In about a month, the most beautiful people from the ‘A’ Cat world will be assembling in the English seaside holiday town of Weymouth. Specifically, at the 2012 Olympic venue of the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy, a purpose built competition sailing venue on the shores of Portland Harbour. As befits an Olympic venue, it boasts all the facilities one would need and expect, and coupled with the superb flat water it promises much great sailing. Just ask our tame former GBR Olympic sailor Adam May, or the fastest sailor on Earth, Paul Larsen, both chose to live there for a reason.
With the ‘Warm Up Event’ of the GBR ‘A’ Class Nationals, starting on the 17thAugust, many will be, as in previous years, using this event to get match fit and test their settings and kit for the main event a week later. With the Earlybird entry for the Worlds finishing on the 19th, although entries will still be accepted right up until the day before, now is a good time to check on whom we have in the running.
We have a very good turnout this year from the SUI team, led by their National Champion Sandro Caviezel and reigning European Junior Champion Robin Maeder. Not forgetting our IACA President Charles Bueche of course. The next biggest team is ESP. Forgoing the warmer waters of their own country, it is great to see a good few are making the trip this year. Leading their charge is ESP National and European Champion Manuel Calavia. Manuel came close to the World title in the 2017 Sopot Worlds, when an OCS robbed him of the points to challenge Stevie Brewin for the crown. None should doubt his Spanish resolve this year and we can expect to see him right up near the top again in the Open Division.
The AUS team is on the move again and continuing the conversations from Hervey Bay. This year a container of their boats is due to dock soon. In the absence of our current World Champ, Glenn Ashby, thrice time World Champ Stevie Brewin returns to WPNSA. He was here in May for the Nacra 17 Euros, so is well acquainted with the place. Another former WC, Andrew Landenberger, is booked into the Classic fleet. He will no doubt be battling yet another former champ, Scotty Anderson and they will renew their on-water rivalry after Hervey Bay last year which saw Landy become the first Classic ‘A’ Cat World Champion.
Mischa Heemskerk, of course, leads the NED contingent. He is on top form currently, judging from his recent Garda performances and will be looking to clinch his third World title on his bright green DNA F1X. Tymo Bendyk currently leads a strong POL squad. Also recently at Weymouth in the same event as Stevie, he is looking for another Worlds podium finish after his Sopot triumph of runner-up. However Maciej Zarnowski might have other ideas.
In the trio from DEN, we have Vikings Tom Bojland, Peter Boldsen and Felix Jacobsen in the mix. And sailing for SWE, the ever present Alberto Farnassi on his Marstrom Classic. Never count him out if it’s windy, he’s a monster in a blow.
The FRA National Champion, Emmanuel Dode, will be trying to match his good Garda form where he was chasing Mischa for a podium spot, and the AUT Champion Michael Modelhammer will be mixing it up too. For the ITA team, who incidentally are bringing the wine sponsor CiuCiu, and so are particularly welcome at Weymouth, will be some experienced hands of Paulo Penco and Steffano Sirri, both on foilers.
From over the pond we have USA National Open Champ Bruce Mahoney, together with Worlds 2020 organiser Emmanuel Cerf on his Classic. From NZL we have a couple of superb sailors. Dave Shaw, one of the top finishers at Sopot and, we have the sailing superstar, former Oman Air skipper and now arriving fresh from his Sail GP skippering duties for the China Team at Cowes the week before, we have sailing superstar, Phil Robinson. You’d better just hope it doesn’t get into a match race at any point, as you will loose.
Finally, the largest team at the moment is Team GBR, particularly in the Classic division. We are looking at a decent turnout for the home side so far. Leading them in the Open Foilers is Adam May, looking to improve on his great 10that Sopot and fresh in from his Olympic coaching duties. Also they have Tom Phipps back again in the fleet, who will hopefully have a more successful regatta than his European one where a major boat issue forced him out in the first race.
With a month to go, we have 75 entries and counting, with a roughly 60/40 split of Open and Classics. There are a few names missing, however, they may yet sign up when their availability is confirmed nearer the date. The sponsors so far are North Sails, Ronstan, Forward WIP, CiuCiu Wines, and Dinghy Insure. The two media ribs are sponsored by boatbuilders DNA and Exploder. Nobel Marine are available for 3rdparty insurance for those overseas sailors whose companies can’t or won’t cover them in the EU. Brittany Ferries have offered a 20% discount on daytime sailings for the event on their routes.
On a technical note, sailors must ensure their boats are correctly measured to the current rules, including the blue WS/ISAF plaques on boats built from 2010. The jury will be pulling out boats at random for checks, so beware, you have been warned!
Entries are still open, although after the 19thJuly, the fee will be £355. The GBR Nationals entry remains at £150.
See you for fish and chips, cloudy cider (caution - deceptively strong), Cornish pasties, ice cream, roast beef, pork pies, and any number of other delicacies Britain is rightly famous for…. See you there.!