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Sail-World NZ - Nov 10: Te Aihe gets frisky..Transat drama..Windfoil for Tokyo..Sailor of the Year

by Richard Gladwell, 10 Nov 2019 12:28 GMT 11 November 2019
Emirates Team New Zealand's Te Aihe, Wiatemata Harbour, November 4, 2019 © Richard Gladwell, / nz

Welcome to's New Zealand e-magazine for November 10, 2019

Sailor of the Year

Congratulations to Dan Slater for being awarded the Orbit World Travel Sailor of the Year by Yachting New Zealand on Friday night.

Winner of the OK Dinghy Worlds sailed out of Wakatere BC in February this year, Slater backed it up with a second World title sailing aboard the 12 metre Legacy, skippered by Jesper Bank. Legacy was formerly the second of the three fibreglass 12 Metres, built as part of the New Zealand Challenge for the 1987 America's Cup in Fremantle.

Throughout his sailing career, the triple-Olympic representative has been just as successful as a coach - mostly for international sailors. He now provides a vital service for dinghy and one-design sailors through The Water Shed in Barry's Point Road, Takapuna.

Te Aihe Splash

In this edition, we feature several America's Cup stories including one of a spectacular splashdown by Emirates Team New Zealand while out sailing in a fresh sea breeze on Thursday off the East Coast Bays. From about 2.5nm distant we were able to catch the action while testing a land-based camera setup (which will hopefully be completed later this week).

While these splashdowns look spectacular, they seem to be moderately frequent, and we are told look far worse they feel.

The one on Thursday forced Te Aihe into a roll to windward as the tension appeared to come off the mainsheet, and the leeward foil came clear out of the water.

Looking back through the images, frame by frame, and of a similar incident shot at a much closer range on Monday, the splashdowns happen without a lot of warning - or the AC75 nosediving in the way that ETNZ did in their AC50 on Day 2 of the Challenger Semi-Final in Bermuda.

Stunning take-out from Thursday's sail was the speed of Te Aihe - both upwind in the 18kt seabreeze, and more so when they took off downwind at jaw-dropping pace.

Trans Atlantic Triple

Currently, there are three races underway across the Atlantic.

Three classes are racing in the Transat Jacques Vabre from Le Havre to Brazil - the Class 40, Multi 50, and the IMOCA60 - almost 60 boats racing two-handed for the 4,335nm course.

All appeared to be going well until Hugo Boss with Alex Thomson and Neal McDonald reported their IMOCA60 had struck an underwater object and her canting keel was hanging by the thread of a hydraulic cable and swinging free under the boat.

They were sailing fast at 25kts at the time, and the boat came to a complete and immediate stop. After the keel was cut away, Hugo Boss limped (at 10kts) to the Cape Verde Islands, without a keel, and with water ballast for stabilisation.

Apivia has won the IMOCA60 class, co-skippered by Charlie Dalin and Yann Elies. She was co-designed by Dalin and esteemed French designer Guillaume Verdier, with NZ based Pure Design and Engineering undertaking much of the structural engineering. A quick trip through the Doldrums greatly assisted Apivia's fortunes, while the highly fancied Charal dropped 400nm in the intertropical convergence zone.

Also underway is the Brest Atlantiques, a new 14,000nm race for two-handed crews sailed in Ultim class giant 30mtr trimarans on a course that will take the four competitors from Brest to Rio, to Cape Town and then back uphill to the finish off Brest.

The third event is the second leg of the Mini-Transat, which has attracted an entry of 82 solo sailors sailing in two divisions - Prototype and Production designs.

French crews dominate the three races, and it is no surprise that the French are extremely keen to see the Mixed Offshore Keelboat event contested at the 2024 Olympic Regatta to be sailed out of Marseille.

World Sailing opts for Windfoiler

The 2024 Olympic classes were again on the agenda at the Annual Conference of World Sailing, which finished on Sunday (NZT) in Bermuda.

The beleaguered world body, got something right with the selection of the Starboard iFoil foiling windsurfer as the Equipment for the Men's and Women's Windsurfer event at Marseille.

The backdrop to that decision is that after the Board of World Sailing had on three successive occasions rejected the recommendation of its expert Equipment Committee that the Equipment for the Windsurfer event should be evaluated. Last May, World Sailing's Council sided with the Equipment Committee rather than just giving a big tick to the incumbent RS:X, and called for a re-opening of tenders and a proper Evaluation and Sea Trial of shorted listed candidates.

There was a high-quality of the Evaluation Team for the Windsurfer Event. Most of the 20 person (ten male and female sailors) were on 2020 Olympic programs for the RS:X Windsurfer, and others had similar credentials. All-round, it was a more balanced team, and the trial was fortunate indeed to have attracted such a quality group.

The surprising aspect of the feedback from the Evaluation team was that despite having a vested interest in the current Olympic Equipment, the majority favoured a switch to the foiling board, of which three types were under evaluation. Two planing boards rounded out the trial - the RS:X and the Glide promoted by Bruce Kendall (NZL). Aside from a significantly reduced price, the Evaluation Committee found that the Glide offered no significant advantage over the RS:X. However, with the decision made in favour of the Starboard iFoil for the Olympic Equipment, the question is where to for the RS:X?

It would seem unlikely that the RS:X will remain as the favoured equipment for the Youth Worlds, and maybe that is a role that can be filled by the Glide.

The big fail of the Annual Conference was that the three year, £300,000 exercise to implement a new Governance structure for the world body did not receive the required 75% majority.

The surprise of the vote was that 20 of the 59 votes cast, or 33% were against accepting the proposal. The size of the "reject" vote is a significant barrier to getting the proposal approved at an Extraordinary Annual Meeting.

No surprise was the acceptance by the Annual Conference of a Submission for the announcement of the Mixed Offshore Keelboat, which agreed that the actual class to be used would not be announced until December 2023 - seven months before the regatta. Elsewhere it was advised that the Mixed Offshore Keelboat event would also be sailed at the 2022 combined Sailing World Championships at The Hague for a fleet of 40 boats. No mention of which class, or whether the boats would be supplied, and how this would dovetail with the 2024 Olympic event.

Sail-World Update

Sail-World continues to make big gains in our readership, with the October figures from Google Analytics, showing that while the numbers dropped a little in October from September, they were well above August and the growth appears to be locked in. Our America's Cup coverage is a big part of that, and at Sail-World NZ we are intensifying our efforts to bring our readership the best coverage possible. You can see part of that coverage in our America's Cup pictorial shot on Monday using land-based cameras, catching Te Aihe warming up around North Head. That was followed by a second session Wednesday, plagued by light winds, but offering a good opportunity to get close-ups of the Code Zero and some of the gear on the AC75. And then there was Thursday's highly read photo essay on Te-Aihe's splashdown.

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

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Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

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