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Sail-World NZ e-magazine - 19 Oct, 2018 - Coastal Classic... Am Cup unfolds

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz 20 Oct 2018 05:39 PDT 20 October 2018
50fters- Start - PIC Coastal Classic - October 19, © Richard Gladwell


Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for October 20, 2018

The PIC Coastal Classic, held every Labour Weekend, is marked out as a blast north with the usual conjecture on race records, speed and how the unofficial entries fared.

It also marks the beginning of summer and the sailing season.

If we are lucky it also marks the start of the summer weather, and if we are not - then that usually arrives the week before Christmas.

Yesterday's Coastal Classic seemed to the event that couldn't make up its mind.

Early forecasts during the week pointed somewhat surprisingly as a light weather affair. Then late on the eve of the race start that changed to a scenario where the race record for multihulls could have been under threat, due to an obliging SE wind which, if it eventuates, will get you up the coast, around Cape Brett and into Russell without having to sail to windward.

The reality on Friday was a bit of both - a good start in a stronger than expected breeze, not quite in the right direction - but hopefully it would veer SE.

A few hours into the race a flat spot opened up off Kawau, with the race leader in the official fleet the ORMA60 Frank Racing dropping down to pedestrian pace, according to the Race Tracker. That lasted about 30 minutes, or so then something kicked in as her speed was registering in the high 30's before settling down to 25kts.

We have full reports in this edition, along with images shot at the start.

America's Cup Program unveiled

The main feature of this edition is a two-part interview with Laurent Esquier, CEO of the Challenger of Record for the 36th America's Cup.

For Kiwi America's Cup fans, Laurent Esquier may be remembered as the coach of the New Zealand Challenge in 1987 in Fremantle, and also the Big Boat Challenge in 1988.

The Challenger of Record essentially represents the Challengers' interests and negotiates a Protocol with the Defender, and modifies this in conjunction with the Defender during the build-up to the America's Cup Match.

However, in the Auckland-venued America's Cup, the Challenger of Record, and in particular Mr Patrizio Bertelli, has a central role in the decisions that will be made.

Mr Bertelli in conjunction with his wife Miuccia is co-CEO of the Prada Group. Prada Group is the presenting sponsor of the America's Cup World Series regattas, of which there will be at least five; and the Challenger Selection Series, which is known as the Prada Cup. Prada is also presenting sponsor of the America's Cup. Mr Bertelli is also Chairman of Luna Rossa, one of the Challenger teams. He is also the only Italian to be admitted the America's Cup Hall of Fame.

The America's Cup has been dominated by billionaires of late - all seeking to impose their stamp or vision of where the event could be headed, and "updated", ignoring the fact that the event has survived perfectly well without them for 160 years.

Mr Bertelli is almost the reverse - being very simple and clear in his view of what the original donors intended the America's Cup to be.

The Challenger of Record, according to Laurent Esquier, is keen for the Prada and America's Cup to be extended to attract fans at all ages levels and nationalities.

Much of the unresolved debate in the Environment Court hinged around the design requirements for the America's Cup bases. It would now seem that Prada has taken the matter in hand and will be developing standards for the Challenger bases so that there is some commonality on the base design.

Auckland can look forward to an America's Cup Village and bases that will have a very European feel to them and in keeping with the Prada style.

World Sailing shoot-out

On the Olympic front, matters start coming to a head with World Sailing's Annual Meeting getting underway in Sarasota, Florida. at the end of next week.

There the Committee Members and Council will be expected to rubber-stamp the decisions made at the Mid-Year Meeting last May.

Last Friday evening we interviewed Kim Andersen, the President of World Sailing. It was a long interview (almost two hours) covering many issues, but with a focus on the 2024 Olympic classes and events.

We will be publishing this interview over the coming week, probably in three parts.

What is going to happen in Sarasota, starting next weekend is or should be of vital interest to those who have Olympic aspirations for 2024 and beyond.

In many ways, it is a Perfect Storm of process and regulation versus reality and pragmatism.

For aspirational reasons, World Sailing has been steered into agreeing to turn Sailing into an Olympic Sport that will be completely Gender Equal.

That is even after Kit McConnell (the IOC's Director of Sport and a Kiwi) had confirmed in June 2017 that Sailing was one of the sports that had met the IOC's requirements for Gender Equality. Later in the same media announcement, he declared that Sailing did not have an equal number of events for Men and Women, but the IOC accepted and understood why this situation existed.

In other words, there is no reason, from the IOC's perspective, to change the classes and events from those that will be used in the 2020 Olympics

Not to be deterred, World Sailing decided to push on and be forced into having to make a series of decisions, of which the only outcome could be a series of novelty event formats such as relays, combined scores and the like - more worthy of a club picnic day than the Olympic Regatta.

Having spent several years getting the Youth Worlds aligned with the Olympic events, so there was some semblance of progression, World Sailing now seems set to crash-gybe away from that line-up and toss away the investment by parents and others in youth programs which are not state-funded.

There's also the collateral damage of there being no place, unless the Finn is confirmed as a 2024 Olympic class, for males weighing more than 83kg - which is a significant proportion of the male sailing population.

Fortunately, the slightly heavier than average male sailors can always head in the direction of the Round the World Race (Volvo OR), America's Cup or SailGP and other professional sailing events.

Maybe that's what World Sailing wants.

Stay tuned.

Follow all the racing and developments in major and local events on www.sail-world.com by scrolling to the top of the site, select New Zealand, and get all the latest news and updates from the sailing world.

All stories are available on sail-world.com/nz

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

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