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ACO 10th MUSTO Skiff World Championship 2019 at Medemblik - Preview

by Diana Bogaards 5 Jul 2019 07:45 BST 8-13 July 2019
ACO MUSTO Skiff World Championship © Event Media

Medemblik is gradually filling up with the sailing acrobats that are preparing for the ACO 10th MUSTO Skiff World Championship 2019 in Medemblik, the Netherlands.

Some 50 participants are already exploring the competition water and the West Frisian city on the IJsselmeer. After the two practice races on Saturday, the first starting gun will be fired on Monday 8 July 2019. A total of 111 sailors from 11 countries pre-registered.

At the moment, the registrations and boat measurement are in progress. While reigning world champion Jon Newman (AUS) is putting event stickers on his equipment, he is talking about his expectations: "Of course, I want to prolong my title, but the competition is fierce". Unsurprisingly from Bruce Keen (GBR), who, just like him, already has two world titles to his name. "Yesterday, I sailed against Jamie Hilton - who won bronze last year - and he is going well." He also calls Andy Tarboton from South-Africa, winner of the test event in 2018 and Chairman of the International MUSTO Skiff Class Association, a strong competitor. According to Newman, his preparation has been minimal, as it's winter in Australia at the moment.

Years ago, Bruce Keen competed with his Laser at the SPA Regatta, so he has had a taste of racing on the IJsselmeer. He is keen on winning his third title, but very humble at the same time: "There are so many favourites out there." Over the past 18 months, Dutch hope Paul Dijkstra prepared thoroughly on the spot. He lost 8 kilograms, trained with the other Dutch sailors from nearby Andijk and sailed many events. He says he doesn't have expectations to not put pressure on himself.

For the time being, the sailing conditions seem to provide an all-round championship. Co-organizer Sijbrand Jongejans (NL): "The forecast now is that the wind will vary between 8 and 16 knots and the direction between west and east, turning over north." He laughs: "This way the fleet can slowly get used to the IJsselmeer chop." According to Jongejans, who also participates, a north-north-easterly wind makes it really tough. "With a MUSTO Skiff you plane upwind and with that wind direction you will face waves against you. You have to steer the boat well over the waves and not through them." His wife and only female participant in the Worlds, Elaine Turner (gbr), adds: "Downwind is also a challenge, because then you can easily nose dive."

About the fact that is she is the sole women in the fleet, Turner says: "I have advantages and disadvantages but due to height and strength not gender (there are some small guys also), but the boat is fun to sail and thus a great day on the water isn't just about the result. I'd like to think that by being here I might inspire some more girls to go sail bigger boats. This year I qualify as a master so there's a whole generation who must be thinking what do I do after 29ers or their 49er FX campaign. It would be great to have more ladies in the fleet. Do I race to be First Lady? No never - I want to beat the guys."

The format

There are a total of 14 races scheduled. The Low Point System will be applied. From Monday 8 July until Wednesday and on Friday 12 July 3 races are scheduled daily. Thursday is a rest day, as long as the schedule goes according to plan. On the final day, Saturday 13 July, the fleet will be racing twice to determine the final podium places. Three (3) races are required to be completed to constitute a Championship series. In case of less than five races completed, a boat's series score will be the total of her race scores excluding her worst one. If 10 or more races are completed, the 2 worst results will be deducted.

There will be one starting line, so there is no qualifying series. Co-organiser IJsbrand Jongejans explains: "We held a poll on Facebook, which showed that the sailors almost unanimously opted for one starting line. As a class we like to sail together."

The ACO 10th MUSTO Skiff World Championship 2019 is hosted by RYC Hollandia in conjunction with the International MUSTO Skiff Class Association. The championship can be followed via 10thmustoskiffworlds.com.

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