Andrew Landenberger and Mischa Heemskerk became the 2019 ‘A’ Class cat World Champions on Friday at WPNSA in great style. Sailing in almost Champaign sailing conditions of sun and 14-17 knot wind, the pair dominated their respective divisions with 8 bullets each in a superbly run regatta and under the control of David Campbell-James and his race team.
In the UK, we hear much about the ‘Olympic Legacy’ from governments etc., but very few ever seem to see the almost mythical thing in action. However, in our sailing world, the team at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, for the World ‘A’ Cat fleet at least, have proved it exists. This was the first time in many years that the fleet has ever sailed a full series, and even more amazing when you conceder that the ‘A’ Cat Championship Rules now allowed for up to 12 races in a series. ‘Weybiza’, you delivered! Over the past 7 days we have seen every wind condition allowable within the class parameters from the early week 5 knot minimum right up to one race where 20.9 knots was recorded, so it was a true test of a champion. We all have our favorite conditions, but to be the best, we need to be good in them all and this is what was on show here.
In the Classic fleet, Scotty Anderson AUS 31, and new class division Great Grand Master Champion, stole a couple of bullets from Landy whilst simultaneously keeping Landy’s 20 year old son Andy AUS 300 and Junior Division Champion, at bay, but also fending off a strong challenge from Alberto Farnesi SWE 59. The home fleet of 7 boats saw ‘A’ Cat newby Hugh MacGregor GBR18, finished in an excellent 6thplace and he was using a repaired mast and borrowed sail! The total fleet was 24 boats in the division, which is slightly disappointing when you conceder how many other Classics are sailed on the near continent.
The 64 strong Open division was dominated by Mischa NED 007, in his trademark guns out, pedal to the metal sailing style. His boat handling, especially at the corners has to be seen to be believed and gains a worthy third World Title. In second, Dave Shaw NZL 230, sailed a superb series and snapping at Mischa’s heels on several occasions with a number of very close finishes with Mischa, Tymuk Bendyk POL 15, who finished third overall and Maunel Calavia ESP 11, who seemed to have a bit of a nightmare in his last three races. Top home sailor was Tom Phipps GBR 22 who was happy with his 16thplace in this field.
What have we learned? In the Classics, the decksweeper sail design, not modified to suit a classic boat will give you more speed upwind and sail you higher. Trapezing downwind is a given as soon as it’s possible. The Classics have trial rules in place as regards their foils etc., and we expect some interesting feedback from Paul Larsen, the new Technical Committee chairman on these.
On the Open, the latest foils look to be performing well, resulting in more stable flight and fewer violent landings. Rudder rake, and sometime differential rudder rake is also a ‘thing’ now. Sails are as ever constantly evolving. The decksweeper has been here for a while now, but the head size is altering about although the Pin-Head looks to have come in more for now.
The class owes a huge vote of thanks to the Peter Allam, Sally Reynoldson and their staff and helpers at WPNSA. Peter said that this was a first for the Academy, and for Portland harbour in as much as, whilst they had many foiling boats at there, and held many events for Moths, Waszps and such, the foiling 'A' Cats were another level altogether, and witnessing sixty high tech carbon machines crossing each other whilst doing 25 knots at the bottom mark was not only an eye opener, but a testiment to the skill at which they are sailed. Many sailors now realize what can be achieved in a place as unique as this, and the sailing was second to none. Struan Wallace and the other BACCA organisers struggled to get much sponsorship for this event, especially from UK companies. Maybe it’s the current interesting UK situation keeping packets zipped. However, massive thanks to those who did support us – Forward WIP, who protected many sailors from injuring themselves on these beasts. Ronstan for providing their great Clearstart sailing watches to the winners, and shirts for all. North Sails for their cool shirts and prizes. Cuicui wines, for lubricating everyone. Brittany Ferries for their sailor discount travel. Nobel Marine, who jumped in at the last minute as basically save many by providing cover for overseas sailors. And to DNA and Exploder for their Media Rib support without whom you’d get no video, no photos and your sponsors would not get the crucial exposure they paid for in the first place.
See you all, first in Cadiz next June for the Euros, and then in is the good Ol’ USA at St Petersberg FL for the 2020 Worlds in the October. Loving your work people!