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Nov 27: A-Cat Champs..SOY..More on Olympic 2024

27/11/2018


Sail-World NZ e-magazine - Nov 27: A-Cat Champs..SOY..More on Olympic 2024

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Glenn Ashby (AUS) - Final day - Australian A-Class Catamaran National Championships - November 2018, Hervey Bay Queensland - photo © Gordon Upton / www.guppypix.com


Dear Recipient Name

Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for November 27, 2018

The Emirates Team New Zealand trio of Glenn Ashby, Blair Tuke and Peter Burling threw down the gauntlet for the other America's Cup teams, winning the Gold and Bronze medals at the International A-Cat Worlds in Hervey Bay, Northern Queensland.

Peter Burling the champion America's Cup helmsman, finished a handy fourth place in the 69 boat fleet of foiling single handers.

Glenn Ashby added a 10th World title, and 11th Australian title to his already impressive trophy list - and did it once again using his own sails.

In the 2014 Worlds, held at Takapuna, Ashby won the Gold medal, Tuke the Silver and Burling the Bronze.

Three years later they were all on the ETNZ AC50 winning the 2017 America's Cup in Bermuda.

 Jordan Stevenson and his YTP team of Mitch Jackson, George Angus, Jake Erson and Celia Willison took out the Harken Youth International Match Racing Championships at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club  - photo © Royal Prince Alfred YC
Jordan Stevenson and his YTP team of Mitch Jackson, George Angus, Jake Erson and Celia Willison took out the Harken Youth International Match Racing Championships at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club - photo © Royal Prince Alfred YC

The same is happening in the Finn class with ETNZ's Josh Junior and Andy Maloney both working on Olympic campaigns. While only one can go to the Olympic Regatta at Enoshima, Japan in 2020 - they finished a very creditable 4th and 10th respectively in the 2018 Worlds in Aarhus in August - qualifying New Zealand in the Heavyweight Olympic singlehander.

Those five results underline Emirates Team New Zealand's approach to both the 35th and 36th America's Cups - to keep the core of the sailing crew testing themselves against the best in the sport, and staying race sharp.

The others teams are are sailing mostly on the TP52 circuits, and we'll find out later whether the standard of sailing in the TP52 is as hard as the Olympic fleets. Similarly if there is any long term benefit to a team that decides to run an AC75 surrogate test boat, of which there are currently three.

Emirates Team New Zealand's Peter Burling competing in the A-Class Catamaran World Championships in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia. - photo © Josh McCormack
Emirates Team New Zealand's Peter Burling competing in the A-Class Catamaran World Championships in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia. - photo © Josh McCormack

As was disclosed by head designer Dan Bernasconi in a Sail-World interview over a year ago, he couldn't see the point of developing a surrogate as the other three teams have done. Here's a clip from an interview from November 22, 2017:

In fact, Dan Bernasconi has such confidence in the simulation software that he doesn't think there is any point in testing in a prototype of the AC75.

'The Protocol allows test boats up to 12 metres long. So teams have the option of whether to build a test boat small scale. I think some teams will do that. But in terms of timing, it takes almost as long to design a 12-metre boat as it does to design a 75ft boat.

“It is not something that you could go through the full cycle of designing building sailing a small boat and then start work on a bigger boat. I think that reduces the benefits you would get from a test boat. However, it may be something that we or other teams consider.

Banque Populaire IX returns under tow to VigoSpain - photo © Planette Voile
Banque Populaire IX returns under tow to VigoSpain - photo © Planette Voile

While the other teams do look to have an early edge with their prototypes - Luna Rossa is said by the European sailing press to be testing a foiling catamaran fitted with an AC75 style "double mainsail". In the run-up to 2017 America's Cup several teams ran up to four each of the 45ft test boats, and looked busy, impressive and onto it.

The Kiwis ran just one - and were last to launch. Afterwards, they revealed that the test boat was more expensive than the race boat - which puts some perspective on what the the other teams were running. In other words, the multiple test platforms proved to be an expensive distraction.

In the end a sophisticated simulator proved to be the better investment than hammering around the Great Sound in Bermuda, sailing multiple test platforms.

Stu Bannatyne has become the first sailor to win four Whitbread/VOR Races - photo © Jeremie Lecaudey / Volvo Ocean Race
Stu Bannatyne has become the first sailor to win four Whitbread/VOR Races - photo © Jeremie Lecaudey / Volvo Ocean Race

Sailor of the Year

On Friday evening, Yachting New Zealand announced there were joint winners of the Sailor of the Year award.

The selectors were unable to differentiate between the two New Zealand sailors who sailed on Volvo Ocean Race winner Dongfeng Racing, and the crew of the 18ft skiff Honda Marine - who won the JJ Giltinan Trophy for the first time in 44 years. In that year, which seems like last week, Terry and Kim McDell, along with Peter Brooke won the invitation race and the first four heats managing to have the trophy won without having to sail the final race.

That regatta was sailed in Auckland, in the days when the "JJ's" moved around various venues in the SW Pacific - and the odds were not as stacked against the Kiwis as they have been in recent years when the unofficial world championship of the 18ft skiffs is always sailed on Sydney Harbour. It's not the easiest place to sail, with local knowledge playing a big part in the outcome - a task not made any easier by the Australians racing on the same course configurations for their 18ft Skiff sailing season.

The Kiwi crew of Dave McDiarmid, Matthew Steven and Bradley Collins came very close to winning in 2017 and had an Appeal running on the outcome of that regatta until a few weeks before the start of the 2018 event. Suffice to say a win on the water is a lot more satisfying than in the protest room.

The Honda Marine 18ft Skiff JJ Giltinan champions with Graham Catley, the man most responsible for the New Zealand revival - photo © Frank Quealey
The Honda Marine 18ft Skiff JJ Giltinan champions with Graham Catley, the man most responsible for the New Zealand revival - photo © Frank Quealey

Fittingly, Graham Catley who has been sailing 18fter since God was boy, was recognised with an award. Catley's been a long time backer of the Auckland Sailing Club and 18ft class in New Zealand. He received the President's Award in recognition of his contribution and leadership.

Stu Bannatyne's win on Chinese flagged Dongfeng Racing was his fourth from eight races - giving him the most wins in sailing history. The 2018 win a few month ago was also achieved in the closest Volvo OR or Whitbread RTRW in history. The Sailor of the Year, is for a competitive racing achievement in the 12 months preceding the award. Wislang's win on Dongfeng Racing was his second (having achieved the first on the VO65 Abu Dhabi), and more significantly he has achieved back to back wins in the now 45,000nm race around the Blue Planet.

Epic battle between the two French skippers, François Gabart (MACIF) and Francis Joyon (IDEC Sport) in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe - photo © Yvan Zedda
Epic battle between the two French skippers, François Gabart (MACIF) and Francis Joyon (IDEC Sport) in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe - photo © Yvan Zedda

2024 Olympic options

Last week we published an analysis of World Sailing's decisions made at the Annual Conference in Sarasota, Florida, concerning the events for the 2024 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Marseille.

As part of the research for the story, we approached the International Olympic Committee for comment, and have published their commentary and responses to specific questions regarding the dropping of the Heavyweight Mens One Person Dinghy Event which is sailed in the Finn class.

It is unclear why World Sailing is electing to take a very hard line on Gender Equality - more than the International Olympic Committee requires, and the IOC have made it clear on several occasions that:

"Indeed, the IOC’s approach is to always push both for full gender equality across the Games and also increased gender equality within a sport, but also to ensure that within the sports that there are clear sporting reasons if gender equality cannot be achieved," Kit McConnell, IOC's Director of Sport told Sail-World.

That is the same clause used to exclude male participation from Artistic Swimming otherwise known as Synchronised Swimming, and should be applied to support the only classic event left in the Sailing Olympics, which allows a full singlehanded progression, and caters for male sailors who weigh more than 85kg.

Leg 8 from Itajai to Newport, day 10 on board Dongfeng. 01 May, . Daryl Wislang opens his wet weather gear. - photo © Jeremie Lecaudey / Volvo Ocean Race
Leg 8 from Itajai to Newport, day 10 on board Dongfeng. 01 May, . Daryl Wislang opens his wet weather gear. - photo © Jeremie Lecaudey / Volvo Ocean Race

It would seem that there is plenty more to come on the decisions made by World Sailing. From the IOC's perspective, the 2024 Olympic events do not need to be approved for another two years December 2020.

Those most affected are not your Josh Juniors and Andy Maloneys, but sailors who are about to start their Olympic careers, and while 2024 is six years away, six years is also the run-up time for an Olympic campaign.

With seven of the ten current Olympic classes either under review or set to be changed out, the financial risk of a wrong choice will be a significant deterrent - pushing male sailors away from the Olympics and into the embrace of the America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and the professionally run sailing circuits.

Expecting male sailors, weighing above 85kg and too heavy to be competitive in the Laser, to move into a yet to be selected Mixed Offshore Keelboat, with a price tag of north $165,000, is nonsensical. Even more so when it is most likely to be of European design and manufacture, and required to be imported.

Emirates Team New Zealand's Blair Tuke competing in the A-Class Catamaran World Championships in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia. - photo © Josh McCormack
Emirates Team New Zealand's Blair Tuke competing in the A-Class Catamaran World Championships in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia. - photo © Josh McCormack

The notion that racing and trials can be held using some local fleet, and then for the top sailors to jump into supplied boats in Europe and expect to compete on an equal basis with those who have purchased several Olympic Offshore Keelboats, and are running a two to four or more boat program, is fanciful.

Changing tack, the issues surrounding the Mixed Kiteboard have also been ignored.

The most obvious one being that few females are participating in international competition. With a Mixed Relay proposed - based on the numbers at the combined class World Championships at Aarhus, there would be just nine entries in an Olympic event. In other words, 80% of the women sailing in the women's kiteboard would also be sailing in the Olympic regatta if it were held in 2018.

That's opening the way for several Eddie/Edwina the Eagles to compete in the Mixed Kiteboard in Marseille.

The other point that has not been given a lot of airplay is the changes in the numbers in the Olympic fleets, which will cut in at the 2020 Olympics in Enoshima.

Application of Gender Equity requirements means that in the four Womens' Events the fleet sizes are all larger than the Men's equivalent. Across the board in 2020 there are double figure reductions in the Mens fleets in the RS:X, Laser and 470. The 49er only drops a single boat or two sailors - confirming that 19-20 boats per fleet is recognised by World Sailing as the minimum for a credible fleet.

The full story can be read by clicking here.

Stu Bannatyne (centre) Marie Riou (left) and Daryl Wislang (right) - Leg 8 from Itajai to Newport, day 12 on board Dongfeng. 03 May, . Watch changes are always a moment to relax and spend some time with the opposite watch crew. - photo © Jeremie Lecaudey / Volvo Ocean Race
Stu Bannatyne (centre) Marie Riou (left) and Daryl Wislang (right) - Leg 8 from Itajai to Newport, day 12 on board Dongfeng. 03 May, . Watch changes are always a moment to relax and spend some time with the opposite watch crew. - photo © Jeremie Lecaudey / Volvo Ocean Race

Significant America's Cup developments this week

Looking ahead, there's another America's Cup Overture set for Monaco on Thursday evening local time, which is around 08.30am in New Zealand on Friday Morning.

The timing is one day before the close of entries for the 2021 America's Cup. It has been tipped that there will be one new Challenger announced, with up to six potential teams said to be still alive.

Other announcements are being made in Monaco. We will be bringing these to you as soon as they comes through.

There are just four months left until the first AC75 can be launched. No team is expected to launch on April 1, 2019 - but the first is expected to be in the water sometime in May 2019.

Honda Marine - 18ft skiff - Waitemata Harbour  - photo © Suellen Davies / Auckland Skiff League
Honda Marine - 18ft skiff - Waitemata Harbour - photo © Suellen Davies / Auckland Skiff League

The first America's Cup, World Series Event, is expected to be held at the end of August/early September with a second event soon afterwards.

Both will be held in venues where there is a high chance of fresh winds - and will cover 9-10 days with five days of practice and four days of racing. Currently, there will be only four teams competing. Unless any new Challenger has already started construction, they are likely to be too late for the start of the America's Cup World Series.

Francis Joyon (IDEC Sport) after crossing the line in Guadeloupe in first place in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe - photo © Alexis Courcoux
Francis Joyon (IDEC Sport) after crossing the line in Guadeloupe in first place in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe - photo © Alexis Courcoux

And for all the latest news from NZ and around the world see below.

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

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

Alex Thomson - Hugo Boss - Images after terrain closure on Guadeloupe Island - photo © Alex Thomson Racing
Alex Thomson - Hugo Boss - Images after terrain closure on Guadeloupe Island - photo © Alex Thomson Racing

 
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Armel Le Cléac'h, Banque Populaire IX - photo © Yvan Zedda
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Glenn Ashby turns on some aerobatics - Final day 2018 A Class Catamaran Worlds, Hervey Bay, Queensland - photo © Gordon Upton / www.guppypix.com
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