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ETNZ Sailors A Class Above the Rest - FInal Day - 16/02/2014

The final day of racing scheduled in the A Class Catamaran World Championships was basically a drifter when the crews arrived at the Takapuna Boating club this morning.

There was one race for the final day, but after waiting on the water for an hour the committee called the boats back to the beach to wait for some breeze.

As seems to be always the case, once the boats hit the beach the fingers of breeze extended towards the shore, finally allowing enough wind to convince the race committee to call for a start.

The sailors were ready and charged for the final race, with the eagerness causing more than half the fleet to be over the line early; triggering a recall. The second start saw the black flag flying, leaving no room for error. The fleet made a more cautious start toward the pin end, sailing out toward the left hand side of the course. 

Ashby was among the leaders off the line followed by Tuke and Burling looking for wind in toward the shore before heading out to the middle of the course. By the top mark Ashby had secured the lead. At the first bottom mark it was still Ashby followed by Peter Melvin and Blair Tuke. Most of the fleet appeared to favour the shore and left side of the course following Glenn Ashby. Peter Burling, Blair Tuke and Nathan Outteridge took the right hand side of the course on the final beat hoping for a wind shift to allow them to make a significant gain on Glenn Ashby. The wind shifted some 120 degrees and in the end the right paid dividends, compressing the frontrunners, and giving many a chance by the final top mark. Glenn Ashby had a bad gybe at the top mark and left the door open for Nathan Outteridge to pass on the run home.

Nathan Outerridge crossed ahead of Glenn Ashby from Ray Davies and Blair Tuke. Nathan Outerridge had built his reputation for being a master in light conditions and displayed his immense talent by foiling across the line to a round of Australian Cheering.

The final race results do little to upset the leader board, and if anything go on to cement the three top racers in their podium places. The 2014 A-Class World Champion is Glenn Ashby (AUS), second is Blair Tuke (NZL) with Peter Burling (NZL) in third.

Most notable perhaps is the fact that the top four places are all members of the America’s cup syndicate Emirates Team New Zealand.

Glen Ashby said at the finish;

“It’s one from the best world championships I’ve been to from the point of view of all the new technology introduced to the class and the ideas from people from all over the world here at the regatta.”

Provisional Results of World Championship Placings:

Glenn Ashby (13)

Blair Tuke   (30)

Peter Burling (40)

Andrew Landenberger (42)

Ray Davies (49)

Nathan Outteridge (53)

Scott Andersen (54) 


A Class Act in Lighter Conditions - 15/02/2014

The stars of the fleet shone again on the world of A Class sailors today in race seven and eight of the 2014 A Class Catamaran World Championships.  To the relief of many after Thursday’s heavy slog the two races were sailed in excellent conditions with flat water and steady breeze. Sailors had spent the morning changing the set up of their boats because light airs were predicted for the day, but once the boats left the beach, the conditions changed, and by the time they made it to the start line the wind was between eight and ten knots with puffs a little higher.  With about fifteen minutes to go many elected to modify the settings for somewhere about halfway between what they’d had for the last day of racing and where things had been set this morning.

The first race got away with most of the fleet favouring the pin end of the line. Glen Ashby and Chris Nicholson made a break for the front. Blair Tuke found a hold in the middle of the line following left. By the top mark Andrew Landenberger was in the lead followed closely by Glen Ashby, Brad Collett and Scott Anderson. Blair Tuke worked up from tenth at the second bottom mark to an eventual forth. By the race end Glenn Ashby crossed ahead of Andrew Landenberger, and Brad Collett took third from Blair Tuke and Scott Anderson.

Aussie Chris Cairns (AUS 980) had a tough day when he hit the top mark buoy  which settled in between the hulls, jamming against the forward beam. He got off after walking the hull back off the buoy, finally floating clear and sailing to a clear space where he duly completed his penalty.

The breeze was up and down the whole day and the course was shortened after the first bottom mark, with the new course length in effect for the balance of the races.

Race Two got off in about eight knots. Glenn Ashby led the pack over the line at the pin end but said later that the puff died after he crossed the line. At the first bottom mark rounding he overtook Peter Burling who was coming through slowly from the right side of the course. Glenn gybed and had enough speed to get ahead, leaving Peter rather flat and slow to respond. They were followed by Blair Tuke and Nathan Outteridge, with Ray Davies and Andrew Landenberger rounding  together close behind.

At the second rounding of the bottom mark Glenn Ashby still led Peter Burling, followed by Blair Tuke about two hundred meters back. Next was Nathan Outteridge with an even a larger gap back to Ray Davies. There was a tough battle all the way up the course and back down to the finish where Blair Tuke got to the layline earlier than Nathan Outteridge who had to do a final gybe just before the line. Blair Tuke took his first win of the competition with Nathan Outteridge second followed by Glenn Ashby in a rare third place.  Peter Burling finished fourth from Ray Davies,  Scott Anderson and Steve Brewin.

In the overall standings Glenn Ashby (AUS) is in the lead on 11 points, with a gap back to Blair Tuke (NZL) on 26 from Andrew Landenberger (AUS) on 33.  Peter Burling (NZL) sits on 35 and Ray Davies (NZL) on 46.

Quotes from today’s racing;

We asked Glen Ashby how he planned to sail in tomorrow’s final race and he replied; “I struggle to sail conservatively. I’ll go out tomorrow and try to sail my best race.”

When asked about the failures of rudders, he said.

“Downwind, when the boats clearing the water, when you’re steering reasonably aggressively to keep the boat in control and flying, basically the hull is not taking any of the side load like it used to, so its all going through the bottom rudder gudgeon. The load has increased probably fifty to seventy percent compared to what there used to be, so we’re finding that we’re busting things that previously have never broken.” 

Natahn Outteridge was asked about the finish of the second race.

“The second race was good. It was a bit lighter so the boat was going nicely, I was hanging on the tail of the first three and just waiting for a bit of puff to get up and basically ahead of Glenn, and then Blair ripped round the outside of us both just at the finish.” 


Emirates Team New Zealand Crew Nail Another Clean Sweep - 13/02/2014

Race Five and Six were sailed today in the heaviest conditions of the regatta thus far, the wind prior to the first race was gusting to 18.3 so the race committee waited for several big puffs to pass through before starting.

The fleet got away into relatively steady breeze in the 15 to 17 knot range. The Emirates team immediately broke free from the fleet, favouring the left hand side of the course. At the first rounding of the bottom mark there were two distinct fleets, the Emirates boys and the rest.

Peter Burling led the Emirates crew and dominated the first race, finally leading his teammates Glenn Ashby and Blair Tuke across the line.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, is probably the only saying that fits the conditions that the competitors raced in today. Spectators who were able to view the race were treated to a masterclass of control and speed displayed by the frontrunners.

Race Two started in more consistent breeze which built close to the wind limit of twenty two knots towards the end of the race.

The boats got off to a clean start with most of the fleet again favouring the left hand side of the course. Peter Burling rounded the bottom mark first followed closely by Glenn Ashby and Blair Tuke. Blair took the right hand side of the course hoping for a shift which could allow him to pass the leaders on the beat.

By the second rounding of the bottom mark the race was clearly split in to two groups once more;  the Emirates peloton some minutes ahead of the chasing pack.

Nathan Outteridge had another shocker today with a sixth and a forty eighth due to a broken rudder bungee. resulting in a drop to ninth place overall. Many sailors would have given up, but not Nathan. He sailed the entire second race with only his starboard rudder functional. He simply never gives up.

There was carnage across the fleet with damage hitting many crews. For Alexis Reeves it was armageddon when a gybe went badly wrong resulting in a broken forward beam which saw the boat split in two. The three major components of the boat were eventually rounded up, rescued and brought back to the beach. The clear consensus of the many experts gathered on the beach was that Alexiss regatta was over.

Again the Team New Zealand crew dominated, with Glenn Ashby crossing first ahead of Blair Tuke and Ray Davies. Peter Burling ended up fifteenth after suffering a broken starboard foil on the run to the finish.

Andrew Landenberger and Mischa Heemskerk continued to impress with rock steady performances coming in fourth and fifth.

The overall results have Glenn Ashby (AUS) on 7 ahead of Blair Tuke (NZL) on 21 and Peter Burling on 22. Andrew Landenberger (AUS) also finished on 22 and Ray Davies (NZL) on 30.

Quotes of the Day.

Ray Davies NZL

It’s great to see the young guys going so well, I’m pleased to be within striking distance going into the final races.

Alexis Reeves GBR The 3 piece A Class

I gybed and dug the nose in, the port hull tried to go one way and the starboard hull tried to go the other, then forward beam broke.

Glen Ashby AUS

The last race was one of those races where the finish couldn’t come quick enough.

Blair Tuke NZL

I haven’t won one yet but I’m going a lot quicker upwind.


ETNZ Sailors Have a Dream Run on Day Two of the A-Class World Championships.

Day Two of the A Class World Championships started in more wind than predicted, and certainly more than expected; today the breeze averaged 13 knots with puffs into the seventeens.

Emirates Team New Zealand crew had a perfect start to the day with race one delivering a clean sweep from first to fourth, Glen Ashby (1),  Peter Burling (2),  Blair Tuke (3) and Ray Davies  (4).

The challenging conditions led to many withdrawals and retirements, with several breakages, some spectacular crashes, and for some contestants the conditions were just too rough.

Most notable was Glenn Ashby who won the first race, but then went on  to break the bolts securing his starboard rudder at the top mark, forcing him to withdraw from the second race of the day. As one might expect the Emirates Team were planning to change all the bolts securing both rudders for the race tomorrow.

Nathan Outteridge has a long night ahead of him after breaking several vital components throughout the course of the day.  He had a difficult start in the first race with problems sheeting home the outhaul, when the cleat failed to jam. In the second race the bungee broke on the trapeze wire and he deliberately stacked the boat to retrieve the wire which put him back into seventeenth place. A valiant effort  saw him finish in sixth place only to break his dagger board case as he crossed the line for the final time.

“I broke everything,” was the succinct quote from Nathan after the finish.

The first boat over the line in the second race was Mischa Heemskerk, former world champion from the Netherlands, followed by Andrew Landenberger (AUS) and Adam Beattie (AUS) in third place.

Peter Burling (ETNZ / NZL) currently sits at the top of the table after a second and a fifth placing today leaving him with 21 points. Second  on the table is Andrew Landenberger (AUS) with 23 points and the Great Grand Master Scott Anderson (AUS)  lies in third place with 28 points.

Blaire Tuke (NZL) and Ray Davies (NZL) are chasing hard with 31 and 32 points. Nathan Outerridge remains in the top ten, currently in sixth place on 36 points. The competitors are able to drop their worst race which will be a relief for several of the top players, particularly Glenn Ashby who, had he not scored a DNF, would have been at the top of the table on 4 points.

Past NZ Champion Steve Ashby commented on his own performance saying, “We went the right way and the good guys in the fleet went the other way, but it all turned to custard from there.”

Matthew Hart managed to complete both races but commented, “Piece of advice, don’t try to sail the worlds with a broken wrist.”

No doubt several contestants will be hoping to see conditions lighten for tomorrow.


A-Class Cats Fly at Takapuna on Day One of World Champs

The 2014 A Class worlds kicked off on Monday with the practice race, the event drawing a record fleet of eighty one entries from twelve nations.

The sailing world is now totally focused on catamarans, especially foiling catamarans, currently considered by many to be the hottest single handed class on the water.  This year both Emirates Team New Zealand and Artemis have sent sailors to the A Class Worlds, this event being the ideal extension for any America’s Cup winter training.

Emirates Team New Zealand has entered their two newest team members, Olympians Pete Burling and Blair Tuke, as well as 2013 America’s Cup team members, Glenn Ashby, tactician Ray Davies, Pete Melvin, Luc Dubois and Nat Shaver. Chris Nicholson, skipper of the team’s CAMPER entry in the Volvo Ocean Race was a late entrant skippering Dean Barker’s catamaran after Dean’s  withdrawal so he can focus on the Extreme Sailing World Series which begins later this month in Singapore.

Artemis racing entered their helmsman Nathan Outteridge.

Today, in typical near perfect Auckland sailing conditions, the wind dropped for the start of the first race turning light and shifty. Australia’s Nathan Outteridge seemed to have control of the race when he rounded the top mark with a lead of thirty seconds, before choosing the left hand side of the course where he sailed into a hole and dropped to an eventual twelfth place finish.

Glen Ashby of Australia and Emirates Team New Zealand passed Outteridge to finish first ahead of Great Grand Master Scott Anderson (AUS) and Brad Collett (AUS).

The wind increased slightly for the second race; the gauge showing a 7.2 knot average with gusts of 12 knots which saw those with more aggressive foils making the most of any increases in pressure.

Outteridge dominated the second race providing another masterful sailing display on his downwind leg, and winning from Glen Ashby (AUS) with Steve Brewin (AUS) third. Later Peter Burling (NZL) was elevated to third when it was found that Steve Brewin was black flagged at the start.

Nathan Outteridge stated that “the foils used today were aggressive and gave him a bit of extra lift.”

In the overall points standings Glen Ashby leads (3) from Scott Anderson (7) Andrew Landenberger (11).

Copyright Cathy Vercoe.


Photos from Chris Cameron - don't forget to check out the gallery as well.

Video Link to Practice Day of the Worlds from Luvmyboat.com



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