With less than a month to go, a few of the top ‘A’ cat sailors are already in Sopot joining in with the Polish sailors for final training, boat tweaks and to perfect their match fitness. So, whom should we be watching out for this year? With some 140 entrants now, there are some top names competing, with several ex-Olympic and America’s Cup sailors, not to mention numerous National Champions, this is shaping up to be a very strong fleet indeed.
Stevie Brewin and Darren Bundock are training partners keeping each other on track. Last year, Stevie, 3rd in 2016, had 4 races when he finished outside the top 3, with Bundy, 2nd, having just a two. However, Stevie has been chopping about rigs and playing with mast heights to get more power lower down and has been the one to watch on the AUS circuit this year, so either will be keen to take the title back to their home based Worlds at Hervey Bay in November 2018.
The current champion, Mischa Heemskerk, looks to be pumped up and in awesome form again. Barring a gear failure, or very light winds, he’ll be looking for a 3rd World ‘A’ Cat title to add to his recent F18 Worlds win using his innovative decksweeper sail design transferred to that. He may well be the one setting the pace again.
But the home advantage of Sopot cannot be underestimated though. With sailors such as current POL champion Tymek Bendyk, 5th in 2016, Kuba Surowiec 11th, but leading in their rankings this year, and POL boss Jacek Noetzel, a superb 4th at Medemblik, all very familiar with the local choppy conditions, any of these guys could be on the podium again.
Mitch Booth, two time Olympic medalist, and in 4th place at the recent F18 Worlds has booked in, as has his Athens Tornado crewman Andrew Landenberger. So that could be an interesting contest to watch as there is nothing more satisfying than beating an old team mate.
Other Olympians booked include the four time GRE Olympic Tornado legend Trigkonis Konstantinos, who had a bit of a tricky 2016 championships, finishing 40th. His Athens Olympics competitor, the GBR Tornado sailor and Artemis design coordinator Adam May is in and the 1984 AUS Tornado medalist Scott Anderson is back this year too. Also from the 1984 Olympics is the SUI 470 sailor and the 3DL sail inventor Luc DuBois. Apologies to any missed, there are quite a few. A host of reigning National Champions will also be competing. These include Phil Muyzers BEL, Thomas Paasch DEN, Dave Shaw NZL, Manuel Calavria ESP and Sergio Mehl ARG. And not forgetting the fastest sailor of all time, Paul Larsen AUS.
There will also be a few innovative design solutions on show too. Sandro Caviezel’s rear beam empennage for example. We will attempt to show you some of these with a few explanations as the event unfolds.
So, we are all expecting some hard fought racing this year in Sopot now. And, if you fancy trying a bowl of Bigos (Google it), or a few Peirogi (Google it) and several shots of Vodka (probably no need to Google it) there is still time to join the party.