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The oldest video footage of Tornado catamarans racing

by Magnus Smith 12 May 12:00 BST
A revealing picture of an early version of Icarus, when although the boat could foil, the speeds were scarcely any faster than that of a standard Tornado © Austin Farrar Collection / David Chivers

Our video archive is fully searchable, and linked to all the clubs and classes in our database. It is updated weekly with the latest videos of sailing, but here we delve into the past, and round-up everything that shows early racing in the Tornado class.

It could be said that the birthplace of the Tornado was during the IYRU A & B Catamaran Trials 1967 which we featured in an article a few weeks ago: Oldest videos of racing catamarans.

The next footage probably comes from the USA, judging by the letters on the sails. The title Tornado race 1970 gives no clue of location, but as the date is 4th December, perhaps this is somewhere southern?!

The 1980s

We move to colour recordings now! Tornado World Championship 1986 in Bermuda cannot be embedded here, so we have to direct you to watch all 46 minutes on Youtube in a new browser tab - www.youtube.com/watch?v=loRYdSqxFjk - if you have the time. There are a few sailor interviews mixed in with the scenes on the water.

57 minutes from the Tornado World Championship 1989 in Trinity Bay, Houston has a wonderful description from the uploader: "How to win a World Title by 34 pts by Mitch Booth & John Forbes. Introducing the Wild Thing and 'that mainsail' to the sailing world for the first time ever!" There are interviews with Reg White, Goran Marstrom, Giorgio Zuccoli and Pease Glaser.
Watch on Youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmouXfoKvDI

The 1990s

From 1992 we have the Worlds at Jervoise Bay SC with plenty of sailor interviews amongst the on-water footage.

This 23 minute video from the 1992 Olympic Games includes the Medal Ceremony and interviews. There are a few places where other Olympic classes are covered briefly, but mostly it is Tornados.

If you'd rather see the highlights from the above in just 1m54s then try the Tornado highlights from 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games on Youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=knWssdSI0Bk

Four years later we have the Tornado World Championship 1996 at Mooloolaba (22m25s) with aerial footage and sailor interviews.
Watch on Youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhR5y6nAybw

Still in the nineties this is a great promotional video from Brazil ahead of the Tornado World Championship 1998 which surely tempted a lot of people to consider if they could afford to travel out there.

We will end with a heart-warning story of the Papua New Guinea team sail for 4 days ahead of the Pre Olympics 1999. These two guys had previously sailed only local outrigger canoes, but they had a chance and they grabbed it!
Watch on Youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTiHxRozGYw

What of the rest?

Do you know the location of any Tornado videos that show racing from the early years, or big fleet events? We would love to share these with other sailors. You can submit video links to us for immediate review.

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