Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats

Gladwell's Line- The fantastic A-Cats

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-world.com/nz on 15 Feb 2014
Peter Burling (NZL) leads on Leg 1 of Race 5, A-class catamaran World Championships, Day 3, Takapuna February 13, 2014 Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz
The 2014 A-Class worlds are providing the most stunning racing ever seen in New Zealand.

It has attracted a very classy field with many America’s Cup sailors, many A-Class World Champions, top designers – all sailing in the most spectacular international class world championship. There are at least five Olympic Medalists competing plus one AC72 helmsman and other who sailed in the last America's Cup.

You can see sailors of the caliber of Glenn Ashby, Peter Burling, Blair Tuke, Nathan Outteridge and many more – all sailing right on the edge of control, and frequently stepping over that red line, with the most spectacular crashes.

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]
The sight is unforgettable of a singlehanded catamaran literally flying on hydrofoils at speeds of 20kts, while top sailors in the world try to go fast but stay in control.

In the video featured on Sail-World.com there is a sequence of one of the competitors taking off, completely clear of the water flying through the air for a boat length or two, and then landing on all fours in feline fashion – and just sailing on. Like a downhill jump in the Winter Olympics.

The racing itself is amazing, with major lead changes, as one competitor finds a sweet spot downwind, and makes a huge gain through the fleet to become the new leader, only to have the tables turned on the next leg.

If you thought the last America’s Cup was exciting, this is in another league again.

It something that has never been seen in the sport before, and long may it continue – with 80 boats – it is a very big fleet, and the action is non-stop.

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]
Each race day we have been catching up with the Kaenon Team – and so far have featured video interviews with Glenn Ashby, Blair Tuke, Peter Burling and Ray Davies who are among the lead group on the points table.

These interviews are great, because of the different backgrounds and perspectives of the four sailors.

Ashby and Davies have probably as much experience as anyone in the world at sailing foiling cats, having sailed the same number of times in the AC72 class and then in the A-Class Nationals and Worlds. Davies described the AC72’s as a stable foiling experience compared the A-Cats.

Tuke and Burling come at it from a different perspective, with their Olympic class experience and success. But they have climbed the foiling mountain, and are both sailing exceptionally.


Mix into that the strong Emirates Team NZ influence with eight of the competitors all working together out of the ETNZ base on a sailing science project, and team building exercise, which lifts their sailing skills. The team members have good support on the water from their team boat and team members. This is the real story of the week on Team New Zealand.

As Ray Davies commented in one of the interviews, that it was great to be able to get back into small boats, and have to sail intuitively again, rather than just look at numbers. The top sailors draw several comparisons between these A-Class and the AC72’s.

Having seen both the America’s Cup up close on the water for two weeks and the A-Class for just three days, the latter is in many ways the better event. These boats are sailed on the edge like nothing that we have seen before, and the sailors’ skills are put to an extreme test.


The lack of coverage of the regatta by most of the local media is quite astonishing given the classy field, the racing spectacle and standard of the competition.

It is difficult to understand why whether or not Emirates Team NZ chose not to race on September 16, 2013, should be so attention grabbing, when there is a far bigger and more relevant America’s Cup story happening on the water at Takapuna.

But that is the difference between those who understand the sport, and those who only look for scandal and clichéd frameworks within which they present 'News'. The local media have really put their credibility on the line this week and have been shown to come up severely wanting. They have sold their readership very short with their very inadequate coverage of this event, and their focus on other now irrelevant matters.


Sure there are two days to go in the regatta – but this is stunning stuff, and even if they do play catch-up this weekend, their readers have missed a sailing experience that words cannot really describe.

This regatta has been exceptionally well run – full credit to the competitors for the ways they have sailed and the spirit in which they have sailed, and for the officials for the way the event has been run on the water and off.

The boat park scenes after the race are just what is needed in the sport, with a great friendly atmosphere as competitors and supporters all mix and sit around talking about the race and their experiences. While there are always winners on the leader board, in this event everyone is a winner for just getting around the course – and meeting the personal challenge of competing in extreme boats, and just getting around the course.

Words can never do justice to this event.

Stay tuned to Sail-World.com for all the latest racing news, but this weekend there is only really one story in town – the A-Cats.








Stay up with the latest sailing news, as it happens, on our website www.sail-world.com

Giacomo Yacht SaleC-TechInsun - AC Program

Related Articles

Ian Walker - Musto Ambassador on the Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup
Ian Walker on his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup We speak to Musto ambassador Ian Walker about his Volvo Ocean Race win, why food and clothing are so important offshore, his views on the America's Cup, his new desk job, sailing for fun, and 20 years of the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
Posted on 23 Jul
Black Jack Yachting. Bigger boat. Bigger team. Even bigger performance
Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus. Some were sail makers, like Skipper Mark Bradford and also Vaughan Prentice from North Sails’ Brisbane loft. Others were riggers, such as Bruce Clarke, and there are even boat builders, like Gary van Lunteren, as well as Ash Deeks.
Posted on 20 Jul
A Q&A with Tom Trujillo about the Transpacific Race’s 49th running
Sail-World interviewed Tom Trujillo, the Transpac Race’s PRO, via email to learn more about this classic bluewater race. The Transpac Race (est 1906) is in a rarefied group of four races that are considered sailing’s greatest bluewater Corinthian challenges, and it welcomes a wildly diverse fleet of bluewater-worthy boats. The 49th running of this classic race is currently underway, so Sail-World caught up with Tom Trujillo, the race’s principal race officer, via email to learn more.
Posted on 7 Jul
Gladwell's Line - America's Cup returns to its new home and thinking
Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness and will open a new era of America's Cup, New Zealand and World Sailing. A rookie crew won the most prestigious trophy in sailing, and one of the most difficult to win in any sport.
Posted on 29 Jun
SuperFoilers Are Go!
SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets in the great scheme of things, they come together in the one form as harmoniously as a Rolls Royce, and also deliver intense energy way past the sum of their parts, just like some amazing band.
Posted on 28 Jun
A Q&A with Kimball Livingston about San Francisco high school sailing
I emailed with my friend and colleague Kimball Livingtston to learn about San Francisco’s latest sailing revolution. I started hearing whispers of shifts in the San Francisco Bay high school sailing scene a couple of months ago. A few inquiries led me to my good friend and colleague Kimball Livingston, a world-class sailor, scribe, and StFYC staff commodore who isn’t one to keep his seaboots dry when the topic turns to opportunities for the next sailing generation. I caught up with KL via email to learn more.
Posted on 13 Jun
A Q&A with Andrew Howe about winning the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Andrew Howe, the 2015 Marion to Bermuda Race’s winning co-navigator, to learn more about their race. In 2015, skipper Greg Marston and the crew of Ti, a 1967 Alden Mistral, racing under celestial rules, were the overall winners of the Marion Bermuda Race Founders Division, beating boats that were enjoying GPS accuracy. On the eve of the 2017 edition of the race, I reached out to Andrew Howe, the team’s co-navigator, to gain perspective on this impressive win and hear about his 2017 plans.
Posted on 7 Jun
An interview with Allan McLean about the 2017 Marion to Bermuda Race
I interviewed Allan McLean, the Marion to Bermuda Race’s executive director, to learn more about this biennial event. The 2017 Marion to Bermuda Race is set to kick off on Friday, June 9, so I caught up with Allan McLean, the race’s executive director, via email to learn more about the race’s history and evolution, its challenges, and the special America’s Cup experience that awaits Marion to Bermuda sailors upon reaching the Onion Patch.
Posted on 5 Jun
An interview with Ray Redniss about the STC’s annual Block Island Race
I caught up with Ray Redniss, the Block Island Race’s longtime PRO, via email to learn more about this classic event. I caught up with Ray Redniss, who has served as the PRO for the Block Island Race and the Vineyard Race (September 1, 2017) for the past twenty-plus years, via email to learn more about the state of this classic, early season New England event.
Posted on 22 May
An Q&A with Jeremy Pochman about 11th Hour Racing’s impressive efforts
I interviewed Jeremy Pochman of 11th Hour Racing to learn more about this forward-thinking environmental non-profit. 11th Hour Racing is doing some of the most forward-leaning environmental work in the entire marine sphere, and I wanted to learn more, so I reached out to Jeremy Pochman, 11th Hour Racing’s Strategic Director and Co-founder, to ask a few questions. All sailors are strongly encouraged to give this interview the time it deserves.
Posted on 15 May