One of the most active racing cat classes on the planet had its first US-based World Champs this past week, with the majority of the hundred and fifteen entries for the 2012 F-18 Worlds in Long Beach, California hailing from overseas. The top US crew were Northeasterners Mike Easton and Tripp Burd – guys who’ve been playing in the F-18 for a long time and cheerleading the class for almost as long. Tripp gives us a quick rundown of the Long Beach event, with thanks to Christophe Favreau for the shots.
The Globaltech F18 Worlds saw competitors from sixteen countries make the trek to ABYC for the epic warm-weather, high-speed racing that all us cat guys and gals live for. The unexpected bonus: Cheap and delicious tacos for every meal, and cheap straw hats for boat park work at every bodega.
The event itself featured great courses with typical ABYC conditions; winds averaging in the 10-15 knot range with a few races higher and lower to keep things interesting. Throw in challenging wave patterns and it was definitely not a ‘single-setting’ racetrack. The Euros would thrash it in the breeze while the fleet would invert as it got lighter, with more NorAmericans out front; certainly something for all of us to work on. Côte d’Azure sailors Olivier Backes and Matthieu Vandame clearly didn’t have any trouble changing gears, and they clinched the series with a race to spare.
The US fleet as a whole showed much improved speed compared to previous international events, and I’d say the biggest single reason is the competition we’re all facing in our the strong and growing local fleets that seem to be popping up everywhere. On board the Ronstan Mk2 machine, we did our best to hang on to the leaders in the heavier stuff and made some big gains in the marginal trapeze conditions. Congrats to the always fast combo of Robbie Daniels and Hunter Stunzi taking the overall Masters division win, and to Taylor Reiss and Matt Whitehead for nearly getting us while pushing extremely hard and winning the Junior Division. We’re proud of our 10th place, and I’ll just reiterate what I’ve said a million times:
If you like the idea of very high-performance on a stable platform with some of the best competition anywhere in sailing, check us out at NAF18.com. With so much going on all over the US and the World, you might just find something you’ve been looking for. And big thanks to Nacra and Ronstan for supporting our program.
-Tripp and Mike, USA 11