Republished from http://www.a-cat.org
Two America’s Cup stars set to race in a strong A-Class fleet in NSW. Bob Griffiths reports
2016 AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL A CLASS CATAMARAN CHAMPIONSHIP.
The International A Class Catamaran Australian Championship will once again return and be sailed on the waters of Lake Macquarie.
The event was last held on the lake in 2012, and proved to be a memorable series, which featured a star, studied fleet of America’s Cup and Olympian sailors. James Spithill led a team from the Oracle America’s Cup Syndicate, and Glenn Ashby represented Team New Zealand.
Darren Bundock, Andrew Landenberger, Chris Cairns, and Scott Anderson were past Olympic games medallists, and Nathan Outteridge together with Tom Slingsby were to later win an Olympic Gold Medal in the 2012 London Olympics. Glenn Ashby convincingly won that (2012) series, indeed with a race to spare. Nathan Outteridge secured second place, and it proved to be a milestone event for him when he received a call from the South Korean America’s Cup syndicate inviting him to join their team. Third place went to Steven Brewin.
This year, James Spithill and Nathan Outteridge will once again be battling out in these 18-foot high performance catamarans. During the intervening four years, the technology has changed substantially, with the progression to hydrofoil styled centreboards and rudders, and the adoption of deck sweeping mainsails and sealed trampolines. The boats have increased their efficiency both in the water, and through the air. Downwind top end speeds are significantly higher, and the boats are beginning to show glimpses of foiling upwind.
The practice race will start proceedings at the South Lake Macquarie Sailing Club, on Sunday January 3rd.
It should be another spectacular regatta. Darren Bundock will also be back as part of the headlining act. The home fleet features a good depth of talent, including Steven Brewin, Brad Collett, Scott Anderson, Stephen Brayshaw, Adam Beattie and Brad Collett. There has been an influx of new younger sailors attracted to the class by the new low flying characteristics, and overall enthusiasm is high.
The regatta venue on Australia’s largest saltwater lake should feature coastal sea breezes, and some weather system driven south or southeasterly winds.
Australian’s tend to rapid acquirer’s of new technology, and in the short four month time since the Punta Ala World Championships, many have converted to the deck sweeping mainsail and sealed trampoline combination.