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Hyde Sails 2017 Dinghy Show

Meat in the Sandwich

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 13 May 15:00 PDT
Polyester rules the day with these Safari Suits © supplied

Yes. Wedged in between all that polyester was certainly an uncomfortable feeling, but then again, at least I did not have to wear it! Now it was the late and former Premier of South Australia, champion of the Arts, and by all accounts handy chef, Don Dunstan, who absolutely made the Safari Suit famous in Australia. Or is that infamous for the biggest of faux pas in Men's haute couture???

Not even Warwick Capper's shorts or the mullet, which scarily seems to be trying to make a comeback, could top the casual 'elegance' and relaxed fit of the impressively tacky, rough to the touch, and in colours only your old aunt could name, Safari Suit. Only the version with the shorts and de rigueur long socks could have a crack at knocking it off its perch.

So how does it all fit in? Well I could not help noticing how Sydney for the weekend of the Pittwater Sail Expo was dismal at best, then we had the glorious postcard version turned on for the Beneteau Pittwater Cup, and finally this one that has just gone even had Middle Harbour YC abandon its sprint series. So that event really was the meat in the sandwich and happily one to get your teeth into, for it was a genuine gem of a day. My new friends you see above were so happy to get into the whole flavour of it all and it was also utterly wonderful to see them take out the great bottle of Champagne for best dressed crew (on board Moondance), as well.

Widening the gaze a little further and you had to note that some places were blown out. Others were washed away in the rain, or both, and the odd place was also baked to a cinder. So yes, forget dogs off chains, or even sheep in the paddock. This last little while, our glorious island nation could have had you carried away with the wind to the next State, soaked better than any pre-wash going around, slapping copious amounts of sunscreen on repeatedly, or dodging not just smoke, but real fire, and it all depending on exactly where you were.

Just take in Hobart for second, or the amount of snow on the hills in between Victoria and NSW. If it was an all-you-can-eat restaurant, you would be thinking this is the best smorgasbord and one even to surpass the last supper. But it isn't, and it goes to highlight the differences and precautions one needs to take when you live here. It is a bit like when you remind tourists that nearly everything here wants to kill or eat you, from spiders to sharks, rips to sun, snakes to stonefish. And that's why it's called the lucky country!

Tacking! Our Aussie sailors got into it at the 160-boat fleet assembled for the Laser European Championships in France. Matt Wearn got up for the top prize, well done. Also in Europe is Matt Allen who attended World Sailing's confab. Windsurfers will be thrilled with an enhanced offering, equality gets a boost, the mighty Offshore Event looks to have had a flare fired through the kite in a blow, there is scope for a new Sprint class, and kites are in, so deal with it! What will be interesting is when the final deal gets announced is just how many of the theorems and suggestions espoused on these pages over the last 12 months get the nod.

Last week we spoke about the Mark Mills penned NCYC IC37, that is now referred to as the Melges IC37. She got splashed not that long ago, and this week we have Ken Read's take on the now christened craft, thanks to North Sails. Given that this is a space many have tried to conquer, and for the most part failed in, the news that UK builder, FIBRE Mechanics, have been sent the plugs made by Westerly Marine (CA) from which to make their own moulds, seems to show that indeed the whole thing is akin to sending the franchise out to Jim's. For the record, FM has its roots in Green Marine, so plenty of pedigree there!

Final note then is I see that Hugo Boss, the last IMOCA 60 (nee Open 60) built before the 2016 Vendée, and with all the final design tweaks, is now up for sale or long-term charter. Whilst she did not win the race, she did show blinding speed, even with a severely clipped wing, so those hunting records might be having a close look. For others, perhaps not totally in the market, it will be more interesting to see what kind of craft come out of the various team's in the next while. Just saying....

Right oh - here today there are some gems for you to review. We have information about the Clipper RTW race, the Flying Mantis single-handed foiling tri, Finns, WASZPs, RC44, America's Cup, plenty to absorb after World Sailing's meeting London, apparel form Musto, Extreme Sailing Series, 52 Super Series, eSailing World Championship, Fremantle to Bali, Poppy Moore to return home after a lap of the continent, Monaco Globe Series, Antigua and Bermuda, new ZKGs from Zhik, 12m Worlds, crewing with help from the MySail Team, and certainly there is much, much more.

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John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS

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