New Year message from President Charles. 2021 ‘A’ Cat Year Review, a new female National Champion and Jacek Noetzel gets a new red tractor.
Dear ‘A’ Cat Sailors!
2021 has certainly be a transition year for the class. Some sailors in some countries were able to attend a few events, some have been locked down for very long times. Those who were almost free to travel wanted to sail and sometimes didn't understand the situation of the locked-ins. We have all done our best to live our passion to the fullest, and despite the sanitary issues it was certainly a better year than 2020, even if far from perfect.
Despite the new viruses traveling the world and putting our societies in trouble again, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Organisation committees of the World Championship in USA and the European Championship in Italy are working hard to make these events a success. Eg in USA they are organizing free/cheap hosting, charter boats, etc. If you are willing to take a flight to Houston, Bob, Ben, Bruce and the Texas team will find you a lodging and a boat to sail. Maybe not the same boat as you do own, but at the end, participating is a key to the event success, and I can only encourage you to study this possibility. I have noticed flights from Europe to Houston are relatively cheap so you may well consider this very real chance to board a plane and come sailing the waters of Galveston Bay.
National Associations across all countries will soon as well publish their racing calendars. Prepare your boats and go participate to these events, it's crucial for the class and its success.
I take this opportunity to thank the volunteers across the world, be it in local clubs, in committees of National Associations, in IACA Committees or in all other positions that forms the core of our class and make it possible to develop and succeed.
Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, and windy 2022 !
With my kind regards,
IACA President 2021
Class 2021 Review
Our 2021 year seemed really to continue as the old one finished. The cloud of COVID hanging over us all and dominating our lives. However, with care and consideration, we still managed to get through our year somehow.
2021 started with the announcement that the class, following a members vote, was to be officially split into the twin divisions of Classic and Open categories following the successful trial period. While some still disagree, a majority thought it would be a good thing for the class moving forward and kept older boats and sailors within the class. Most events were now run to produce twin results, which seemed to satisfy most sailors and National Associations and often combined fleets sailing where there is insufficient numbers in each division, with results simply split out at the end. This seems to be working well.
There being no significant events in the month of January though, as the usual AUS Nationals New Year opening event was moved a little later this year.
The AUS Nats took off at Port Stephens NSW. Multiple National and World champ, Stevie Brewin, pipped his training mate, Darren Bundock, on the final day to become Open Champion. Andrew Landenberger nailed the Classic Championship though, in dominating style.
Meanwhile, a little later and across the Tasman Sea on the top of the South Island at Queen Charlotte YC, Kiwi ace and World No.2 Dave Shaw made light work of the opposition to become NZL Classic Champ again. Thomas Block clinched the Classic crown.
Also, the brand new eXploder shape was unveiled
Traditionally a quiet period in our year, even without a pandemic. Southern hemisphere goes quiet, while the Northern half is still in frost or storm mode. However, a bunch of ‘A’ Cat sailors did help to win the Americas cup for NZL again.
The US does keep going though, with their migratory fleets going South for the winter, like herds of Bison sweeping majestically across the open plains accompanied by a soaring Jerome Moross soundtrack, and sailing throughout the year. The NOOD Regatta, at St. Petersburg Fl, was won by Ravi Parent (Open) and Woody Cope (Classic).
At Garda, Tymuk Bendyk hosted a training masterclass, and the Foiling Easter Regatta took place, seeing ‘A’ Cats pitched against Moths in a great event.
Sopot in POL came out of hibernation with their first season regatta., with Tymuk scoring the first victory of their year. However, other scheduled May events, including the Hellecat event, started to get cancelled as another COVID round took hold.
At the Alpine beauty spot of Walchensee, the GER Nationals saw a first 2021 travelling regatta victory for Kuba Surowiec. Bob Baier again became in the GER Open Champ, and Christian Stock in the Classic. And down in the Adriatic resort of Riccione, the ITA Nationals were won by Carlo Colombo (Open) and Alberto Farnessi (Classic).
Unfortunately, COVID had sadly forced the cancellation of the European Championships in Cadiz. It was a great pity, as such hard effort was put in by the ESP organising crew and it promised to be a great event.
With the summer heat turning up, Hellecat managed to host its first 2021event and it became a sort of mini Euros. Mischa Heemskerk showed the way in the Open, with Phil Muyzers dominant in the Classics.
The biggest news this month was that Jacek received a shinny new red tractor in Sopot! It was promptly put to work in the POL Nationals, where in an interesting variety of winds, Kuba continued his years successes becoming National Open Champ, and Marek Zebrowski the Classic.
A few days later, the NED Nationals happened at Hellecat. This time, fresh from his POL victory, Kuba proved to be Micsha's nemisis this time and won the Open division convincingly with 10 bullets, although Mischa's rigging fail in a later race certainly didn’t help. Mischa was still crowned NED Open Champion though.
However, this event is noteworthy for another reason too. Following in the footsteps of Caroline Van Beelen at the last NED Nationals, a new woman became a National Champion, with Astrid Janssen winning the Classic fleet championships, something of a pattern that would be good to be repeated in other associations. But at picturesque Wallersee, the AUT Nationals were a no show after the wind stopped away, so they just ate strudels and drank hefewiesse beer instead.
At the Lac d’Heure, the BEL nationals were won by the reigning Champion Michel Warlop in their Classic fleet and much enjoyment was has as usual.
Over in Carlyle IL, the North Americans took place with Bruce Mahoney retaining his crown as NA Open Champ, and Bob Weddon sneaking in to win the Classic division championships.
The SUI Nats were held in Toulon and won by Loic Dony on his Open foiler, at the Mediterranean cup event. The event was won overall by Micky Todd.
The month drew to a close with another victory by that ascendant 2021 superstar, Kuba, who won the popular and well-attended Univela event at Garda.
The news was announced that the 2022 World Championships was to change venue from St Petersburg FL to Houston TX, and to take place few weeks later. Organisation was started for the change and continues to do so.
The final Nationals of the year took place at Maubuisson FRA. This was another well-attended event as several overseas sailors turned up. The event won by ESP sailors, Iago Lopes Marra, who won the ‘Podeum General’, and with Micky Todd as the Classique winner. Albert Routurier was declared the official FRA National Champion.
Thus ended our year, although some Northern fleets still sail into the winter, the Southern guys are just getting going again and the Americans just move down South again. It was unfortunate that a few associations could not hold a National Championships, COVID casts a long shadow and host venues are understandably exercising caution with regards to meetings. The Northern European weather pattern over the last two years has been different too, 20% more wind speed than average was recorded by the UK Met Office for instance, and there have been many corresponding lulls. This undoubtably contributed to fewer completed events.
So, we all look forward to 2022 and hopefully push the reset button. As said, much work is being done for the late April Houston Worlds event - www.aclasworlds.com , with many big names hoping to enter, and by big, we do mean some big sailing stars as the America’s Cup and Olympic events are in their lull seasons. Overseas sailors have been offered host families for accommodation, so what is not to like, and charter boats are being sourced as we speak. Then, if that is not enough, later in 2022, we have the Euros at Garda in September. A closed event with limited participation, so ask your association about allocated places.
For now, we wish you a good and safe New Year, and here’s to an epic 2022 season, and thanks for all the help in those who provided news and reports for this year - you are all legends!