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Perks of the job

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 29 Apr 2018 23:00 BST
Day 4 - Kiteboarding Youth Olympics Qualifications © Mariano Arias / IKA

Unequivocally, the greatest element of this job is the contact with you, the readers. Whether it is on the quay, via email, or the phone calls, listening to your thoughts, comments and questions is a perk you do not necessarily fully comprehend until you sit down in the Editor's seat. So thank you. Your efforts are appreciated.

All this comes on the back of last week's miscellaneous ramblings about sailing in the Olympics, entitled 'Everyone's got an opinion'. Craig from South Australia wrote in asking, "Is there another Olympic Sport that has its basic core elements changed so regularly? Does Athletics change the footwear and clothing you wear, or the surface of the track at every event? Does the Pole Vault change the construction, design, or length of the poles it uses at every event? Does the Decathlon change the events to stay current? Does Football change the shape of the ball, width of the goals or the off-side rule at every event? I could go on and on..."

"Surely there is a standard that a boat class represents, and that standard is upheld at every event. e.g planing, spinnaker handling, mixed sex, whatever."

"It does not sit well with me that the Olympic standard in sailing is to constantly change the standard. It's truly bizarre."

Both Sail-World Supremo, Mark Jardine, and I pondered this one deeply, for it raised a very interesting argument. Now although the fibres for the clothing, materials for the footwear, along with the metallurgy, and composites for the equipment have all evolved in every discipline, as Craig says, the decathlon remains the decathlon. Of course it is an event that is also immediately recognisable as such.

Mark also noted that although a couple of sports do change the equipment they use such as javelin, and cycling, he couldn't think of another sport that changes the equipment deployed in the way that sailing does. Ultimately, I reminded myself that Badminton sits higher on the media puzzle than sailing, and so perhaps sailing is still searching for that elusive standard Craig talked about.

In addition to making the time to send in all of that, Craig wrote back saying, "Thanks for the Newsletter too, it really is a credit to you all, always interesting, always entertaining. Keep up the great work." All we can say is, 'Muchas gracias, señor'.

All of which is a lovely segue into talking about the AST at Hyéres, where Mat Belcher and Will Ryan came away with Silver, and Tom Burton the Bronze. Jake Lilley's fifth place had him in front of the other AUS Finn sailors. Early in precedings, David Gilmour and Joel Turner had looked to own an unassailable lead in the 49er, but the dreaded Black Flag put paid to loftier aspirations than the fourth place they finished with. A similar issue affected Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin in the Nacra 17, with 10th being the final score for them.

Tacking! Many have said that the Volvo had used the Open 60s (now known as IMOCAs) as the benchmark for their own designs. Harsher critics talked about it being more like a puppy swinging around on the tail of a larger dog as it went on its merry way. Going to One Design was a masterstroke, but given that they had not been able to secure an eighth team for this last iteration, some rightly questioned where it was all going, and even though budgets had been curtailed somewhat, it still remained a hugely costly exercise. Of course the previous CEO and the powers that be had not been able to reconcile where they really sat with all, either.

So it would now appear that the VOR and IMOCA have the same hymn sheet, with the GenIII foiling 60s to be used in solo configuration for the Vendée, and also as a four to five handed vessel for the Volvo. Teams now get more racing out of the same hull, and that has to be a boon, but OD would be long gone from the mix.

What's interesting here is the juxtaposition between IMOCA, which is unabashedly owner/skipper controlled and operated with a distinctly non-commercial focus, versus the VOR, which is clearly dichotomous to that. It was particularly interesting to note that Alex Thomson says that the vote was 77 yay, and only three nay to allow the VOR to adopt the IMOCA box rule.

Whether an announcement on the new position will be made before the race finishes in a couple of months, or become part of something bigger in the form of the race being sold is unclear for now. The VOR appear to be remaining very tight lipped about it all, but it will be interesting to see exactly just who can see merit in a global event of this magnitude, and with a logistical component that would have to be akin to moving AC/DC around, or dare we say it, the F1 circus?

60, LOKI, Sail No: AUS 60000, Owner: Stephen Ainsworth, Design: Reichel Pugh 63, LOA (m): 19.3, State: NSW - 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - photo © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi <a target=www.carloborlenghi.net" />
60, LOKI, Sail No: AUS 60000, Owner: Stephen Ainsworth, Design: Reichel Pugh 63, LOA (m): 19.3, State: NSW - 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - photo © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi www.carloborlenghi.net

Finally then, and before we close up, it looks like a mini-maxi Reichel/Pugh is en route to Sydney from San Diego, via Tahiti. We have not had a vessel like this on these shores since Loki. No ancient God, but maybe some black magic involved with this one. It is just that I noted it is on its way here to be prepped up in time for Hobart, and this marks the first time I have mentioned the great race since the last one finished four months ago.

Right oh - here today there are some gems for you to review. We have information from the eSailing World Championship, the Clipper RTW, the Australian Sailing Team at Hyéres, the Brits go a major rebrand in the America's Cup, and there looks to be a second US team to be involved too, FAST40s, J/70s, Extreme Sailing Series, Antigua Sailing Week, the Clipper RTW, GC32, the Cheeki Rafiki case, Kite-Surf World Tour, RS Feva Worlds, RS Quest, a deeper look at 3Di from North Sails, Jeanneau Rendezvous, Congressional Cup, crewing with help from MySail Team, and certainly there is much, much more.

Remember, if your class or association is generating material, make sure we help you spread your word, and you can do that by emailing us. Should you have been forwarded this email by a friend, and want to get your very own copy in your inbox moving forward, then simply follow the instructions on our newsletter page, where you can also register for different editions.

Finally, keep a weather eye on Sail-World. We are here to bring you the whole story from all over the world...

John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS

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