Our renewed interest in the cool-as-can-be C-Class Cats led us to this update from the UK challengers, who missed out on the 2007 championship. Here’s something from Norman Wijker of the Airbus-sponsored Invictus:
We hoped to be in Toronto in ’07, but we were not ready. We are a part-time team, and we pretty much burned ourselves out for ’04, so we were determined not to do the same again. The next event will be hosted by Steve Clark and the New York YC, Newport RI, in August 2010, (so don’t mention the "LITTLE AMERICAS CUP"!!!)
The International C-Class Challenge Cup, or "I4C" (as it is now officially abbreviated to), will be between the USA, Canada and Great Britain; we WILL be there and are sailing regularly in Cardiff, Wales, so you may see a large Red Dragon on the sail! We still feel very much the underdogs, we believe Steve Clark will be challenging with a new boat, and I am sure that Fred Eaton will not have rested on his laurels, it will certainly be interesting.
At the moment we are still working on reliability. We have a number of technical issues to sort out, but most of our "incidents" have been operator error, not design – that’s why we need time.
We ARE getting better, and so far the summer has been kind, allowing sailing most weekends. We have recently had Paul Larson helping us out during his break from Sailrocket, and we have a new helmsman by the name of Gordon Kaiser.
Our new wing was made possible by local businessman Mike Hobbins, and we have 2 new sponsors, McWilliams sails, and Rockwell Construction, both from Cork, Southern Ireland. Steve and Fred have generously agreed to pay for our shipping costs, so we continue to move forward very frugally.
Technically: We have the same platform as ’04, which was pretty much on the ball weight wise, and we have a new wing. Nothing radical this time, we want to get ourselves up the learning curve in bite-size pieces this time, we have plenty of ideas of where to go next, but slowly slowly catchy monky!
We are really looking forward to the event, it is like no other, it is a gentleman’s club without the snobbery and a totally fierce drive to be the fastest. Steve is the grand high WingNut, and we feel privileged to play on the same pitch as him and Fred.
Finally, as I said, the event will be a 3-nation event, but what we want is to get more players involved. It may seem like a daunting class to get into, and yes, it is not cheap, but all the players are keen to help get new teams started, so come and play if you fancy something totally addictive – and contact me here for more information.
Beating Steve and Fred this time around looks like a long shot, but we will be close on their heels and we will learn a huge amount, so then maybe we can host the next event in Welsh Trogland in 2012, and who knows, home territory advantage in the Bristol channel may bring the Cup back here for the first time since the end of the 60’s.
Cheers, and thanks for asking about Invictus!