Worlds @Takapuna: Day 1, Report by Bob Griffits

Great complete report by Bob Griffits. Images by Paula Kopylowicz / Exploder . Full Album at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.629812467073877.1073741835.180...
Short video by Beau Outteridge Prodcutions at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmdECZK06Ew

DAY 1 2014 A Class Catamaran World Titles.
"The racing started today in Takapuna, New Zealand under overcast skies, and a southwest breeze which fluctuated between 5 and 10 knots. There were many “holes” in the wind pattern, which generally caught out most of the sailors somewhere in their progression around the three lap circuit.

Despite all the hype regarding the foiling boats, the scoreboard, with but a few exceptions, reads very much like the form guide for the event. The caveat to this, in fairness to the foilers, was that it was essentially a non-foiling day, and provided a level playing field to the both the displacement sailors, and foiling people.
The first race was won by Glenn Ashby. Nathan Outteridge was in the lead at the conclusion of the second downwind leg, when he found one of those holes in the wind. A number of the trailing boats were able to simply sail through. Nathan could not recover, and went on to finish 12th.

Scott Anderson, the former World Champion, and 1984 Olympic finished 2nd, sailing a non-foiler. Scott has been sailing A Cats for three decades, and he consistently remains at front of the fleet, indeed only just edged out from the winner’s medal of the 2012 World Championship in Aarhus, Denmark.

Third place went to Brad Collett, from Queensland. Brad is another very consistent sailor.
The breeze had dropped to about 5 or 6 knots by the start of the second race. The first start attempt ended in a General Recall, not surprising given most of the fleet were over the start line at the time of the one minute gun.
The PRO decided to put an end to that ill-discipline by promptly hoisting the black flag , which quickly put an end to that type of behaviour, although several sailor’s including, Steve Brewin, 2012 World Champion, were excused from the race.

The wind remained light for the first two legs, but then picked to a more consistent 10 knots, but even then some holes were still present, particularly towards the windward mark. The more skilled foilers were able to gain some air time downwind in the later part of the race.

Outteridge, sailing an “Exploder” design with “L” shaped foils seems to have an edge in the ability to take off in the lighter winds. Nathan has a wealth of experience in sailing high performance boats, and his successes sailing Moths, foiling AC 45, and AC 72 has given him many flying hours on hydrofoil boats
Nathan Outteridge made no mistakes in this one, and went on to win the race from, from Glenn Ashby, with Peter Burling, the NZ Olympic Silver medallist in third place.

Scott Anderson had a consistent day, finishing the race in 5th place.
Andrew Landenberger, also found consistency, finishing the day with an 8th and 4th place.

The top positions on the scoreboard, at the end of Day 1 were as follows:
1 Glenn Ashby. 1, 2. (3 points).
2. Scott Anderson 2, 5 (7 points).
3. Andrew Landenberger 8, 4 (12 points).
4. Nathan Outteridge 12, 1 (13 points).
5. Ray Davies 7, 6 (13 points).

The winds for tomorrow’s racing look to be much the same as today at 10 knots from the North West, and the winds for the last three days a little lighter still. Given the forecasts, the new foiling technologies are not likely to play much role in the outcome of this event. It will be won by the best sailor.

And who could we predict to be likely to win? Ashby is currently in the box seat. He is highly skilled, and he is always very consistent. But I kind of like Nathan Outteridge’s chances. He had a first in both yesterday’s Practice Race, and Race 2 today. And he was leading well into Race 1. Still, those “Black Holes” in the wind are likely to feature for the remainder of this regatta. We shall see."

Bob Griffits.