Foiling Regattas

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Final day at A Class Worlds in Hervey Bay

 

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

 

 

Perfect scoreline for Mazella

Karibea Speed Challenge photo: Jean-Marie Liot / Martinique Flying Regatta

 

Martinique Flying Regatta  at Ford de France, Martinique

 

Martinique Flying Regatta, the Caribbean’s first event solely for foiling boats, concluded with the two fastest from each of the six classes – GC32, KiteFoil, Windfoil, Moth, Flying Phantom and Onefly – lining up in the final of the Karibea Speed Challenge. This comprised a 0.4 mile long blast reach down a course off Fort Saint Louis, ending just off downtown Fort de France.

Demonstrating again that the KiteFoils are the fastest foiling boats here, the top two Kitefoilers Axel Mazella and Kieran Le Borgne were first and second respectively in the Karibea Speed Challenge, Mazella winning the first prize of a weekend for two at one of the Karibea Hotels on Martinique. The KiteFoils finished ahead of the GC32s, followed by the Moths and Windfoils together, and finally the Oneflys.

Over the last five days, the Kitefoilers sailed 12 races, including a 26 mile coastal ‘Raid’. Across all, Mazella maintained his perfect scoreline as Le Borgne finished second, ahead of Vendée Globe skipper Morgan Lagravière.

The Kitefoilers raced on a new course – three laps of a ‘classic’ triangle with windward, reaching and downwind legs. “It was really nice because the wind was less, 10-12 knots at the beginning, but then it got up to 15-16 knots, so we were able to use bigger kites. It was good to change equipment and compare with other guys,” said Mazella, whose top speed this week was 38 knots.

Proceedings started with four more match races between the GC32s, Franck Cammas’ Norauto and Team France Jeune, skippered by 23-year-old French three time youth match racing champion Robin Follin.

Alarmingly, Cammas had lost the lead on Thursday. “They raced well,” said Cammas of the youth team. “I had a new crew with young people.” Norauto reclaimed the lead after winning yesterday’s triple points scoring Raid. He followed this up winning all four races, showing better speed in this morning’s sub-10 knot winds.

“It is very good, as I expected,” said Cammas of Martinique Flying Regatta. “More GC32s will come next year, because it is good to have more events like this in good places, with good ambiance. The bay here may even be better than Lake Garda because the tactics are more open. Plus I really enjoyed the coastal race around Rocher du Diamant, where it was tricky with the waves. It was interesting, more open than windward-leewards.”

The Moth class turned into a two horse race over the last couple of days, with France’s Anthony Rezzoug relieving Swiss rival David Holenweg of the lead yesterday. In today’s two windward-leewards, Holenweg closed, but only by one point, not enough to regain the lead.

“I am so pleased!” said a beaming Rezzoug. “I have been sailing Moths for 100s of years and this is my first big victory. Today I won the first race, but the second was more difficult because I capsized right after the bear-away when I was in the middle of the pack.”

Swiss sailors took second and fourth place with the latter, former Whitbread Round the World Race crew and professional photographer, Philippe Schiller claiming the last race. “Today was much better than the beginning, when I kept capsizing,” he said. “I loved the reaching starts, because timing and speed have to be precise. I can sail very low downwind – every time I was leading at the bottom mark, but in the first race I capsized because I was too tight. It was very close with Aymeric [Arthaud] who was a point ahead of me.”

Of the event Schiller added: “I am always interested in events where there is wind. Plus to sail in 30°C air and water temperatures – you never feel cold! You couldn’t ask for more.”

The closest finish was in the Onefly, where Julien Villion managed to maintain his lead to win by a point from his usually dominant team mate Guillaume Pirouelle.

“It’s been strange because I have been struggling to be as fast as Guillaume, who has won all of the windward-leewards over the last three days,” admitted Villion. Pirouelle lost the series following his disappointing fifth in the triple points-scoring Raid.

This has been the first major event for the Moth-like one design singlehanders. Villion said they had made good progress. “You can see the improvement in the racing. The first day was a mess and today and yesterday were much better. I’d love to come back next year. This is the perfect place to sail foiling boats with flat water and warm weather.”

In the Windfoil class, there were two stand-out performers this week with both Trevor Caraes (nephew of Jules Verne Trophy winner and Vendee Globe PRO Jacques) and Thomas Lequesne never finishing off the podium. Lequesne closed dramatically when he won the coastal Raid yesterday, albeit just 10m ahead of his rival, but Caraes ended the event today six points clear.

“I am happy to win this first edition of this new race,”said Caraes. “It was a good event with wind every day. Today the wind wasn’t as strong, but it was still good and I conserved my first place overall, which was my objective.”

One of France’s powerful Olympic RS:X Women’s team, Hélène Noesmoen finished fifth overall in the Windfoil class. “It was an amazing event with lots of sailing and good weather every day – windy, sunny and warm. On the long distance yesterday, the landscape was amazing and the long waves were nice to surf. I have never sailed in waves like that.”

Martinique Flying Regatta has been created and is organised by Sirius Events in partnership with the Comité Martiniquais du Tourisme and the city of Fort de France city plus Corsair, Grand Port Maritime de Fort de France, Ligue de Voile de Martinique, direction de la mer).

See the results from the GC32MothsOneflyKiteFoilWindfoil – Karibea Speed Challenge

 

 

Leader change in three classes 

Full fleet for the coastal race – Photo: Jean-Marie Liot / Martinique Flying Regatta

 

Martinique Flying Regatta at  Baie de Fort de France, Martinique

 

Friday was a big day on the water at Martinique Flying Regatta, the first Caribbean event for foiling boats. It kicked off with a dramatic, simultaneous start for all five classes from under the shadow of Fort de France’s Fort Saint Louis, before they headed off a coastal race (or ‘Raid’ in French) on separate courses according to their speed and offshore suitability: The GC32, KiteFoil and Windfoil classes sailed 26 miles south around Rocher du Diamant while the Oneflys followed a 10 mile course within the Baie de Fort de France. Significantly these races all carried a 3x results co-efficient.

Proving they are unquestionably the fastest at Martinique Flying Regatta, the KiteFoilers romped around their course in just over 1 hour 20 minutes. Once again the podium order remained steadfastly the IKA Kitefoil Gold Cup pros Axel Mazella and Kieran le Borgne, first and second ahead of Vendée Globe skipper Morgan Lagraviere. They finished almost 30 minutes ahead of the highly tipped GC32s Franck Cammas’ Norauto and Team France Jeune, skippered by Robin Follin.

“It was really good for the KiteFoils,” said Kieran le Borgne. “We were faster than the GC32s and it was beautiful to go around the Rocher du Diamant. I’m from Brittany so the waves weren’t a problem, most difficult was the wind – we had to go a long way offshore to avoid the lulls. Fortunately Axel was a bit ahead of me, so I could see what was happening.”

As to why Axel is always first and he always second, le Borgne explained: “He is a bit faster than me downwind and upwind we are similar. During the Raid he got a bit of an advantage, but then I came back into him on the last upwind and finished two minutes behind him.”

In the Windfoil (foiling windsurfers) the battle has tightened up after Thomas Lequesne won the Raid with Trevor Caraes coming home second ahead of Corentin Beaufaert. Thanks to the 3x coefficient Lequesne has now closed to within four points of Caraes going into the final day.

For Norauto’s crew, there was some relief that their Solitaire du Figaro, Volvo Ocean Race and Route du Rhum-winning skipper Franck Cammas should appropriately win the coastal race. This also caused Norauto to recover the lead from their young rivals on Team France Jeune.

“It was a good idea to do this long distance race with the GC32 – the Rocher du Diamant was amazing,” said trimmer Arnaud Jarlegan. “It is the first time we’ve done that. The navigation makes the game a little different, but it is very interesting, because you can fall into a lull, and the other boats close back up on you.”

While there were reasonable waves out by the rock, Jarlegan said they didn’t come close to capsizing although there were some hair-raising moments as the boat launched causing the foils to leave the water. Norauto’s victory leaves them with a slender two point lead going into the final day.

The Moth’s coastal race was abandoned and so they ended up racing four windward-leewards with reaching starts and finishes. With another ultra-consistent performance today, combined with a second discard kicking in, Anthony Rezzoug has taken over the lead from, and is now five points ahead of, David Holenweg. This was despite Holenweg winning two races (the others going to Rezzoug and to Holenweg’s Swiss compatriot Philippe Schiller).

In the first race Holenweg said he was leading, but set off on a third lap instead of heading for the finish. In the third race he scored a seventh after a bad start. “The level is good within our group. There are about ten people here fighting for first. The race course with the reaching starts was fun – the races are really short, the weather was beautiful with about 12-18 knots of wind and the sea state a lot flatter than yesterday.”

 

Moth fleet – Photo: Jean-Marie Liot / Martinique Flying Regatta

 

Among the top scorers today was British Moth sailor David Jessop whose 3-6-5-8 has elevated him to seventh place overall and into the lead in the unofficial four boat British competition. “We have all had some breakages and bad luck,” said Jessop. “I am very happy with today. I have been really pleased with my upwind boat speed, although my downwind has been a little bit sketchy. In the first race I found a high mode so I was able to do a one tack beat and that saved me quite a lot of time.”

In the Onefly class, Julien Villion has recovered the lead and is three points ahead of his Beijaflore teammate Guillaume Pirouelle. However it was Gabriel Skoczek who won the Raid in the Moth-like one design singlehanders, while Villion was second.

“I was first, but then I missed the last buoy,” Pirouelle explained. “So I ended up fifth and it carries a co-efficient of 3. It was great conditions and a really nice course – it was fun to do it and the start was great with all of the different boats.” Pirouelle redeemed himself later by winning both of the afternoon’s two windward-leeward races.

For the final day of Martinique Flying Regatta, the program returns to short course racing solely within the Baie de Fort de France, culminating in the Karibea Speed Challenge for the top two in each class. In this, the fastest down this 0.4 mile course will win a weekend for two at Martinique’s Hotel Karibea.

See the results from the GC32MothsOneflyKiteFoilWindfoil

 

All change in the Moths as the full fleet gets afloat

 

Day 2 – 2018 Martinique Flying Regatta in Fort de France

 

Baie de Fort de France is proving itself to be a more consistent, Caribbean version of Lake Garda with day three of Martinique Flying Regatta providing yet another day of winds gusting into the low 20s, combined with relatively flat water.

The Moths today saw Benoit Marie release his grip on the class when his port wing bar broke terminally, with a similar fate for the former Mini Transat winner’s regatta. This opened the way for his training partner Anthony Rezzoug to prevail, winning the first three of today’s four races. However with discards being applied it is Switzerland’s David Holenweg who has taken the lead, two points ahead of Rezzoug.

“The boat was going really fast, so I have an advantage there and I didn’t make too many mistakes. I tried to keep it clean and be safe on the tacks and only go fast when it was necessary,” said Rezzoug, who is sailing a Mach 2 he heavily modified. “It’s the first time with my Moth in the Caribbean, which is really cool. I’m really enjoying Martinique and the event. It is very well organised. The place where we are is excellent with palm trees and the fort and the race course is amazing.”

Aside from being the largest, the Moth is also the most international class here. Among the top non-French sailors is Dutch former 470 Olympian, Kalle Coster. Coster’s day was less than ideal having had to dash ashore to fix his Exocet’s cunningham, causing him to miss the first race and be late for the second. As a consolation he won today’s round of the Karibea Speed Challenge.

“The third and fourth races I was getting better and faster and I know I can get close to the top guys – downwind they are a bit quicker, but upwind I am fast,” he said. “Today there was a bit less wind than the first day, but it was shifty and gusty, which made it a lot of fun. There were huge gains to be made on the left upwind and downwind it looked better to go left to get the breeze.”

In the Moth-like Onefly class, there was a change of leader today with Guillaume Pirouel scoring four straight bullets, taking over the mantle of his partner Julien Villion who won three out of three on Tuesday. The duo run the Beijaflore team on the Tour de France a la Voile.

“I made a mistake,” admitted Villion. “It was a close fight, but he always came out on top. He is younger than me so after four race I’m exhausted! But it was a lot of fun today – good conditions for us, with around 12- 20 knots – very gusty with the wind coming across the land.”

Due the arrival of a large ship in the race area, the KiteFoils sailed just one race. Never in the history of a sailing event has a pecking order been so clearly defined from the outset, with the IKA Kitefoil Gold Cup pros Axel Mazella coming first and Kieran le Borgne second, in all eight races, with Vendée Globe skipper Morgan Lagravière third, in all but the first race.

“I finished third again, but I am getting closer and closer in each race,” said Lagravière. “I did better than yesterday. I changed something on my board, so it is more stable, which is important, when you are doing close to 35 knots downwind. My goal is to finish second by the end of Saturday.”

In the Windfoil class, French RS:X Olympic sailor Trevor Caraes continues to lead, having scored a 1-3-1 today. He is enjoying Martinique Flying Regatta. “It is fun to sail with the kites and all the other boats which we don’t see in France. All of them look very good. The Moth and the Onefly look incredible when they are flying and the GC32s are very impressive.”

In their four races today, the GC32s catamarans enjoyed some of the closest racing across all of the classes. With only two boats competing here, their competition is a match race. Unfortunately for Norauto skipper Franck Cammas, he is facing a seemingly fearless 23-year-old, who is a three time French youth match racing champion. Robin Follin helmed Team France Jeune to three race wins today over the Volvo Ocean Race and Route du Rhum winner, to take the GC32 class lead overall by one point.

Follin was regularly applying his match racing skills, locking Norauto out at the race committee boat in race one and hooking him to varying degrees in the others.

“We won all of the starts and we were very fast,” said a very proud Follin. Two of the races were close when Follin maintained a tight cover on his opponent resulting in an America’s Cup-style tacking duel in the flying catamarans.

“The wind was tricky, so we couldn’t let Franck get far away from us when we were in front.” However he was more pleased with his team’s manoeuvring today saying that they only messed up one foiling gybe. The GC32s also recorded a new highest speed on the bay here, with a 38.1 knot average.

Tomorrow racing continues with a ‘long distance race’ around the Baie de Fort de France.

See the results from the GC32MothsOneflyKiteFoilWindfoil

by Sailing Inteligence

A Class Cat Worlds on hold in Hervey Bay

 

 

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

Full results here

 

by Sailweb, www.sailweb.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Big Windboard day at Martinique Flying Regatta

 

Windfoils outpaced by the KiteFoilers – © Jean-Marie Liot / Martinique Flying Regatta

 

Day 2 – 2018 Martinique Flying Regatta in Fort de France

 

With winds regularly gusting to 25 knots and above, racing could only be held for the KiteFoil and Windfoil classes on day two of Martinique Flying Regatta, the Caribbean’s first regatta exclusively for foiling boats. It was another roasting 30 degrees c day, but with a dramatic sky filled with large cummulus clouds, each capable of pumping an extra 10 knots of wind down onto Baie de Fort de France.

Three races were held for both classes before the two fleets gathered en masse for the first round of the Karibea Speed Challenge. In this the boats flew down a reach back towards Fort de France’s 17th century Fort Saint Louis. The top two from the KiteFoil and Windfoil classes got to progress through to the Final of the Karibea Speed Challenge which will take place between a group comprising the two fastest competitors in each of the five classes racing here. The winner will receive a free weekend for two in Martinique’s Hotel Karibea.

Among the KiteFoilers, the podium seems fairly well laid out even after just day two of this five day event. Axel Mazella has won all seven races. Kieran le Borgne has come second in all seven races. Perhaps most surprisingly is that the ever versatile Vendée Globe skipper Morgan Lagravière has so successfully turned his hand to this new and very different discipline, finishing third in all but one race so far.

Mazella was so much faster than almost all the others that on the relatively short course – that comprised two windward-leewards with reaching first and final legs – he was still lapping competitors.

The reason for the top trio’s success, says Mazella is simply that they compete internationally on the IKA Kitefoil Gold Cup, whereas their competition here does not. “There is a big step between us and them.”

Mazella may only be 20, but he is already among the top KiteFoilers in the world at this future Olympic discipline, having been Under 21 World Champion last year when he also won the IKA Kitefoil Gold Cup.

As to today’s competition Mazella observed: “It was stronger than yesterday. The wind would go up and down with the clouds, but there was no rain. It is my first time to Martinique and it is really nice here. I am looking forward to doing the long distance race around the islands on Friday and the Karibea Speed Challenge.” Mazella reckoned that today he hit 37 knots. “This is a superb event, friendly between all the kiteboarders and super cool.”

Having almost as much success in the Windfoil foiling sailboards is Trevor Caraes. Today the young Olympic RS:X sailor, based out of Brest, scored a 1-2-1, nicely complementing his three bullets out of four races yesterday.

“It was fun, very nice conditions, like yesterday,” said Caraes. “The Karibea Speed Challenge was nice because it was the first time we’ve done that. It was nice to sail against the Kite surfs. That is the first time I’ve done it – we don’t get to do that very often, but we need to improve a lot if we want to go as fast as they do.”

Caraes is not the only French Olympic sailboarder in the Windfoil class. Lying in fourth place, behind Thomas Lequesne and Mathurin Jolivet, is Hélène Noesmoen, three time RS:X Youth World Champion and who in January won the Women’s RS:X seniors event at the World Cup Series Miami event.

“It was really cool, really windy about 25 knots,” said Noesmoen of today’s racing. “I had some good starts, but I am a bit slower than the boys. It is hard to challenge them.”

Going through to Saturday’s finals of the Karibea Speed Challenge will be Trevor Caraes and Thomas Lequesne in the Windfoil and Axel Mazella and Kieran le Borgne in the KiteFoil classes.

Tomorrow the forecast indicates lighter winds of 10-15 knots, gusting to 20, which will be perfect to get the GC32 catamarans, Moths and Onefly classes back out on to the race course after their day ashore.

See the results from the GC32MothsOneflyKiteFoilWindfoil

For more information go to www.martinique-regatta.com

 

Mischa closes the gap 

 

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

Lift off in perfect conditions

 

photo © Jean-Marie Liot / Martinique Flying Regatta

 

 

Day 1 – 2018 Martinique Flying Regatta in Fort de France

 

There was lift off today at Martinique Flying Regatta, the Caribbean’s first regatta purely for foiling boats. Conditions on the Baie de Fort de France for day one could not have been better with 18-20 knots and flat water, the palm tree-lined bay protected by the mountainous island. The boats sailed three races, while on a separate course the Windfoil and KiteFoil classes raced four.

Top ranked Moth sailor here, Benoit Marie came out on top, winning two races out of three to lead the field of 19 flying single handers, ahead of Aymeric Arthaud and Dutch former 470 Olympian Kalle Koster. This result was despite breaking his port wing bar on the way out to the start.

“There was a little panic for me – my wing bar was about 10 degrees higher than it should be, so the mast was canted to leeward all of the time,” admitted Marie, the former Mini Transat winner, most recently crowned French A-Class catamaran National Champion. “It was quite challenging to sail on port, because the boat was trying to fold in half! The game was to keep it in one piece, so I wasn’t pushing too hard.”

In the first and second races, Marie capsized. In both he was leading at the time. In the first race this led to him being beaten by Switzerland’s David Holenweg, but in the second he was sufficiently far ahead to right the boat and go on to win. Marie was working late in the boat park, busy fixing his boat ready for tomorrow.

The Moth-like, one design Onefly class started their races five minutes after the Moths. Among the eight competitors, it was Solitaire du Figaro and Tour de France a la Voile sailor Julien Villion who dominated, winning all three races while only Hugo Feydit in second showed any similar sort of consistency.

In the 12-strong KiteFoil fleet, Axel Mazella also scored four straight bullets, while Kieran le Borgne was en route for a string of seconds, but was let down by a 12th in race three. Former Vendee Globe competitor Morgan Lagravière currently holds third behind Olivier Blotiere.

In the Windfoil class of seven competitors, it is Trevor Caraes, who is dominating with three bullets and a third, finishing the day two points ahead of Thomas Lequesne, who scored straight seconds.

As expected Volvo Ocean Race and Route du Rhum winner Franck Cammas is leading the GC32 class on Norauto powered by Team France, the two flying catamarans hurtling around the course at speeds touching 36 knots. The performance was very even between the two boats, with just five seconds separating them in the first and third races. Team France Jeune, skippered by Robin Follin even managed to win the third race.

“It is very nice here – the best place for foiling, because the water is so flat and the wind is hot!” said Follin. “Today we had 15-21 knots of wind and we could sail at very high speed.” Franck Cammas is not quite at his usual GC32 Racing Tour-winning form as he too has several young sailors in his crew this week.

“We progress a lot each day,” continued Follin. “Today we did lots of foiling gybes with the gennaker and we had good racing with Franck.”

Today’s fabulous conditions are expected to be repeated tomorrow in this French Caribbean foiling paradise.

Martinique Flying Regatta has been created and is organised by Sirius Events in partnership with the Comité Martiniquais du Tourisme and the city of Fort de France city plus Corsair International, Grand Port Maritime de Fort de France and Ligue de Voile de Martinique.

See the results from the GC32MothsOneflyKiteFoilWindfoil

For more information go to www.martinique-regatta.com

 

First blood to Ashby and Landy on day 2 of A Class Worlds

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 wins A-Cat pre-worlds

 

 

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

 

Full results available here

 

by Sailweb at sailweb.co.uk

 

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