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Beacon Group A-Class Catamaran World Championships at Houston Yacht Club - Overall

by Gordon Upton 7 May 23:45 PDT 1-6 May 2022

There was a Gurd 'Ole Texas shoot-out on the bay on Saturday, as the Beacon Group A-Class Catamaran Worlds drew to its finale!

The day exceeded everyone's expectations. In somewhat unTexan style, the locals, and indeed the metreologists, had been playing down the weather as probably to be pretty light stuff. So, the twin A-Cat fleets of the Classsic displacement boats and the Open foiling boats had mentally prepared themselves for some very hot and pretty sluggish, (especially the foilers,) drifting about in the 30+ degree heat, and the possibility of having to drink one's own body fluids, should your water bottle drop over the side. But...HA ha..they lied!

Billy Richnow, the venerable event PRO had planned for the Open class to be out first. He wanted to try to get in at least one race so as to get that fleet back level with the Classics who had sailed 6 races up until then. Enough for an official championship, but not a decent regatta series. The committee boat, complete with 'Billy's Bevy Of Lovelies', his highly experienced and supremely competent all female race team set out for the race area. Soon radio reports were coming back of 6kt winds on the course. Looking like Game On then everyone thought. The scheduled 9AM start time was approaching, so all the boats were allowed onto the beach area to be efficiently herded and corralled, one assumes using yells and lassoes, and into something looking like an organized launching countdown sequence - really, these Houston and Texan metaphors write themselves...

On the way to the race area in Galveston Bay, the wind had started to slowly build. The riders found themselves able to do a little foiling about, much to everyone's delight, as these boats can be made to foil in about 8kts, if you know your game, and are a bit on the lightweight side. All the boats had done their compulsory checking in the start boat by sailing across it's stern and being recorded by the team, something many events could to with emulating. And after maybe a 15 minute postponement, the sequence was started.

Race one was off up a course in 5kts of wind. Not enough for the hotshots to deploy their superpower, which is the Holy Grail of upwind foiling, and all had to go into a low drag displacement mode, which is pretty much Kryptonite to the open foiler. The Open boats are not as good as the Classics set like this, for the Classic is designed to remain waterborne and hence has far less drag in their foils and rudders, plus a fuller cut rig to boot. Racing directly against a Classic in these conditions is a frustrating business. However, these fleets are separated in this regatta, so the frustration may be lessened slightly.

The top mark was reached by most of the fleet staying on the left of the course. The ones who went right seemed to loose out somewhat. But the good sailors are the good sailors, as they say, although by now the wind had increased to trapezing speeds, so 7+ kts in the A-Cat. First round was the reigning US Champ, and local boy, Bruce Mahoney USA 311, closely followed by Tornado and general sailing legend Darren Bundock AUS 88. Next was the championship leader US Nacra 17 team member, Ravi Parent USA 76, who's jockey-like stature suited the conditions perfectly. Chasing a couple of boat lengths behind came the Polish Champ Kuba Surowiec POL 41, who thrives in this light stuff. However, the current 2nd place rider, the Team USA Sail GP and Olympic N17 sailor, Riley Gibbs USA 96, was further back in the following pack.

The first downwind leg had enough wind to allow the leaders to get on their foils, so really started to draw away. All was great with the World, at last. Then rounding the bottom mark and bang into a massive wind hole. The rest of the fleet then caught back up, much in the way someone stopping at the top of an escalator finds themselves suddenly overcome with people arriving from behind, these front runners experience a similar thing. The fleet then split into right and left sides. It became a total mental workout task now. Is there pressure over there?, No, possibly more over that part. Chess on water ensued. But race time limits were pressing and the PRO made the decision to finish the race at the next mark, so an upwind finish it was to be as the fleet drifted, wafted etc up the course in 5kts, the class minimum.

Coming up towards the finish, the leader, Kuba was coming from the right side. All looked good, until the boats who elected to go left had found a little bit more. The breeze shifted right slightly, Kuba, ahead of Ravi, was desperate to cover him, and knowing that tacking a 5m, 2.3m cat platform in light airs is a real super delicate trick. It's easy to loose way and destroy the sail airflow as you need to flick the thing onto the other tack - you get one shot at that level. Seeing the left siders coming across just ahead, and not able to lay the mark he had no choice. Fortunately he nailed it and kept Ravi behind him, crossing the line in 3rd, behind the wily old US A-Cat veterans, Bob Hodges USA 230 and Lars Guck USA 330. Ravi slipped back into 6th, and to compound his miseries, hooked himself on the anchor line of the mark boat.

Race 2 started after the fleet drifted back to the start. After a 15 min delay, the wind returned, the course was shifted and go was pressed. Upwind mark, after most went left again, Bruce rounded in pole. Local knowledge paying off again. Ravi then rounded, just ahead of Kuba. This was a championship that was going to the wire. The wind was up and down, foiling, not foiling, it was properly challenging stuff. Bruce pulled away and got the bullet. Next was through Kuba, who had managed to get past Ravi on the last upwind by picking the correct way up on the left side as Ravi when right. However, a single place ahead would not be enough to do it for Kuba, he ideally needed a boat or two between them.

Race 3, was the championship decider in true movie third-act stuff and Riley had dropped out of contention with his lower finishing positions. It is superb, and rare, when two such talented young sailors get to fight out the whole thing in the very last race. Kuba needed a win and ideally a boat between them. Ravi on 13pts, Kuba 14. The wind was rising along with the tension. Go for 3 laps. First lap most went to the left. Bundy decided it was his time to show there is still life in the old dog yet and not worrying about the rest. He led the whole race. Left side, right side, they did them all, but the left seemed to pay better. Bundy led, Kuba second on the last lap. But at the finish, it was Ravi who had followed Bundy over the line, with Kuba some 20m behind. Ravi Parent became the thoroughly deserved new Open division A-Class World Champion for 2022.

The Classic fleet was a less fraught affair. Billy wanted to give them 2 more races, and the wind was co-operating. Andrew Landenberger AUS 308, was the runaway winner yet again, coming into the last race with 6 straight bullets. Micky Todd ESP 7, was also a solid second. Only 3rd was being contested between Andreas (Baby Landy) Landenberger, AUS 300, Ken Marshack USA 192 and OK Rogers USA 73. Landy celebrated his last race with a massive port flyer on the start as a nice wind shift to the right made it too impolite to refuse. And three fine 3rd places cemented his son's podium position in this division.

There endeth the regatta. The race committee managed get 8 races ran even after 2 lost days blown out. However, that gave sailors a chance to recover, repair, look at space stuff or go and shoot things. It was considered to be yet another memorable Championship, and certainly, with regard to the Open fleet, the closest fought that anyone could remember for a long time.

Houston had delivered all that was asked, and considering this regatta was only conceived back in November, a remarkable achievement. Shore crews, rescue crews, medics, all the HYC staff, Billy and the race committee all need to be mentioned in dispatches. The Jury, who were only kept busy on rare occasions, and never on any actual race issues. And, as ever in such things, there's usually a highly competent person placed at the centre to oversee. Debbie Cardenas was the little HYC lady with the big skills. She was the regatta chair, seeing it all through in fine style.

Also thanks must also go to the sponsors of the event. This is easily the biggest headache for any organizer, how do we pay for all this lot? Huge thanks go to the Beacon Group Consulting, who underwrote the whole thing. Mahoney Projects, and Bruce who was the quiet man working away in the corners and getting stuff squared away. LaPorte Texas, the local dock authority, who helped with support and finance. Ingenious Brewing and Fox Breweries who made us all free beer. And finally the support from the sailing trade; Zhik, Ronstan, Total Boat and Robline who supplied daily prizes and helped out with the foodie nights enjoyed by all.

And finally to the 'Screaming Texas Frontman', Bob Webbon, the USACA President, the man who probably had more sleepless night than anyone else. Thanks you, Bob, we salute you sir!

Now where did that lizard go?

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameSkipperClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
Open Discipline
1  76    Ravi Parent   Alamitos Bay YC/Sarasota Sailing Squadron  [10]  1  1  1  2  6  3  2  16
2  Pol 41  Exploder / Bryt Sails  Jakub Surowiec   UKS Navigo  1  2  3  [4]  4  3  2  3  18
3  USA 96  GLASER SAILS // eXploder boats  Riley Gibbs   St Francis Yacht Club / ABYC  2  5  2  2  1  8  4  [11]  24
4  AUS88  Ronstan  Darren Bundock   Saratoga SC  3  6  4  5  5  [7]  5  1  29
5  Aus 4  Harken forward  Steven Brewin   Kcc  7  3  5  3  3  4  [OCS]  5  30
6  FRA 2    Emmanuel DODE   Société des Régates de Vannes  4  8  7  6  7  5  [OCS]  4  41
7  USA 311    Bruce Mahoney   Mahoney Projects  6  7  8  8  8  [20]  1  6  44T
8  Esp 97  Boniek  Iago Lopez Marra   Real club nautico portosin  5  4  6  7  6  10  6  [12]  44T
9  POL 1  Exploder AD3  Jacek Noetzel   UKS Navigo Sopot  9  9  9  9  9  [15]  12  7  64
10  usa 330    lars guck   bristol  15  10  13  12  10  2  [18]  14  76
11  USA 320    Bailey White   LLSC  8  12  12  13  11  11  11  [15]  78
12  UAS180  Red Gear Racing  Robbie Daniel   Red gear racing  [20]  18  10  10  14  12  9  9  82
13  USA 37  Ronstan  Michael Christensen   Sarasota Sail Squadron  11  G  16  11  12  16  10  [22]  88.5
14  CAN 44  A Cat  Larry Woods   BBCC  12  11  11  16  [DNF]  27  23  10  110
15  ISV 15    Chris Batchelor   STYC  [24]  13  19  21  13  13  14  18  111
16  USA 230  Hatfu  Bob Hodges   New Orleans/Pontchartrain  16  16  [24]  23  20  1  15  23  114
17  712    Francisco Venetucci   YCR ‑ YCA  19  [24]  18  17  15  9  21  16  115
18  CAN 66  D  Todd Woods   BBSC  23  G  20  15  [DNC]  14  8  17  120.5
19  USA 426  Mr. Tommy  Cam Farrah   Fort Walton Yacht Club/ Southern Yacht Club  14  15  14  20  22  [24]  17  24  126
20  USA 113    Matthew Keenan   Sandy Hook Bay Catamaran Club  13  [DNF]  15  14  24  19  RET  8  129
21  ARG 666  Devil  Ian Rodger   CUBA  25  17  21  18  16  [30]  19  19  135
22  USA367  dilligafan  Ian Storer   Southwestern Y.C.  21  19  25  24  [DNF]  17  7  25  138
23  USA 414  Arete  Sam Carter   West River Sailing Club  [27]  20  22  22  21  18  25  21  149
24  Can 55  Usain boat  Andrew Woods   BBCC  17  [RET]  17  DNF  17  23  28  13  151
25  USA 234    Andrew Gaynor   Bristol YC  31  [DNC]  26  19  18  21  13  29  157
26  USA 349  Freccia II  Daniel Segraves   Alamitos Bay Yacht Club  22  21  30  [31]  28  22  22  20  165
27  CAN29  Outrageous 2  David Bradly   Nepean Sailing Club  [30]  *  29  28  26  25  16  27  176
28  USA 9  Cloud 9  Jeffrey Brauch   TPYC  26  [DNF]  23  27  19  32  26  26  179
29  USA 143  Real Estate INK Solutions.com  Mark Herendeen   Space Coast Catamaran Fleet  28  22  28  25  27  [29]  27  28  185
30  0    Dustin Romey   Upper Keys Sailing Club  [34]  *  27  30  25  33  20  30  191
31  USA 294  Flying Circus  Richard Stevens   LLSC  18  [DNF]  DNF  26  23  26  RET  RET  201
32  ARG 03  chino  sergio armesto   Yacht Club Argentino  33  23  [NSC]  29  DNC  28  29  31  209
33  261  Veritas  Marty McKenna   West River Sailing Club  35  [DNF]  31  32  DNF  31  24  32  221
34  401  Blue angle  Daniel Paoli   CSA  29  14  [DNF]  DNC  DNC  DNC  DNC  DNC  223
35  1023  DNA F1x  Dean Mayke   Burlington  32  [DNS]  DNF  DNC  DNC  DNC  DNC  DNC  248
Classic Discipline
1  AUS308  Andrew Landenberger  Andrew Landenberger   New England Sailing Club  [1]  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  7
2  ESP7  Hammer Sails /A Cat Kit  Micky Todd   C.A.R Murcia  3  2  [9]  2  3  2  2  2  16
3  AUS300  Thirsty Turtle  Andreas Landenberger   New England Sailing Club  *  4  [DNC]  6  2  7  3  3  29
4  USA192    Ken Marshack   Red Gear Racing/ Upper Keys Sailing Club  5  6  2  4  5  4  [7]  6  32
5  USA73    O.H. Rodgers   Davis Island Yacht Club  4  3  4  5  [DNF]  3  10  7  36
6  USA 99  Silver Bullet  Ben Hall   Bokeelia YC/Bristol YC  9  5  6  [12]  6  5  5  4  40
7  USA165  Apocalypse  Bob Webbon   Upper Keys Sailing Club  [DNF]  14  5  3  4  9  4  5  44
8  232  Jonezin2sail  Bill Kast   NOYC  [13]  9  7  7  8  8  8  9  56
9  SUI 65    Charles Bueche   CNB  [12]  7  3  11  11  12  6  8  58
10  449    Axel Issel   UKSC  [17]  10  8  8  9  11  9  11  66
11  USA 268  Kiwi Magic  Andrew Burdett   UKSC  10  12  12  9  [16]  13  15  12  83
12  USA 4  Mystery to Me  Bobby Orr   West River Sailing Club MD  7  [15]  13  15  13  14  12  14  88
13  USA 356  Hot Tub on Fire  Mark Miller   Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club  19  [21]  10  14  19  18  11  15  106
14  USA 777  Little More Trim  Gilbert Macpherson   Palm Beach Sailing Club  6  20  17  16  12  10  [DNC]  DNC  114
15  435  Thai Girl  John Cramer   FWYC  [22]  18  16  13  15  17  20  17  116
16  148    Chris Bolton   PRSA  18  17  14  10  17  16  [DNC]  DNC  125
17  POL120    Valdek Kwasniewski   SSS  14  [DNF]  11  DNF  14  DNF  13  10  128
18  USA 007  Goldfinger  Michael Krantz   Lake Lanier Sailing Club  21  8  15  [DNF]  7  15  DNC  DNC  132
19  USA 79  HIGHWAY STAR  Patrick Stadt   West River Sailing Club  15  13  [DNF]  DNC  18  DNF  14  13  139
20  444    Greg Matthews   UKSC  24  23  20  17  [RET]  DNC  18  18  153
21  193  amour de mer  Christopher Brown   OGYC  11  [DNF]  DNF  DNC  10  6  DNC  DNC  159
22  395  puzzle box  Michael Love   Hobie Fleet 416  *  22  [DNF]  DNC  21  19  21  20  162
23  USA74  Double Play  Scott Stevenson   Carlyle Sailing Assocation  16  19  [DNC]  DNC  DNC  DNC  17  16  167
24  308    WARREN MITCHELL   Oak Hallow Sailing Club  [NSC]  24  18  DNF  22  DNF  22  21  173
25  USA 279  Nacra A2  Jeremy Laundergan   Duluth  8  11  [DNF]  DNC  RET  DNC  DNC  DNC  184
26  USA 124  calypso 4  Chris Ford   Austin Yacht Club  20  [DNS]  DNC  DNC  DNF  DNC  19  19  190
27  17  Hawaiian Pride  Mark Batchelor   CRAM  [DNS]  16  DNC  DNC  DNC  DNC  16  DNS  197
28  USA 450  Strategery 12  Cliff Farrah   FWYC/SYC  25  [DNC]  DNC  DNC  20  DNS  23  DNS  200
29  ARG 399    Daniel Stein   El Aguila  [DNF]  DNF  DNC  DNC  23  DNF  24  22  201
30  430  Seth Herzon  Seth Herzon   Pettipaug Yacht Club  23  [DNF]  19  DNC  RET  DNC  RET  DNC  207
31  Us 57  Black and Blue  Tom Paoli   Carlyle Sailing Association  [DNF]  DNC  DNC  DNC  DNC  DNC  DNC  DNC  231T
31  usa 310    woody cope   gyc  [DNC]  DNF  DNC  DNC  DNC  DNC  DNC  DNC  231T

  • Event site - https://www.aclassworlds.com/
  • Photos - https://www.guppypix.com/

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