Editorial- Early Days for Olympic Squad?

A small part of the 1,000 competitors at SOF, Hyeres
Welcome to the weekend edition of Sail-World.

For the past week, 26 New Zealand sailors have been competing at the Semaine Olympique Francaise de Voile, in Hyeres, France.

For some of the New Zealand sailors it is their first regatta in Europe this season, for others their second. Maybe it is early days, but certainly the European sailing programs seem to be running at full pace, and the challenge is to at least stay level.

A study in concentration in the RS:X Women's event at SOF, Hyeres
The most pleasing outcome is that five of the YNZ 2006 Olympic Squad have made the Medal Race, which is effectively the 'A' Final, in Olympic terms. The downside, I guess is that we are only really in medal contention in two classes, however it has been a very difficult regatta, with light winds and one gets the feeling that the races have been forced through at times.

Another pleasing aspect of the regatta has been the fact that in several classes, New Zealand sailors have been able to achieve race wins, or top three placings, and that is an indicator that we are on track for boatspeed.

The size of the SOF also tests the regatta organisers and competitors. Sometimes race management decisions are made which would not be the same in an Olympic sized regatta fleet – which does have an
3Dr sail manufacturing on the new Rotary Moulding machine
. .
impact on sailor placings. However one cannot help but be impressed by the obvious organisation that the French have put into SOF, and it is certainly worthy of being an ISAF Grade 1 event.

The other point of interest this weekend will be in Baltimore, Maryland, where the In Port race of the Volvo Ocean race gets underway, and will be covered live on the www.volvooceanrace.com website. Main points of interest will be the performance of the New Zealand skippers ABN Amro One (Mike Sanderson) and the crew changes that have been made aboard Ericsson Racing, with the injection of some top talent. However in spite of the best of planning a strategies, many of the In Port races have been decided by silly mistakes such has being an early starter, and generally pushing too hard at the wrong time.

Red Dragon has just started construction at Alloy Yachts
Alloy Yachts
In this edition of Sail-World we are featuring several industry stories. Allow Yachts have just started construction of the 52metre Red Dragon (that's 170ft in the old money)and is the fourth yacht over 50metres that has been constructed by Alloy Yachts. We also feature the latest technology announcement from North Sails with their new 3Dr plant, which is optimised for the production of 3D sails for yachts under 35ft. The new plant is a big step ahead for this technology with greatly reduced setup time - the rotary mould has taken five years to develop, and two sails can be made in the one assembly.

We’ll be updating the results of the Volvo OR and SOF, Hyeres over the weekend. Please keep checking our websites (www.sail-world.com) for the latest sailing news from around the world.

Good Sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor.

PS Please send your class regatta, news or event, preferably with a photo to nzeditor@sail-world.com
http://www.sail-world.com/23419