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This one goes to eleven!

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 10 Feb 2019 13:00 PST
SailGP Practice race day. SailGP USA Team. © Chris Cameron / SailGP

Right. So that quickly and firmly establishes this as an homage to Spinal Tap. However, in reality, what we are dealing with is the impending commencement of all things SailGP. Right now, and apart from one-off record-breaking craft, the F50s are the fastest sail-driven craft on the planet. YeeHaa! And then just like Spinal Tap, during the course of the year, these things will be dialled up to 11, when additional modifications and tweaks will be made to the armada of foiling cats. Nice.

We have the USA, Australia, Great Britain, and France, then development teams representing China, and Japan, all set to go. Now. Team USA had a late change in the afterguard with World Match Racing Tour Champion, and helmsman for the Stars + Stripes Team USA challenger in the AC36, Taylor Canfield, stepping on board as flight controller/tactician.

So with less than a week to run before the inaugural event on Sydney Harbour, the completely unofficial, Bradleys Head observation post, and keyboard warrior's form guide had two teams out in front, more capable of foiling gybes, then a third team in the mix in terms of speed, followed by the other three after that.

The whole thing, and the late squad change, raises the spectre of sandbagging somewhat, and we shall see, for Friday is bound to be a tremendous shakedown for all. I suspect it will all be very much like a 12 or 24 hour motor race, where keeping your nose clean will amount for way more than how well you do through the chicanes, or whether you can keep the right foot planted as you go through a blind turn in amongst the trees, like they say at Spa Francorchamps.

Now Team USA is lead by 29-year-old Rome Kirby, who is the helmer, and overall leader of this, the youngest team in the event. He said of Canfield, "Taylor is a great addition to the team, not only for his world-class experience, but for his competitive intensity on the water, and laid-back style on land. He is a great fit for our team." What they did not get into was how Hans Henken, who was previously in the role Canfield now occupies will be utilised.

None the less, and tying it all back into the previous paragraph, Kirby also said, "Imagine six boats flying over the water at 60 mph, and jockeying for position to all be first around each mark of the course. No-one, either sailors or spectators, has ever experienced, or watched these incredible speeds before in sailboat racing. Exciting will be an understatement."

In finishing that sector, for now, did someone just say, Steven Bradbury!???? Hmmmmmmm....

Tacking now in these amazing apparent wind machines, so sheet on, and I have to start by saying thank you, Larry. I am most certainly looking forward to it all. During the week, I could not help but to pause for a moment and think about all the effort a great deal of people have gone to, are still going through, to bring it all off. Anyone with any project management experience will know that their lists must be something else!

I had occasion to correspond with one of the team, and pretty much made that very observation to her. She has been so responsive and helpful all the way along, and so apart from the appreciation, I just wanted acknowledge them all for pulling this event together. BTW, here response was, "Answer to your question - I am definitely looking forward to race day - it is getting crazy busy here, and the to do lists just get longer and longer and longer... but we are getting there and its closer and closer! :)"

Right oh, here today there are some gems for you to review. We have information about the OK Worlds, sailing webinars with our Managing Editor Mark Jardine, The America's Cup, and at the other end of the spectrum the Wooden Boat Festival, Tahiti anyone?, female skippers in the Vendée, 18s with the great Frank Quealey, the Clipper, RORC Caribbean 600, Spindrift 2 makes it to Western Australia, the sleigh ride that is Hong Kong to Vietnam, the Juniors and the Stars, Stars and Stripes selects North Sails for their AC75, Foiling Week, the Golden Globe, World Cup Miami, 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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