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Going really quickly in big boats

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 6 Oct 22:00 BST
First AC75 launch - INEOS Team UK - Portsmouth, UK - October 4, 2019 © Shaun Roster

And then there were four. And they are pretty different too. They are a little like two pairs, if cards are your thing, but by the time the second hulls appear, you wonder if all of the intel from the aero side of things will have them pretty close to each other, anyway. We will see...

I did really like Sir Ben Ainslie's take on a lot of it, "So this seems like a good time to review the rules around the hull of the AC75. The AC75's Rule 5.1 allows us to build six foil wings and 20 foil flaps, but we can only construct two hulls (and we can't sail them at the same time). The teams have got just two opportunities to get this right..."

"Let's start with some basics: the rule defines a monohull of no more than 20.7 metres long, extending to 22.76 metres with the bowsprit (which is where the 75 feet comes from) and with a maximum five-metre beam. It weighs 7,600kg with the crew of 11 on board. There are more detailed parameters - for instance, the hull must enclose a volume of at least 70 cubic metres, and it can't be narrower than 3.2 metres at a distance 17 metres forward of the transom."

Structurally, which is important if you look at say One Australia, Rule 11.19 states: "The minimum areal density of any part of the hull shell shall be 2kg/m". (Note that this Rule does not imply any stiffness, strength or robustness targets; it exists only to ensure that a hull shell is a solid structure and not, for example, a film-covered space frame structure.)"

Obviously, foilers are very different to displacement and even planing vessels. "It's really a platform for the take-off and transition to foiling, and so it only has to perform its job in a limited range of conditions. I can't tell you what we think those are right now, but I think it's safe to assume that no one is worried about the hull's wave drag at 25 knots in a short chop.

"Remember that you're looking at a boat that needs to reach take-off speed as quickly as possible across a range of wind speeds and angles, and then needs to pass through the air with the minimum of resistance. Judge them on those parameters."

For many, adjectives like 'graceful' will never get used, and instead they will choose cumbersome when looking at things like the slab sides of Team Ineos UK. I think SBA is right. Let's see when they start duking it out. Foiling at speed takes great skill, and these teams are going to do sail sets and so forth, on top of the 'Magician's Dance', as Phil Robertson described sailing the F50 to us in Soybean or Peanut Oil.

Going really quickly in little boats

Jack Macartney is heading back to the 18-footers this season. I spoke with him recently, when he commented, "I'm excited to be back. The 18s offer great racing and wonderful friends. It is in my blood, and so there is a lot of love for this magnificent class."

"Also thrilled to be representing tech2, who do smart home installs and other services for companies like the NBN, TPG, and Harvey Norman, notably with a lot of war vets as the technicians. tech2 call the boat 'The Red Flyer', and they'll have a local army of supporters out for each event."

tech2 is a brand new boat by Brett van Munster, with a rig by C-Tech. C-Tech who did all the gear on board Rag & Famish when Macartney was second in the JJs (JJ Giltinan - unofficial World Championship). I had wondered if Macartney had been inspired to return by the recent Kiwi dominance of the JJs. "Absolutely. I have a bit of spare time in the Scallywag programme, I'll be around town, and just know how good it will be to be on the Harbour with the 18s. Also, my young son Rio just loves to see me sailing, so maybe he'll get inspired for the future."

Giving it LOTS

I really loved seeing the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron's Ladies of the Sea (LOTS) coaching regatta take place. Sailing came in two classes, all female, and female helm with mixed crew, with Elliotts and Ynglings the major weapons of choice amongst the keelboats. Sailors from lots of clubs attended, and the fleet included many women who have previously sailed with their partner or father, and who are now taking the helm for the first time, as well as learning new skills in the smaller boats. There were also many women who had partaken in the club's LOTS training courses, and were trying out racing for the first time.

It is the result of the efforts of three-time Olympian and RSYS Captain, Karyn Gojnich. I also liked to see that in addition to very notable female speakers and guests conducting information sessions in the mornings before racing in the afternoon, they also managed to squeeze in yoga sessions! Nice one, team.

"We had a big overflow for yoga that first morning, and had to expand into the next room," said Gojnich, the first-ever female Flag Officer at the club. "It has been spectacular and exciting, and the ladies are ecstatic. The feedback has been super positive, and they are all buzzing back here at the clubhouse before we go into our presentation and dinner."

Gojnich had been inspired to create the event after coaching at the Sarah Blanck regatta in Victoria about five years ago. "It was such a good idea. Phenomenal really, to get the female coaches in to ensure good ratios of coach to sailor was spot on, so I knew we just had to do this in NSW."

"Of course it is a lot of work and we had great support from the other Flags, as well as an armada of helpers like Amanda Hicks, who had come back to sailing and embraced it completely. She embodies the spirit of learning, enjoyment, and competition."

"It is onward and upward from here - bigger and better for next year. Manly YC want to start up their own coaching event. Perhaps we can also achieve a series around the Harbour, just like they do in Melbourne," said Gojnich in closing.

So at LOTS the sailors learned about positions in fleet and on board, communications, learning to take authority, cooperation, and collaboration, as well as enduring camaraderie. One of the biggest groups of participants came from the Australian Defence Force sailing, and they encompassed all from the experienced to absolute novice.

Short one and in

Incorporating five events from four organisations and spanning three countries, the new Sail North Series will lead yachts North from Australia in time for the Asian Circuit and provides for fantastic cruising along the way. Alternatively, yachts could continue an Australian circumnavigation to the East Coast in time for the Christmas races, and the Sydney - Auckland race.

Offering tropical trade winds sailing and different cultures, the series is a great option for IRC boats to avoid the Southern Australian winter weather. The majority of races are centred on Darwin, which has good marinas and yacht servicing facilities. Darwin has become a superyacht service centre over recent years, with capacity to handle craft to 150 tonne.

Details on the races and entry can be found at but the races themselves are:

  • Fremantle to Bali Race - 9 May - 1,440nm (Fremantle Sailing Club)
  • Tiwi Islands Race - 6 June - 300nm (Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Association)
  • Dili Yacht Race and Rally - 11 July - 425nm (Sail Timor-Leste/Cruising Yacht Association Northern Territory)
  • Spice Islands Darwin Ambon Yacht Race - 8 August - 300nm (DBCYA) 19 Sep
  • Saumlaki Yacht Race and Rally - 19 September - 284nm (Darwin Sailing Club)

Right oh - here today there are some gems for you to review like the Ultim Tris get set to go, RC44, Dragon, the Vendée, Clipper, Youth Match Racing, World Sailing's Sustainability Award, and also the Team of the Year, Classics at St Tropez, Moths, SB20s, Lasers, 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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