Monthly Archives: October 2018
A Class World Championship at Hervey Bay Sailing Club
Double World Champ NED Mischa Heemskerk © Gordon Upton
As the season in Europe slowly draws to a close on what has been for some, another rather frustrating year of too much/too little wind and with most European class associations are looking towards their final regattas of the year, it is now only some four weeks until the World Championships and the Hervey Bay crowd get their Barbies lit.
What awaits them are sandy beaches, tropical weather, warm seas, migrating Humpback Whales, and if the natives sharing posts to my Facebook page is anything to go by – spiders, snakes, jellyfish, sharks and mythical bears dropping from trees, also apparently lie in wait their European and US visitors!
This year, probably due to the location, we are to be graced by more sailing glitterati than we have seen in many years. Now with an entry list of over 100 sailors booked in. But due to the distance and expense, only 19 European and 13 North American sailors are attending this year, however, their presence will most certainly be felt. This is the first time the two fleets are officially being split into the two ‘A’ Cat divisions for a World Championships and are to sail on separate courses.
This was a superb move by IACA, as it has rejuvenated many fleets around the World whose non-foiling sailors had felt rather left out by the foiling revolution overtaking the class since 2015. As a result of this being an open event, a good sized fleet of 43 Classics and 61 Foilers are looking forward to some great racing action on the waters of the Pacific.
Former World Champion and Olympic silver Tornado medalist, Scott Anderson – photo © Gordon Upton
Former World Champion and Olympic silver Tornado medalist, Scott Anderson, heads up the 27 strong AUS Classic fleet contingent. Alongside him is another Tornado silver winner, Andrew Landenberger, a former European Champion, is one of the sailors who have started a return to the Classic discipline after realizing it can provide much closer racing and one of many who have possibly decided that they really can’t be bothered with mastering the circus skills sometimes required to sail a foiling boat at that level. Chasing them, particularly if the wind gets up, may well be smiling SWE sailor Alberto Farnassi.
Tornado silver winner and former European Champion Andrew Landenberger – photo © Event Media
The Classics are also honoured by the presence of the two famous and venerable mast-makers in the persons of Piet Saarberg and Ben Hall. Also making up the Classic fleet will be three Kiwis, three more Americans including Bob Webbon, and Bob Orr, an Italian, a Swiss, in the body of IACA President Charles Beush, and a Brit.
Meanwhile over on the foiling course, several big names are vying for the top dog’s spot. Favourite amongst them must surely be Glenn Ashby again, now going for this 10th World title after his victory as the ETNZ America’s Cup skipper. Last seen in a World Championship at Punta Ala in 2015, he was untouchable at the Warnemunde Europeans back in August, and has to always be the man to beat. However, never say never, and things can happen to the best of us, especially in sailing.
Glenn Ashby © Gordon Upton
Close on his tail will be a gaggle of other top racers. Current and three times World Champ Stevie Brewin will surely be fighting hard to retain his crown. Stevie was away on a somewhat interesting F18 campaign in the summer, so didn’t race in Germany. But he’ll be back now and up for this one. Stevie’s training mate, Glenn’s
Olympic silver medal-winning Tornado teammate, Darren Bundock, will also be hot in pursuit of his former America’s Cup rival. But he’d better keep an eye out for his wife, the Volvo Ocean race winner and multipal Olympic medalist Carolijn Brouwer, who is also no slouch on the ‘A’ cat. Steve Brayshaw, Brad Wicht and Adam Beatie will also be fighting hard.
Three times World Champ Stevie Brewin – photo © Event Media
Coming over the Tasman Sea to challenge are another couple of America’s Cup sailors in the shapes of NLZ sailors Olympic and World 49er champion, Blair Tuke, and his Olympic 49er teammate and ETNZ winning helm, Peter Burling. They will be also be up against the larconic Kiwi Champ Dave Shaw, who finished 4th at the Sopot Worlds last time. There will also be a European challenge for podium places from Double World Champ NED Mischa Heemskerk.
Former European Champ Bob Baier is coming from Germany. A couple of handy Polish sailors will also be ready to pounce as National champions Jacek Noetzel and Robert Graczyk are coming over. Two French National Champion sailors of Jean-Luc Le Coq and Emmanuel Dode will also be putting of a good show as will the top Swiss sailor Nils Palmieri and ESP sailor Lago Lopez Marra. All are capable of a top ten finishes.
Not forgetting our other North American friends too. Their strong fleet includes their National Champion Bruce Mahoney along with Larry and Andrew Woods and Michael Krantz, who will be fighting for good places too.
Hence we are expecting some hot racing at Hervey Bay in both fleets. Some results may surprise us, other merely confirm our expectations. Whatever happens though, it won’t be boring, especially if those migrating whales arrive in the start area.
Bring it on!
More details on: www.a-cat.org
by Gordon Upton
Sir Russell Coutts at the SailGP global racing league launch © SailGP
SailGP set out to redefine sailing with the launch of its new global racing league: five grand prix events featuring six national teams on identical wing sailed F50s – the world’s fastest, most technologically advanced catamarans.
Spearheaded by Larry Ellison and Sir Russell Coutts, in season one, SailGP will bring intensely competitive, high-speed inshore racing to fans in Sydney; San Francisco; New York; Cowes, UK; and Marseille, France, as world-class crews compete for the championship trophy and a $1 million prize.
Kicking off in February 2019, SailGP’s inaugural season will feature teams representing six countries – Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States. Each five-person crew will race on identical 50-foot foiling catamarans. A new boat class, the F50 is a redesigned, supercharged incarnation of the exceptional AC50 used for the 35th America’s Cup last year. Twelve months in development at the hands of pioneering technicians and engineers at Core Builders Composites in New Zealand, the F50s are expected to break the 50-knot (60mph/100kph) barrier.
“SailGP is the evolution of sailing,” said Ellison, SailGP founder. “With equally incredible technology across our one-design fleet, we expect to see thrillingly close and competitive racing amongst national teams. And, with a modern, consistent format, SailGP will provide a new opportunity for talented sailors who want to race for their countries.”
“SailGP distills all of the most successful, exciting and relevant elements of high-performance, professional racing, while adding the extra edge that comes with nation-versus-nation competition,” said Coutts, SailGP CEO. “We are aiming to be pioneers of new technologies, boat design, commercial partnerships and global audience engagement. But with every crew on the same groundbreaking F50 catamaran, this isn’t a tech arms race, rather the ultimate test to establish the best sailing team in advanced foiling catamarans.”
Sanctioned by World Sailing, each grand prix will comprise two competition days with five fleet races, culminating in a final match race between the two leaders. After SailGP’s Sydney inauguration in February (15-16), the league moves on to San Francisco in May (4-5), New York in June (21-22), and Cowes in August (10-11), before the Marseille final in September (20-22), which features a winner-takes-all, $1 million championship match race between the season’s top two teams to conclude three days of racing.
“World Sailing is thrilled to be working with SailGP to bring a new, exciting and fan-friendly elite racing league to life,” said World Sailing CEO Andy Hunt. “SailGP is an ambitious project that is spearheaded by an incredible forward-thinking leadership team. We’re excited about SailGP’s commitment to innovate and advance the sport forward and by working in partnership, we will aim to inspire millions more people to fall in love with sailing.”
SailGP was created by Ellison and Coutts, who have been instrumental in the commercial development of competitive sailing. The innovative new professional sailing league – featuring an ongoing calendar of premium global racing among national teams in the world’s most advanced catamarans – will engage the next generation of fans and create a pathway for future sailors. SailGP will be a commercially driven sports property, eventually maturing to a franchise model.
Renowned luxury house Louis Vuitton, which partners with the world’s biggest sporting events and packs the most legendary trophies; Oracle, industry-leading global provider of enterprise cloud computing; and Land Rover, the world’s leading manufacturer of premium all-wheel-drive vehicles, join SailGP as founding partners. Additional details and sponsors will be announced at a future date.
With a primary goal of growing global viewership and broadening its fanbase, SailGP’s broadcast plans focus on comprehensive live coverage complemented by centrally produced highlight programs, and cutting-edge screen applications and services. Whisper Films has been appointed as the league’s host broadcast production partner and will play a key role in delivering a personality-driven broadcast utilising patented and leading-edge immersive media technologies, while Talisman Sports and Media is handling global media rights distribution.
The Great Britain SailGP Team was also introduced to home fans during the London launch. Skippered by Rio 2016 Olympian and world champion Dylan Fletcher, Great Britain’s vastly experienced crew includes Olympic bronze medalist Chris Draper as team CEO and wing trimmer, Olympic silver medalist Stuart Bithell as flight controller, and Olympic champion rower Matt Gotrel and Extreme Sailing Series winner Richard Mason as grinders.
“The concept of SailGP immediately excited me,” said Great Britain helmsman Dylan Fletcher. “This league allows us to compete with and against the best, and to challenge ourselves in every way possible while sailing the world’s fastest catamarans. We have the opportunity to push the limits of our sport, and this is a very proud chapter in my career. What Larry and Russell have created is truly unique, and I am confident it will capture the attention of audiences around the world.”
SailGP is sailing redefined. Established in 2018 and headquartered in London and San Francisco, SailGP is an annual, global sports league featuring bold, cutting-edge technology and awe-inspiring athleticism. The fan-centric, inshore racing takes place in some of the most iconic harbors around the globe and culminates with a $1 million winner-takes-all match race. Rival national teams from Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States battle it out in identical supercharged F50 catamarans, engineered for intense racing at electrifying speeds exceeding 50 knots (nearly 60 mph/100 kph).
Visit sailgp.com for more information.