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NZL F15s arrive in England for World Championships

by Sandra Williams on 5 Jul 2011
Ffrenetic sailing on Day 5, 17th Flying Fifteen Worlds, Williamstown, Port Philip, Melbourne © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz

The New Zealand boats have arrived in England ahead of the 18th Flying Fifteen International World Championship and the British Nationals to be held at Hayling Island Yacht Club 15 to 28 July 2011.

The team representing New Zealand was selected at the 2011 National Championships and is made up of:
• Murray Gilbert and Jonathan Burgess, Frenetic 3840
• Ben Lowe and Kate Gilbert, Ffortitude 3839
• John Leydon and Sandra Williams, Fflypast 3838
• James Sandell and Graeme Robinson, Busineff 3754

Gilbert and Burgess of RAYC placed ninth at the 2009 Melbourne Flying Fifteen Worlds Championships and will be seeking to improve their status after placing third in the New Zealand Championship this year.

Lowe and Gilbert of Glendowie Boating Club are NZs top male/female combination currently holding the Leatham Edmond Memorial Trophy. Lowe was the Pied Piper champion in 2008, 2009 and 2011 and prior to that competed at the 420 Worlds in 2007. This will be the first time they have competed in a F15 World Championship.

Sandell has had a successful record in sailing, both at Youth and Open Laser Radial Worlds and at a number of international events in the Laser Radial and full-rig Laser classes. He is the current F18 Champion, and is a successful match racer with the Black Sheep team. Sandell is sailing with the experienced Robinson of Napier,who is attending his 12th Worlds, 11 times as a competitor and once on the International Jury.

Leydon and Williams of Nelson last competed in a world championship in 2005, when they campaigned with other crew. Williams won the Silver Fleet International title, and Leydon placed 20th in the Gold Fleet. They were NZ National Champs in 2009.

Entry for the F15 UK Nationals and Worlds has now closed. Total entry is 133 including all fleets. Splits still have to be decided but entries as received indicate a total fleet of 104 for the Nationals and 118 for the Worlds. Race results will be posted at the HISC website.

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company has been supporting New Zealand success in Flying Fifteen World Championships since 2003 and have supplied the container and shipping again for this 2011 18th International Flying Fifteen World Championship.

The International Flying Fifteen class World Championships are held every two years and New Zealand has sent a team every time since the first one was held in 1979, with the top NZ crews usually featuring in the top 10. New Zealanders have won twice: Roger Craddock and Steve Cunnold in 1994 and Barry Finlayson & Ian Norrie in 1980. There are also Silver and Classic divisions, with NZ crews having won the Silver division in 2009 and 2005.

The Flying Fifteen was designed by the legendary Uffa Fox. The one-design 6m (20ft) Flying Fifteen is an exciting and competitive two-person racing yacht which is now the most popular one design keel-boat class in the world with around 4000 boats. (The 'fifteen' refers to its waterline length.). It is capable of some 14 knots on a reach without the problems arising from capsize or trapeze and is easily transportable and stored. It is arguably the safest, most exciting small yacht available. Mixed crews are common and have twice won the world championship. Current experiments with the sail plan will likely result in a new, more up to date looking rig within the next two seasons.
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