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Posts Tagged ‘World Championship’

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After a very strong Marstrand finale to the inaugural World Match Racing Tour,  our friends in M32 World have been extremely quiet, with no firm announcements for the 2016/17 WMRT season other than a teaser telling us there would indeed be another million on offer for the winner of the series. This week, we found out what they’ve been up to: First, and as you can see by the titillating video above, they’ve gotten International Class status from ISAF and the inaugural M32 World Championship will be sailed on the Devil’s Island immediately after the Tour finale in Marstrand.  While future M32 Worlds will be qualified events, this first year is first-come, first-served, and capped at 25 boats, so get registered now.

Far more importantly, M32 World announced that the Volvo Ocean Race will now feature the M32 cat for Pro-Am and guest racing at 8 of the VOR Stopovers. Each boat will be branded like one of the teams and sailed over the course of the stopover, allowing non-stop sailing action for spectators and VIP/hospitality guests.  Instead of a two days of in-port and pro-am racing, those eight stopovers will now be full of racing action – a move that pleases both VOR, the teams, and the local vendors while increasing the crossover between long time circumnavigators and inshore cat racers.



October 14th, 2016 by admin

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We thought we were going to be focusing on the Etchells Worlds IJ granting the Event Chairman redress for two different UFD scores, but as we were writing that one up, something way better came up for our monthly look at protests and sailors behaving badly.  And it’s a hell of a story.

Julian Fernandez Neckelmann dominated the J/70 Worlds last year with his Flojito and has continued in other big events, and with two of the winningest one-design pros of the past decade as his crew and Ed Adams coaching, Julian ain’t playin’ – he’s in this one for real. But after six races at St. Franny’s Big Boat Series, a much lower-budget team – Joel Ronning’s Catapult - sat tied with Neckelmann in the same water they’ll be racing next week at Worlds.

That’s when Neckelmann – a lawyer, we think – decided he needed to find out more about the stainless hoop you see above in Ronning’s cockpit.  We were told by several people he asked them about it, and several told him they thought it was legal, and even suggested against protesting it.  When Neckelmann saw Catapult tactician John Kostecki on the dock, Neckelmann told him he didn’t think the roll bar was kosher, and Kostecki, ever the communicator, said ‘Protest me.”  Neckelmann did exactly that, and that’s where it gets good.

The Jury asked why Catapult had a non-OEM part on the boat, and Joel calmly explained that bar was installed to assist him from moving from side to side during tacks and gybes.  He also explained that the J/70 rules allow installation of such a device for people with physical disabilities, and that both the plans and photos of the finished part had been signed off by the J/70 Technical Committee and Adminstrator as required by the Class Rules.

At this point, our sources differ on what exactly happened, but a credible one has Neckelmann next asking Ronning, “How disabled are you that you need this bar?”

Ronning then reaches down, unstraps a buckle, pulls his carbon-fiber prosthetic leg off, and slams it on the table in front of god and everyone, shouting “Is this disabled enough for you?”

A differing account says Neckelmann asked why he wasn’t allowed to have the same bar installed on his boat.   Ronning pulled off the leg and slammed it on the table, telling Neckelmann to “Saw off one of your legs and you’ve got it.”

Regardless of which version is true, the whole thing is pretty ridiculous, and sends an awful message to disabled sailors in open classes: Fuck you and your problem.  We certainly know the history that makes top J/70 teams so nervous about cheaters, but handling a protest poorly risks not only pissing off your fleet, but it can earn you new enemies you can’t afford on the course.

We note that Neckelmann has always been a straight talker with us, and was always ethical when we’ve spectated or raced against him.  He told us in an email that he never knew Ronning had any disability until that protest hearing, let alone a carbon-fiber leg; this isn’t that far-fetched given that Ronning is proud of the fact that so few people can tell he has an artificial leg.   Still, we struggle with it, because Neckelmann poached his pros director from the Catapult team.  Bill Hardesty and Willem Van Waay both worked for Ronning on his A-Scow and J/70 for some time and they knew him well;  if Bill and Creature let their boss protest an amputee without telling him about it – well, that’s a great story too. (And speaking of stories, we are hearing about Hardesty’s questionable behavior at Mission Bay Yacht Club a few weeks ago. – ed)

We don’t think Neckelmann is some kind of anti-disabled sailing nutbag, but he’s a fierce competitor, and as he wrote us yesterday, “Some people in good faith and others in bad faith are playing with modifications.  If these moves are legal we want to do them, if they are not, we want nobody else to do them.”  That’s fair.  But protesting a heavy metal bar in a bad place when people told you it was legal…it’s your right, but it’s stupid.

The reality is that Neckelmann’s protest was probably a shot across Ronning’s bow and an attempt to get into the head of a team that can clearly challenge for the world title – a team that already has plenty of bad blood with the reigning world champion.  Top pros play head games because sometimes, they work.  But this one seems to have backfired, and Neckelmann and Hardesty haven’t made any friends with their move; many think they also made their class and the BBS look like shit.

One other thing it did?  It made us pretty excited to watch how steamy this rivalry gets next week in the Berkley Circle.  Nothing fires up interest like a battle before the war.  You can read a full Worlds Preview at the J/70 Facebook Page here.


September 22nd, 2016 by admin

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Pacific Yankee learned why you don’t fuck around with John Kostecki in a pre-start match race today when they threw away a three-point lead over Pinta going into the final race of the 56-boat Melges 20 Worlds, ultimately losing by 7 to the Michael Illbruck-helmed boat.  Watch Illbruck/Kostecki/Michetti manhandle the boat owner and his paid crew of Morgan Reeser/Charlie Smythe in the start above (with commentary by the inimitable Mauro Melandri).

This makes (we think) Federico Michetti the first man to own World Championships in all three Melges sportboats. We’ll be talking with Federico soon ab0ut his accomplishment and the imminent arrival of the Melges 40 for the SA Podcast soon…

You can head over to Livestream to watch the other race clips from Scarlino and the live prizegiving, which will air in an hour or two.  Emanuele Savoini took the Corinthian crown.


August 28th, 2016 by admin

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Clean Report

We’ve had a lot of fun commentating and following the World Match Racing Tour this year, but things have just gotten a hell of a lot more serious at the World Championship Finale in stunning Marstrand.  It’s not surprising – with 1.2 million on the line, including a single million-dollar cash bonus to the winning team, much of the camaraderie is gone, and it’s been replaced with determination and steely stares between both rivals and (former) friends.

The breeze is on (as it always is here), the bikinis are out, and you’ve got a front row seat for all the action as commentated by double match race World Champ Simon Shaw, Rolex US Sailor of the Year Steph Roble, and the big bald bastard himself.  Get your match on!


July 4th, 2016 by admin

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Big Pimpin’

Check out the video from the 3rd event of Italy’s Alcatel J/70 Cup for a slightly long but beautifully produced story of sportboat racing in Sardinia.  More from our old friend and Italian J/70 Class Prez Vittorio:

Quite frankly, we had a truly fantastic week-end with great racing conditions, outstanding hospitality by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (with a social event every night!), and lots of beachside fun for our accompanying friends and families. It was probably the best event organised by the J/70 ITALIAN CLASS so far (results here).

The week-end was also a live test for next year’s J/70 Worlds (Sept 12-16, 2017). We are already working to prepare another great event for you (all of the above plus simplified logistics, group discounts on ferry boat transportation, hotels, food and entertainment). We will present the full program of next year’s event during the Italian Night that we plan to host at the St. Francis Yacht Club in September during the 2016 J/70 Worlds in San Francisco. You are already invited to participate!

We are confident to have all the ingredients to host a great event next year which will be key in further growing the J/70 Class in the Med. CAN’T MISS PORTO CERVO 2017 !


June 16th, 2016 by admin

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Penalty Box Productions’ Petey Crawford needs no introduction, and if you’ve ever seen Mr. Clean and Petey in action together, you won’t need much motivation to listen to a couple hours of their jawing about life, liberty, and the pursuit of the perfect regatta.  Petey pulls no punches as they discuss the latest in media news, the upcoming Melges 24 Worlds (run by Petey), and much, much more.


June 1st, 2016 by admin

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A mix of boat-breaking and ultra-light weather saw Laser superstar Paul Goodison take the 2016 Moth Worlds in Hayama Japan last week.  Goodie was helped out by a healthy dose of the much quicker Rob Greenhalgh (who took 6 bullets in 13 races) losing two races to gear failure and losing his big lead in the final race to an abandonment.  It ended Rob’s hard run to the top, with Chris Rashley finishing in second, three points off Paul.  It was the first time Brits have owned the Moth Worlds podium in the foiling era.

While it’s tough to judge without the top Mach 2 sailors on site, Britain’s Exocet moth took four of the top five spots, showing just how quickly the balance of power can shift when the Gulari/Outteridge/ETNZ/Burling technology machine is otherwise occupied and Amac’s busy making his Waszp take flight.

With the big distances involved and many of the top Mothies off doing their Olympic thang, the Hayama Worlds was the quietest in years, though Junichi Hirai took some gorgeous shots in the equally pretty bay.  Beau Outteridge finally came out of the creative hole he fell into during his AC daze, producing his best video in years on Day 2 here.

May 31st, 2016 by admin

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Promo girls

The International Moth Worlds continues in Japan this week, with the event again starting off with boat-and-sailor-breaking waves and breeze – just like the 2015 event on Australia’s Mornington Pensinsula.

Injuries and boat breakages have made alphabet soup of a shallow 68-boat fleet lacking all but one of the past ten World Champs, but between the beautiful venue, perfect hospitality, and the looks on these honest-to-goodness Formula 1-style pit girls, nobody’s bitching. And with Nathan, Peter, and Bora off doing their Olympic things, finally the Brits have a shot at taking not only the Ashes, but their first Moth Worlds since Simon Payne in Dubai 2009.

GBR’s Paul Goodison leads Chris Rashley and Rob Greenhalgh in the money spots, while the Aussies – Garda world champ Josh McKnight, big wave specialist Rob Gough, and Class prez Scott Babbage – sit in pouncing position after three days of racing.  Aussies and Poms round own the top ten with the lone American in the fleet – Brad Funk – holding 25th place. Full results are here. The Sailor Girl’s got the info on the ground, so go over and check out her interviews right now.

Day Two          Day Three           Day Four 

May 28th, 2016 by admin

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It’s the coolest competition in sailing, and our own Petey Crawford – the King Pimp himself – has hit the road to restore an old Melges 24 to ‘like new’ glory for the Pimp My Ride competition in association with Sailing Anarchy, a pile of sponsors, and the 2016 Miami Melges 24 Worlds.  The saga begins today and runs all summer long.  Who needs reality TV when we’ve got everythere right here on the interwebs?


May 24th, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 1.39.33 PMISAF World Sailing has happily continued with their attempt at “Word Domination”, attacking the first two events on the International Federation of Kiteboarding Organization calendar as “Prohibited” for one reason only: The IFKO are choosing to use their own rules, not ISAF’s.  Under the RRS, World Sailing believes it has the right to completely ban any competitor at these IFKO events from ANY future racing on the water.  This ban would include all junior boarders at the now-’prohibited’ Junior Freestyle World Cup.

That’s right, folks: World Sailing actually believes it has the right to ban a 12 year old kid from racing his Opti for years solely because the kid entered a freestyle kiteboarding competition.  Or they can ban you from racing the Sydney Hobart on a cruiser because you did backflips on your kiteboard at the kitesurf world series.  Seriously!

There’s plenty of background on this issue in the story we ran in February, but the long and the short of it is this: Under the laws of MANY countries in which it functions, legal experts agree that World Sailing is prohibited from disciplining sailors for competing in events that contravene the bizarre prohibition against non-RRS events using the word “World” in their titles.  The claimed reason?  “Eliminating confusion” amongst sailors and the public about what is a ‘World’ level event.  The real reason?  ISAF sells the use of the word for thousands and thousands of dollars.  The bigger reason?  ISAF absolutely MUST control the introduction of kiting to the Olympics or they lose millions.

Those same experts said that they can’t find any other sport that claims this type of control over a common word, in some cases because they were told by their lawyers long ago that it wouldn’t fly.  But because yacht races are largely run by Yacht Clubs rather than transparent, publicly accountable organizations, the status quo has endured.  Don’t rock the boat, old boy.

Read the World Sailing press release if you want to see just how out of hand ISAF has gotten.  They are actually threatening junior sailors with a ban on all racing activities solely because these kids want to go freeriding at a cool event.

As we’ve said before, we encourage IFKO competitors to stay strong and continue to buck the bullshit artists trying to extort and threaten them into submission.  And of course you need to send us any and all correspondence you receive from ISAF World Sailing or the IKA on this issue. Only sunlight can cure this infection.


March 30th, 2016 by admin

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