Glenn Ashby Claims Ninth A-Class World Title
Published on September 11th, 2015
A record fleet of 154 boats competed in the 2015 A-Class World Championship on September 7-11 in Punta Ala, Italy.
Australian Glenn Ashby claimed his ninth world title, overcoming a close battle with past world champ Mischa Heemskirk (NED) through the nine race series. Both sailors are highly skilled, have mastered the art of foiling, and have the hours of training well in excess of virtually any other in the fleet. They both featured the deck sweeping mainsails, which theoretically offer a new level of efficiency, and helpful in the small margins which are critical at the top end of the fleet.
The battle for third place on the podium was realistically the only contest for the remainder of the fleet. In the end it was Manuel Calavia from Spain who prevailed. Fourth place went to former World Champion, Steven Brewin from Australia, whilst the emerging talent of countryman Jason Waterhouse took out the fifth position. Jason recently won the Nacra 17 test Olympic test event in Rio, and also is a star on the Extreme 40 Circuit.
The racing over five days was conducted more or less on schedule (given the perennial vagaries of the Wind Gods) in a testing spectrum, from the Class minimum of 5 to 6 knots on the last two days, up to near the Class maximum at around 20 knots during race seven. The weather also cooperated with temperatures in the high 20’s, and crystal clear blue skies illuminating the Tyrrhenian Sea in its renowned Azure hue.
The venue was truly superb. The extensive Punta Ala Camping Resort, nestled amongst the Pine Trees, just behind the golden sands of the beachfront, easily accommodated the sailors together with their families, and logistically offered great facilities for all off water activities.
The only downside for the whole regatta was the failure of one of the USA containers to be able to clear the Italian Port Authorities which meant six or seven American sailors were unable to participate after making the trip across the Atlantic. Overall the event was magnificent, and in terms of climate, logistics, and natural beauty, it will be difficult to surpass.
The dominant issue arising at the World Annual General Meeting, was the voting regarding the voting on the removal of Rule 8, which poses limitations on foil dimensions or foil functionality. The resolution to remove Rule 8, petitioned by the USA Fleet, and supported by the United Kingdom, failed by the barest of margins. The resolution achieved 66.34% of vote, falling tantalizingly close of the required 66.666666 required allow a rule change under the Class Constitution. This rule will remain a polarizing issue for the class, and no doubt will be revisited in future.
The AGM in its wisdom resolved to have the Technical Committee look at the issue with a view to coming up with suggestions that can be put to the membership in future which may perhaps help facilitate foiling, but do not destroy the essential catamaran nature of the class. In the meantime the developments will roll onwards. Technology never sleeps.
Report by Bob Griffits.