At the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth, Australia, ISAF #4 Ranked 49er skipper Dave Evans and his crew Edward Powys are in the heat of battle.
In fact, Fremantle is experiencing unseasonably hot conditions with up to 36 C / 97 F weather, light winds and the threat of thunderstorms coming. Sailors like Dave long for the typical, strong afternoon breeze fondly referred to as the ‘Fremantle Doctor’.
Dave Evans, who typically trains on his cooler, home-course near Weymouth England, got here a couple weeks ago. During training he was lucky enough to get the usually, strong local winds, but finds either way the hot weather takes the energy out of him. He’s eager to run for shade once he gets back on shore.
Being at the top of his game, Dave mentions that when the breeze is bouncing around and shifty, winning is no loner about the start -- it’s about calling the shift. He sympathizes with race organizers striving to make sailing a spectator sport and notes that even in heavier air and better conditions, the 49er teams have to call the shifts and wind-lulls at the shoreline to win.
Overtaking another team, even your own countrymen is part of the competition. And the British are exceptionally competitive this season with four boats at the World Championships and all four are at the top World Rankings. Further tightening the competition is that the teams have all taken turns being ahead of one another as they’ve campaigned around the world.
- David Evans and Edward Powys - ISAF #4
- Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign - ISAF #8
- John Pink and Rick Peacock - ISAF #9
- Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes - ISAF #13
One of Dave’s current British competitors used to be his teammate. Rick Peacock was 29er crew for Dave in 2003 and is now 49er crew for Dave’s rival John Pink.
Despite having many crew over the years including Alex Hopson (2007), Simon Hiscocks (2008), Harvey Hillary (2008), Stu Bithel (2011) and Edward Powys (current), Dave has been a consistent, top finisher in all conditions and on a variety of courses even with very little training time after a crew change.
Dave feels especially fortunate to have had Simon on his boat. Simon Hiscocks was an Olympic Silver Medalist in 2000 and a Bronze Medalist in 2004. As the 49er competition has developed over the years, Dave notes that the ideal crew has become bigger and taller.
He comments that the average combination of skipper and crew is heavier than years ago with the typical skipper being around 75 kg / 165 lbs and the ideal crew being around 80 kg / 176 lbs. He admits that his most recent winning combination of having Edward Powys working kite and crewing goes back many years.
Edward and Dave were childhood friends sailing Optis and they kept in touch over the years. After youth sailing, Dave took a few years off to complete a Mechanical Engineering degree. While at university he played around with social team-racing and he began winning regattas at odd European events.
The winning motivated Dave to return to a full international 49er campaign. So this year when Dave was looking for crew and gave his old friend Edward a call. They knew the team was going to work after sailing together only a couple times.
In retrospect, Dave likes to put the heat on the boats in front of him and his drive to win comes from overtaking other boats.
He was drawn to the 49er because it is a fun, quick boat that requires a lot of athletics, strength and conditioning.
The challenge and excitement of sailing the boat has made it a popular class to race in Britain. And, the top British sailors have enjoyed access to Olympic coaches and great organization from the RYA and Skandia Team GBR.
He admits that his Mom would like to be here with him not only cheering him on, but enjoying the warm weather. For fans who cannot make it down to Fremantle to hop on a spectator boat or watch the medal races from the shore, online coverage is being provided through.
The 49ers race Monday 12 December through Sunday 18 December – Western Australian time.
Dave is looking to be selected to represent Britain on his home turf at the London 2012 games. Keep an eye on the hot and close racing amongst the four British teams at the Perth 2011 ISAF World Championships