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Sail-World New Zealand- January 21, 2014 - Back on the Cats

by . on 21 Jan 2014
Emirates New Zealand skippered by Dean Barker with teammates Glenn Ashby, James Dagg and Jeremy Lomas - Extreme Sailing Series 2011. Istanbul Lloyd Images ©
Welcome to's New Zealand newsletter for January 21, 2014

Having been sat on their backsides in a sudden and very public way, just over three months ago it is great to see Emirates Team NZ announce their entry, today, into the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series.

There they will come up against some excellent teams in former America’s Cup winners, Alinghi; Team Australia with top 18ft skiff sailor Seve Jardin (Gotta Love It 7); top French multihull sailor, Frank Cammas (FRA); and Ben Ainslie (GBR) sailing with his Ben Ainslie Racing, plus several other top multihull crews.

Designed as a stadium sport, the Extreme Sailing Series, has the shortcoming that the racing is conducted in a very compact space, and the results are often meaningless as a pointer to form outside the ESS. But nevertheless it is the best competition going in 2014, and there is little future is sitting around talking about how great you were in 2013.

The Barker-Bashers may be slightly happy to see the competitive door opened in the Team, as Dean Barker will skipper for five of the eight series, which Peter Burling will skipper for the other three events while he and Blair Tuke concentrate on retaining their 49er World Championship, qualifying the 49er class for NZ at the 2016 Olympics at the ISAF Worlds in Santander, and fitting in the A-Class Catamaran Worlds.

The key for Team New Zealand will be to work up a second afterguard combination to push the established pairing of Dean Barker and Ray Davies. While many in the general media would like to portray this contest as a needle type event in which there is a winner and a loser.

That sort of thinking might work in Rugby, but it doesn’t cross over to the America’s Cup – where it is vital that the competition is properly managed in a team context – and is used to strengthen the team, not become destructive. Whoever is not successful will have to stay in the loop and work for the success of the team – right to the end.

We carry the story of the announcement in this edition of’s newsletter, along with an image gallery from the team’s last foray into the ESS in 2011, and a video put together by the team.

And staying with the America’s Cup, don’t miss the interviews conducted by CNN mainsail’s Shirley Robertson,with several of the key players. The double Olympic Gold Medalist did w whistle stop tour of New Zealand and Australia for three days, prior to Christmas, and provides a new insight into the 34th America’s Cup, and what lies ahead.

There is plenty of sailing action, as could be expected with it being the peak of summer in New Zealand.

We feature several reports from class nationals and other major regattas in this edition of’s newsletter. These include the Hartley 16 Nationals at on the Manukau harbour and the Paper Tiger Nationals in Lyttleton, along with the Laser Nationals in Nelson and the Starling North Islands sailed out of Whanagrei. The latter was won by another female skipper sailing in Open competition – the second major title to have gone this way in 2014. Sara Winther beat all the Men in the Laser Radial at the Laser Nationals

What does it all mean? Probably the inconvenient truth for some, is that women sailors are just as competent and skilful as men, when the physical side of the sport is evened up. In other words, the women can win, when the men can’t rely on grunt to get them through in the breeze.

For the future of the sport, it can only be a good thing for the classes to sail in open competition which has been a feature of New Zealand sailing at junior level, then crept through to the Youth classes and now is coming into the Senior classes. For the males there is the benefit of sailing in bigger fleets with more startline congestion – always an issue for NZers in international competition. The women sailors get the same benefit, plus the fact that they are pushed harder and have more competition – which stands them in good stead when the fleets are split along gender lines. It also makes coaching easier and more cost effective.

Stay tuned to website for all the latest news, including the Bay of Islands Sailing Week previewed in his issue..

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

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