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Gladwell's Line: Racing roundup.. Measurement Fee surprise

by Richard Gladwell, 4 Aug 2019 06:08 PDT 5 August 2019
Overall leaders Simon Cooke and Oskar Masfen (NZL) - Day 3 of the 2019 RS Feva World Championships, Follonica Bay, Italy © Elena Giolai / Fraglia Vela Riva

Adapted and updated from the Sail-World New Zealand Newsletter Editorial of August 1, 2019

For the past few weeks, we have been hearing of the success of New Zealand sailors turning in some excellent results, mostly from Olympic classes regattas.

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's Youth Program did the same in the Youth Match Racing Regattas.

This past week it has been the turn of the smaller boats.

In the RS Feva, Simon Cooke, 2002 World Champion in the Olympic 470 class, crewed by 11-year-old Oskar Masfen, won the Open World Championship for the class at Follonica . Open World Championship for the class at Follonica, off Italy's Tuscan coast.

They were up against a fleet of 200 boats from 23 nations - the biggest fleet to date of RS Feva's for a Worlds.

Current Tanner Cup champion, Blake Hinsley (15yrs) sailing with Nick Drummond finished third overall in the Open title and second in the RS Feva World Championship restricted to sailors under 18years old.

Two other New Zealand crews finished in 15th in the Gold fleet, and 27th overall in the Silver fleet. The crews were split into three fleets of 67 boats each after two days of Qualifying.

In this edition, we carry daily reports on the racing, plus a report from Simon Cooke on how he and Oskar Masfen put their program together.

Although we have not researched it thoroughly, we believe that Oskar at the age of 11yrs is the youngest sailor in sailing history to win an Open world championship - and certainly one sailed in a two-person boat.

The RS Feva Worlds are in New Zealand in 2021, to be staged in the same time frame as the America's Cup - which should help with attracting overseas entrants.

NZ SailCraft has a great offer to buy boats from the recent world championship in Follonica, Italy. There is a discounted deal offered click here for more information including how to contact Hayden Whitburn for further details.

Importing bulk boats in this way after world championships was the way the Optimist fleet was built in New Zealand and is an excellent way of getting top quality boats in bulk at a reasonable price.

Almost 20 clubs and groups are running fleets of RS Fevas as a club training boat, or to lease to new sailors coming into the club whose parents aren't keen on fronting the purchase of a new boat in a sport their son or daughter has just taken up.

For clubs or groups funding can be obtained from various trusts and similar benefactors, or sponsored by local businesses over a multi-year arrangement which doesn't hit their cash-flow too hard.

An unfortunate incident

New Zealand's Luke Cashmore looked set to medal in the Laser Radial Youth World Championships being sailed as part of CORK (Canadian Olympic Regatta Kingston), on Lake Kingston.

Cashmore (Wakatere BC) was climbing up the leaderboard a place per day, and by Day 4 he was in third place overall with two day's racing let to sail.

He was badly injured waiting for a start when he was hit in the back by a boat from another fleet cracking two ribs. Luke was in considerable pain, having to miss the rest of the races for the day, plus the following day. He managed to sail on the final day but was still injured and placed well down the fleet.

Initially, he was granted redress of average points, but after two further trips to the Jury Room, his redress was reduced, and he placed 11th overall in the fleet. He was still the top New Zealander thanks to some excellent places during the Qualification series. With what should have been awarded as redress - average points for the races in which he was carrying the injury, he would have been fifth overall.

Thomas Mulcahy (Murrays Bay) was the next best-placed New Zealander in 23rd overall and 4th in the 17yr old division.

Bronze in the O'Pen BIC Europeans

New Zealand's Ben Tapper placed third in the O'Pen BIC European Championships sailed in Travemunde, Germany, competing in a fleet of 60 boats. From the Manly Sailing Club and supported by the Russell Coutts Sailing Foundation, he was the only competitor at the series from outside Europe, giving the Kiwi fleet an excellent benchmark against the best in Europe.

The 29er Worlds are also under way in Gydnia Poland, following the Youth Worlds which were sailed in July. Unfortunately, we can find no information or reports on the event. The location on the event website for results is a blank.

We did manage to find some results and a few photos. Currently, the top New Zealand crew of Brayden Hamilton and Pat Morgan are lying 23rd overall. Once this newsletter has gone, it will be back to trawling the internet, to find out what is happening and file a report.

Seventh Olympic Qualifier

New Zealand's Olivia Christie has finished 47th in the Womens Laser Radial World Championships in Japan, and has claimed one of the Olympic places that were on offer.

New Zealand has now qualified in seven of the 10 Olympic classes, with the other six classes qualifying in Aarhus, Denmark at the 2018 Worlds

The final New Zealand squad to compete at the Olympics will be confirmed by the selectors early next year.

The standard that has to be reached for NZ selection and representation at an Olympic Regatta is generally that the sailor/crew must be "Medal capable" in the 2016 Olympics this was interpreted as finishing in the top 10 places (not countries) at a major regatta or Olympic standard, usually a World Championship or European championship, with a backup performance at a lesser level in one of those regattas or a Sailing World Cup regatta, or other major event, depending on the strength of the competition.

Kiwi 29er crews in action at the Worlds in Gdynia - July 2019 - photo © Robert Hajduk / <a" />
Kiwi 29er crews in action at the Worlds in Gdynia - July 2019 - photo © Robert Hajduk /

New Fee surprise

World Sailing's panjandrums appear to be on a collision course with the Olympic sailors, represented by their class associations.

The latest issue is over the proposed charge of 1% to be tacked onto the purchase price of all equipment used by Olympic classes.

Called a Manufacturers Fee, World Sailing apparently did not consult the classes on the amount of the fee or the process which it is supposed to fund. Provision for the fee was inserted into the Olympic Classes contract which was signed by all the classes, but an amount was not set, until World Sailing's announcement a few days ago of the amount.

The 1% Fee equates to $10 per $1000 - so on a Laser at $10,000 or so there will be a charge of $100. While that may seem quite a modest amount, it will also go on all new gear - sails, spars, fittings and foils. The intention is that the manufacturers will pay the fee. However, it is hard to see that this will not be passed onto the sailors.

It does affect a class like the Laser, where if you are a recreational sailor or a Youth sailor, the $100 will still be charged.

In an update to this story, papers have been released which show that from the Laser class alone the measurement fee will raise $200,000 per year - from the 2,000 boats expected to be built.

Further there are proposals for a further USD$500 to be charged as a "FRAND" fee on each new Laser built.

World Sailing says the Manufacturers Fee is to fund better measurement and quality control without detailing precisely what they will do. So far we have seen open letters from the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 classes opposing the moves. Similarly from the Olympic Classes Sub-Committee. Others have contacted Sail-World confidentially expressing similar concerns.

"We believe there are multiple ways to achieve this objective in a more simple, effective, transparent and fair process," said the class organisation covering the 49er/49erFX and Nacra 17 classes. "This is the reason why the Olympic classes sub-committee through the World Sailing classes committee is proposing a submission to openly debate this point with Council at the next November Conference."

While the maths may work for the Laser with the construction of 2,000 boats per year, for the Nacra, 49er and FX classes with lesser numbers the fee is expected to be increased beyond the initial 1%.

Laser Vote result

The crucial rules change vote, which could determine whether the Laser stays an Olympic class, has has closed, we don't have an outcome. It is expected that some validation of voting will be undertaken and an announcement made by the weekend.

We'll carry the result and reaction as soon as we know it on Sail-World. To date August 5 - we have heard nothing official. The rumours have it that there has been an overwhelming "Yes" vote which means that the International Laser Association has the right to disconnect the the class from the Laser Trademarks - being the word "Laser" and the stylised Sunburst insignia.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell NZ Editor

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