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Olympic class news and an Ultim class showdown - USA Newsletter


Olympic class news and an Ultim class showdown

North Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - Leaderboard

RS Sailing 2019 - Leaderboard

Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea (USA) - Hyundai 49er, 49erFX & Nacra 17 Oceania Championship - Day 1 - photo © Matias Capizzano

Dear Recipient Name

As the Midwest and East Coast shovel out from their first big storm of the year, and as Pacific Northwest skiers cry that all the snow is being wasted on flat surfaces (read: our mountains are still borderline green... trust me, I'm in this latter group), and as the rest of the country grapples with the sheer volume of last week's consumed holiday cheer, big things are happening in Olympic sailing circles. The 2019 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships, which are being hosted by the Royal Akarana Yacht Club, are unfurling this week (December 3-8) on the waters off of Auckland, New Zealand.

For U.S.-flagged sailors racing in these classes, this regatta represents the first of two regattas (the other being the 2020 Worlds for these same classes) that will decide the U.S. Olympic team berths. The teams that emerges from these two World Championship-level regattas with the lowest combined score will earn the right to represent the USA at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (July 24-August 9).

(For a deeper dive into the athlete selection process for U.S. sailors, please visit

The USA has sent five 49er teams (Andrew Mollerus & Ian MacDiarmid; Ian Barrows & Mitchell Kiss; Judge Ryan & Hans Henken; Harry Melges IV & Finn Rowe, and Nevin Snow & Dane Wilson), three 49er FX teams (Steph Roble & Maggie Shea; Paris Henken & Anna Tobias, and Kate Shaner & Kathleen Love), and three Nacra 17 teams (Riley Gibbs & Anna Weis; Sarah Newberry & David Liebenberg, and Ravi Parent & Caroline Atwood) to New Zealand.

Marskeel 2019 600x500   Melges IC37 2019 MPU

Riley Gibbs and Anna Weis - Ready Steady Tokyo, day 3 - photo © Pedro Martinez / Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Riley Gibbs and Anna Weis - Ready Steady Tokyo, day 3 - photo © Pedro Martinez / Sailing Energy / World Sailing

As of this writing, the USA has already qualified to race at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the 49er FX and the Nacra 17, however one of the U.S.-flagged 49er teams will need to place amongst the top four countries that have not already earned their country berth for this high-performance skiff in order to secure a spot for an American team at next summer's Games.

While the stakes are high, both for country and individual sailor berths, the USA is entering this regatta with some positive momentum from the recent 2019 Oceania Championships (November 25-27), which were contested on the waters off Waitemata Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand. Impressively, two American-flagged teams finished in the top ten, with Steph Roble & Maggie Shea taking a proud second place in the 49er FX class, while Riley Gibbs & Anna Weis took home an eighth-place finish in the Nacra 17.

North Sails 2019 - Helix Top-Down Furling 600x500   Selden CX & GX Furling Systems 600x500

US Sailing Team athletes, Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea - 2019 Oceania Championships - photo © Matias Capizzano
US Sailing Team athletes, Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea - 2019 Oceania Championships - photo © Matias Capizzano

Less positive for fans of U.S. Olympic sailing is that the top-ranked 49er team with the letters USA on their mainsail (Andrew Mollerus & Ian MacDiarmid) finished in 15th place.

However, it's important to recognize that the 2019 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships represent a clean slate for U.S. sailors after the Oceania Championships, and we at Sail-World wish these sailors — and all competing athletes — good luck at this week's big regatta.

Zhik ATR Aroshell SW MPU   Festival of Sails 2020 GIF - MPU

Maxi Edmond de Rothschild - Brest Atlantiques, Day 11 - photo © Yann Riou / polaRYSE / Gitana SA
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild - Brest Atlantiques, Day 11 - photo © Yann Riou / polaRYSE / Gitana SA

Meanwhile, switching gears from small, high-performance boats to huge and even higher-performance vessels, the Brest Atlantiques, which is a 14,000 nautical mile showdown involving double-handed Ultim trimarans racing in a massive figure-eight course on the North and South Atlantic Oceans, is drawing to a close, with some 920 nautical miles (at the time of this writing) separating Maxi Edmond de Rothschild's bows from the finishing line. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is being crewed by co-skippers Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, along with media pro Yann Riou.

Provided that no mishaps unfurl aboard Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, this leaves co-skippers Yves Le Blevec and Alex Pella, along with media pro Ronan Gladu, sailing aboard Actual Leader, and co-skippers Francois Gabart and Gwenole Gahinet, plus media pro Jeremie Eloy, sailing aboard Trimaran Macif, to battle for second and third places, respectively.

Hyde Sails 2017 March 300x250   Sound Boatworks 2019 Black Friday 300x250

Trimaran Macif - Brest Atlantiques Day 17 - photo © Jérémie Eloy / Macif
Trimaran Macif - Brest Atlantiques Day 17 - photo © Jérémie Eloy / Macif

As of this writing, Trimaran Macif, which took a far more westerly routing, was some 2,200 nautical miles from the finishing line, while Actual Leader still has some 2,050 nautical miles to go before her crew can relax.

And if history is any guide, nothing about these remaining 2,000 nautical miles will be relaxing for these world-class skippers.

Vaikobi 2019AUG - MPU 1   RS Sailing 2019 - MPU

Actual Leader - Brest Atlantiques 2019 - photo © Ronan Gladu / Actual Leader
Actual Leader - Brest Atlantiques 2019 - photo © Ronan Gladu / Actual Leader

While this is a recipe for onboard stress and sleep deprivation, it's also a recipe that should yield some great armchair sailing for us landlubbers who are either nursing sore backs from shoveling snow, crying over their lack of good snow in the mountains (my hand is in the air), or trying to shake off that second (or fourth) slice of pumpkin pie.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt North American Editor

Kurrnung Matlock 2019 KA-5 For Sale v2   upffront 2018 FSE Robline 300x250 1

Hyundai World Championships LIVE after long weather delay
The breeze has been blowing the dogs off chains at the first day of racing in the Hyundai 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 Worlds. The breeze blew 25-30kts from the north (onshore) for most of the day before swinging to the west.

Hyundai 49er Worlds: Burling and Tuke make a splash on Day 1
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke were about 400m away from the perfect start to the Hyundai 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world championships today but a capsize close to the finish line left them thinking about what might have been.

Champions to unite for 5.5 Metre Gold Cup and World Championship 2020
With boats belonging to international entrants arriving in Australia, the temptation to take part in the upcoming 5.5 Metre Class World Championship proved too strong for some big names on home soil, who have now signed on the dotted line for the event

PandB 2019 Autumn Sale - MPU   Rooster GETSEASMART 300x250
Brest Atlantiques - Maxi Edmond de Rothschild under the 1,000-mile barrier!
This morning, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, the solid leaders of the Brest Atlantiques, treated themselves to a passage through the Azores archipelago.

49er FX: Martine Grael returns to her sailing nursery
An Olympic sailing champion who learned to race on Auckland's harbour is back to claim a world title, but can Martine Grael claim Kiwi hearts like her famous dad once did?

Star Sailors League Finals: Who will be 2019's star of the sailing world?
On the start line in Nassau tomorrow will be the most international and diverse line-up as the Qualification rounds get under way at the Star Sailor's League Finals, to determine who will be 2019's 'Star of the Sailing World'.

Gul 2019 CZ Steamers MPU 250 - 2014
Brest Atlantiques Day 27: The gap tightens between MACIF and Actual Leader
While Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is now on track to reach Brest next Wednesday, the battle for second place is well and truly on between MACIF and Actual Leader. With only around thirty miles separating them, it looks like it will be a close call

RS Aero Australian Championships at the Black Rock Yacht Club Go for Gold Regatta
The 35 RS Aeros that entered were given a classic taste of conditions at Black Rock that saw our new National Champions emerge from a variety of testing sailing conditions.

Jules Verne Trophy: Tuesday night departure for Spindrift 2
Spindrift 2 is preparing for a new attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy, the round the world record that starts and finishes in Ushant, leaving the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin, Horn) to port.

Protector - 300x250   C-Tech Emirates TNZ 250
Just over six weeks to go to Barbados Sailing Week 2020
With just over six weeks to go before the start of Barbados Sailing Week incorporating Round Barbados Race, now is the time to sign up for a place in the sun and enjoy spectacular racing in this stunning part of the world, writes Sue Pelling.

An interview with Richard Hamilton about the Jamin J/22 Jamaica Invitational
I checked in with Richard Hamilton, regatta chair of the 2019 Jamin J/22 Jamaica Invitational, via email, to learn more about this competitive warm-water regatta.

The World Sailing Show: Programme 11 - Season 2019
There's also the latest footage of Italy's Luna Rossa America's Cup team foiling their AC75 in the Mediterranean. The longest and toughest double-handed transatlantic race is the Transat Jacques Vabre we bring you all race action.

Mackay 250   Naiad 300x250px_Superyacht
US Sailing Team takes on 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 Worlds
The US Sailing Team athletes are ready to take on the 2019 Hyundai 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships. The event will be hosted from December 3-8 at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club, in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Clipper Race Leg 3 - Race 4, Day 15: In pictures
Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam has relinquished its windward position, and the lead, to Qingdao after completing the Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint.

Steely Bill – One man who will forever be upstanding
It was at the 50th Birthday celebration for the Etchells last November that one Bill Steele was left standing alone in the room. He was not there on his own, for the Girdis Room at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron was a complete sell out.

KZRaceFurlers   Southern Spars Recruitment 300x250
Salvage Rights?
Does it work on land something like it does at sea? Is it akin to it being a mooring minder? No. Land based law is very different to that of the sea, where much of it harks back to the 1600s.

RORC Transatlantic Race - Day 9: The north south divide
Whilst all of the competing yachts are south of the rhumb line in the RORC Transatlantic Race, there is over 900nm of latitudinal separation in the fleet. Jangada is furthest north and Childhood 1 furthest south.

Revamped Club Class for Antigua Sailing Week 2020
Antigua Sailing Week featured a new Club Class in 2017 which has been expanded and improved for 2020. This Class is open to sailors who want to participate in the on-the-water action but who may not take their racing as seriously as others

18ft Skiff NSW Championship on Sydney Harbour - Race 2
The Winning Group team of John Winning Jr., Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton gave a brilliant exhibition to dominate the fleet and take out Race 2 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

America's Cup World Series details published - confirmation to follow
The America's Cup organisers have followed the line of the previous trophy holder by meeting a publication deadline without publicly revealing any specifics after an 11th hour negotiation between Cup organisers, venues, teams and sponsors.

Musto International Youth Match Racing Regatta 2019 - Overall
At the final day of the Musto Youth International Match Racing Regatta Jordan Stevenson, Mitch Jackson, George Angus, Jake Erson, Jeb Lardies have been declared the overall winner of the 2019 'Joy Ride' Trophy.

Quick Cleat: We speak to Barton Marine's Suzanne Blaustone
Mark Jardine speaks to Suzanne Blaustone, Managing Director of Barton Marine, about Quick Cleat - an innovation that provides the best alternative to tying knots, securing numerous items around boats, trailers and marinas.

IM24CA World Council elects new Chair
While no remarkable amendments to the class rules or documents were made, a few members of the Executive Committee concluded their terms and new officers were elected and appointed to serve the Melges 24 class.

2019 set the tone: 2020 IMOCA season looks like being exceptional
There were three events on the calendar in the Globe Series: the Bermudes 1000 Race (solo), the Rolex Fastnet Race (double-handed) and more recently the Transat Jacques Vabre (double-handed).

Hobie 16 World Championships at Captiva Island Yacht Club
Hobie, the leading manufacturer of premium kayaks, sailboats and watersport products, is pleased to announce Venezuelan sailors Yamil Saba and Gonzalo Cendra as the 2019 Hobie 16 World Champions.

The View From Bilbao - Yacht Racing Forum 2019
Having attended the annual gathering of the world yacht racing fraternity for the last five years, this year's Yacht Racing Forum event staged in Bilbao over two days has been widely reported as one of the 'best ever'.

Roble and Shea take silver at 2019 49er FX Oceania Championships
The US Sailing Team is looking solid heading into the 2019 Hyundai 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships. On Wednesday, November 27, the team finished the 2019 Oceania Championships with two boats in the top 10

Royal Cork Yacht Club opens entries for Volvo Cork Week 2020
Bumper fleets expected to attend prestigious international regatta incorporating Irish Cruiser Racing Association National Championships as part of historic club's tricentenary celebrations.

56th Congressional Cup to open World Match Racing Tour season
The 56th edition of the Congressional Cup®, organized by Long Beach Yacht Club in California, will play host to the opening event of the 2020 World Match Racing Tour season April 29 - May 3, 2020.

Cape Town to host The Ocean Race for 12th time
The Ocean Race will return to Cape Town for the 12th time as the most challenging offshore race in the sport comes to South Africa in the 2021-22 edition.

NEW for 2020 - APEX waterproof shorts, pants and jacket from Zhik
New for 2020 is Zhik's APEX range of jackets, shorts and long pants, made from a highly breathable, two-layer, waterproof fabric with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating and fully-taped seams.

2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart: Fourth-largest fleet to celebrate 75 years
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) is pleased to announce that the fourth-largest fleet in the history of the race will take part in the 75th running of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Rolex Fastnet Race to finish in Cherbourg: We speak to Eddie Warden Owen
Mark Jardine, Managing Editor of and, caught up with RORC Chief Executive Eddie Warden Owen to find out more about Cherbourg becoming the finish destination of the Rolex Fastnet Race in 2021 and 2023.

Royal Ocean Racing Club to finish the Rolex Fastnet Race in Cherbourg
The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), organisers of the Rolex Fastnet Race, announced at a press conference today that the City of Cherbourg will host the finish of the Rolex Fastnet Race for the 2021 and 2023 editions of the biennial race.

Sir Ben Ainslie's INEOS TEAM UK joins Great Britain SailGP Team
Sir Ben Ainslie - the most successful Olympic sailor of all time - today joined the Great Britain SailGP Team. Beginning in the global league's second season kicking off in February 2020, Ainslie will represent Great Britain.

Melges IC37 2019 Footer

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