Harken Derm

International Sailing Canoe Worlds on SF Bay

Published on August 26th, 2014

Point Richmond, CA (August 26, 2014) – Sailors from Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, and the USA are gathering at Richmond Yacht Club in preparation for the International 10 Square Meter Sailing Canoe (IC) Worlds Championship, which begins September 6.

The words “sailing canoe” may conjure up images of an outdated craft, and the IC class still competes for the New York Challenge Cup, established in 1885 and the second oldest international sailing trophy in the world after the America’s Cup. However, like the America’s Cup boats, the International Canoe has been transformed into a high tech version of its 19th century counterpart. Key features of the IC today are its efficient rig, long, slim hull and a curved sliding seat that allows its single-handing skipper to glide fore and aft as well as several feet out to windward from the hull while, as one enthusiast put it, “sailing upwind like a stiletto through butter”, an exhilarating challenge to the best of sailors. Check out this regatta promo video.

A one-design class from 1971 to 2008, the International Canoe officially became a developmental class in 2009, operating under a simple set of rules that define the hull’s allowable length (4900-5200mm) and minimum beam and the boat’s overall minimum weight excluding sails. The total allowable sail area is 10 square meters. The developmental feature of this class makes the upcoming competition particularly exciting since, in addition to the plethora of seasoned competitors, there is no way to accurately predict which new design will prove fastest or function best on San Francisco Bay.

Del Olsen, event organizer and 2013 US Nationals Champion, thinks current IC World Champion Chris Maas (USA), creator of the “Super String Theory” IC design, can win if it doesn’t blow too hard. Six other sailors are racing the Maas design, including Peter Ulman (GER), who finished 2nd in the last Worlds. However, Maas recently tweaked his own boat up several notches and has proved “blazingly fast’ in recent pre-regatta testing. Almost all IC sailors relish the technical aspect of the boat and have considerable hands-on experience with carbon fiber and epoxy, but Maas has stretched this to an extreme, relating that “I spend 1,000 hours boat building for every hour spent sailing.”

Other competitors to watch include past World Champions Robin Wood (GBR), three-time winner and a good heavy air racer with a new “Morrison2” boat; Steve Clark (USA), winner of two Worlds and designer of the “Hollow Thread” IC, a boat several other competitors have chosen; and Hayden Virtue (AUS), 2008 World Champion and a close 3rd in the 2010 North Americans, who is racing his own design.

With several past champions getting a bit grayer and a boat that requires agility and athleticism, it’s exciting to see some young talent joining the competition. Two young Americans with considerable skiff and IC experience bear watching: Mikey Radziejowski, a member of the American Youth Sailing Force that raced on the AC45 catamarans in the 2013 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, and David Clark, a member of the IC trio that won the New York Cup Challenge in 2011.

The opening ceremony of the International Canoe 10 sq. Meter Worlds Championships will be held at Richmond Yacht club on Saturday, September 5. Races are scheduled in the Olympic Circle area for September 6th-14th, with a lay day on Wednesday September 10th. The New York Cup Challenge will be held September 15th.

Event Website
International Canoe Class

Report by Event Media
Photo by Patrick Grey

About the International 10 Sq. Meter Sailing Canoe Class – With roots in the 19th century, this class came into being in the 1930’s when US and British sailing canoe rules were merged. In 1945 the International Canoe Federation (ICF) adopted the 10 m2 Canoe as the ICF class. The first International Canoe World Championships were held in 1961 in Hayling Island, Great Britain. They initially took place every four years, but since 1975 been have held every three years. Canoe sailing remains a discipline under control of the ICF. For more information see www.intcanoe.org.

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