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Well I am…

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 30 Jun 23:00 BST
Rik Breur with the inspirational Sea Urchin © Rik Breur

The great Jim Close sent me a link to a person by the name of Rik Breur, who just won the European Inventor Award. Close, probably best known to sailors as Mumbles, is always good for interesting tales, anecdotes, the weird and wonderful, as well as life's truisms. He did not let me down this time, either. Thanks matey.

Breur won his award for a marine anti-fouling fibre wrap, and he took his inspiration from the sea urchin. Looking for a more eco-friendly antifouling system, he figured that nothing ever stuck to the sea urchins, and took his lead from dear old Mother Nature. Now I reckon the IMOCAs might not be able to benefit from it, but the second Golden Globe Race could well be a contender!

At any rate, the holder of a PhD in corrosion and biofouling from the Delft University of Technology in 2001 was kind of more interested in shipping, anyway. Probably won't make many friends with the likes of Jotun, but then again they may come a knocking with a decent cheque, so you never know. Go for the ongoing royalties, Rik...

They are nylon prickles on large rolls of sticky back film, and it is aiming to assist in the reduction of the €20B it is estimated to cost the industry p.a., as their fuel bills go up by 10 to 40% when the growth takes hold. Commercial vessels do not get slipped each year like recreational craft (more like two to five), so there is even more chance of microorganisms getting a hold. And of course, there is no copper going into the oceans. Make your film out of old milk or shampoo bottles, and it could be win, win, win...

Like a living organism, the spikes are constantly moving in wave and tide, irrespective of propulsion. They do not allow growth in between either, due to the pattern on the substrate, and do not fall off, thereby adding to micro plastics in the oceans. Naturally, oilrigs, floating jetties and other stationary marine objects can also benefit from the use of Finsulate Antifouling. Sounds like a plan, and I am suitably impressed.

So if that was the making board, does that mean this one is not so? Well if you do a deal with the devil, then you have to expect there are subtexts to any ongoing equation. Just ask Dudley Moore when he gets a wee bit bedazzled. ETNZ and Luna Rossa had their side bar meetings back in the day, and now here we are with the coolest looking concept going around. Sure it's expensive. Heinously so, actually. But it is HOT! Like you're going to need five million plus SPF sunscreen when you get to see one for real.

Therefore, crying wolf now is sort of nonsensical. At least everyone is in the sandpit, predominantly playing nicely, and the OD parts are mostly what they should be. Everyone is a bit behind on the old timeline, but we don't seem to be needing to apply the JATO rockets, just yet.

The Mule is working proof of what happens when über-cool meets get-out-of-town funky, so perhaps put the shoulder to the grindstone, be happy that the citizens of Kiwi land won't have to stump up for unneeded team bases, and get set for one hell of a ride. Just on that, even their own pilot, James Spithill, believes they are going to need new undies.

It is the AC, so it is complete naivety to expect that there will not be some sort of brouhaha. Perhaps come July First, when anyone else has to finally stump up, or ship off things may just roll on to the big day. Team INEOS UK seem to be plugging away nicely (and quietly too, huh), as too the Kiwis, so maybe it will be the Italians and the New Yorkers who occasionally drop bombshells, and I reckon we can live with that.

I think the Kiwis were right to really push past the envelope, for anything else would have been a pale imitation and just not cricket. Even though cricket is no longer really cricket anyway. So we move on in the knowledge that for the last while the Kiwis have done really well with innovation, and perhaps we just need to let that be the guiding light. Glenn Ashby has said to me personally that they are super-focussed, and that is more than good enough for me. Let them go make it happen...

Gybe set at the top now. Well we knew they were special, and certainly made that point in Aussie Invasion last week. Yes the sailors certainly are, but now we can really, really say that the two Allanson Murray Etchells are, as well. First and Second in a fleet of that calibre. Seven of nine races won by the two boats, with Magpie taking out the last five. In a row, no less!!!!!

So Havoc's brilliant consistency saw them count a seventh as their worst result. Well done to Iain Murray, Colin Beashel and Richie Allanson. Talking with the crew afterwards was brilliant, and Beashel probably summed it up best when he said it was just as rewarding as 1983. Wow.

Magpie, the latest of the AM Etchells breed, with Graeme Taylor, James Mayo and Tom Slingsby on board certainly clicked together, and but for a 24th in Race Four, things may have been very different at the top of the table.

Both crews are really nice people in addition to being living legends, and there were three other Aussie crews in the top ten. In fourth place was Tango (Chris Hampton, Sam Haines and Charlie Cumbley. Fifth was Jud Smith, Mark Johnson and Andrew Smith on Roulette, and then in eighth was Martin Hill's Lisa Rose, with Julian Plante, Mat Belcher and Sean O'Rourke as crew. Steve Bejamin, Michael Goldfarb, Mark Thornburrow, and Marvin Beckmann, along with their crews rounded out the other places.

With all that action on the Etchells front, I certainly did not miss the PDF that simply said - 'Save Now On Etchells Sails. Take advantage of the end of season savings on the world's fastest One Design sails - Ends August 16th 2019. Contact Your North Sails Class Expert for more information.' Well that would be Noel Drennan, and he has just finished at the Etchells World Championship, so is ready to receive your email now...

Right oh - here today there are some gems for you to review like Kiel Week, Round the Island Race, Musto Skiffs, the Clipper, AC, 5.5m, GC32s, SailGP, Sydney International Boat Show looms and you can get tickets now, Sir Ben Ainslie joins the board of Henri Lloyd, Finn Gold Cup, OKs, World Sailing Awards, IMOCAs, Sydney to Noumea, up to 20% off a new Nanni Diesel or genset, next Marine Auctions event is coming up, 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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