Monthly Archives: February 2018
Graphic of double luffed AC75 mainsail © Bella Mente Quantum Racing
A small development team of Emirates Team New Zealand’s designers, shore crew and sailors, supported by Luna Rossa, North Sails and Southern Spars, have been busy developing a prototype soft wing sail and rig to be part of the AC75 class of boat to be sailed for the 36th America’s Cup in 2021.
The concept was first unveiled by Bella Mente Quantum Racing’s Terry Hutchinson during a US Sailing Leadership Forum held on February 4. Hutchinson showed a graphic with the D-shaped, square backed spar supporting two mainsails each with its own track.
It is an attempt to get the some of the benefits of a wingsail, without the need to lift the entire rig out of the boat.
The big gain is not in performance but in handling the cranky AC75’s which will have minimal stability when at rest.
The rig will enable the AC75’s to be towed in a conventional way and not using the process known as ‘sideslipping’ in the AC50’s – where in any moderate breeze or above the chase boat was strapped bow to stern with the AC50 to get the foiling catamaran back to base.
Sideslipping was required on any tow that was not into the wind, as on reaching or downwind tows the wingsail could not be feathered and would power up, taking charge of the AC50 and its chase boat.
It is a very slow process and was necessary in Bermuda in most situations to get the AC50’s back to the dock once they had entered the Royal Dockyard – requiring the 300 metres Dockyard to be closed to all other traffic to allow the AC50’s to be “tacked” into their berth by the support crews and chase boats. The process could take up to 20 minutes depending on the wind angle and strength.
The downside of the concept is the bulk contained in the double sail, which will make interesting handling by the crew. (Remembering that the sail below is only on a relatively small trimaran and not an AC75, with a mainsail luff length about three times the length of the test boat in the video.)
See video here:
Emirates Team NZ reported the test in social media:
“Although we have been working collectively and quietly developing this concept since last year, it is not a huge secret in terms of what we are doing because the intention is to have a tested rig and sail concept that will become part of the AC75 class rule.” said Project Co-ordinator Steve Collie.
“We have been developing this concept towards the class rule in Auckland with representation of the Challenger of Record, Luna Rossa’s designers here as part of the testing process.
The objective of the testing in Auckland is to validate a concept which the Emirates Team New Zealand designers have found to be promising in initial simulations. North Sails and veteran America’s Cup sail designer Burns Fallow has been a key part of the process from the beginning.”
“We started off back in August with a clean sheet of paper and some ideas and came up with this mainsail concept.”
“We have done enough work on it in simulation to know that it is a fast concept, but you have got to do the basic things like tack and gybe, and make the thing go up and down and just little things like that before you commit to this for the next three years.”
The concept being tested currently has a large ‘D’ shaped section mast, developed and built by Southern Spars, with separate mainsails on either side of the mast providing a smooth transition from the mast to sail in its aerodynamic shape.
“In addition to conventional mainsail trimming controls, this concept allows for twist and camber control at the head of the mainsail through a control arm on top of the rig which will be very interesting for us sailors especially transitioning back from the AC50 hard wing sails.” said Glenn Ashby.
While the hard wing sails of the AC50’s were extremely efficient, they required 20 people to launch and retrieve the wing before and after each day’s sailing.
“We want something where teams can take the mainsail down and leave the rig in at the dock as well as potentially make mainsail changes on the water, but have something that aerodynamically is superior to a conventional mainsail without being heavier.” explained Collie.
“Essentially we are looking for a new advancement in mainsail technology that we would like to think can trickle down to other boats.”
As with all America’s Cup class developments weight is always a big issue, but especially so with the AC75’s because of their self righting ability it is important to keep weight aloft to a minimum.
After a handful of days testing the roughly 1/3 scale model on Auckland Harbour the initial tests proved pretty positive for all parties involved in the project.
“To see it in reality, even in the small scale it’s a big step in our confidence, that this thing is something a bit different and should be pretty good.” concluded Fallow.
“Obviously this is a very early concept and test, but the main purpose is validate that our thinking is heading in a realistic direction. It’s huge step towards the finalisation of the class rule which is due to be released on March 31st.” said Ashby
As published in Sail-World NZ, 25 February, 2018
Red Bull Youth Generation Championships in Auckland
In the City of Sails on February 23-25, New Zealand’s most talented youth sailors delivered thrilling action at the first 2018 stop of Red Bull Foiling Generation – the innovative series created by two-time Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher. Isaac McHardie and William McKenzie triumphed to claim the national championship and will go on to compete in the World Final this November.
Reigning Red Bull Foiling Generation World Champions Olivia Mackay and Micah Wilkinson had claimed the global title for New Zealand in 2016, and with the pair now over the 16-20 age category, anticipation was high to find the Kiwi sailors who will defend the title. Sixteen teams vied for the honour, flying on their foils across Waitematā Harbour. When two days of intense racing concluded on Sunday, McHardie and McKenzie emerged as the class of the field to top the podium. The new national champions will take on an international line-up in the Red Bull Foiling Generation World Final at Miami, USA, on November 16-18, 2018.
“We are absolutely pumped to come away with the win!” says Isaac McHardie. “Unfortunately we didn’t get to race today but we’re really looking forward to Miami and we’re going to give it our all.”
Today’s light wind conditions meant Auckland unfortunately did not see Semi-Final or Final races being able to be completed, therefore the winners were selected from the 11th heat race concluded on Saturday. This heat was decided on the final downwind leg – Jackson Keon & Tom Fyfe who had lead the entire race found themselves looking over their shoulders, as Isaac McHardie & William McKenzie came hard at them, getting to the final mark by a small margin, and sailing on to win the race.
“New Zealand has a passion for sailing, and people recognise that participating in this series can be a step toward a career in the sport,” said Hagara. “Since Olivia and Micah won the World Final in 2016, she has helmed a wildcard boat in the Extreme Sailing Series, and he sailed in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. Plus at least 40 previous participants in Red Bull Foiling Generation are currently in Olympic-class programs for Tokyo 2020.”
Hagara and Steinacher first launched Red Bull Foiling Generation in 2015 to find the world’s most talented young sailors and introduce them to the type of cutting-edge foiling technology used in the America’s Cup. Both males and females participate in two-person teams and race in four-boat heats on Flying Phantom foiling catamarans. After regattas in France and New Zealand, four stops remain to determine national champions in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and the USA before the World Final.
“I think the World Final is going to be even more competitive this year because sailors are more professional” Steinacher commented. “When you watch young sailors like these athletes in New Zealand, you’re seeing the future of the sport, and that’s what Red Bull Foiling Generation is all about.”
Next up: The foils will fly in the Netherlands, when Red Bull Foiling Generation sets sail in The Hague on June 28-30, 2018.
Red Bull Foiling Generation Regatta in Auckland – Feb 23 – 25
The brainchild of double Olympic champions Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, Red Bull Foiling Generation seeks the world’s best young sailors to learn and compete in the next wave of sailing: high-speed foiling catamarans. The champions crowned in France, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and the USA will go on to represent their countries in November’s World Final in Miami, USA.
After getting off to a flying start in 2015 and 2016, Red Bull Foiling Generation is back to discover the globes top youth sailors. Developed by sports directors Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher, the series gives wings to talented sailors aged 16-20 by introducing them to the type of cutting-edge foiling technology used in the last America’s Cup.
Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour will host the second stop of the 2017/2018 World Series, being held this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Feb 23 – 25) at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
RNZYS Youth Training Programme and RNZYS Performance Programme sailors competing include: Nick Egnot-Johnson, Josh Wijohn, Taylor Balogh, James Wilson, Jordan Stevenson, Celia Willison, Charlotte Porter, George Angus and Mitch Jackson.
Olivia Mackay from Auckland, helmed New Zealand to win the Red Bull Foiling Generation World Final in 2016 and has gone on to helm a wildcard boat in the Extreme Sailing Series, and at least 40 previous participants of Foiling Generation are currently in Olympic-class programs for Tokyo 2020.
This week, a new crop of future New Zealand sailing stars have their own chance to shine. Mackay will play coach on-site to New Zealand’s 2018 competitors.
“Phantoms are like no other boat, high paced and loose, it was two of the best regattas I’ve ever competed in.” says Olivia Mackay.
“Getting the opportunity at a world final is always a fun challenge, but in these boats, with this style of racing, it was an absolutely epic experience and a great feeling to represent NZ.”
The City of Sails will see 16 teams of two undergo the Qualification Rounds this Friday Feb 23, followed by Repechage Rounds on Saturday and the Semi Finals and Finals on Sunday.
At each of the national championship events, Red Bull Foiling Generation provides the boats and expert coaching. Each team will race the innovative Flying Phantom, a spectacular multihull catamaran capable of reaching speeds up to 35 knots (nearly 40mph).
All participants gain invaluable experience, as they are coached by Steinacher and Hagara in taking on the demanding challenge of foiling. The Austrian legends are also the masterminds behind the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, where victorious skipper Peter Burling learned skills that helped him to win the 2017 America’s Cup at the helm of Emirates Team New Zealand.
“I always say that it’s like in motorsport: young people start in karts and they keep moving up toward Formula 1,” Hagara explains. “We want to give these sailors a chance to showcase their skills.”
view video teaser here:
Friday Feb 23 – Qualification Rounds
Saturday Feb 24 – Repechage Rounds
Sunday Feb 25 – Semi Finals & Finals
Red Bull Foiling Generation Race Calendar
The race calendar continues in 2018, for a total of six global stops before the climax of November’s World Final: held in Miami, Florida, USA.
25 – 27 October 2017 – La Baule, France
23 – 25 February 2018 – Auckland, New Zealand
29 June – 1 July 2018 – The Hague, Netherlands
13 – 15 July 2018 – Geneva, Switzerland
10 – 12 August 2018 – Achensee, Austria
9 – 11 November 2018 – Miami, Florida, USA
16 – 18 November 2018 – World Final, Miami, Florida, USA
SuperFoilers Grand Prix on the Gold Coast, Australia
America’s Cup sailor Paul Campbell-James has shown that Eurfolex isn’t invincible, with his star international crew aboard iD Intranet taking race seven off the series leader at the SuperFoiler Grand Prix’s final day of racing on the Gold Coast.
“It’s bloody nice to take the victory off them and to overtake Euroflex was pretty cool. We clocked 35k knots in that first run and it feels great to end what wasn’t the greatest of weekends for us with a race victory,” said the British skipper after his iD Intranet team became just the second SuperFoiler to claim a victory in the inaugural circuit.
Paul Campbell-James’ countryman and America’s Cup teammate Ed Powys also pleased his team was able to snatch a win off Euroflex.
“It was more of a relief to be out there racing without dramas and it was a good first race to win,” said iD’s bowman, We are trying to get back some momentum. We ground to a halt for a while and hopefully we are over the worst of it now and we can go sailing again.”
Although the iD crew didn’t have the satisfaction of crossing the line first, given the race was called off and current placings became the result after tech2 became entwined with a marker.
“We were mid capsize and as we landed we hooked our rudder. It was a schoolboy error and we will take full responsibility for that,” said tech2’s Aiden Menzies.
Astonishingly tech2, who was in second at the time of the incident, she caused, was awarded the second-place points – giving them ten from the race and drawing the ire of her challengers.
“It’s not fair, if you cause the race to get suspended you should be disqualified – I will have to have a word to Parko [Luke Parkinson] about that,” said Pavement’s skipper Steve Thomas.
“I can understand other boats would be annoyed but we were just sailing within the rules. I’m sure all the skippers will discuss that, that’s the great thing about this class,” said Aiden Menzies, tech2’s Mainsheet Hand.
That decision ultimately proved crucial with tech2 holding onto second position on the regatta podium, although their bowman Sam Newton had even higher aspirations for Gold Coast event, “It’s a pity we didn’t get three races in today, I feel like we could have won the regatta,” said the America’s Cup winner.
Series front-runner Euroflex finished last in the penultimate race of the double points Sunday Supercharge after touching down at speed early in the contest but went on to secure a win in the final race to celebrate her third straight regatta triumph.
“We made a couple of mistakes but at the end of the day no one was seriously hurt. I’ve fallen off a couple of things but at the end of the day I’ve got a couple of bruises but I’m okay,” said Glenn Ashby after his team’s record of 21 race wins came to an end.
Gold Coast SuperFoiler standings:
Euroflex – 50 points
tech2 – 42 points
Record Point – 36 points
iD Intranet – 31points
Pavement – 26 points
Kleenmaid – 24 points
Euroflex leads the overall race for the Ben Lexcen trophy by seven points ahead of tech2 and Pavement.
Racing now journeys to the West Coast of Australia with Busselton hosting.
It has been two years since Foiling Week, the epicentre of hydrofoil innovation, broke its own mould and held the first non-European event in Newport, RI. Designs first announced there are now full-production foilers and making history at professional sailing series around the planet.
And Foiling Week and its Gurit Forum of round-table topical explorations has become even more globalised, with last month’s Sydney Foiling Week. There the leaders in the hydrofoil space, including America’s Cup-winning skipper Glenn Ashby, shared with the world their innovative and collaborative spirit.
This week in Miami, thirteen speakers, including sailors (two-time Moth World Champion Paul Goodison), designers (Nacra 17 designer Pete Melvin) and builders (Fast Forward Carbon’s Tommy Gonzales), will represent latest in foiling developments.
The fantastic waterfront facilities of Shake-A-Leg along the pristine waters of Biscayne Bay will play host to both the forum and what every participant looks forward to: the demonstrations/trials, regatta and distance race. The on-water program will be second to none where every age and sailor-type gets to explore, test and share the excitement of foiling above the water.
And as Foiling week grows, so does its international community that is working to expand hydrofoil innovation into new realms where it can better lives and improve efficiencies in sport and transportation.
“Foiling requires stakeholders to meet and discuss innovation and hot topics,” said Luca Rizzotti, founder of Foiling Week and Gurit Forum. “We have come so far since 2014 and it’s important that this community of highly intelligent people have a place to gather and share and collaborate.”
Rizzotti said he is already seeing the fruit of the Forum’s efforts with safety initiatives being executed at international events, sustainability proposals shared across manufacturers and events, and accessibility issues for women, children and disabled sailors being addressed with new designs.
Wherever Foiling Week goes, the local sailors, designers and builders come out in force. Like a Pied Piper, people come out of the woodwork to follow and take part in the event. This will be no different in Miami.
Miami is home of the US Sailing Team, and members of the foiling Olympic Nacra 17 squad will be floating in and out of Foiling Week. Also, visionary filmmaker Patrick Rynne, founder of the Waterlust Project, who explores the ocean through the lenses of lifestyle, environment, innovation and social responsibility, lives in Miami and will be visiting the Gurit Forum and trial events.
Even legendary innovator Greg Ketterman, inventor of the Ketterman Tri-Foiler in the 1990s, will be at the Forum to give perspective in how far foiling devekopments have come and some insight into the future.
Most importantly, anyone in the area is encouraged to come to Shake-A-Leg to share their own creations and even test them at the on-water trials. Or just come to try out foiling for the first time.
Like in Newport, America’s best are flying into Miami to share the projects that most excite them. David Clark, founder of Fulcrum Speedworks, will be offering demos on the production UFO foiler. And George Hradil of Delta Hydrofoil, a leader in the manufacturing of kite foils, will be sharing his findings as he pushes the design/build envelope.
There is also an international contingent coming to Miami. Louise Chevallier and Karl Blouin from Canada will be discussing the latest developments in the C-Class catamaran. And Sean Baldwin will share plans for Foil Baddeck 2019, a hydrofoil event in the Canadian Maritimes celebrating the innovations of Alexander Graham Bell.
The 2017 Gurit Forum in Lake Garda focused on the three tenants of Foiling Week: Safety, Sustainability and Accessibility. In Miami, the two-part Forum, a round-table, open and relaxed discussion with panelists and heavy audience participation, will dig deeper into the safety considerations in design and race formats. As boats fly faster, sailors must adapt and sometimes the learning curve becomes dangerous.
In addition to safety, the second forum topic will be about the branding of foiling. Like an new and growing space, today’s innovators, sailors, designers and builders, have a disproportionately high influence on how this segment of the sport is presented and perceived in the world. This discussion will explore how much control we have over the development of foiling from a community perspective.
Miami Foiling Week program:
From February 15th to 18th, 2018 at Shake-A-Leg Miami.
Thursday, February 15th
Practice race, Foiling Trials
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm free Bacardi bar
Friday, February 16th
Gurit Forum, Harken Kids Trials, Long distance Race
from 7:30 pm Foiling Week Party
Saturday, February 17th
Gurit Forum, Harken Kids Trials, Course racing, Foiling Coaching
from 7:30 pm dinner party at Adventure Sports in Cocunut Grove
Sunday, February 18th
Foiling Trials, Course racing, Foiling Coaching
late afternoon prizegiving with free Bacardi bar
More info via: foilingweek.com/miami-2018/
Euroflex – 2018 Superfoiler Grand Prix, Geelong – © Andrea Francolini
SuperFoiler Grand Prix at Geelong
Glenn Ashby has praised his Euroflex team-mates Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen for vaulting him to victory and a clean sweep of his home regatta in Victoria.
“Hats off to the boys today. I don’t know how many kilometres of rope we would have moved today or how many thousands of times Nathan was pressing on those buttons (on the tiller),” said Glenn Ashby the winner of the SuperFoiler Grand Prix event in Geelong, “I am just stoked for the win and really happy for the boys.” The ‘dream team’ continued their winning ways in Victoria – extending their unbeaten run to 15 races in a row.
“It was awesome to do it in Geelong. We had a lot of knowledge from Glenny,” said Euroflex bowman Iain Jensen, “He knows just about everyone down here so it makes the victory even sweeter.”
Euroflex Skipper Nathan Outteridge has his eye on more glory, hoping that his team-mate can return the favour when it comes time to racing in New South Wales.
“We have been here in his home venue and it was really great to sail the way we did in front of his friends and family,” said the Olympic Gold medallist who knows the challenge is going to click up a gear on the Gold Coast, “The gap is closing and we expected that, they are incredibly difficult boats to sail.”
There were five races on a supercharged Sunday, with Euroflex scooping all of them. Although Pavement and tech2 showed shades of cracking the blue bolter’s so far impenetrable armour with both machines leading the races for long periods of time before being reigned in.
“We hit 33 knots out there, we were absolutely sending it. It’s just a matter of time before one of these boats finish over the top of Euroflex,” said Pavement helmsman and second-place finisher Steve Thomas.
Astoundingly the machine that missed an entire weekend of racing at the Adelaide regatta and needed major repairs to take to the start line in Geelong, tech2, was able to round out the podium. “We are stoked to be able to get through all the races and prove we’re mixing it up with the front group,” said tech2’s skipper Luke Parkinson who finished the regatta in third.
Euroflex leads the series (12 points) ahead of Pavement (9), tech2 (6), iD Intranet (6), Record Point (5) and Kleenmaid (5).
Wilson Marquinez are following the tradition of free-thinking Argentine designers ready to break the old moulds wherever they see opportunity.
Argentina’s track record for producing some of the world’s foremost yacht designers is underscored by the latest offering from the young Wilson Marquinez Design House: the MW680F.
At 6.80m this small, very light yet stable design bridges a gap in high-performance sportboats between the fastest class keelboat and a true foiling sportboat. With a crew of three, the 680F is low freeboard but decked over in the bow to shed water, has racks rather than trapezes for easier manoeuvres, a lifting 1.6m bulb keel, and 40m2 of sail to propel only 300kg in boat weight plus another 250kg in crew.
Getting around in this ‘wet mode’ the boat will be fast, but when fitted with adjustable V-foils it takes off like a rocket with boat speed projected to match wind speed over about 10kt of true wind. The rake of the T-rudder needed for foiling is pre-set for the wind conditions with the main foil being controlled to maintain longitudinal stability over the foiling range. Launched as a one-design, the MW680F features a single jib, one main and one asymmetric spinnaker that is shaped more like a Code 0.
‘We are excited about this boat,’ say designers Nahuel Wilson and Laureano Marquinez. ‘It has modes that make it fast, but also safe; it should interest the keelboat racer wanting to step up towards multihull-level performance but on a more familiar platform.’
When foiling territory is reached, research put into the aero package will make itself felt in terms of improving foiling range and giving the user a reasonable level of comfort in flight. For horsepower the team is now working closely with One Sails, testing different rig options in their virtual tunnel.
The MW680F is aimed at sportboat sailors who want to take a first step into foiling but without the drama of a large foiling cat. Just as the Waszp of Andrew McDougall is proving a huge sales hit among good sailors who want to fly a dinghy but lack the time and the considerable extra cash to make a Moth interesting, so the MW680F could do the same for keelboat sailors looking for something that is more challenging but also still ‘realistic’
Wilson and Marquinez honed their design and engineering skills on a range of diverse projects from chic cruiser-racers to production designs, Volvo 70s and superyachts, as well as working on foiling catamarans in the most recent America’s Cups. After training in naval architecture the pair worked with two other great Argentine designers, Javier Soto Acebal and Juan Kouyoumdjian.
‘We are very fortunate to have so many years of experience in such great design offices,’ says Marquinez. ‘Having the opportunity to be involved in so many different kinds of projects helped give us a clear view of the importance of investigating new design directions, as well as the awareness that simple but properly executed ideas can bring big steps forward, both in grand prix performance and enjoyment of regular day-to-day sailing.
‘It comes naturally to us to search for performance and style in design, which is of great importance to our clients. A boat that is beautiful brings to its owner a strong sense of pride and that means a lot to us too,’ Wilson adds.
‘With our projects we work in small teams, usually starting with the production of rough sail plans, hull shapes and appendages, deck layouts and structural arrangements,’ explains Marquinez. ‘We refine these using CFD tools, and consult professional sailors, sailmakers and rig specialists for more details on sails and spars.’
Marquinez says they learned early how a fully integrated approach to design and project management was key to complex projects like the VO70s (Groupama and Puma), the Wally 130 and Rambler 88 among others.
While Marquinez worked on Rambler, for 2013 Wilson focused on America’s Cup foiling, where the initial designs assumed displacement, not foiling mode, before massive retrofits were needed as the paradigm changed.
With Wilson being in San Francisco with Artemis, and Marquinez between the design office in Buenos Aires and Newport, RI, where Rambler was being built, efficient collaboration on tight timelines was essential.
‘There was not much time to retrofit the AC72 for foiling, it was a big challenge! But we learned a lot in that accelerated process,’ says Wilson.
For AC35, Wilson and Marquinez, now on their own, worked for Artemis supplying a variety of design services while also providing drawings that helped the Cup organiser’s (ACRM) own engineers define the structures in the new AC50.
With all this knowledge of cutting edge design, the two have since been approached to develop a wide variety of boat types, from a simple, but fun, local sportboat called the MW21, the fast MW27 cruiser-racer with a lifting keel intended for the shallow waters of Rio de la Plata, the no-compromise MW45 offshore racer (that adopts the latest foil technology), as well other sizes of potential new yachts, to a similar performance-only concept. For the free-thinking performance-driven yachtsman the Wilson Marquinez Vision is already proving attractive.
Published in Seahorse magazine, www.seahorsemagazine.com
Australian Glenn Ashby was recruited by Larry Ellison’s America’s Cup team to help tame the 90-foot beast that was to challenge for the 2010 America’s Cup. Ashby, already dominant in the Tornado, Formula 18, and A Class fleets, took the step in stride and now the 40 year old holds a 2017 America’s Cup victory alongside his Olympic Medal and 15 World Titles.
Here he writes how he did it:
Being up above the water is a surreal feeling. It’s a feeling of exhilaration. Almost hovering over the top of the water surface is so special. Only a small percentage of sailors around the world have ever been able to go foiling on a boat. It’s a riskier, more physically demanding type of sailing. You are on the knife’s edge.
The performance of foiling boats has really stepped up over the years. I’ve seen some pretty big spills. When you’re pioneering new engineering, technology, construction and designs, there’s a lot of finding out where the edge is. We don’t want anyone injured, but these boats certainly push everyone to their limits.
Fear and a foaming sea
I’m from Bendigo. My mum was into sailing and got my dad into it. As kids growing up, we’d go out to the local yacht club at the local lake, just mucking around with boats. Eventually I got onto the water myself at the age of seven. I started doing a bit of sailing and by the time I was 10, I had a passion for it.
I played a lot of sports but I just really enjoyed being outdoors. Some of my first memories are of being powered by the invisible force of the wind, getting pushed along the water. Being able to read the wind and control your boat is so rewarding. It’s a feeling of power and freedom.
When I was a kid, I never expected to make a career from sailing by any means. But one thing led to another and all of a sudden you find yourself skippering an America’s Cup team. I’ve come a long way.
My first boat cost $150. My second was about $180-$200. The sport was very grassroots and still is. You can still go down to the local club and get involved. It’s a bit of a misconception that sailing is an expensive sport.
That first boat was a Northbridge Junior – an eight-foot-long timber scow. It was quite shallow, almost like a flat windsurfer. We actually still have the boat. My parents restored it and it’s in my garage now, thirty-six years later. It’s a very special piece because it brings back a lot of good memories.
I won my first Victorian championship in that boat at the age of 10, down on Port Phillip Bay. That was my first ever race on salt water. I was absolutely shitting myself that day, sailing among big waves, big breeze and deep water. It was quite a daunting experience after growing up on the lake.
There were a lot of bigger kids competing in my age group, and they were quite comfortable sailing in the sea. I had to step up but I did. I managed to survive a couple of windy days and win the under-11 Victorian Championships. That was the start of my racing career. It gave me a massive buzz and was a great incentive to keep moving forward.
The wind in my sails
I was offered a sail-making apprenticeship at the age of 16. I was planning on going through school and becoming either a meteorologist or a surveyor but my parents encouraged me to seriously consider it, which I did.
It really set the scene for me getting more heavily involved in the sport. Sail-making provided me with a way to do some international travel at the age of 18 or 19 and eventually I was able to start my own sail-making business.
Sail-making has been wonderful to me. It’s been an incredible way for me to make an income. It’s also allowed me to get into boat-building and the Olympics and to travel to Europe every year from my early 20s. It’s given me a lifestyle that crosses work and sport.
As a sail maker, you’re working with your hands. You have to be innovative, pushing the envelope in design structure, learning as you go. All those skills you learn from a young age translate into bigger and faster boats and different projects.
When I was 18, my boss Greg Goodall offered to send me to the 1996 World Championships in Spain if I could beat him at a regatta in Newcastle. That certainly gave me a lot of incentive.
Everyone likes to get one over their boss and it was a tightly fought event. He might have called me a bugger when he lost the bet but it set the foundation for me to achieve what I did. I think Greg was happy to give me the chance to follow my dreams.
I went to a place called L’Estartit on the Costa Bravan coast in Spain. I was pretty young and gung-ho with my boat handling back then. I pushed pretty hard in tough conditions and managed to get around the course quicker than the rest. It’s pretty hard to believe, looking back.
I still chat with Greg to this day. He’s been a great mentor to me ever since those early sail-making days, and was a very accomplished sailor himself. He offered so much great knowledge and experience. It worked out well for him as well because the company sold lots of boats and sails.
Dealing with disappointment
Over the years, I’ve won 16 world championships. I won a silver medal with my sailing partner Darren Bundock at the Beijing Olympics on the Tornado Catamaran, but it was so disappointing we didn’t get the gold.
To this day, I’d love to make amends for that and try and get a gold medal. It feels like there’s something in my life that I didn’t quite achieve; it still haunts me every day.
We broke our mast rotation spanner in the medal race, which caused our mast to rotate uncontrollably in the final race. It was definitely a ‘crikey’ moment. We carried on and sailed as hard as we could, but it didn’t go our way. A couple of points ended up being the difference.
I think about it a lot still. I’m just super competitive. I hate coming second.
But that’s how it goes. We’re an equipment-based sport and a weather-related sport. You’ve got be able to compete in all conditions. You can do all the prep work and testing but nothing can prepare you for something like that. You have to wear it on the chin and just carry on.
One of the most disappointing periods of my life is not winning the 2013 America’s Cup with Team New Zealand in San Francisco after we led the series 8-1.
I was the wing trimmer on the AC72 Catamaran. Team USA had a good boat but they just weren’t sailing it very well in the early stages. We knew that if they could get their act together, they’d be hard to beat. Ultimately, they mowed us down and won the event. That’s sport.
Belief never went out of the team, even when they were making that comeback. We just knew we had to keep doing our best and hope for a bit of luck going our way. A lot of things didn’t.
Team New Zealand triumph
Team New Zealand learnt a whole lot of lessons out of that defeat that were implemented for this last America’s Cup. When we came back, we out-thought our opponents rather than out-spent them, which was a very satisfying feeling.
Bermuda was fantastic. All the team members were very excited to be there. We arrived late, on a tight time schedule. A lot of our equipment was still being built and sent across when the guys were testing and racing each other.
We were very much the lone wolf, on the back foot, right up until we got to Bermuda. We just kept believing and trusting in each other’s abilities. Departmentally we had the right group of people and we’d made the right decisions, so we just had to learn as much as we could as quickly as possible.
The design decisions we’d made as a group proved to be the right ones. We could have looked very stupid with our guys cycling and having the whole boat hydraulically operated. But it worked out very well and our opponents were proved wrong.
It was a very nice feeling to come away smelling like roses. I think we took more risks and managed our risk better than our opponents. When we learnt how to race the boat, those decisions gave us more horsepower and the ability to operate more functions at the one time.
The fact the wing control system was all hydraulic meant I could use basically an Xbox type controller with buttons and three joystick toggles to control all the wing’s functions, sheet and jib with one little control box rather than a rope on a winch. I could do that from either side of the boat and we could do a lot of manoeuvres our opponent couldn’t.
I was the wing trimmer and also the skipper of the team and ultimately as a group, we made better decisions and managed our risk versus reward well. It was a fantastic group of guys, a great sailing team and a great group of people. To be able to pull it off was a proud feeling.
At the end of the day, whether you’re sweeping the floors or the CEO, on the boat or off it – you’re an America’s Cup winner. That was incredible and a dream come true.
We had a nice celebration in Bermuda afterwards, with the team and the families. There were all sorts of celebrities and sponsors over there but for me it’s just about celebrating with your fellow teammates, the families and the kids. That’s the most important thing.
We were back in New Zealand within three days and there were huge celebrations in Auckland and around the country
After about a week of tickertape parades and touring, I got back home and pulled the caravan out of the garage. We loaded up the motorbike and windsurfers and bikes and surfboards and headed off for 10 weeks up through the centre of Australia, around through the Kimberley and down the West Coast. It was the best thing we ever did.
The greatest new show in town
The SuperFoiler Grand Prix in Australia will really push the boundaries and cutting edge of technology. The boats are designed to be fully foiling a lot of the time. Obviously, you need wind to power the boats and get them up on the foils, but in a good breeze the boats will be quite a handful to sail.
It’s going to be a big challenge for everybody but that’s what this type of sailing is all about – being agile, athletic, strong and very technical. It’s also about good boat handling and working well as a team.
The series is set up to emulate a lot of the fantastic things that the 18ft skiff races had going for them back in the day. In the 1990s, they were on TV during the lunch break of the Test cricket. That’s what first exposed a lot of the general public in Australia to sailing.
All the guys on board the boats back then were mic’d up and had head cams. It was revolutionary. They wore these great big helmets with cameras on top. They’d almost break your neck they were so heavy. But they provided a bird’s eye view of what was happening on board the boats, and really got people into sailing.
I think this SuperFoiler circuit is basically a modern-day version of that. It will be very exciting for the guys sailing the boats but also very media friendly, with a lot of different camera angles.
The series will visit some of the most iconic sailing venues in Australia, which will be great for the spectacle. It’s really set up for TV.
I’ll be sailing a boat called Euroflex with Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, who have both won gold and silver medals at the Olympics and competed with Artemis at the last two America’s Cups. They’ve been really good mates of mine for a very long time now and we are looking forward to a great summer of sailing at home here in Australia. We’re all pinching ourselves.
Published by Scuttlebutt on February 7th, 2018
Clean sweep of the event for the Dream Team on Euroflex © Andrea Francolini
The first ever leg of the SuperFoiler Grand Prix has been claimed in emphatic fashion by Euroflex, with iD Intranet and Pavement on the podium. The star-studded Euroflex crew of Nathan Outteridge, Iain Jensen and Glenn Ashby showed their superiority by claiming victory in all seven races on Adelaide’s Outer Harbour – taking the maximum points into the next regatta.
“Everyone has been on a steep learning curves these last couple of days and the race in Geelong is going to be a next level challenge,” said Euroflex’s Glenn Ashby.
The America’s Cup trio, who boast 24 world championships between them, were tested in the final race of the three-day regatta and trailed iD Intranet for the second time in as many days. But ultimately the class of Euroflex emerged, as they leapfrogged their way to victory.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the tight flat water venue in Adelaide, the hospitality and the weather, it has all been sensational.”
Record Point, who had a capsize on Saturday, continued their difficult run at the regatta after Tom Clout went overboard in the final race of the regatta.
“He clipped his leg on the rudder on the way through which is really not what you want to be doing, a little bit unlucky and not how we wanted to be finishing the event with one man down,” said Record Point’s Phil Robertson.
Clout, an experienced offshore sailor was recovered and continued racing. Leaving Record Point’s kiwi skipper promising to challenge again once racing lights up Victoria.
“We are just not getting it right now. We are not getting it synced up,” said Robertson, “We are fighters so we will be back.”
Euroflex netted 6 points from the Grand Prix Regatta, iD five, Pavement 4, Kleenmaid 3, Record Point 2 and tech2 1 heading into the second leg in Geelong.
This is what happened to tech2 on Saturday:
This was practice on Thursday:
The SuperFoiler Grand Prix is contested over five weekends at five iconic marine locations across Australia (South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales) from February 2018.
The first regatta was held on Adelaide’s Outer Harbour from February 2- 4. The Summer series will see the best sailors from around the world compete onboard six SuperFoiler’s for the Ben Lexcen Trophy.
Live-streaming will continue next week on Saturday and Sunday when the racing heads to Geelong at www.superfoiler.com
The first Australian WASZP Championships proved to me a monumental success with 35 boats and glamour conditions throughout the series, held at the Sorrento Sailing and Couta Boat Club.
Reigning WASZP Games champion Harry Mighell won the series convincingly from Jon Holroyd and another Sorrento local, Tom Trotman. Holroyd and Trotman were locked in a battle for second place and it would have been fantastic to get some racing in on the last day to break the deadlock but mother nature intervened and there was not enough wind to race.
From a Youth side of things it was great to see young Hugo Llewelyn improve dramatically during the regatta, giving the leaders a run for their money with a 2nd place in heat 4. In the Masters, Jon Holroyd sailed an extremely consistent event to claim 1st Master, followed by New Zealander Nick Olson who also had his moments of glory.
Of the Women, Sam England had some great races highlighted by a 4th place in heat 3 and Tess Lloyd improved out of sight over the 4 days and with minimal foiling experience before the event to finish every race and have some great results. It shows the future if very bright for women in the WASZP class.
The 6.9m rigs had some close racing, won by Jack Felsenshall who again pushed hard off minimal foiling time leading into the event. Also very creditable he made it to the Slalom final on a 6.9m rig, showing the versatility of this sail and a great product for lighter guys and girls in the class.
The Slalom racing was a significant highlight of the event with the final being a classic, won on the final gybe by Tom Brewer, there was only 10 seconds separating 1st and 6th in the 8 boat final. This is an event that will carry high prestige going forward and a favourite for the sailors.
The social side of the event was awesome with the beach culture vibe very much alive in the class, with the club putting on food each night after racing and eskies full of beers and soft drinks awarded to the boat of the day to be then shared with the competitors. For the families there was table tennis, beach volleyball and just having a swim on the beautiful beaches in the area. All in all it was a fantastic event with the people involved in this class taking it forwards at a rapid rate.
The class now looks forward to the European Championships from June 28 – to July 1 in Malcesine, Lake Garda and then next January 22 – 28 for the 2019 International WASZP Games in Perth, Western Australia, where 120+ WASZP’s will be expected.
Overall Results: (first three in each category)
1st Harry Mighell
2nd Jon Holyrod
3rd Tom Trotman
1st Hugo Llewellyn
2nd Lockie Dare
3rd Daniel Quinlan
1st Jon Holroyd
2nd Nick Olson
3rd Paul Fleming
1st Jack Felsenshall
2nd Daniel Quinlan
3rd Michael Parks
1st Sam England
2nd Tess Lloyd
1st Tom Brewer
2nd Jack Abbott
3rd Harry Mighell
Full Overall Results >>> http://sailingresults.net/sa/results/Overall.aspx?ID=80154.1.1
Video highlights of day: https://www.facebook.com/waszpgames/videos/242674726272503/
Video highlights of the Slalom race: https://www.facebook.com/lfsportsTV/videos/1680636895331119/
by Jonny Fullerton on behalf of the WASZP Class