team in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. The young Team Tilt crew returned to GC32 sailing here with maturity.
“We had great team work – it worked really well on board – and short, but good preparation for this event,” explained Schneiter.
“We definitely learned a lot from the Youth America’s Cup. Here we managed to sail fast while staying calm.”
Team Tilt’s performance was all the more remarkable following a disastrous opening day that left them lying 11th overall.
“We were unlucky and we didn’t sail that well,” Schneiter admitted.
“We knew we were much better than that – we were just keen to keep racing to improve our ranking.” Incredibly, the Swiss team turned this around in just one day, leading at the end of day two.
While this was Schneiter’s first World title, this was far from the case with tactician/mainsheet trimmer Glenn Ashby, winning skipper of Emirates Team New Zealand’s in last year’s America’s Cup for whom this is his 17th World Championship title, and his first in a crew larger than two. Ashby was previously part of the Team Tilt crew in 2016.
Team Tilt also claimed the Anonimo Speed Challenge recording the highest average speed of 22.25 knots down the two reach/gybe course. This won them an Anonimo Nautilo GC32 Edition timepiece, to go with the Anonimo Nautilo Bi Color Bronze they claimed for their Championship victory.
On the final day, proceedings got underway early with one race held at 0830hrs in the northerly ‘Peler’ before competitors were sent ashore to wait for the southerly ‘Ora’ to build. After this three more races were held. Winning this morning’s race had put Jes Gram-Hansen and Rasmus Køstner’s SAP Extreme Sailing Team into the lead, but deep results in the last two races caused the Danish team to finish second by eight points. Oman Air completed the podium a further 11 points back.
Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi had a mixed day but good enough to secure fourth, albeit tied on points with Ineos Rebels UK. Bertarelli was also the run-away leader in the Owner Driver Championship, finishing on 88 points to the 129 of Jason Carroll’s second placed Argo.
Ernesto Bertarelli and Alinghi dominated the owner-driver class – photo © Pedro Martinez / GC32 World Championship
Bertarelli praised the race committee for managing to get in 16 races and was proud that a Swiss team had claimed the title.
Ineos Rebels UK had a better day that caused them to gain a place on the leaderboard. Helmsman Leigh McMillan deftly threaded their black GC32 through the fleet to start on port at the committee boat three times and twice this resulted in podium finishes.
Of this first GC32 World Championship, GC32 International Class President Simon Delzoppo, skipper of.film Racing said: “It has been fantastic. We have had a wonderful event. Seeing all the boats together – it has been a great competition with lots of races in varying conditions, light conditions and winds up to 18 knots. It has been fantastic to test all the crews out in different ranges that Garda has to offer. Team Tilt was very consistent – they fought back many times and were always near the lead. They did a fantastic job.”
GC32 World Championship – Final Positions
1st Team Tilt 60 pts
2nd SAP Extreme Sailing Team 68 pts
3rd Oman Air 79 pts
4th Alinghi 88 pts
5th INEOS Rebels UK 88 pts
6th NORAUTO 94 pts
7th Red Bull Sailing Team 111 pts
8th Realteam 129 pts
9th Argo 129 pts
10th Frank Racing 135 pts
11th Zoulou 135 pts
12th Team México 172 pts
13th .film Racing 179 pts
tech2 and Kleenmaid had a great round of the SuperFoiler Grand Prix in Busselton. – photo © Andrea Francolini
Two West Australian skippers have steered their teams to the podium in their home regatta with Perth’s Luke Parkinson (tech2) and Steve Thomas (Pavement) climbing onto the Busselton dais alongside Kleenmaid. tech2 secured a third victory of the regatta to claim the outright win by the slenderest of margins over Pavement.
“I loved the opportunity to be back sailing in WA over the weekend. We had a full range of conditions and this win puts us in great shape for the final in Sydney,” said Busselton’s victorious skipper Luke Parkinson – who thrust tech2 to the top for the very first time.
“It has been a pleasure to sail in such a beautiful location, extremely tight racing it went all the way to the last run of the last race. I am really excited for the Grand Final in Sydney,” said tech2’s mainsheet hand Ayden Menzies.
In what was the most hotly contested regatta to date, Pavement finished four points behind in second.
“Pretty cool for WA to get on top at the home venue. I guess we had a lot of local knowledge,” said Pavement skipper and second on the podium Steve Thomas, “We were stoked to get second – it was a really close race between us and Kleenmaid.”
The regatta also witnessed the breakthrough podium for Olivia Price, Harry Morton and Josh McKnight – who missed out on claiming overall points by just one win. “As a team we’ve been playing the long game, slowly developing our techniques with Sydney being the end goal so this was a really important regatta for us to peak at,” said Kleenmaid mainsheet hand Josh McKnight.
The wash-up is Euroflex’s stranglehold on the championship has slipped after her last placed finish, although her star crew of Nathan Outteridge, Iain Jensen and Glenn Ashby still hold a two-point lead over tech2. It sets up a thrilling climax to the opening series with the Expr3ss! SuperFoiler Grand Final – Sydney from 23 to 25 March, 2018, to decide the first winner of the Ben Lexcen Trophy.
Euroflex – 19 pts
Tech2 – 17 pts
Pavement – 16 pts
Record Point – 12 pts
iD Intranet – 11 pts
Kleenmaid – 10 pts