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Posts Tagged ‘World Championship’

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Just a month after Mischa Heemskerk and Stephan Dekker’s ridiculous, all-bullet (gold fleet) performance to win their first-ever F-18 World Championship, Mischa is back in the driver’s seat on Poland’s Baltic Sea coast as the A-Cat Worlds fleet fires up, and if this pic is any evidence, he’s on the prowl…[just joking, Carrie -ed].  Head to the thread to find out more about the deck sweepers, stabilizers, and no-boom rigs amongst the crazy tech in this fast foiling fleet.  Video preview here and big thanks toPJ Dwarshuis and the guys at DNA Performance for their help in putting together this comprehensive preview/form guide.  By the way, with both the Moths and A-Cats hosting their largest-ever world championships in 2017 and the average age continuing to plummet amongst the fleets, is there anyone out there who still thinks foiling is a fad?  News and photos from the event are over here.

19 nationalities and 150 boats on the entry list proves the growing interest in this highly competitive and foiling catamaran class. Dozens of past World Champs  in a variety of classes discovered the A class cat over the last few years as the ultimate in singlehanded excitement.  The A cats are challenging to sail, with nearly unmatched and highly-refined development in one of the last truly open classes left.  Many ideas coming from the A-class trickled down to other boats and even into the AC Cats; it’s not surprising then that many Cup sailors and designers play in the A for fun.  .

The reigning world champion and man to beat at the moment is DNA team rider, developer and fellow Dutchman Mischa Heemskerk. Mischa is on a roll, as last month he also won the Formula 18 class world title with 7 straight bullets in the goldfleet final and before that won the locally well known Round Texel race.

Mischa will face big competition from the squad from Polish A-Cat builder Exploder, which has put in countless hours in their effort to break DNA’s string of five straight A-Cat Worlds. Heemskerk’s biggest competition should come from Aussie Exploder riders like two-time World Champ Stevie Brewin and double Olympic medallist and Tornado world champ Darren Bundock, who’ve been working as a team to unseat the reigning Dutch champ.

While Poland may be better known for growing gorgeous women and brewing great vodka, their sailors are a major force to be reckoned with, especially with the added motivation of winning on their home turf.   The next generation of cat kids is led by 24-year old Jakub Surowiec who proved very strong at the last big European regattas, while Tymotek Bendyk and Jacek Noetzel are also factors – the latter is the longtime Polish champion and also the driving force behind the successful growth of the Class in Poland.

Mischa will again be sailing the stealthy black carbon DNA F1,  unchanged for the second year of production now. The platform is identical to his winning boat at last years worlds in Medemblik, Holland.

The DNA F1 is highly optimized for low aero drag, proving extremely fast in all conditions. The construction is state-of-the-art carbon/prepreg/nomex honeycomb, built in a unique one-shot method in Holland Composites‘ autoclave. Carbon fiber to weight ratio is unmatched, resulting in platforms that remain stiff for longtime.  We introduced the semi-rigid carbon trampoline last year, stiffening the platform and making the boat look extremely slick.

The ‘Z‘ foils, which have all four foils kept deployed in the water during sailing, as originally developed by DNA in 2014 are still unchanged. We have been playing with other foil designs however keep returning to the original shape – it is easy to optimize for one particular condition but in our view the best foil is the one offering the best all-around performance. You could see this clearly in the AC where they had various foils for different wind ranges – we have to make do with one throughout the entire event hence our quest for a good all arounder.

The decksweeper sails are common nowadays, but it was Mischa who developed the modern iteration of these super-efficient mainsails to a new level.  The sail seals all the way to the airtight trampolines, resulting in significantly higher efficiency of the rig.  This helped DNA take 1st and 2nd at the ’15 Worlds, and while Glenn is taking a much-needed family holiday instead of sailing Worlds, the America’s Cup winner and 9-time A-Cat world champ says he’ll be back soon to set things straight.

 

Sails might just be as important as foils in this fleet’s development, and Mischa Sails, the Polish Bryt sails and North Sails all use Contender Maxx cloth, which has proven very suitable for these refined and flexible rigs which needs to depower and repower within seconds. Brewin sails and Landenberger sails go for radial-cut sails from conventional laminates, some of them optimized for lower rigs and some top teams going boom-less, while other sailmakers stick to the ‘half-wishboom’ setup.  where other sail makers stick to the ‘half-wishboom’ setup.

Polish builder Exploder pushed foil development to the extreme by developing literally dozens of prototype foils and rudders designed by Spanish designer Gonzalo Redondo.  They’ve also varied their daggerboard and beam positions a lot over the last year, resulting in many different Exploders to come to the right setup. Exploder builds their boats out of home-made carbon prepreg/nomex, and in a more typical production method of two bonded halves per hull, making the boat a bit more straigh forward with less extreme beam shapes and conventional trampolines. Their Z foil (type number 21) looks to be the one to get right now, which surprisingly comes pretty close in surface and foiling angle to the now 4-year-old original DNA foil.

Foil design is all about finding the right compromise between control and speed , combining good low end performance with top speed and top control when it starts blowing. It really looks like the same challenge as seen in the AC , but on a smaller and more fun scale!

Upwind foiling seems to be the new challenge and it will be very interesting to see if this will pay off this championship. Australian sailors seems to have made a big step there, optimizing their rigs with shorter masts to get the center of effort lower for better, easier balance foiling upwind. Yet by doing this, they probably sacrifice some light wind performance there, so time will tell if it will pay off during the entire event.

 

Swiss manufacturer Schreuer with team rider and developer Sandro Caviezel pushes upwind foiling even further, developing his stunning airplane looking G7 with the same rigid trampoline technique first seen on the DNA F1. Sandro is looking extremely slippery upwind in this Swiss piece of art. Especially in moderate conditions and flat seas, Sandro could be a surprise contender.

It’s fantastic to see that the foiling revolution actually made the class stronger than ever. There has been a lot of discussion about foiling and about class rules in recent years, but the cool thing is that, in the end, those rules controversies led to the Z foil development, which proves to be the best foiling configuration possible for small catamarans. Loading boards from the top-down and leaving both boards down during racing brings easy handling of boats whilst sailing and also onshore. Most important, it eliminates the handling of boards up and down at each tack or gybe, and this important fact keeps racing interesting because tactical short tacks and gybes are not so costly.

The same type of boards are used now for the new Olympic upgrade of the Nacra 17. These boats are only on the water for a few weeks now, but sailors will quickly learn how to sail these boats fast and safe as happened in the A class. Without a doubt it will be an eye opener in the fleet of Olympic classes.

With the Polish Nationals/pre-Worlds having gone off in a mostly low-riding light-air affair, top Spaniard Manual Calavia came out on top, and the short-rigged Aussies may be scratching their heads to decide whether to go for the short rig (8 meters) or the common 9 meter rigs next week.

All European sailors stay with standardized 9 meter masts, nowadays nearly all produced by Scott Andersons’ Fiberfoam from Austria. Two choices there: The common and proven standard untapered section, which has been a class favorite for many years, or the tapered wingsection which was developed and built by DNA four years ago and now manufactured by Fiberfoam for DNA. The DNA’s mast section tapers from 165 to 125 mm, flattening out in the top to only 45 mm, so much more extreme than the original 60 mm thick standard section. Obviously, with the trend of foiling and smaller apparent wind angles these sections will become standard in the class quickly.

Attempts to wider wingmasts and even solid wings are still made in the class, but on the twitchy super light A-class, so far no one has proven any gain. But without any doubt, development also won’t stop in this area.

The A class is more alive than ever. More and more resources are put into development by builders and sailors, and foiling is no longer for pro’s only, but all average and above A class sailors are consistently foiling nowadays, making sailing the A‘s hugely attractive and addictive.

Which other class features competitive and attractive racing from 4 to 22 knots in all sea states, in more than twenty countries worldwide? We rest assured that the A-class remains the class to keep an eye on for the coming years.

-PJ Dwarshuis

 

 

 

August 18th, 2017 by admin

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Pete Burling’s late charge wasn’t enough to catch a streaking Paul Goodison as he takes the first back-to-back Moth Worlds Championship since Mark Thorpe in the pre-foiling days.  Great work from the GBR team, and great work from Beau Outteridge and ‘Randy Cunningham’ for the fun media over at #mothworlds, where you can find the final highlight reel here.  Our favorite video of the week?  Inside Simon Owen-Smith’s (a/k/a S/O/S) mobile moth workshop, of course.  Title shout out to memorable 80s ads.  Results here.

 

July 31st, 2017 by admin

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Pete Burling went on a tear yesterday, overhauling all but Paul Goodison on the penultimate day of the huge Garda Moth Worlds.  Goody’s double-digit lead is strong but not unassailable, with the top 5 on the list all vets of the 34th America’s Cup.  Our standout performer of the week so far is Checcho Bruni, who at 44 years old sits just outside the top ten in the ultra-competitive fleet.  Think he’s trying to tell Luna Rossa owner Patrizio Bertelli something about his ability to compete against the nippers?

The event has slowed way down on its Facebook content, but there are still photos and interviews to play with; check it out here.

July 29th, 2017 by admin

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The monster breeze that broke ribs in at least four sailors (and rigs on four more) on Thursday gave way to picture-perfect Garda conditions for the first day of post-qualifying action at the Worlds. Worlds social media/video host Randy Cunningham gets up above it all for a birds-eye view from an ultralight in this fun highlight reel from Day 4 of the Moth Worlds.  UK, Aus, and Kiwis own the entire top ten, with Cup sailors owning much of it…results here with racing beginning soon over here.  Photos by Martina Orsini here.

 

 

July 29th, 2017 by admin

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We were all set to deliver our own Moth Worlds prognostications (late, as usual), but then we ran across this piece on The Foiling Week’s blog from flying scribe Neil Baker, and we knew we wouldn’t be able to do much better.  So we pulled some excerpts to post here – with a Day 1 cancellation meaning it’s just in the nick of time – and advise you to head over to the original pieces (Part 1, Part 2) if you want the rest of the story.  Shoutout to “Randy Cunningham,” the funniest on-air personality in sailing, in the Worlds intro video above, and tune in to the Worlds video feed for more gems from his generation’s Mouth of the South.  Here’s Baker:

On Any Moth Worlds:

Why is it horrible? Well mostly it is the crushing realisation that you have to deliver. Its high noon in the racing stakes and you have nowhere to hide now. You have to make good on what you’ve invested training, in brownie points with the wife (or husband!) and of course in carbon. Moths have that extreme element for sailors of trying to calculate the biggest bang for your buck when buying your kit for a season, and also figuring out the best time to do it so that you haven’t, quite literally, blown your wad too soon. It can be frustrating to buy something new, like a high lift foil, only for someone to release a newer better one a few months later. Of course most annoyingly for one still stuck at the desk looking over a London train station…the really horrible element this week is the self-gratifying pictures of people already on their way or even already at the best sailing spot on the planet, lake Garda, filling social media feeds with increasing regularity.

On Garda:

The wind is like clockwork (touch wood) and the Italians are superb hosts. The pasta always seems to be ready just when you’re going sailing?? The coffee is good enough to make even the most committed Melbournian barista swoon, and for those of a “Patonator” type persuasion, an Aperol Spritz is the finest post sales recovery beverage you’ll get anywhere in the world. The water is also Pan flat when the Orais blowing. Less so when the evil northerly wind is blowing and if we get some f that again it will no doubt separate the men from the boys. If it happens before the gold fleet selection is made it could really change the make up of the fleets.

On Gear Evolution

The kit has changed in an imperceptible yet highly effective way. 2012 was a year when gains were increasingly marginal around the foil horizontals despite a lot of the focus being in that area. There have only been small improvements since. However, many other areas have progressed. Aero tramps, lower mast stumps and stiffer EVERYTHING. Adjustable wands have gone mainstream and then moved onto become telescopic and hang off the Bow sprits to give the boat extra stability and much more control in waves. The foil verticals have got thinner and stiffer and the sails have evolved to a whole new level with Carbon battens being de rigeur. Of course there have been a few howlers along the way, the less said about the twin wands idea the better,one can only assume those guys were trying to make up for something. We also don’t see too many wing sails either although that was partly because it was found they didn’t measure.

On Boats

Exocets have gone from just single figures in 2012 with just one in the top 10, to being the boat of choice for many. They even finally managed to win the worlds in 2016 at the 5th attempt (took long enough!). Does that mean they’re the best…we’ll find out. Cookie has taken the Rockets into the solid state design and they are going like, erm, something fast that flies, wait, it’ll come to me, and Mach 2 have continued to make small, incremental but effective improvements. There are a few other new designs coming through, we might even see the Lennon “Thinnair”doing well although it’s not raced yet. The Voodoo is getting there and now has some good sailors developing it, we still don’t know what the heck Josh McKnight is going to turn up with. Really, between the big builders, the margins are now very fine. We don’t know which design will win, we know that a Wazsp won’t so stop ****ing asking. One thing we can be certain of is that the best sailor will still probably carry the win. Actually, one more thing we can be certain of is Simon Owen-Smith, the mothies SoS. The most important bit of Moth Kit will be there and he will be busting his ass off for everyone to keep them on the water. Buy that man a beer, I doubt Aperol is his thing, although you never know.

On Fleet Talent

If anyone can name an event with the quality of fleet to match this then I’d like to see it. There really is a depth of talent here that is eye watering. In fact it’s enough to make you cry if you spend the majority of your week trying to do an honest days work flogging lubricant to the over 50s. The majority of Dinghy sailors never get to race against the best in the world. A few occasionally get to race against an Olympian, the odd one of us gets to race against a medallist. At the moth worlds in 2017 you’ll be banging on the toilet door just before launch o’clock, complaining at the wait, with a good chance that it’s someone you’d normally go a bit weak at the knees about if they sailed within 200 metres of you at the round the island race.

On British Hopes

First to go is the current holder of the world championship title, the UK. In fact that very World Champion is Paul Goodison who is turning up fresh from the AC and, knowing nothing about how much time he’s had to sail, he’s definitely got a good chance, he is pure quality. Another strong UK sailor will always be Rob Greenhalgh; usually well prepared and driving some primo, slightly experimental kit, you’d be a fool to bet against him. However, time in the boat is also a challenge for him of late. Well that’s what he’ll tell you anyway. Sadly the current UK champ, Dylan Fletcher, is not available. As member of the GB Olympic squad he’s being marched off to Kiel to continue the relentless Olympic cycle. Far be it for people to have a break in the first year of the cycle. It’s a real shame as Dylan was unbelievably fast at the UK nationals. Still, his Solid State Rocket, not to be confused with a skate park for mice, is coming and will be sailed by none other than former Euro champ Cookie himself. Now we’ll find out if it’s the boat or the sailor eh Cookie? No pressure. There are plenty of other strong UK contenders but it’s unlikely they’ll fight for the title. Ben Paton has already reserved 4th place and Rashley has moved on to some kind of sunsail holiday, or is it Nacra sailing, it all looks the same.

On The Other Big Moth Nation

From the Australian contingent we’ve got a huge bevvy of talent coming, including former Moth world champions Josh McKnight and Nathan Outteridge , Americas cup sailors like Tom Slingsby and Iain Jensen and of course long time Worlds contenders like Scott Babbage and Rob Gough. Whilst many of them have been heavily involved in the AC, or several other types of boat, they’ve all got some great kit and will no doubt be loving the idea of getting stuck into racing at Garda. Rumour is a few of the AC sailors went straight from the Cup to Malcesine to get practicing. Commitment like that shows why they are so much better than the rest of us. I’d have been happy to just get away from boats for good I expect.

Again, read the full breakdown at The Foiling Week here.

And if you want to know Sailing Anarchy’s picks, here they are:

First: Pete Burling

Second: Paul Goodison

Third: Rob Greenhalgh

July 25th, 2017 by admin

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A couple of days of Lake Garda gorgeousness saw 149 sailors take the line at the Italian Nationals – a/k/a the Moth Pre-Worlds, which starts Tuesday.  A few unknown names like Burling, Outerridge, and Slingsby are enjoying the low-pressure environment, while Paul Goodison took five straight bullets to beat up on second place Rob Greenhalgh.  Check back tomorrow for some form guide action and a podcast with absentee 2x World Champ Bora Gulari about the fleet. Photo by Martina Orsini with results here and some good action over at the Moth Worlds facebook page.

 

July 23rd, 2017 by admin

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Yachting’s dirty little secret is the nearly complete lily-whiteness of the competition in almost every venue, which is why we get stoked when we see stories like South Africa’s Abenathi Jim and Sibu Suzatu taking the first podium in major competition for an all-black South African 470 crew.   Jim took 20th in the Rio Olympics along with decidedly unblack crew Roger Hudson, and in his first big event with new crew Suzatu – the pre-Worlds in Greece – the duo took third spot in a tough 44-boat pre-worlds fleet.

Props to Hudson – now the team’s performance coach – and RSA’s RaceAhead Foundation for grinding it out in the long slog to diverse participation at the top of the game.  And props to the International 470 Class for finally joining the latter part of the 20th century with the introduction of carbon-fiber masts following the 2020 Tokyo Games.

After three days of Worlds, the RSA team is just outside the top ten, while top US team Stu McNay and Dave Hughes sit just outside the podium spots. Results here, and some great photo galleries of the teams are over here (reminding all of us just which fleet has the best looking women in sailing).

July 10th, 2017 by admin

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Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 9.45.32 AMIn an interesting bit of offshore racing news dropped today, ORC announced that the first-ever Offshore Racing World Championship will take place in the Netherlands in 2018 under a joint IRC/ORC scheme.  It’s a fascinating conclusion (subject to change, of course) to a conflict that nearly came to blows at World Sailing’s Annual Conference in Barcelona late last year.  Our own reporter watched Stan Honey scold the IRC and ORC representatives and send them off without their supper to work out their issues, and it seems they’ve reached that agreement to try to mend offshore wounds and bring handicap ocean racers together.

We all know the sport has been in trouble for a long time, and with a few noteable exceptions, handicap racing is struggling harder than any other sector to stem its losses, which result as much from unhappiness with handicap rules and complicated, competing ratings systems.  That’s why we applaud the ORC and IRC brass for putting aside their self-interest and doing right by the sport for once. Now, if the boatbuilders and classes would just follow their lead, we might start getting somewhere!

Here’s the Worlds site, and here’s the ORC release. Max Ranchi photo of the last ORC Worlds.

 

February 9th, 2017 by admin

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It’s just two weeks into registration, and with 182 entries on the official list, the 2017 Moth Worlds has already broken the all-time fleet size record! Earlybird entries closed on Tuesday with sailors from 25 countries registered for the event to be held at the Fraglia vela Malcesine in late July.  Thanks to an off-year for the Olympics and the rapid growth of the wide world of foiling, the record lineup features a daunting who’s who of top sailors.  Thanks to Class Prez Scott Babbage for the reminder, and credit to Thierry Martinez/2012 Moth Worlds for the photo from the last time the Moths hit the World’s Best Sailing Lake.

At the top of the list is the Olympic Laser shoot out, with reigning Moth World Champion, 2008 Gold Medallist and Artemis Racing helmsman Paul Goodison (GBR) going up against 2012 Gold Medallist and Oracle Team USA tactician Tom Slingsby (AUS) and 2016 Gold Medallist Tom Burton (AUS).

2016 Laser Radial Olympic Silver Medallist and 2014 Women’s Moth World Champion Annalise Murphy (IRL) leads the charge in the growing women’s fleet against reigning champion Wakako Tabata (JPN) and 2013 Women’s Champion Emma Gravare (SWE).

Among the past champions, 2009 & 2013 Moth World Champion Bora Gulari (USA) makes a comeback to the class after taking time out to compete in the Nacra 17 at the Rio Olympics. Also making a return after Olympic and Americas Cup commitments, dual medallist Iain Jensen (AUS) will be looking to improve on his top 10 result in 2015.

Despite, or perhaps due to the venue, over 30 Australian entrants will make the journey, lining up against a large British contingent. New Moth countries Argentina, Ireland and Finland are well represented, alongside competitors from growing fleets in Poland, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Norway, Canada and Bermuda.

Taking it to the Olympians will be the Moth regulars including 2012 World Champion and current Australian Champion Josh McKnight (AUS). McKnight will debut a new Australian built Moth for the event against the dominant Mach2 and Exocet designs. Also pushing the development envelope is 2015 and 2016 Amlin International and Volvo Ocean Racer Rob Greenhalgh (GBR), who will surely be among the favourites based on recent form. 2016 European Champion Mike Lennon (GBR) will also debut a new design, the Lennon PP Moth designed by David Hollom and built by White Formula in the UK. Not short of innovative ideas, winner of the 2013 Mini Transat Benoit Marie (FRA) returns with a new boat for the event.

Alongside Marie is a large European contingent, with 3 time Moth European Champion Arnaud Psarofagis (SUI) taking a break from his responsibilities as helmsman on the Alinghi Extreme Series GC32 to return to the Moth. Not to be taken lightly, the local Italian fleet will be out in force, lead by 3 time Olympian and Artemis Racing helmsman Francesco Bruni (ITA). 

6 months is still a long time in a Moth, but with entry numbers rapidly approaching 200, anticipation will be building for what will be the largest Moth World Championship ever. Follow the event progress here or find MothWorlds on FaceBook & Twitter.

 

 

February 3rd, 2017 by admin

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From 13 to 18 years old, this Mudratz Racing-produced crew is the youngest-ever Melges 24 Worlds team.  They’re also fun, smart, and great at telling their story, and we enjoyed chatting with them on the eve of the final day of the biggest sailing event of their young lives.  Enjoy this uplifting 20 minute Skype chat with the future of the sport of sailing, with lessons for anyone who cares where we go over the next 50 years in sailing.

 

December 3rd, 2016 by admin

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