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Sail-World NZ - March 3: Ainslie wins SailGP..Harken Youth MR Worlds..12ft Interdoms

03/03/2020


Sail-World NZ - March 3: Ainslie wins SailGP..Harken Youth MR Worlds..12ft Interdoms

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Great Britain SailGP Team helmed by Ben Ainslie in action during races on Race Day 2. - SailGP - Sydney - Season 2 - February 2020 - Sydney, Australia. - photo © Drew Malcolm/SailGP


Dear Recipient Name

Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for March 3, 2020

Sir Ben Ainslie and his British America's Cup team gave a sailing masterclass on Sydney Harbour on Friday and Saturday, winning four of the five fleet races, both practice races, and taking the one-sided Final.

For Ainslie and his team, it was their debut regatta on the SailGP. However, the most successful Olympic sailor of all time is certainly no novice when it comes to racing foiling one-design catamarans. His then Land Rover BAR team won the 2015/16 America's Cup World Series and took two points into the 2017 America's Cup Qualifiers. That was against a more talented field than SailGP and was conducted in a mix of fleet and match racing using one design foiling AC45's.

Using a team drawn from within the INEOS Team UK America's Cup sailing squad, his Great Britain SailGP team had the advantage of AC75 foiling experience, plus the use of an America's Cup simulator.

Great Britain SailGP Team helmed by Ben Ainslie prepares to overtake the fleet at the start of the first race on Race Day 2  - SailGP - Sydney - Season 2 - February 2020 - Sydney, Australia. - photo © Bob Martin/SailGP
Great Britain SailGP Team helmed by Ben Ainslie prepares to overtake the fleet at the start of the first race on Race Day 2 - SailGP - Sydney - Season 2 - February 2020 - Sydney, Australia. - photo © Bob Martin/SailGP

In a series of excellent post-event interviews by Bow Caddy Media's Crosbie Lorimer, the other teams all talked of being underdone in terms of pre-regatta practice in the foiling wingsailed F50 catamarans. You can see these Day 1 interviews and Day 2 interviews

The live TV coverage regressed back to the same position it occupied after the first series in 2019, in Sydney. It is over to the organisers to present the style and type of coverage they wish. However, viewers also have the choice of what they wish to see and follow.

For me, the change of commentary team from the last season did not work. My preferred viewing mode for Sydney was to have the App commentary - with a live on the water perspective from Jody Shiels and Marc Ablett. Fortunately, it was in synch with the video images (so the commentators were calling the round the mark action as the boats rounded) - all without any apparent delay.

Great Britain SailGP Team helmed by Ben Ainslie leads the fleet during the first race on Race Day 1.  - SailGP - Sydney - Season 2 - February 2020 - Sydney, Australia. - photo © Bob Martin/SailGP
Great Britain SailGP Team helmed by Ben Ainslie leads the fleet during the first race on Race Day 1. - SailGP - Sydney - Season 2 - February 2020 - Sydney, Australia. - photo © Bob Martin/SailGP

Jody and Marc gave the viewer access to a wider on the water perspective and off-screen action, some great, and very amusing, one-liners. As the USA boat sped towards the spectators on Shark Island before throwing it into a sharp turn and tack - "Gee, that was quick - Rome [Kirby, skipper] must have spotted an ex-girlfriend in the crowd!".

Jody and Marc both have a good set of sailing eyes, and quickly turn that vision into tight comments, which remarkably keep pace with the fast F-50 action. Full credit to Russell Coutts for picking them up at the end of the Moth Worlds.

The difference in switching commentaries was amazing - going from one that was not adding a lot to the video, to an event that was exciting to watch, and went from a 4/10 to a 9/10.

So the App was worth the price solely for the commentary (but not much else if you are in a territory for which TV rights have been sold). Viewed in conjunction with the video, it gave the viewer a much better picture of event and a better understanding of the way the racing was unfolding.

Ben Ainslie, helmsman of Great Britain SailGP Team, pilots the Great Britain SailGP Team presented by INEOS - SailGP - Sydney - Season 2 - February 2020 - Sydney, Australia. - photo © Eloi Stichelbaut /SailGP
Ben Ainslie, helmsman of Great Britain SailGP Team, pilots the Great Britain SailGP Team presented by INEOS - SailGP - Sydney - Season 2 - February 2020 - Sydney, Australia. - photo © Eloi Stichelbaut /SailGP

Too often in the live broadcast, the commentators talked over the onboard audio as though it was just background noise - when so often it can be left running allow the competitors to tell the story of the race, as it unfolds.

Disappointingly the commentary team feel the need to keep talking up the event, which it doesn't need - giving the impression that SailGP lacks self-confidence and is struggling to find its place on the world stage. If you have to tell people how good you are - then you probably aren't.

There were several incidents with telemetry failure, which does marr the racing and coverage of the race. However, this was the first event after some substantial change, and one has to accept that there is a big element of "she'll be right on the night". There will be bugs which get thrown up in live racing which can't be simulated in testing. With the event now through its first live run, these bugs should be worked out.

Australia SailGP Team helmed by Tom Slingsby in action during a practice session ahead of Sydney SailGP - Season 2 - February 2020 - Sydney, Australia. - photo © Sam Greenfield/SailGP
Australia SailGP Team helmed by Tom Slingsby in action during a practice session ahead of Sydney SailGP - Season 2 - February 2020 - Sydney, Australia. - photo © Sam Greenfield/SailGP

CEO Russell Coutts was reported to have given the Sydney event a 6/10 after the racing had concluded - which seemed to be a fair, if sightly harsh score overall, and it was good to see his objectivity as to where the event sat and hopefully he understands what has to be done going into the next event in San Francisco.

While there was no New Zealand team competing in the Main Event (and in fact only one New Zealander, Phil Robertson, the stand-in skipper for the fledgeling Spanish team), Kiwis dominated the SailGP Inspire Racing in the WASZP foiling single-handers.

After the Qualifying, four New Zealand sailors made the top eight for the Final - with Sean Herbert (NZL) winning, Sam Street (NZL) finishing second and Stella Bilger (NZL) finishing as the top female competitor. She pulled off an amazing attack right at the finish of the final race of Day 2.

(Stella Bilger (NZL) centre - Day 1 -  Sydney SailGP Inspire , Event 1 Season 2 in Sydney Harbour, Sydney, Australia. 28 February  - photo © Sam Greenfield/SailGP
(Stella Bilger (NZL) centre - Day 1 - Sydney SailGP Inspire , Event 1 Season 2 in Sydney Harbour, Sydney, Australia. 28 February - photo © Sam Greenfield/SailGP

The Sail Inspire, sailed in the WAZSP's, was a great initiative, really worked well, made good TV viewing in its own right. And even better put young sailors on the world stage.

Having F-50's limbering up in the background, while the young sailors raced (and crashed) WASZPs made a powerful image.

There needs to be more WASZP racing shown between F50 events.

Also required are some short, sharp questions and interviews, with the F50 skippers - depending on what has worked/gone awry/didn't come across for the viewer during the live coverage.

Harken Youth Match Racing World Championship - Day 2 - February 28, 2020 - Waitemata Harbour - photo © Andrew Delves
Harken Youth Match Racing World Championship - Day 2 - February 28, 2020 - Waitemata Harbour - photo © Andrew Delves

Harken World Youth Match Racing

On Sunday, Australian sailors won the Harken World Youth Match Racing Championship, with James Hodgson taking the world title beating a US crew skippered by Jack Parkin. Nick Egnot-Johnson led the only Kiwi crew in the Semi-Final but were eliminated 3-2 by the eventual world title winner. They went on to beat Finn Tapper (AUS) in the Petit-Final to take third place.

The racing was plagued with uncooperative weather resulting in the course area being moved down-harbour to Mechanics Bay for the early rounds, before returning to the Westhaven shore for the Finals. We have full coverage and images from each race day in this edition.

Atamai became the second boat to dine on fresh fish during Leg 2 of the Evolution Sails Round North Island Race 2020 - photo © Atamai Media
Atamai became the second boat to dine on fresh fish during Leg 2 of the Evolution Sails Round North Island Race 2020 - photo © Atamai Media

Round North Island Race

The 38 boat fleet in the Round North Island Race has finished Leg 2, and are now mid-way through the third leg from Wellington to Napier. The event for two-person crews has been a pleasant sail - with the main problem being not enough wind rather than too much - except maybe for the present time where the fleet seems to be sailing into moderate to fresh headwinds.

The event has been dominated by the 52fters, including one sailing with a father and daughter crew (Chris and Rebecca Hornell) aboard Kia Kaha, who is currently leading the leg. Wired (Rob Bassett and Angus Scott) has the rare achievement of catching a fish (and eating it onboard) while leading a yacht race - and going onto win the leg.

60th Interdominion 12ft Skiff Championships - February 29, 2019 - Worser Bay, Wellington - photo © Garrick Cameron
60th Interdominion 12ft Skiff Championships - February 29, 2019 - Worser Bay, Wellington - photo © Garrick Cameron

12ft Skiffs

It seems hard to believe that the 12ft skiff Interdominions has been running for 60 years, in a class that dates back to the early 1900's in Sydney.

Over the past week, seventeen crews from Australia and New Zealand tested themselves against each other and the always challenging Wellington Harbour conditions. Going into the last day, three boats - Sydney Sails, Geotherm and C-Tech were tied up covered by just a single point.

In the end, Nick Press and Andrew Hay (Sydney Sails) won the title by a point from a second Sydney crew (Brett Hobson and Cameron McDonald) on Geotherm, with C-Tech (Alex Vallings and Sam Richardson) recording a DNS on the penultimate race dropping them back to third. The event was notable for some of the veteran crews competing including Alex Vallings, and Tim Barlett - with 35 years on from winning his first Interdominion 12ft title sailing Dimension Sailcloth in Brisbane.

This is the class that has produced some top sailors, designers, builders and engineers - like Bruce Farr, Russell Bowler, Iain Murray all of whom won the trophy in boats they had designed, built and sailed themselves.

Competition for the Brooke Trophy for the top team in the event continues to be strong.

Cagliari, Sardinia  - photo © Carlo Borlenghi
Cagliari, Sardinia - photo © Carlo Borlenghi

Coronavirus

The elephant in the room for international sailing events is the coronavirus, and its effect on sailing events - not so much through catching the virus, but through Government edicts and shutdowns as they enact a containment policy for their territories.

In the firing line are most large sailing events in Europe, around the Olympic classes, America's Cup World Series and other major regattas which attract large numbers of entries and fans - increasing the risk of them becoming carriers, rather than patients.

Also on the line are the 2020 Olympics, given the proliferation of coronavirus around Japan, China and Southern Korea.

The America's Cup in Auckland would appear to be safe - given that it is longer duration event than a week-long sailing regatta, however, there is likely to be some issues if the ACWS event does go ahead in Sardinia.

United States SailGP Team helmed by Rome Kirby nose dive on Race Day 1.  - SailGP - Sydney - Season 2 - February 2020 - Sydney, Australia. - photo © Bob Martin/SailGP
United States SailGP Team helmed by Rome Kirby nose dive on Race Day 1. - SailGP - Sydney - Season 2 - February 2020 - Sydney, Australia. - photo © Bob Martin/SailGP

Currently, Italy is ranked in Category 2 by the Ministry of Health (along with Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Thailand) which only requires self-isolation if feeling unwell. However, if the issue worsens in any of the category territories, they can be promoted to Category 1a or 1b, and registration is mandatory along with self-isolation, which gets interesting for non-New Zealand citizens.

The issue is not so much going into an infected territory, or competing there, but what how you get out - and how you work through a two-four week period of self-isolation either in NZ or the next country you are trying to enter. The issues affect fans just as much as competitors.

It's a time for cool heads, and sound medium to long term thinking.

Harken Youth Match Racing World Championship - Day 2 - February 28, 2020 - Waitemata Harbour - photo © Andrew Delves
Harken Youth Match Racing World Championship - Day 2 - February 28, 2020 - Waitemata Harbour - photo © Andrew Delves

For all the latest news from NZ and around the world see the Top 50 stories below.

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.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

12ft Skiff Interdomminions 2020 - photo © Garrick Cameron
12ft Skiff Interdomminions 2020 - photo © Garrick Cameron

 
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