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Sail-World NZ - Oct 24, 2019: More AC75's sailing..Windfoiler tops trial..Coastal Classic record?

by Richard Gladwell, 23 Oct 2019 13:26 BST 24 October 2019
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sails their first AC75 off Sardinia, Italy © Luna Rossa

Welcome to's New Zealand e-magazine for October 24, 2019

All four of the first AC75's built by the so-called "Super Teams" are now sailing, with first images released by two more teams.

Not that they were giving much away. The first image from the Brits was a heavily backlit shot - with the boat sailing between the camera and the sun.

The Brits can do much better than this. Most of the image was in shadow. Later the team released a second version of the image which, while better quality didn't tell the fans much more. Apart from these two shots there has been nothing since - which is surprising for a team which revealed more than most at their launch ceremony.

A video released by the British team was one of the better ones - albeit shot from a long distance - probably with a drone.

Luna Rossa released two sailing images - both shot from the same angle and properly lit this time. But that was it.

With the other teams being able to snap at will, what is the point of playing Secret Squirrel with the starving fans?

The 36th America's Cup is on its third boat in three cycles (four if you include the last period of stability from 1992-2007 and five including the Deed of Gift Match held in 2010).

The AC75 needs a selling job done on it to fans, sponsors, broadcasters, governmental and tourist bodies. It is a spectacular boat as were the AC72, AC50 and IACC in their time.

The sailing and mainstream audiences are blown away by the boat - evidenced in the reader numbers we see on America's Cup image stories on Sail-World. The INEOS Team UK video went to be "Top of the Pops" in just 24 hours.

The reticence to release images and video could be understandable in past Cups with their strict on the water surveillance rules. But those are gone. The upshot (in Auckland at least) is that a posse of camera-toting spy boats accompanies the AC75's. So the teams have all the information they can capture on a camera, but the fans are on virtually a bread and water diet. That's no way to promote an event/class or sport.

And of course, while the teams might be inwardly focussed, there is a greater responsibility to the sport via all media particularly social media - so kids and fans can stay up with the action (of which there is plenty), and start to back their favourite team, get the gear, download screen saver images and the like, and generally permeate through to their audience.

High Noon in Bermuda

At the end of this week, World Sailing is holding its Annual Conference in Bermuda.

The meeting will take place against the backdrop of the sudden departure last week, of its controversial CEO, Andy Hunt.

One of the major decisions will be whether the World Sailing Council will endorse the recommendation of the Equipment Committee to install the Starboard iFoil as the Equipment in the Men's and Women's Windsurfing event in the 2024 Olympic Regatta.

Those who follow the machinations of the world body may recall that at the Mid Year meeting in May, the Council heeded the recommendation of the Equipment Committee which was to hold evaluation trials for the Windsurfer Equipment to be used at Marseille.

A trial series was held at Lake Garda in late September with eight options being put through their paces, by a very good quality evaluation team, most of whom were on current Olympic campaigns. From this distance and the feedback, the trials were well conducted and came out with a well-received recommendation.

It was just a year ago that we reported on the Dutch national authority submission to the last World Sailing Annual Conference. They advocated the inclusion of the Windfoiler for the 2024 Olympics, in place of the RS:X, which by 2020 will have been used at four Olympic regattas.

The significant point of the proposal from Koninklijk Nederlands Watersport Verbond, or Royal Netherlands Watersport Association, was that in promoting the change in class, the Dutch were walking away from the RS:X - which had delivered two Olympic Gold medals and another three medals (two Gold) at the 2018 World Sailing Championships in Aarhus.

The windfoiler had their first international regatta in Medemblik in May 2019 pulling a fleet of 29 riders from eight nations.

The big attraction of the windfoiling type classes is that physically they don't reward the constant pumping of the sail, which is a feature of the displacement boards - until they get planing.

The near elimination of air-rowing, has opened the fleet up to young sailors (12yr olds and upwards) can compete against previous Olympic medalists and current Olympic aspirants in a single fleet. Even newbie board sailors like America's Cup sailors Glenn Ashby and Ray Davies are windfoiling. What other class can deliver that diversity in a single fleet? And when you are early in your sailing career how cool is it to sail against America's Cup and Olympic heroes?

Sailing is a fleet like that enthuses new sailors and fast-tracks them up to the level where they are competitive internationally.

Not surprisingly, the wind foiler fleet has made a big difference to the numbers in the sport. In New Zealand where club sailing in the RS:X is practically non-existent, a fleet of 50 windfoilers competed in the last Nationals. The New Zealand national body says it has a membership of 75 active Windfoilers.

Not surprisingly Yachting New Zealand is backing the new Event and Equipment. Hopefully, World Sailing's Council will see it that way, too.

A record Classic?

The PIC Coastal Classic gets underway this Friday. The predictions are that it should be a record-breaker, with the MOD70, Beau Geste predicted (three days out from the start) to go under the five-hour mark. That will be a new race record for multihulls.

While the race to Cape Brett in the fresh SW can be a sleigh ride, with a record looking like it is in the bag, too often the race turns inside out at Cape Brett and its wind shadow, followed by a tricky 15nm leg into the finish line at Russell.

The monohulls should have a good race of it with one of the five 52fters expected to make the front running and be first into Russell.

For all the latest news from NZ and around the world see below.

Between newsletters, you can follow all the racing and developments in major and local events on or by scrolling to the top of the site, select New Zealand, and get all the latest news and updates from the sailing world.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

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