Grand Prix Sailing – fans of foiling

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,





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


Mischa closes the gap 


photo © Gordon Upton /


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

highlights video:


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


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

Glenn Ashby © Gordon Upton /


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 /


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 /


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 /


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:

More information on the event website: at


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


Looking ahead to the A Class Worlds


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:


by Gordon Upton


SailGP global racing league unveiled


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.”


About SailGP

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 for more information.


by SailGP



Final day of the WASZP Europeans at Lake Garda 

Photo c Marc Ablett


The day we had been waiting for all event finally arrived. 15 – 18 knots of Lake Garda goodness rolled in early from the South and it was all to play for with the European Championship on the line.

Tom Trotman from Australia was in a strong position heading into the final day and consolidated with a 1,2,2 scorecard to take the overall event from Bruce Curson of New Zealand who finished with two bullets in the final two races. It will be fantastic to see these guys go head to head again at the WASZP Games in Perth 2019.

The battle for the overall European Championship was much more intense with 17 year old Nicolai Jacobsen holding a slight advantage over French sailor Pierre Leboucher. In the first race of the day Jacobsen put one hand on the trophy by finishing in second place with Leboucher back in fifth. Then in the second race of the day Leboucher was looking really good and chasing hard only to have a sensational crash, picking up a knee injury that all but dashed his championship hopes. Jacobsen then sailed a smart final race to stay out of trouble and take the WASZP European Championship to Norway.


Photos c Marc Ablett


The racing was extremely tight and as good as you will ever see on such a high performance foiling boat. With the standard lifting with every race completed, it was amazing to see fifteen boats coming into an upwind gate at 20 knots boat speed.

In other categories, Italian sailor Margerhita Porro won the Women’s Championship from six others, while Jacobsen won the Youth division. In the Masters category it was Bruce Curson from New Zealand and in the 6.9 rig it was young Richard Schuilthie from Malta.

The GPS speed challenge was also hotly contested with the top speed of the week coming from Norwegian Erik Karlsen with 22.9 knots recorded on the final day. The fastest speed we have seen at an event is still 26.1 knots set by New Zealander Nick Olsen at the Australian nationals.

It is pretty special to see how the WASZP has grown in the last 12 months in particular. We had five separate heat winners ranging from a 14 year old, a 22 year old, a 37 year old former Olympian and a 42 year old. It would be hard to find a class of boat where people from all walks of life and all ages can compete together on the same race course and all be super-competitive.

The WASZP class is still in its infancy, but one thing is for sure, the culture and atmosphere around the sailors is amazing. Everyone is willing to help each other and after racing in the rigging area or in the bar the vibe is amazing. The future is certainly a bright on for the WASZP.


Day 3 WASZP Europeans – The battle is on



The WASZP European Championships headed to Day 3 with much optimism, the fleet launched at 8:30 am for a 9am start, due to not much action over the first 2 days. The northerly was starting to really funnel in with around 15 knots on the race course.

The start was amazing with 63 WASZP’s all hitting the line at the same time. Norwegian sailor Henrick Haaland had a sensational start in the middle of the line and showed good speed. However by the top mark it was a full on assault from the sailors from down under with Tom Trotman, Jack Abbott, Andrew (Amac) McDougall from Australia and Bruce Curson from New Zealand taking the lead.

Down the run Amac took a low road while the rest stayed up high and were full noise down the first run. Alexander Hoghiem-Dahl was showing some serious wheels posting 21.9 knots in the GPS speed challenge.

Trotman managed to hold on down the second run to fend off Curson by 5 seconds at the finish. Ex-49er sailor Rory Hunter from GBR had a sensational final lap to roar into 3rd place and put the pressure on the overall leaders.



As the Northerly died everyone headed in for a bite to eat and waited for the Southerly to arrive. It finally drifted in at 2pm and the fleet launched for a 2:30 pm start. Finally the conditions we came for. Tom Trotman led from start to finish in race 3 and won in emphatic fashion from Nicolai Jacobsen who has produced a seriously consistent series to be the first European with one day remaining.

In Race 4 New Zealander Bruce Curson jumped the fleet to lead for the first lap, only for a shift to claim a few of the leaders. Former 470 Olympian Pierre Leboucher from France showed a clean pair of heals to claim victory in Race 4. The French team have improved immensely and are the top performing European nation as we speak.

Race 5 was sailed in around 8 – 14knots, conditions which has typified this series. Again the start was hot and all the key performers were there. This time it was Jacobsen from Norway and Festino from France who were in a battle for the lead. Again a massive shuffle in places up the final work provided some serious entertainment for the spectators. With Trotman powering from 6th to 1st and hold the lead to the finish line.

Overall it is Trotman leading from Curson with leading European entrant Nicolai  Jacobsen in 3rd with Leboucher not far behind. It is all to play for on the final day of the WASZP European Championships.

Overall it was sensational to finally get our event started with a full day of racing, the competitors are tired, but ready to do it all again tomorrow!