Steven Brewin sailed an outstanding series to clearly win the 2013 European Championships for A Class Catamarans in Barcelona. The Championship was his at the end of race 8, after 4 days of racing. He was able to sit out the ninth race on the final day, whilst several others fought it out for the remaining podium positions.
The successfully completion of the ninth race triggered the second discard, which opened up the ball game for the minor placings. Andrew Landenberger, whom had occupied the second place on the scoreboard over the entire series, consolidated that position by winning the final race.
Local Barcelona lad, Manual Calavia, with a string of top five positions was able to drop two outlying performances to finish third overall.
Stephen Brayshaw from Victoria had a great regatta, finishing fourth overall, a result that included a second place in race 1, and a win in race seven.
The regatta was sailed in light to moderate winds and the full race program completed on time. The Race Committee did a great job, and made appropriate use of the black flag when it became apparent early in the proceedings that this fleet was somewhat over zealous at the start line.
The venue was a good one both for the sailor’s and their supporters. The Barcelona International Sailing Centre was well equipped, and offered an expansive rigging area with facilities for washing and maintaining boats. The launching area and a tiny harbour were somewhat tight, but officials were vigilant at controlling the flow of traffic in an orderly fashion.
Once again, the best sailors prevailed, and there was no particular platform or sail that dominated the racing. Steve Brewin used a Nikita and his own sail, Landy an Scheuerer hull, and his own sails, and Calavia a DNA with Ashby sails.
The use of rudder winglets has become close to standard, and offer an improvement in the dampening of pitch, without any significant drag penalty.
The DNA’s with their “J shaped “ centreboards were fast downwind when the conditions that were strong enough to allow foiling, with Mischa Heemskeek in particular having outstanding speed once the wind was up.
An informal meeting of competitors was held during the regatta to discuss some of the contemporary issues and concerns facing the class.
Concern was expressed that the Race Committees at several recent World Titles have used a fair amount of latitude in terms of interruption of the class upper and lower wind limits.
The insurance claims related to the Islamorada event has meant that the Australian Insurer will no longer insure A Cats for anything other than third party property and person cover in International events.
The Australian Association raised the fairness of the current World Championships rotation, particularly the bias towards North America venues, over the southern hemisphere.
The issue of hydrofoils was also considered, with the general feeling being that the current rules are leading to some weird and expensive centreboard shapes, and complex centreboard case designs in attempt to circumvent the current rule that sought to stop foiling.
The current rule is really not working effectively, and perhaps should be revisited, maybe with a view to allowing “T Foils” which could be inserted from the bottom of the centreboard case. The meeting of course was totally nonbinding, and merely sought to measure the current mood in the class for some of these issues.
With the European Championships now behind us, the focus of world A Class sailing will now move on to the 2014 World Championships, slatted for Auckland next February.
Although it is a large distance from Europe and North America, a 747, or an A380, means that it is not an onerous trip for competitors.
The Kiwi’s are superb at organising yachting events, and once again we should be seeing the influx of a number of the “Rock Stars” of the America’s Cup circuit returning to compete in this event.

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