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NZ WASZP: Class building towards WASZP Games in 2021

by Elise Beavis - President, WASZP Association of NZ 7 Apr 2019 15:58 PDT 7 April 2019
2019 International WASZP Games - Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club © Drew Malcolm / 2019 International WASZP Games

The first quarter of 2019 has been a buzz of activity within the New Zealand WASZP fleet, in the leadup to the WASZP Games due to be held in New Zealand in April 2021.

After a month in transit, 11 WASZPs arrived from New Zealand at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club a few days out from the start of the Australian WASZP National Championships. Australian Tom Trotman took the win in the six race series. Bruce Curson from New Zealand backed up his strong performance strong performance from previous international WASZP events finishing 4th. With well under six months experience in the boat, relative newcomer to the fleet, Oscar Rorvik from Tauranga, finished 6th. Wellington’s Alex Mitchell-Barker was the next placed New Zealander in 11th.

Full results for the 2019 Australian WASZP Nationals are available by clicking here

Slalom racing was run on the day between the Australian Nationals and the International WASZP Games. The format is a knockout series with flights of up to eight boats. After a high speed reach to the first mark, subsequent marks are laid directly downwind. Competitors must gybe around these marks and the winner is the sailor with the best gybes, downwind speed and tactical choices. WASZP organised great live footage including commentary of the slalom event. Three of the boats which travelled from New Zealand made it into the eight boat final. These were Alex, 14 year old Mattias Coutts and Peter Soosalu (representing Canada). Alex showed off his supreme boat handling resulting in finishing second place behind professional sailor Tom Johnson of Australia.

During the six day WASZP Games, one day was lost due to strong winds however all of the scheduled races were completed. 12 countries were represented in the 58 boat fleet. Rory Hunter representing Great Britain narrowly bet Tom Trotman. Bruce again was the top placed New Zealander again finishing 4th, only one point behind Norway’s Alexander Hogheim. There were seven sailors representing New Zealanders in the top 25 boats, including Sam Mackay who travelled across from Melbourne. Conrad Butler also showed great improvement finishing every race.

Full results from the WASZP Games are available by clicking here

The 11 strong team returned to New Zealand excited about the future of the WASZP class. Reasons for this included the great level of competition, huge support from WASZP, culture of the fleet and anticipation towards the new larger span foil. In addition to the multiple parties organised by Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and WASZP, there were good social gatherings both at the club and offsite. There was also a boat maintenance and education workshop and a Q&A session where some of the leaders in the fleet shared tips and tricks with the rest of the fleet.

With regards to the new foil WASZP chose to modify the class rules and replace the horizontal of the main foil with a longer section. One of the criticisms of the WASZP Class had been the significantly higher take-off wind speed compared to a Moth. With the larger foil not only would the wind range open up, but more tactical racing with more manoeuvres could be expected as more sailors learnt to foiling tack.

Over the 16-17th March the WASZPs were invited to sail at Foil Fest at Manly Sailing Club. This was the first regatta in New Zealand sailed on the new foil. The promises of the increased wind range held up to expectations with 14 WASZPs out on the water taking flight in only marginally more breeze than the International Moths. After being hindered by gear breakage in the WASZP Games, Oscar showed strength in the light air beating Alex and Bruce who came second and third respectively. It was also great to see some newcomers to the fleet on the racetrack for their first time.

The 2019 Live Sail Die NZL WASZP Nationals was the first WASZP Nationals globally to be sailed on the new class foil. Again we faced a light wind forecast so once again the move to a larger foil by the class was again shown to be a good decision. Three races were completed on the Friday and Sunday. Racing was called off on Saturday however Simon Owen-Smith from KA gave a talk on boat maintenance and took questions from the fleet.

Seb Menzies followed up his 420 Nationals title from the previous weekend, beating Australian sailor Jack Ferguson by one point, taking the Youth and Overall prize. Bruce Curson did one better than in Perth finishing 3rd in the 29 boat fleet. Oscar Rorvik was 4th and Mattias Coutts was 5th and 3rd Youth. Jon Bilger continues to dominate the masters division taking home the Masters trophy for a third time.

Full results are available from the 2019 Live Sail Die NZL WASZP Nationals are available by clicking here

The WASZP is not a class where you not have to be at a top level to turn up to nationals. With Grand Prix finishes, sailors still get a placing even if they do not complete the full number of laps. Similarly, the techniques used by the top sailors are not tightly guarded secrets. Instead everyone in the fleet wants to maximise the learnings of the fleet as a whole. Whether that is sharing ways to minimise gear failure or make the boat easier to use, take off sooner, sail faster in a straight line or perform better manoeuvres.

The increase in fleet size to 29 for the nationals from 24 and 23 previously is a sign of things to come for the WASZP Class in New Zealand. Looking ahead, he 2020 Nationals is already confirmed to be held in the Bay Of Islands and the WASZP International Games are to be held in New Zealand in April 2021. With the rise in popularity of foiling and the WASZP providing a relatively affordable way into a one design foiling class the fleet is growing rapidly around the world.

From a personal perspective, the WASZP provides fast racing where everyone is on an even platform. Seasonal costs are minimal due to the strict one design nature of the class. This also means there is limited time spent doing boat work and more time on the water. The fleet size is substantial and there is huge diversity in the fleet from current Optimist sailors to those with half a century of sailing experience. Similarly weights range from around 40 to 100 kg.

With just over two years until the International WASZP Games in New Zealand there is plenty of time to learn to fly. If you’re looking to purchase new WASZP email Mike at or WASZP at . Mike also has some second hand boats.

Additionally, everyone is welcome on the NZL WASZP Facebook page

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