When the going gets tough the tough get going. The going got tough at the 2012 Ronstan A-Class Catamaran World Championship, with extremely high wind speeds and difficult conditions throughout the week, but after five races it was Mischa Heemskerk of the Netherlands who emerged with the win.
After taking a third and two seconds to put himself two points clear of Brad Collett after day one Heemskerk won both races on Wednesday to take home the championship.
(S-W: The Notice of Race for the world championship shows racing scheduled until Saturday Oct 27, being the Reserve Day, however due to the hurricane in the area, the PRO got five races away in building winds and then the series was declared over - a very pragmatic approach)
Regatta organizers were skeptical that they could get the five races required for a World Championship in after Day 2 two was abandoned and with Hurricane Sandy parked off of Cuba, so on Wednesday PRO Billy Richnow moved the first warning signal up to 9 a.m. in an effort to squeeze two races in before the breeze fully turned on. Heemskerk, Collet, and previous World Champion Steve Brewin had dominated in the heavy air on day one, but at the start of race three it was Nathan Outteridge winning the pin and holding a sizable lead at the first windward mark.
Outteridge maintained his lead for two laps with Heemskerk closing on him and with Collett and New Zealand’s Murray Philpot sitting fourth and third respectively. However Outteridge and Collet both miscounted their laps and attempted to finish on the second leg, losing considerable ground and allowing Heemskerk to move into the lead. Outteridge went hard right on the final leeward leg and made a big gain, edging Philpot at the finish, but Heemskerk got the gun.
The breeze built considerably in the intermission between races. After holding at around 18 for most of race one, gusts of 24 and 26 knots were reported during the first windward leg. American Lars Guck won the pin at the start of race five, and rounded second behind Heemskerk at the first windward mark closely followed by Philpot and Outteridge. However due to the increased wind speeds the race committee were forced to shorten course in the interest of safety, finishing the fleet at the leeward mark and sending them to the beach. This caused some confusion among the competitors, and while Heemskerk was well in front and got the gun easily, Guck gybed for the leeward mark and didn’t realize his mistake until Outteridge and Philpot had got by him.
Other than Heemskerk the big winner of the day was Australian Andrew Landenberger. By taking a fourth and a fifth with Collett and Brewin both finishing deep each time Landenberger moved into second place after winning the final race on day one. Brewin finished third with a score line of 1, 1, 9, 7, 8, two points ahead of Collett who he edged at the finish twice in five races. Philpot moved into fifth after scoring a second and a third in the final two races. However the real victor was Heemskerk who was simply looked more comfortable in the conditions than practically anyone else. He only won two races, but he also never finished outside of the top three in his new DNA. Consistency wins regattas, and Mischa Heemskerk was the most consistent sailor at the 2012 Ronstan A-Class Catamaran World Championship.
Results are final as of 12:43 on October 24, 2012
Sailed: 5, Discards: 0, To count: 5, Entries: 112, Scoring system: Appendix A
In an earlier report, Day 2 was lost with breezes of 22 knots and upwards and no signs of abating and principal race officer Billy Richnow abandoned racing for the day.
With weather condition expected to worsen as the week goes on Richnow pushed the first warning signal on Day 3 up 9 a.m. in the hopes of getting races in before conditions become un-sailable. With forecasts predicting upwards of 30 knots later in the week the hope is to get the mandatory five races required for a World Championship in before weather conditions destroy any chance.
Saturday, October 27th is reserved as a weather date in the event that five races still have not been completed by that point, but Regatta Chairman Ben Hall is confident that at least five races will have been completed by that point. 'We've never raced on Saturday since I've been going to Worlds' said Hall, an A-Cat great-grand-master in his own right. 'We'll find a way to get the regatta in.'