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Electric Carrot Cake

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 7 Oct 2018 14:00 PDT
Michael Coxon with the tiller on Thurlow Fisher Lawyers © John Curnow

Almost thought I was dealing with an undiscovered and posthumous Hendrix album there... The other option was Wild Summer, but that seemed a bit too much like the Corrs or something, so walked away from that. Anyway, no sooner had we used a Frank Quealey pic as the hero shot last week, than his press release announcing the teams for the impending 18-footer season arrived.

In it, were two Skippers well known to many, and like a lot of the sailors going around, they also work in the industry. Micah Lane is part owner of Flagstaff Marine/Vicsail Sydney, and Michael Coxon (the younger or Nephew) is a broker there as well, with the latter also being the go to man for some light-hearted entertainment. In the repartee that ensued between us all, I did just about find myself playing air guitar the wrong way round, and upside down. Purple hazes and hallucinogenic grand visions of polka dot elephants move over...

Former JJ winner, Cocko, has Ricky Bridge, and Mike McKensey with him on Smeg. Micah has Peter Harris, and Mark Kennedy as crew. Some of those other industry names include Sean Langman, Brett van Munster, John Winning (Snr and Jnr), and a Bethwaite too, as well as many others. So good on them, good luck to all, and we look forward to all the thrills this class is known for.

Someone else providing thrills this Summer, and also on Sydney Harbour doing their version of flying along, will be the first instalment of Larry and Russell's SailGP. It had been circling for ages like a Great White around a whale carcass, and then finally the news that well, kind of was not news, but that it was a go with what are effectively reimagined AC50s.

It's a good thing and way better than them becoming landfill, or having their wings clipped (pun fully intended) to run day trips for tourists around tropical locales. Sydney in February is the first of five GPs for the season, with San Fran, NYC, Cowes and Marseilles to follow in that order. The latter will also determine which crew of the top two after a full shootout will walk away with the $1m purse. That'll make for five happy sailors...

Crews from six countries, Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States, have been vaunted, with the GBR team the only one named as yet. One of the most curious elements out of that is that rowers seem set to be back in favour as gorillas for the grinders. Everything old is new again... Yet the one that really was more than a speed hump was the assertion that this is not a rival for the AC. Sure Russell, sure. I mean yes the boats are OD and all, but running it around the globe with high stakes and big names, like former Oracle Team USA wünderkind, Tom Slingsby, isn't making a statement and a snub all in one?

A commercially viable annual circuit that was kind of floating around after the last quadrennial makes sense, but for me the laugh had to be raving on about a nationality clause when OTUSA was a hell of lot more like OTAUS. Still, sailing could well be the winner out of it all. And that is worth the price of admission all on its own. Then too, we have not lost someone of influence and clout out of sailing, and that is noteworthy.

Some may consider it a five-ring circus, and bribe and corruption allegations have always been like remoras on the IOC. So the continuing saga that is Olympic sailing equipment shortlisted the D-Zero, Laser, Melges 14 and the RS Aero as craft for both male and female singlehanded sailors. Not sure anyone could offer a clear explanation into the way the decision making format works after the Finn, RS-X, offshore event consternation, so I think I will go back to my view that it is a bit like having all the cardinals gathered in a room, and then waiting for the white smoke to waft out of the chimney to alert the world to a new Pope. Q.E.D.

Yes, the old more than two people trick... So in a way it all leads to this. The Beneteau Figaro 3 has just been named Boat of the Year. It should be, too. It is a game changer, after all. Some may feel that it is not cheap when held up against others, but then they cannot do what it does, so is it really comparing apples with apples? In the end, however, it and Groupé Beneteau could well be happy that it has not made Olympic selection, for just about all craft outside of the Laser have not had what one might call commercial success.

Case in point would be Soling versus Etchells, which vied for Olympic Class selection back in medieval times. Now on that, the latter will celebrate 50 years as part of the Queensland State and World Championship that is just about to light up Brisbane with a 95 boat fleet. You can certainly bring that stuff on. Big time!

Right oh - here today there are some gems for you to review. We have information about the Stars, Farr 40s, racing in Hobart, Golden Globe Race, Finn Gold Cup at Brighton, intel from North Sails, Melges 20s, more on the IMOCAs in what was the Volvo, repairing travellers with Harken, Schooners (not beer) get organised, Quality Marine Clothing brings SLAM back to AUS, get set for Port Lincoln, Five-Ohs, tech talk with cool radar from B&G, and Navico also bring us new displays, J/70 Worlds, RC44s, Pac52s, and certainly there is much, much more.

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John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS