We contacted Steve Brewin, winner of the recent 2013 Barcelona Europeans for a Q&A on the event , the Class and his projects.
Steve Brewin grabbed the World title in 2011 at Aarhus, in 2012 6th at Garda Europeans and a 3rd at Florida special Worlds. A back injury in between and you are now dominating again winning the 2013 Europeans.
-- How was that accident in Australia and how you managed to get back in form for the Europeans?
Steve Brewin: The accident happened when i was crewing on an f18 with my brother ,we were going upwind when another boat came downwind from behind us and hit me in the pelvis , this gave me a fracture with a 20 mm hole in the middle , the hole will take about 18 months to grow back , the crack has healed .
i was off work for 8 weeks and concentrated a lot on physio to help me get better in that time.
As soon as i could get back on the water i did ,however it was going into winter and we didn't get much sailing with the weather .
-- How were the event conditions at Barcelona?
SB: The event conditions were perfect at Barcelona , plenty of good breeze,nice temperature , only one light day.no hurricanes. great venue.
-- You won 3 , scored 2nds and two 4th. You had an edge over the fleet in the water? Or it was consistency within the top 3/4 spots?
SB: I think that I could have sailed better at times, being critical off myself, that is the only way to keep winning , concentrate on the good things that you do and also the bad to turn them into future good.
The good thing that I took out of the event was when I made mistakes I was able to come back.
In race one I went the right way every time and cleared out ,so at that time I wasn't sure about my pace. Race 6 I went clearly the wrong way every upwind and still managed a 4th , this told me that my speed was really good and boosted my confidence a lot for the last day. So on the last day I hung back and took really safe starts and relied on my speed and race tactics to get me there in the end .
-- How about new developments , you raced with winglets on the Nikita?
SB: I think that winglets on the Nikita helped me downwind over 14 knots the boat felt a little more stable and safer from nosediving, I believe that in the long run that it may prove that the smaller but hulls will come back into play with the winglets and the centreboards creating a lot of lift in the light winds, I didn't see any disadvantage with the winglets , this was my concern before the regatta.
-- In my opinion right now the class rules are in a good state, allowing good developments but still sailors are making the diference. What do you thing the class path should be in the long term, some talks of further modifications were on the table?
SB: I am happy with the rate of development in the class , I don't think that we need to keep changing rules , just leave them how they are , if people want to get the boats out of the water , they already have with the current rule , so why change it? I believe that I could get an L foil in an a cat if needed , note sure yet if this is needed , but it seems to me that the standard C foils performed the best over the average in Barcelona and sometimes designers don't see the big picture , of light medium and strong breeze , also wave conditions .
-- How are you going to follow your preparation for NZ, which events are left this year for you?
SB: No preparation is just starting now we have heaps of regattas in Aus. from October till the worlds including a nationals in December and two state title in November
-- You are racing and winning with your own sails, are you building them back home and commercializing in Europe?
SB: Always on my own sails and all my sails are built by me only all in Australia ,so I know exactly what each sail is , all my sails are ultra bond glued on the seams , so there is no seam slip including my radials
-- Have sail design become less important now with platform and foil developments?
SB: Sail development is always happening in my loft , constantly trying things , and when I find something I release it , I don't experiment on customers.
I leave the platform developments to the boat builders and then choose what I like.
In all my years off a cat racing I would say I have only been to 1999 worlds which was my first worlds was the only time that someone had a faster platform that I didn't have a chance to get on. Ever since then it was possible to get on a fast platform . I did wait till 2001 before I got one off these boats . also the Nikita was in the 2001 Worlds and it has just had small changes over the years to keep it up to scratch , foils , stiffer , now T foils and trenched in traveller track makes it easier to get on the trapeze.
It goes to show how smart Nils Bunkenburg is when it comes to A cat design. From the week with him I learnt that he is still active at wanting to keep his Nikita amongst the top of the fleet in future design and tweaks to his well built boats. Also I can see that the Dna ,Exploder ,Scheurer and Bim guys have a great positive approach to head towards future developments and improving our boats
-- The class has an open cloth list, so it seems there is no advantage in that field?
SB: I like to use sails that have a longer life and are easy to trim ,that's why I use Pentex , it makes it easier for the average sailors . I am always trying new cloths on the side , at the moment i have a new black Technora cloth that is just as fast as the white pentex, i am testing this on the side as another alternative for the future.
-- Are you going to race again F18?
SB: Yes I will , wont be till after new Zealand worlds also want to some more sailing with my daughters they are ten and ready .
-- What about your countrymen racing at the Cup and why Australia couldn´t form an Americas Cup team with the most talented multihull sailors around?
SB: Good to see my mates in the Cup , it is a shame that Aus. doesn't have someone with the money to want to do a campaign ,i think there is plenty off talent in Aus. sailing at the moment, but we need another Alan Bond
-- Any plans for next Cup Edition?
SB: Not at this stage , but i never cross it out ,if a team approaches me and it is a stable position,i would definitely consider it.