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Coconut Oil

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 29 Sep 2019 23:00 BST
SailGP Season 1 concludes in Marseille, France © Sam Kurtul / www.worldofthelens.co.uk

All the oils (and yes, if you're Australian and of a certain age bracket you'll shave your head, and dance like you're a really drunk marionette). Anyway, we started with The Good Oil, then More Good Oil, followed by Smothered in Oil, and the last one was Soybean or Peanut Oil.

So 'Coconut Oil' seemed entirely fitting for this final in our SailGP series, seeing as it has loads of good cholesterol, and now that the heat is off after the final has been run, it can return once more to a solid state. I spoke with Team AUS Skipper and said, "Congratulations Tom. You and the whole team (Tom, Kyle Langford, Jason Waterhouse, Ky Hurst, Sam Newton, and Kinley Fowler) must feel wonderful. A deserved win..."

Q: Does it feel different from what you thought it would?

A: It really just feels like a weight off our shoulders. It feels amazing for sure, but there has definitely been a bit of stress these last few weeks. So it's nice to get the result we wanted.

Q: It may not be the boxing kangaroo, but you certainly had the flying kangaroo whizzing around. Does that make it very much national pride?

A: For sure it's about national pride. More than winning the money, I think we all just wanted Australia to be in top of the podium. We are all proud Aussies and want the world to know we are the best sailors.

Q: Do you feel like you are inspiring younger athletes?

A: I hope I am able to inspire young athletes. I hope that I am able to convince people to put in the hard work and try to achieve their goals.

Q: Do you all share the USD1M?

A: The one million will be split throughout the team. There is a clause that says the sailors must receive 50% of the total amount, so that will be divided up throughout the team.

Q: How do you prep for next season given all the constraints?

A: There is not a lot of prep for us as a sailing team for next season. We will not get to sail the boats again until Sydney. However, everyone's contracts are up so we need to re-hire team members, and also look for commercial partners in the off-season. It will be busy.

Q: Does it mean you have a target on your back for 2020?

A: I'm sure we will have the target on our back but that's the way we like it. We want everyone to know we are the team to beat.

Q: Are you doing ocean racing this Christmas?

A: No, I'm not doing the Hobart this year.

Q: Are you doing the Etchells Australian Championship with Graeme Taylor and James Mayo?

A: Yes. Planning on doing the Nationals at Brighton with them.

Now way back at the first round of SailGP in Sydney, I spoke with Sir Russell Coutts about a lot of things, and one of the items that remained was how much he was looking forward to Marseilles. That proved to be true on many fronts, not the least of which was how close the two leading teams were going into it.

Yet we both thought long and hard about how a Mistral might affect things, and then sure enough, after the SailGP was done, the 52 Super Series was well and truly held up for the famed breeze that gets channelled and accelerated by the Pyrenees on one side, and the European Alps on the other.

Iain Murray has been the Regatta Director for the last two America's Cups (Bermuda and San Francisco). He's just completed his first of three seasons, performing the same role for SailGP, and said after racing was done, "For a million bucks they had a good race. It was hard when we had a plan and then had to move the course to where there was some breeze. There was the pressure and rush to move it all and still fit in the race before we went off air."

Talking in his very measured way, you had to know what he is like to really comprehend just what a feat it was that he and his team accomplished that day. "There was a plan in my head, but there were 600 boats in the way at the time. I also had the TV guy in my ear telling me we had just 20 minutes until we went dark. The marshalls had to move them all, but could not do so until the marks were down, but first we had to get the assets up, and then place them all down again, so they knew where to send the spectators."

Murray was also very kind to proffer these responses to SailGP's first season and Australian Sailing as a whole on the world's stage.

Q: Why are Australian sailors so good, and what makes them so?

A: I think high-speed sailing has been at the forefront in AUS and NZL for a very long time. As a child, I used to go to Bradley's Head (on Sydney Harbour) and watch the sponsored 18s with a somewhat professional crew sailing in close proximity to the shore for viewing. It was started by JJ Giltinan (and the series named in his honour would become the unofficial World Championship). We have been in imbued with an open and fast culture and have led the world with fast boats.

Q: If other teams have had more training time, and have improved as a result, how do the Australians still keep winning?

A: They are all great sailors, but the best are a great team, which comes after more than just practise within one year. Stability, time for reflection, then learning and adjustment will make a great team.

Q: Is the Olympic programme a real part of it?

A: An Olympic program, or any racing at the highest level, is always the best background. Sailing is a very complex sport that requires all inputs to performance understood and resolved.

Q: Are we just blessed with varied waters to sail in offering a real range of conditions?

A: Of course we are blessed with our background, the facilities we have in Australia, and a climate that allows us to sail all year round.

It's a wrap

Last week we mentioned "there will be some new enhancements to the 2020 version that kicks of in Sydney next February." We can now tell you officially that there is a seventh F50 that has been built in NZL, and it will be ready for Sydney next February. The next statements are unsubstantiated, but combine some crystal ball gazing along with a soupçon of sorcery and alchemy, even some divination. If you start from the position of knowing that Larry owns SailGP and lost the last AC to the Kiwis, then it is entirely possible that it will be a team from NZL in said seventh F50, and another leg will be added to the roster before they get to the USA. We'll await word from SailGP on all of this...

Back to Etchells for just a second

If you were looking, and clearly I was, then you would have seen that hull number 1461 just won the Etchells North American Championship for her new owner. This was the old Havoc and current World Champion vessel, as well as the first of the new Allanson/Murray Etchells. AUS1473 is the new Havoc, and she just splashed two weeks ago before having a small Christening ceremony, and then she went for a quick yacht, too.

Jeanne-Claude Strong was kind enough to give her build slot of AUS1471 to Magpie for the 2019 World Championship in Texas. Tom, James, and GT won an unprecedented five in row, in that sort of a fleet no less, to nearly claim said title. As we just saw earlier, that crew are planning on being in Port Phillip this coming January to snare the Australian title.

Jeanne-Claude has taken delivery of her new Allanson/Murray Etchells (AUS1475) just last Friday, and the Magpie clan will have their next one (AUS1474) this October, with a certain John Bertrand to get his in November (AUS1478 Triad3). That will be the last one for the year, with Richie Allanson returning to building craft for his ever-expanding client list in 2020.

What does it all mean? Simple. There will be some cracking racing from Royal Brighton YC, and if the place lives up to its reputation, a true champion of all kinds of conditions will be crowned. Bring it on.

Short one and in

Is this the best-kept secret in the Australian Sailing world? In January the Perth Dinghy Sailing Club will be running the International 14 World Championships. Unless you sail an I14, you won't know about it, and I did not until I got a cattle prod in the tooshie, and seeing as we are talking fast on water here... check the Worlds website and there is also the WA I14 website.

Right oh - here today there are some gems for you to review like the 52 Super Series, intel from North Sails, The Clipper, classics in France, 18 Footers, Cats in WA, Veterans in SA, Lasers, The Ocean Race, and certainly there is much, much more below.

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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