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The one before the big one

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 13 Oct 2019 22:00 BST
Australia - the magic of the 12s lives on © Leigh Dorrington

At the end of the 70s the Bond camp was starting to show what attending the America's Cup for a decade could do from a design and team angle. The boat that really stepped them up a rung was KA-5, the 12 Metre known simply as, Australia. Funnily enough, for an era that was a bit 'in your face', her livery with the GT stripes and sans serif typeface on her hip was way understated for the time.

She would attend two cups ('77 and '80), before her younger, and terribly innovative sister, KA-6, would go on to nab the Auld Mug in 1983. Australia is now for sale, and with the 12m scene very energetic these days, it is highly likely she will be sold swiftly, all ready to race for some smart sailor to attend the 2020 World Championships in Finland, next August.

Very little is required now in order to go racing, following a major refit just this year to bring her back to a fine level, commensurate with her distinguished pedigree. So grab the crew, grow the mos and mullets, wear your horizontally striped rugby tops, and severely under-sized shorts, don your chrome or gold plate sunnies, with some zinc liberally applied to your nose, and you're in like Flynn.

Remember. Nothing goes to windward quite like a 12 (unless of course you're talking kerosene canary). So spin the inner wheel for the trim tab, and screw the boat way up to weather, pump the jumpers, and give the runners heaps of Larry. 25 tonnes, huge overlappers, and fractional bags is a real hoot, especially when match racing.

Back in 1977, Australia had a crack at Courageous, and then in 1980 it was against Freedom. The fact that she showed up twice makes her very special in her own right, as the only boat to do so, ever! She would also take a race off Freedom, which put her in the same class as the mighty Gretel, and also Gretel II.

Meanwhile, work continues on KA-14 (aka) Steak 'n' Kidney, which is being fully refreshed before an all out assault on the series. She was considered to be a bit of flyer in the day, but could not hold it all together for long enough to make a real impact, so went home again, after having often beaten up many of her more fancied rivals in the racing off Fremantle.

Why is that so important? Simple really. The representative for the current custodian of KA-5 is Leigh Dorrington, and 'Dorro' not only sailed on KA-14 at the time, he can amaze you with splendiferous tales from the era, as well. Email him to secure this special vessel with the country as her name.

Smaller boats with overhang

There are a few more of them floating around the planet than the 12s, but they too have symmetrical bags flown from not too far up their tin sticks. They also attract many a name from the who's who, any time someone says let's go racing. They are the Etchells, of course...

"Royal Brighton Yacht Club, along with the Etchells association has purchased an Etchells for introducing youth into the class. With the 2020 nationals and State titles, as well as the 2023 World Championship all at RBYC this is a great opportunity to rub shoulders with the world's best One Design sailors," said the club's coach, Adrian Finglas.

"We are looking for young team members to sail the RBYC Youth Etchells, and take on the challenge. The boat has now got an incredible sail list with something like six mains, seven jibs, and four spinnakers, all thanks North Sails and Etchells IGC Vice-Chairman, Chris Hampton for these wonderful donations."

"Our plan is to get a team together to do the Nationals in January at RBYC. Oh and it's free!" Contact the club's coach, Adrian Finglas to get on board this great initiative. All over the world, and then at places closer to home like Royal Queensland YS, as well as the Royal Prince Alfred YC on Pittwater, these young stars are jumping at the chance, and showing why they should be given the opportunity with the marks they score on the leaderboard.

Right oh - here today there are some gems for you to review like The Clipper, The Ocean Race, Five-Oh Worlds to be in Sweden, J/24s, Dragons, 18-Footers, SailGP, 52 Super Series, Hobart, Mirabaud video, Globe40, Valkyrie the home build Moth, Mini Transat, AC. 2.4m, Farr 40 Worlds, Caribbean 600, Zhik's new Dinghy Boot, 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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