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Sail-World NZ - January 26, 2022: AC40 first pix..ILCA and Match Racing Nats..Transatlantic records

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz 25 Jan 15:55 PST 26 January 2022
AC40 hull mould - male plug the shape is modelled on an upgraded version of AC36 winner Te Rehutai - America's Cup © America's Cup Media

Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for January 26, 2022

In Breaking News we have the first shots and video of the AC40 to be used by the Youth, Women and two of the three Preliminary regattas in the upcoming America's Cup.

As promised the hull shape is a development of Te Rehutai, the current America's Cup champion, showing the familiar bow section and a very flat afterbody.

Emirates Team New Zealand seem to be staying true to their word to provide an update to the AC36 winner, and handing their competitors a working version of their winning design - which is unprecedented in America's Cup history.

How much they are giving away is debatable, given that the existing teams have access to their own photo library of the Kiwi America's Cup winner, which can be photogrammed to derive a computer based design of the boat reckoned to be 3kts quicker than the opposition.

No doubt the AC37 teams will be crunching the numbers from the AC75 and the new AC40 to see what improvements have been made, and the direction the Kiwi design team's AC37 thinking.

The polars for the AC40 are remarkable showing a boat that is very fast upwind - doing 39kts, compared to the 36kts reckoned to be top speed of the AC75 in the last Cup. Downwind the speed looks to be less than an AC75 which were said to regularly top 50kts - however American Magic did the top speed of 53kts, during a wild moment in the Prada Cup on Course C.

The light air speeds on the polars are impressive indicating that the AC40 and reduced weight AC75 should get foiling a lot more easily in light winds.

Eight AC40's are said to be on order - for whom is the intriguing question.

In the immediate timeframe, the advice we have at Sail-World is that the "Code Red" of the Covid Protection Framework should have minimal impact on sailing.

Two significant events - the Mahurangi Classic Yacht Regatta and the Auckland Anniversary Regatta - are confirmed to go ahead for the weekend.

Yachting NZ is proceeding with the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta in mid-February. But like all regatta organisers, YNZ would appreciate early entries so any compliance issues can be resolved.

In other sports, there is a long list of significant events/activities that have been cancelled or are close to getting axed. Sailing seems to be an outlier, as is Rowing, which would also appear to be proceeding with their normal program.

There are a set of simple and understandable principles explaining the Covid Protection Framework on the Rowing NZ website as it applies to Rowing and is applicable to a Sailing situation.

With a small amount of onshore re-organisation, there is no reason that any sailing event cannot proceed as planned.

Before the Code Red was declared, the Auckland sailing scene looked to be recovering quite nicely after a 107-day stint in what was Alert Level 3. Other provinces weren't that affected by their softer lockdowns.

In the weekend, the NZ National Match Racing Championships and NZ ILCA (read Laser) titles were contested in Auckland and Picton, respectively.

As we report, the three-day Harken Match Racing NZ Championship devolved into what all match-racing should be - a very close tactical affair, with the outcome not being decided until the last moments of the final race.

With no sailing allowed, for AC36 teams, in the America's Cup until mid-September and with Emirates Team NZ needing to lift their match racing skills, maybe this is the opportunity for the America's Cup rockstars to be pitched against the top talent from the NZ Match Racing ranks. When sailed in the MRX fleet, these groups used to come together for a hit-out, but it seems to have faded with the shift to the smaller, and more nimble, Elliott designs.

A re-vamped event would pull the media and fan interest. The underdogs have plenty of scope to give the AC rockstars their comeuppance. Both groups would have a shared learning experience, which can only lift the standard of their sailing. Add in the considerable talents of Dean Barker and Phil Robertson, along with the ETNZ sailing team, and you have a showcase event.

The ILCA6 & 7 Nationals, staged by Queen Charlotte Yacht Club in Picton, attracted a big fleet of over 90 boats for the former Laser Radial and Laser standard rig classes.

The outcome of the ILCA7, or standard rig Laser event, went according to the Form Book. Indeed it would have been the shock of 2022 if the recently crowned ILCA7 World Champion, Tom Saunders, had not added the champion Kiwi title to his list of accolades. He was pushed by George Gautrey and the two Lukes - Cashmore and Deegan - who placed 3rd and 4th overall.

Caleb Armit gave the ILCA6 fleet a sailing lesson, winning nine of the ten races and finishing 30points ahead of the next placed youth competitor.

Provided he can win selection for the 2022 Youth Worlds, Caleb should get the opportunity to emulate the 2018 Youth Worlds Gold Medal win of his brother Josh. Their dad, Leith, is a four-time world champion in the OK Dinghy class and Olympic Finn reserve, and their grandfather Tony Armit was the first New Zealander to sail around the world.

Women took four of the top eight places in the ILCA6, which like the NZ Match Racing, was contested in an Open fleet giving the finishing place and the standard of the women sailors/crews a lot more credibility.

After being passed over by selectors for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, the NZ Women's ILCA7/Laser Radial squad is on the rebuild. They made a good start in Picton, but like Caleb Armit needs to get away onto the international regatta circuit and step up to the next level.

Five points separated the first three women, in Picton, with Greta Pilkington placing 4th overall with 46pts, Annabelle Rennie-Younger 5th on 50pts, and Olivia Christie 6th on 51pts. Emily Overend was 8th in the Open fleet with 67pts, after coming adrift in the final three races of the ten race regatta.

The squad have a steep slope to climb for Paris 2024. The Laser Radial/ILCA6 is possibly the most competitive of the women's Olympic events. First introduced at the 2008 Olympics in Qingdao, the class has been dominated by three competitors, who, between them, have won seven of the 12 medals that have been on offer at the last four Olympiads.

Cracking into that exclusive club will not be easy, and the Kiwi sailors need a lot better support and backing for international regattas than was the case for the Rio2016. Tokyo2020 was an inevitable consequence of those premature selectorial decisions for Rio.

As mentioned, the NZ ILCA Nationals attracted a 90+ boat fleet - across all classes. That's an excellent entry, given the event was at the top of the South Island. But maybe it is no surprise, given the increased interest in dinghy sailing, across the board.

The Cherub is another dinghy class strongly in a revival. This weekend the America's Cup rockstars and their sons will compete for the Northland Cherub Championship at Algies Bay - about an hour's drive north of Auckland. We have the latest update in this edition.

Internationally, the main event has been the RORC Trans Atlantic Race - a 3000nm dash from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands to Grenada.

The multihull event was keenly contested between three 70fters, with a damaged Multi 70 Maserati being first home after eight days of sailing, followed by two MOD70's.

There was no real surprise in the monohulls with the 100ft Comanche writing another race record into her logbook.

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We ran the daily reports on Sail-World. You can link to them off the bottom of the stories featured in this edition.

The significance of the TransAtlantic Race is that it is another foundation stone in rebuilding the sport back to where it was pre-Covid. The coverage was excellent, including a high-quality daily video.

We have several America's Cup stories in this edition.

Cup Insider's Justin Chisholm talks with INEOS Britannia's newly acquired Chief Designer, Martin Fischer - ex Luna Rossa.

"It took the Kiwis a bit of time to figure out how to overtake once Luna Rossa was in front. But once they had learned how to do that, there was no way for us to win. We sailed ten races in total, and out of these ten, I think Luna Rossa won seven of the starts," Fischer says of Emirates Team New Zealand's performance.

"They [Luna Rossa] were also very good around the course - I think the split helmsmen was a good move - but the fact that we had more possibilities due to the bigger foils was really important. But then, later on, it was just speed that won the races. "

Emirates Team New Zealand designer, Dan Bernasconi was also interviewed earlier by Justin Chisholm on the thinking behind the new AC40 - to be used for the Youth, Women's, and two AC37 Preliminary Events.

We also have another outstanding podcast from double Olympic Gold Medalist Shirley Robertson, who chats with Jono Macbeth, formerly of Team New Zealand, then with INEOS Team UK, and now with North Sails. Jono is a veteran of six America's Cups. He recalled that his America's Cup career started in Ferg's Kayaks:

"I was down in a squat position," he told Shirley Robertson, "and I was about to try and pick up this fridge all by myself, and I hear this big booming voice behind me..."Do you need a hand?" And without turning around, I said, "Yeah, that'd be good mate", and glanced over my shoulder and low and behold, there was (Sir Peter) Blake, standing over me, arms folded."

What followed is one of the most exhaustive Cup careers in the sport. Blake invited Macbeth to join the team, and since that first Team New Zealand defence of the Cup in 2000, Macbeth has been a regular feature competing for the elusive trophy. He has been part of some of the modern era's most fascinating campaigns.

Those involved in the protracted venue selection process for the next America's Cup are saying little.

Three venues are believed to be making the serious running - two in Spain and one in Ireland.

The process hasn't been made any easier by the surge of Omicron through Europe. However, that wave appears to be receding, and the venue announcement should be made on or before March 31, without further delay.

The first AC75 sailing can get away less than two and a half months later if you are a New Team and have purchased a first-generation AC75. So Alinghi could be the first team to get sailing in the current cycle by virtue of their as-yet-unannounced purchase of Te Aihe, Emirates Team NZ's first AC progeny.

The rest of the teams can't start sailing until three months later, on September 17, 2022. That works OK for the Kiwis, who will be going into their Sumer sailing season. But of the Northern hemisphere teams, Luna Rossa will probably be able to get by from their base in Sardinia. The others will have to move south to warmer climes or have a stand-down for a further six months.

American Magic may become a beneficiary of Omicron, with the hated Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) system looking set to crumble in a few months. That could let the US team into Auckland, re-open their base, and go sailing again.

The trans-Tasman border is still on track to come down at the end of February if the NZ Prime Minister's comments yesterday are to be taken at face value. NZ's international border is expected to open a few months later.

Today, a High Court case challenging the legality of stopping NZ residents from returning home would have been in its second and final day. The NZ Government applied for a four-week delay to the Hearing date to allow the Crown additional preparation time - and were granted just two weeks. Either by Government or Hugh Court decree, the walls of the MIQ Jericho look set to tumble in a month or three - and that will open up Kiwis' ability to participate on international sailing circuits again.

But we digress. One of the inequities of the next America's Cup would appear to be a sailing timeline that works very well for some teams, while others will have to wait up to an effective nine months after the likes of Alinghi have foiled away.

Then, of course, there is the issue of AC40, allocation and sailing, with the Kiwis getting the first youth/women's/training boat and the Brits the second, and the rest being allocated in the order of entry.

Clearly, all teams will require some original thinking to wring the most out of their development and sailing programs.

In an event where time is as important a commodity as money, this staggered start for AC37 team programs could prove to be crucial on the outcome of the Match which will be sailed in June 2024.

Great deals from Sail-World advertisers

We have some excellent advertiser deals for our readers.

Altex Coatings are offering the opportunity to win back up to NZ$1,000 of the cost of your purchase of Altex anti-fouling paint. In the same story Altex have some excellent advice in the often confusing world of anti-fouling paint, and which is best for you and your boat.

Fujinon, is offering $300 off a select range of Fujinon Binoculars Again, there is an excellent explanation of how image-stabilised binoculars work. The Techno-Stabi-TS-X1440 provides double the power/magnification over the standard 7x power, which has been about as much as can be handled in a marine situation without electronic stabilisation. We tested Sail-World's Techno-Stabi-TS-X1440 at the NZ Match Racing Championships, and the visual improvement is just outstanding - wish we had these for the America's Cup and Olympic Regattas - they would have made a big difference to our coverage.

Between newsletters, you can follow all the racing and developments in major and local events on www.sail-world.com/nz or by scrolling to the top of the site, select New Zealand, and get all the latest news and updates from the sailing world.

For all the latest news from NZ and around the world, see the top stories below.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

Please forward your news stories and images directly to Sail-World NZ as text in the email and attach images in the standard way to sailworldnzl@gmail.com

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