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Henri-Lloyd 2022 December - SW LEADERBOARD

All vessels great and small

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail World AUS 29 Jan 2023 13:00 PST
Alinghi Red Bull Racing - AC75 - January 24, 2023 - Barcelona © Alex Carabi / America's Cup

January is such a great time 'Down Under': A load of annual regattas for coveted Australian Championships, with many very much steeped in a grand history, and often a World title or two are in there, as well. There are also ones that mark important celebrations, and let's not forget two boats heading in the same direction. On for young and old comes to mind...

That last premise is the most important, for nothing engages participation across the years quite like sailing, and it can be on everything from icy pole sticks to keelboats. Such is the nature, that a 70 something is hitting the water OTB (John 'Woody' Winning comes to mind), and a teenager is embarking on their first major ocean race (like Harrison Miller).

When you look back over the results for the month, there is one thing that stands out in front, like it always does. The America's Cup. It may very well polarise people, and bar karate could nearly give way to other martial arts, but the evidence is as empirical as it is clear. It surpasses the mighty supermaxis, SailGP, Vendée, Ocean Race, and even the Hobart.

True, it sometimes only just puts a nose in front, but it remains that it is what the punters like to call a sure thing. Even on the super-rare occasion when it doesn't quite get there, the AC is still a podium, and only a few lengths behind. Aberration? Possibly. However, the one thing you can say is that it will be back on its feet, all dusted off and swinging again even faster and better than a 20 year old after a huge night out.

So the next time someone says, "I'm not interested in that foiling stuff!" just smile to yourself and ponder why they feel the need to be so adamant, when they probably get their dose of AC on the sly anyway... The truth is always binary. Stories, well, that's a different matter. It's a bit like McDonalds; you may not go there, swear it's been 30 years since you set foot in the place, those around you might not be inclined as well, but Maccas keep putting new Golden Arches up all over the place, so someone is frequenting their stores.

Now all of that above is because one thing reached out and touched me like no other in the last passage of time. It was the story of Gippsland's Sara and Emily Melrose from Paynesville, and their account of becoming International Cadet sailors. No strangers to regattas, the sisters paired up to race in the Cadet, because they heard of an impending Worlds coming up in Melbourne, just a few hours up the road from home.

Their account of going from Minnows to Cadets, flat water to lumpy, respecting Yankee Foxtrots (AKA cargo ships), learning how to work together after being their own skipper previously, and mastering resilience is inspiring, heartfelt, and decidedly human.

Jeanette Severs assisted them in putting their tale together, but she was very careful to leave it as their tale, and in their voice. For that I am most grateful, because these two girls showed many a quality well beyond their years. I suspect in a couple of decades time they will very much see the benefits of what they have achieved, not just at Hobsons Bay, and how the learning's shaped their lives. All power to them.

So to all those who raced, or made it possible for others to do so this month, Cheers. And to all those who wrote, photographed, and videoed it so we could catch up on it all, thank you. Appreciated...

OK. There it is. There is so much more on the group's websites for you. Simply use the search field, or 'edition' pull-down menu up the top on the right of the masthead to find it all. Please enjoy your yachting, stay safe, and thanks for tuning into Sail-World.

John Curnow
Editor, Sail World AUS

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