With the Southern Hemisphere going into the winter months, Bob Griffits sends this end of year report.
The 2016/17 sailing season has drawn to a close Down Under, following the completion of the Queensland State Titles on the first weekend in May.
The Qld titles had been delayed a few weeks due to the appearance of Cyclone Debbie, which ravaged North Queensland, and deluged South Queensland in April. Steve Brewin won the event in emphatic style, from Andrew Landenberger, with Mark Johnson third.
Stevie used shorter rig, with a lot of sail area concentrated down low. The rig was even shorter than Landy's mast which had about one metre sawn off the standard length. The jury is still out on the relative merits of the new rig. Those who have a broken mast that is bit shorter may care to try it, but those who are thinking of taking a saw to a healthy full length section should remember it is much more difficult to put the bit back on again.
Steve Brewin was the stand out performer across the Australian A Class during summer. He was kept reasonably honest by training partner Darren Bundock. Stevie and Darren continue to put a large amount of time into training, and boat development.
The Australian Fleet remains healthy. There are now many foiling boats, but enthusiasm for the floating boats nevertheless remains strong, and the second market remains buoyant. Clearly not everyone wishes to go foiling. There is no doubt that successful foiling requires agility, endurance, and a mindset to push the limits. The injuries are also there. Landy copped widespread bruising when he came off the foils and smashed the mast ( leading to the development of his short rig). The good thing about a carbon mast is that it acts like a crumple zone during accidents, certainly better when impaling ones thighs or other bits around a mast. A few sailors have indulged in some long swimming sessions back to the shore, after they have been thrown off their foilers. Probably not a good idea to train alone.
In August , a team of Australian Sailors, headed by Stevie and Darren, will head across the other side of the world to Sopot for World Titles. The mission is more than just trying to win the World Title for Australia. We are there to publicise the 2018 World Titles that will be held in Hervey Bay, in November 2018, and to encourage people of the northern hemisphere to take the plane trip down south (plane trips are really not that bad- it is purely a mind set- you don't have fly the thing, just sleep, read , or watch a movie).
The 2017/18 Australian Championship's will be sailed at the Wangi Amateur Sailing Club on Lake Macquarie. This was the venue of the 2012 Nationals , which attracted record fleet of 70 boats , including some of the America's Cup stars. Hopefully, Nathan Outteridge, James Spithill, and Glenn Ashby will return to class for the event. It is the home Club for Nathan, and will dovetail into the Moth Class Nationals which will be held at the same venue immediately afterwards.
Probably most Australian A Cat sailors will ride out the Winter months doing something warmer than sailing. A small team however will be out practising in earnest for the Sopot World Championship.
Compared to Europe, and most of northern America, the Australian Winter is quite mild. The days are a bit short, but the main problem is the wind: there is either none of it ,or it is howls out of country's interior. If the Vikings can sail in the ice and snow, well Aussie's can at have go in our cooler months.