WRAP UP 2012 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS.
The 2012 A Class Catamaran World Champion is Mischa Heemskerk from the Netherlands. Whilst only 5 races could be sailed as conditions steadily deteriorated with the impending arrival of Hurricane Sandy, Mischa was clearly dominant in the strong wind conditions.
He was consistently within the top 3 in every races (3,2,2,1,1) to finish with 9 points, a clearly dominant performance, and a worthy winner. He sailed a DNA platform, built in his own country.
Second overall was Australia’s Andrew Landenberger, the newly elected World A Cat President, who finished with 24 points ( 8,6,1,4,5). Andrew sailed a Swiss built Scheurer boat, using his own sails, on a Saarberg mast.
Third overall was the 2011 World Champion, Steve Brewin, sailing his brand new German built Nikita, featuring his own sails on a Fibrefoam mast. Stevie opened his regatta with two straight wins, but his meagre frame of 73kgs was probably at a disadvantage as the winds steadily increased.
Under the conditions experienced, we may conclude that the DNA’s, Sheuerer’s, and Nikita’s are all up to the task of winning, and handling the high winds, and a seaway.
The failure of DNA centreboards continues to be a problem. Nathan Outteridge broke two centreboards and one rudder, which put him out of one race, and out of the series, in a short, 5-race program, which did not allow a drop. Nathan noted that the 4 kilograms of lead that he had to add to bring the boat up to minimum weight would have more meaningfully employed in more robust centreboards. I sense that there is a good opening for an enterprising Australian centreboard manufacturer.
None of the races were sailed under 18 knots, and most were in the 20 to 22 knot band with attendant stronger gusts. The final race was sailed in very strong conditions, and organiser took the appropriate decision to call a halt to proceedings after the first upwind/downwind legs. As one competitor quite nicely put it “I have sailed in such strong winds, but I have never raced in such strong conditions”.
As would be reasonably expected the regatta told a reasonable toll on the carbon fibre masts, with some failing under load or capsize, especially when their tips were planted in the shallow placed seabed. The prize for the most innovative mast break goes to a veteran German sailor whom lost control of his boat whilst leaving the beach, and ran into the pier. We were relieved that he escaped what could have been serious injury, with the mast and rig behaving as his “safety crumple zones”, as it broke in multiple places, and draped the railing in an art form that would have made the artist Christo proud.
Fortunately, everyone survived the conditions well apart from sprains and bruises.
Despite the weather, the regatta was well run by the race committee and the organisers, and was a great event, enjoyed very much by the competitors and their supporters.
The highlight of the social program was the Beach Party on the Tuesday night, which featured great food and company, together with liberally laced rum punch. I think that this may have been a contributing factor to the small turn out for the final two races.
A key ingredient to the overall success of the regatta was the Islander Resort, which housed most of the competitors/partners/offspring and dogs.