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2019 Sinebrychoff International 6 Metre World Championship at Hanko, Finland - Preview

by Fiona Brown 3 Aug 2019 06:38 BST 1-9 August 2019
2019 Sinebrychoff International 6 Metre World Championship © Fiona Brown

Forty-eight stunningly beautiful International 6 Metre yachts from twelve nations across Europe and North America are gathering in Hanko, Finland in preparation for the 2019 Sinebrychoff International 6 Metre World Championship, which takes place from 5 to 9 August. The regatta will be hosted by the Hangö Segelförening in association with the Finnish 6 Metre Association and will be preceded by the Sinebrychoff Challenge Cup, which takes place on 3 and 4 August and will act as the warm up regatta for the Worlds.

The entry list incorporates a wonderful mix of Modern and Classic 6 Metres racing as two separate divisions on windward leeward courses set against a backdrop of the beautiful city of Hanko and its surrounding archipelago of rocky islands.

The schedule combines an eight-race programme of up to two races per day with a full après sailing agenda. Each afternoon regatta sponsor Sinebrychoff, Finland's oldest brewing company, will welcome the sailors ashore with a Sinebrychoff Aftersail Party, after which competitors and their families will enjoy a variety of evening entertainment including a Sauna, Swim and Sushi Party, a Beach Party, and the traditional 6 Metre World Championship Gala Dinner, which will be held at Hanko Casino.

Title sponsor Sinebrychoff has a long association with the International 6 Metres as Managing Director Anders Frydenlund explains, "Sinebrychoff is the oldest brewery in the Nordic countries, and we are celebrating our 200th Anniversary this year. Our founding family were the Sinebrychoffs, full of passion, and not just for beer, but also for sailing. Since 1888 there have been sailing competitions to win the Nicolas Sinebrychoff Challenge Trophy, the second oldest sports trophy in the world after the Americas' Cup. For many years the Challenge has been sailed with the classic 6 Metre sailing boats. With the craft boats! As the Nicolas Sinebrychoff Challenge is a tune up race for the 6 Metre World Championship of Hanko, it was only natural for us to sponsor this great sporting and cultural event."

As is typical for major 6 Metre events, the competition has attracted a host of well-known sailing names, but the boats themselves are really the stars of the show with their elegant lines and exceptional performance. Historically the 6 Metre Class was the test-bed for many of the great developments in yacht design and a glance around the fleet will give you a fascinating insight into a century's worth of naval architecture and equipment development.

In the Open Division, for boats built since January 1966, reigning 6 Metre World Champion SUI77 Junior, a 1981 Pelle Petterson design originally built for Baron Edmund de Rothschild as Gitana, will be hoping to add a sixth world title to her honours list, with Philippe Durr once again at the helm and tactician Nicholas Berthoud calling the shots.

The current 6 Metre European Champion SUI74 Nivola was unusual for a boat of her generation in that she was designed with a bulb keel rather than wings. Designed by Pelle Petterson in 1984 she won the 1993 6 Metre Worlds and was then put into storage until current owner Reinhard Suhner took on a major refit which included the installation of a canard. Reinhard admitted that mastering the canard took time, but victory at last year's Europeans proved they had got the knack of it. They narrowly beat Junior in that championship so we can expect some fierce competition between the two boats this week.

Peter Harrison's St Francis IX, with British Olympian Andy Beadsworth on the helm and America's Cup veteran Colin Murray as tactician, has three previous World Championship wins to her name, in 1989 and 1990 under John Kostecki's leadership and in 2013 under Ross McDonald. With Beadsworth at the helm she placed third at the last Worlds in Vancouver in 2017 and was fourth at the 2018 Europeans so will be hoping to better those results this week.

Commissioned by the Alvarez family, the very latest addition to the 6 Metre Class is ESP16 Stella, designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian and built by Javi Cela. O Grove of Spain. After ten years in development and testing, the design incorporates some radical thinking from a man known for his love of pushing the boundaries. This will be Stella's first appearance at a major championship so all eyes will be eagerly watching to see how she performs.

Another boat to watch out for in the Open Division will be SWE137 Inga From Sweden VIII, a 1981 Pelle Pettersen design which has just undergone a total refit. Ian Howlett led the extensive redesign work, with the boat's overall length being reduced by some eight inches and a brand-new keel and rudder constructed by Demon Yachts in the UK. Owner Richard Goransson and his team will sail the boat in her new configuration for the very first time this week having only just completed her in time for the regatta.

In the Classic Division, for boats built prior to 31 December 1965, there is a strong local Finnish fleet led by Ossi Paija sailing the 1953 Bjarne Aas designed FIN80 Astree, which finished in third at the 2018 European Championship and will be hoping to place well on home turf. Ossi is also Chairman of the regatta's organising committee so he will be a very busy man this week.

Reigning Classic 6 Metre World and European Champion His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain will defend his title sailing the 1947 Arvid Laurin designed ESP16 Bribon. Once again Spanish sailing legend Pedro Campos will be running the crew for His Majesty and so we can expect this team to fiercely defend their title.

The 1938 Olin Stephens designed US81 Goose, which was built by Henry B Nevins, finished second at the 2017 Worlds in Vancouver and returns to the fray this year with Canadian Olympic Bronze Medallist Eric Jespersen once again at the helm. A four-time winner of the Scandinavian Gold Cup in 1938, 39, 48 and 48 and of the Seawanhaka Cup in 1957, Goose was considered almost unbeatable in her glory years and will clearly be giving Bribon a run for her money.

The oldest boat racing will be the 1921 Johan Anker designed Abeking & Rasmussen built GER15 Steam with Thorsten Thelen at the helm. Also built in the 1920s are FIN24 Antinea, designed and built in 1928 by Einar Olofsson and helmed by Hasse Karlsson, and FIN29 Maj-Lis, built in 1929 by Bleckholm to an Einar Olofsson design and helmed by Juha Hinskala. Completing this group of 1920s Flapper Girls are FIN22 Merenneito II, a 1927 Zake Westin design helmed by Vicke Lindblom, and her 1928 near sister FIN23 Marenneito II, helmed by Joakim Håkans.

Registration and measurement take place on 1 and 2 August, the Sinebrychoff Challenge Cup warm up regatta will be held on 3 and 4 August and the 2019 Sinebrychoff 6 Metre World Championship will be raced from 5 to 9 August. Further information and results will be found at www.6mrworlds2019.com and on the ISMA Facebook Page.

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