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Hard not to miss

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 2 Dec 13:00 PST
He is so easily identifiable both visually, and also for his genuine, engaging and delightful demeanour - Nev Wittey © John Curnow

He's known for his collection of shirts. Perhaps even that moustache too. He certainly knows the pointy end from the blunt, as well. To me he is also a very caring and sharing individual, happy to discuss all manner of things, and deliver an insight with a smile, and often a near devilish little twist. If he was a poster for a Las Vegas show, there might even be a star glint from his eyes.

He is the ubiquitous and inimitable Nev Wittey and he is really good value. Apart from Olympic campaigns, and many a mile on many a boat, he's also been around Etchells for a long time. Both in them, and more recently out of them as he coaches Jeanne-Claude Strong and her crew of Seve Jarvin, Marcus Burke and, at the recent World Championship, Jeni Danks.

I was at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron on the weekend, and had occasion to talk with Nev on the phone. He commented that: "RQ is the Cowes of the Southern Hemisphere. For the moment, and unless it grows over the top, Manly even fits that village style atmosphere, as well. They should get all the big events, and it fits the Palm Tree Rule, too! (As in where they grow, we'll sail...) It was a really nice and very well run regatta, so it is little wonder the sailors went home raving.

"When you consider it in its entirety, and especially for OD fleets, a location such as that is perfect, for all the trailers, and containers can find a home, and having the Customs team do all their stuff was also more than handy. Sometimes you go to places and you have to go and clear the boat at a relative obscure location, hitch it all up, then drive to the event, and once it is all over repeat it once more. I cannot think how many times I have had to do that by eight o'clock the next morning after a full regatta schedule, either. So being more relaxed was great."

Nev finished by saying, "They deserve the accolades that we want to give them." Quite so. Quite so.

Tacking! During the week it was not hard to miss the unveiling of the new Prada Cup and the America's Cup World Series by Prada. I think we are well and truly being told with that one BTW... Anyway, it was a suitably respectable and splendiferous affair, but the really flash meat would be at the end of the week, when ETNZ announced they had an additional eight teams apply at the eleventh hour.

Now having twelve teams involved will take it all straight back to San Diego and Newport R.I.; which will be ultra cool. Finding spots for them all in the village may well be one of those 'good problems to have' kind of thing. However, if it is EUR150 million each to be in this, then where's the EUR1.2 billion going to come from? After all, it is not like that is chump change...

Like anything of this sort of nature, the detail revealed much, and also proffered more than the odd question, too. The official statement said, "According to the supporting entry documents, only one of these entries is capable of immediate acceptance, while the remaining seven notices of challenge carry conditions. Some of the entries are likely to be invalid, something which will be determined through a vetting process which will begin immediately."

Later on, the spectre of the legal stoush was also quite distinct, which was clear in this comment: "Conditions of some of the challenges will require changes to the Protocol, which is therefore dependant on agreement with the Challenger of Record, before each new challenger's participation can be confirmed." That's kind of code for 'they with the gold make the rules'...

Yet for me, quite possibly the largest of the smoke signals (and condolences to all in Greece, California and Queensland for their recent losses) was inside this statement: "To give some context, an example is where we might have a challenge that is conditional on there being an America's Cup World Series event in that specific challenger's country. This, obviously, is something that cannot be determined today and also needs agreement with the Challenger of Record."

That paragraph alone had me wondering what Larry and RC might be thinking? They have the jump with the first SailGP happening in February, and it is likely that they will be up to two full years ahead of the annual ACWS bounding around the globe. Can sailing support two massive events? Will the public have enough interest to get absorbed? If you look at it, the answer may well be... possibly.

F1 has Ferrari's red army, most of whom could not change gears without a good grind (yes I know it is all paddles now, but work with me), nor withstand the kinds of significant G forces involved for a prolonged period. Equally, they would simply not be able to drive the cars at a pace where the tyres were hot enough to have traction, and the aero package/ground effects could also do their thing. Does any of that stop them from paying the price of admission, buying all the merchandise, or wearing a prancing horse with the very serif faced SF over their bodies, when it is highly unlikely they will ever actually own one of the late Enzo's road cars?

Right oh - here today there are some gems for you to review. We have information about the SB20s, lead up to the Hobart, the Clipper, Extreme Sailing Series, Farr 40s, Fareast 28s, loads of Youth Racing material, Zhik release the T3, Star Sailors League, Finns, Mark Jardine talks with Wendy Tuck (the first female to win a RTW race), Raymarine radios, WASZPs, the Volvo, skiffs, RORCs Transat, A-Class cats, superyachts in Antigua, and certainly there is much, much more.

Remember, if your class or association is generating material, make sure we help you spread your word, and you can do that by emailing us. Should you have been forwarded this email by a friend, and want to get your very own copy in your inbox moving forward, then simply follow the instructions on our newsletter page, where you can also register for different editions.

Finally, keep a weather eye on Sail-World. We are here to bring you the whole story from all over the world...

John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS

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