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Melges 14 2019 Leaderboard

A Class Cat World Championship at the WPNSA - Day 1

by Gordon Upton 26 Aug 14:15 PDT 18-21 & 24-30 August 2019
Minimum 5 knot wind conditions prevailed in all the races on day 1 of the A Class Cat Worlds at the WPNSA © Paula Kopylowicz

The first day at the Worlds at WPNSA was, to say the least, challenging. We all knew the racing was not going to happen in the morning as the day dawned hot and sunny... and windless.

The PRO, David Campbell-James, broke the news to everyone at the daily 9:30 briefing that there would probably be at least a 2 hr postponement. Everyone then set about sitting about. Chatting about settings, looking at stuff in the pop-up shop and drinking coffee. The sun was hot and the academy, being concrete and hardstanding became rather warm. Many joked that maybe they had been misled by British weather reports and Sherlock Holmes movies that depicted constant rain and fog. Maybe it was a myth, then it happened. The whole place was suddenly enveloped in a Haar, or Sea Fog blown in from the West. This had been forecast, but was still a surprise when it actually happened. Visibility was thus reduced to some 200m at times. It also had the effect of killing any real prospect of a sea breeze now developing, something we had all be hoping would happen. So the wait continued.

But then movement was seen amongst the race officers, imperceptible at first, but movement nevertheless. Encouraging signs continued as the mark layer boats scudded out of the marina festooned with the distinctive Forward WIP buoys with their inflatable 'horns', giving the usually serious mark layers a rather comical look. Then the big committee boat chugged out. Finally an announcement was made and the postponement flag was dropped as the Haar had lifted enough and the breeze deemed sufficient to get a race in.

The format was to be one race for the Open fleet, one, but possibly two for the classics who were due to sail second. The Open fleet left the launchway and set off across Portland harbour to the far side and clustered around the committee boat, the Classics being kept in the boat park to await their launch signal after the Open fleet got going. The wind was a reasonably steady 6-7 knots from West as boats made their way Eastwards. Some managed to get foiling in the conditions which encouraged the rest onwards. Eventually, the fleet lined up for the start and bang!, A whole bunch of boats at the pin end were over the line so a General Recall was issued and the Black Flag flown.

And it all started again. This time all was OK and the fleet set off into the teeth of the 6 knot wind searching for pressure, or anything capable of propelling them upwards. This sailing 'Join The Dots' game continued until the top mark. The leading pack had a few of the usual suspects, but the conditions also favoured one or two sailors who were, to be honest, surprised to find themselves right up there, beating the usual favourites. Nils Palmieri and Paul Larsen were more than happy to be with the lead bunch, as was the newly crowned GBR Champ Oscar Lindley-Smith. As they rounded, several actually managed to get up on their foils. However, this was to prove their undoing. As they attempted to stay up, they needed to chase the pressure, so many were often led into a wind cul-de sac whereby they were then dumped in an area where there were few options to get back out other than in Low Mode, but then found they were way off the desired course back and with increased distance need to to do so.

It was found that, for some, the right side of the course showed a few gains, other just hunted about in the centre, minimising any chance of being left out on a fatal limb. A few boats succumbed to the almost magnetic effect of mark rounding and touched. The eagle eyed judges, who spotted this added insult to injury and penalty imposed point additions to those who failed to re-round - lessons learned guys! The boats eventually finished this race which will probably haunt many for years to come, causing them to awake at 4am due to the trauma. The boats eased over the line in a class minimum of a 5 knot wind. Tymuk Bendyk POL 15 proved to be the Light Wind Meister. This Sopot based sailing ace has proved he can do the super light stuff as well as he can do the top end and was impressive. Next was Nils Palmieri SUI 87. The Swiss sailor is used to light wind Swiss lakes, so probably a walk in the park for him. Juan Luis Paez ESP 19 came in third. This Spaniard beat all his fellow countrymen by 11 places. Forth was James Wierzbowski AUS 1035. The SailGP wing trimmer showed he can sail at speeds other than 40+ knots and in fifth was a very happy Paul Larsen AUS 51, again showing he is at home in the light stuff as well as doing 65.45 knots on Sailrocket.

Then it was the Classics go. These were proper Classic boat conditions now. No Hot-Rodding about, just pure gentle and subtle movements and sail trim. The race was rather similar to the Open fleets one, holes and pressure needed to be sought. The result was a little more going to form, with the favourites pretty much at the top. However, occasionally something happens and comes right out of left field. GBR sailor Hugh MacGregor, sailing with a new untried mast after snapping his two weeks earlier, and having never entered an 'A' Cat race in anger before, got the bullet! A superb and impressive result! His compatriot fellow Scot and mentor, Micky Todd, ESP 7 finished in second. In third, the son finally beats the father with Andy Landenberger AUS 300 finished ahead of the favourite Andrew Landenberger AUS 308. Another former Olympian and World Champ Scott Anderson came in fifth.

Races like this are the sailing equivilent of a wet race in F1. This was proper head-out-of-the boat stuff. A proper mental workout. It can massively shake up the field, dumping some big names in places they may well find impossible to recover from. Currently there are many hot favourites before the start who are languishing a long way down the table. Stevie Brewin AUS 4, is 13th, Manuel Calavia ESP 11, is 26th, Bruce Mahone USA 311 is 36th and Mischa Heemskerk is 60th! These guys will have to do something special to prove their worth this year, and with Tymuk with the bullet, it could be a big ask. However, the one who wins must have to prove he is the best 'A' Cat sailor on the planet, and these condition test sailors probably far more mentally. Most can sail in the fruity stuff, but in these winds, well, they need to have something special. It is early day, but we may well be seeing a new name on that Open trophy.

The top GBR sailors in each fleet were Tom Phipps in the Open, finishing a good 12th, and Hugh Macgreggor 1st.

On a personal note, My partner, Nicola and I would like to express our thanks to all those who helped and offered their support after my old motorhome was wrecked after the fridge caught fire. Nic was inside it as it happened, but emerged shocked but unscathed while I was out on the water, six minutes before the first start. Particular thanks go to Sylvain for Forward WIP, who in a former life was a French Pompier and managed to put it out thus saving the important bits such as my hard drives etc.! But in the end, it is just stuff. We both owe you all one. Thanks, Gordon.

Results after Day 1:

PosNatSail NoHelmAge GroupR1R2R3Pts
Classic Fleet
1stAUS300Andy LandenbergerJunior Champion32611
2ndGBR18Hugh Macgregor 17412
3rdSWE59Alberto FarnesiGreat Grand Masters56112
4thAUS31Scott AndersonGreat Grand Masters61714
5thSUI56Bruno BiedermannGreat Grand Masters711321
6thAUS308Andrew LandenbergerMasters Champion418224
7thAUS9John DowlingGreat Grand Masters99826
8thESP29Francisco Javier Acosta MedinaMasters Champion1131428
9thSUI310Valente JacquesGreat Grand Masters178530
10thESP5Enrique CornejoGrand Masters1451130
11thESP7Michael ToddGreat Grand Masters2141531
12thFRA483Antoine Riet 8121232
13thAUS992Mark CapelGreat Grand Masters2041034
14thESP129Javier Acosta MoralesJunior Champion16101339
15thGBR1963Peter BoxerGreat Grand Masters10151944
16thBEL17Astrid Janssens 13131844
17thITA99Marco GaetiGrand Masters2117947
18thAUS27William MichieGreat Grand Masters12191647
19thGBR72Owen CoxMasters Champion15UFD [25]1757
20thGBR2Colin BannisterGreat Grand Masters18202260
21stESP42Mariano MartinezGreat Grand MastersRET [25]162061
22ndGBR30Daniel Brzezinski 23212165
23rdGBR77Francis MarshallGrand Masters19232466
24thGBR14Anthony WykesGreat Grand Masters22222367
Foiling Fleet
1stPOL15Tymoteusz Bendyk 17 8
2ndAUS1035James Wierzbowski 46 10
3rdSUI87Nils Palmieri 214 16
4thPOL41Jakub Surowiec 118 19
5thAUS4Steven Brewin 1310 23
6thNZL270Dave Shaw 213 24
7thPOL1Jacek NoetzelGrand Masters917 26
8thESP11Manuel Calavia 271 28
9thGER6Rainer BohrerMasters Champion824 32
10thNED207Thijs Visser Visser 1022 32
11thESP19Juan Luis PaezMasters Champion330 33
12thGBR22Tom Phipps 1221 33
13thSUI1Sandro Caviezel 1618 34
14thITA3Paolo PencoGreat Grand Masters2213 35
15thAUS51Paul LarsenMasters Champion532 37
16thFRA207Benoit MarieGreat Grand Masters345 39
17thUSA311Bruce Mahoney 384 42
18thPOL111Michal Korneszczuk 636 42
19thNED95Roeland WentholtGreat Grand Masters1725 42
20thFRA2Emmanuel Dodé 2815 43
21stSUI7Maeder RobinJunior Champion737 44
22ndPOL17Maciej Zarnowski 3212 44
23rdAUT96Michael Mödlhammer 1827 45
24thESP16Marc VerdaguerMasters Champion1433 47
25thESP74Abdon IbanezGreat Grand Masters1929 48
26thPOL101Andrzej SenkusJunior Champion2326 49
27thESP75Toni BallesterMasters Champion3020 50
28thNED28Pieterjan DwarshuisGrand Masters3516 51
29thESP93Rafa Gomez 439 52
30thGBR599Oscar Lindley‑SmithJunior Champion1538 53
31stAUS100Simon NelsonGreat Grand Masters4611 57
32ndPOL7Marcin Kaminski 3328 61
33rdNED7Mischa HeemskerkMasters Champion612 63
34thDEN20Peter BoldsenGrand Masters2934 63
35thITA72Giuseppe ColomboMasters Champion4719 66
36thGER85Guido SchulteMasters Champion3135 66
37thDEN77Tom BøjlandGreat Grand Masters3631 67
38thGER15Katrin BrunnerGreat Grand Masters2055 75
39thAUS63Mark GriffithGrand Masters2651 77
40thNED44Wiro ZijlmansGrand Masters4039 79
41stGBR57Adam May 5723 80
42ndSUI61Jean‑Yves DelaiteGrand Masters2456 80
43rdSUI33Heiko MaierMasters Champion3941 80
44thSUI65Charles BuecheGrand Masters4144 85
45thGER40Manfred SyrowyGreat Grand Masters4245 87
46thESP48Oscar QuiranteGrand Masters3752 89
47thNZL555Phil Robertson 25DSQ [65] 90
48thPOL3Jaroslaw BetkowskiGreat Grand Masters4448 92
49thCZE1Vladislav PtasnikGrand Masters5640 96
50thGBR21Richard HargreavesGreat Grand Masters5346 99
51stNED111David van AartMasters Champion5247 99
52ndGER75Joern KnopGrand Masters5049 99
53rdGBR111Mike BawdenGreat Grand Masters4950 99
54thBEL19Wim Deca 4853 101
55thBEL32Gagliani OlivierGreat Grand Masters4557 102
56thSUI17Dominik PeikertGrand MastersDNC [65]42 107
57thAUS1067Joseph Randall DNC [65]43 108
58thITA7Stefano SirriGrand Masters5454 108
59thPOL197Maciej TrochaJunior Champion5159 110
60thSUI88Yves ThelininckGrand Masters5958 117
61stSUI60Delaite FrancoisGreat Grand Masters5860 118
62ndDEN19Felix JacobsenJunior Champion55DNF [65] 120
63rdGBR25Sam Heaton 60DNF [65] 125
64thSUI9Daniel Caviezel DNC [65]DNC [65] 130

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