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A-Class Worlds heads to Texas

Published on March 24th, 2022

Following a delay of 2 years and lockdown, the A-Class World Championship is back for 2022 on April 29-May 6 in Houston, TX.

With the introduction of foiling, the 65 year old development class has transitioned to hold two sub-divisions for the 18ft single-handed catamaran. This was done in an attempt to retain within the class the many sailors to whom foiling was deemed too expensive, or they were unwilling to learn the new techniques possibly required to sail them.

With the official recognition by World Sailing, the Classic Division essentially consists of boats with straight or constant radius curve main foils and should not foil. Alternatively, the Open division is for boats with J or Z main foils, allowing them to foil at speeds now in excess of 30 knots.

These twin fleets both now usually compete alongside each other in most National Association fleets and events, and results are split out at the end. However, at big events, they will have separate starts and, sometimes, different courses for safety reasons. Open foilers tend to need more space, Classics tend to enjoy physically closer racing at times. Open racers enjoy the mid-range (9-16kt) winds, Classics like to thrive in the ends of the official class sanctioned wind envelope (so 5-9, and 16- 22 kts).

Sailing on the waters of Galveston Bay, the World Championship follows the success of the 2019 edition in Weymouth, UK. Here the Flying Dutchman, Mischa Heemskerk, in the Open Division and the Aussie Olympic Tornado medalist, Andrew Landenberger, in the Classic Division, became the first two official World Champions of the newly sub-divided class. At Houston, both sailors will be attempting to defend their crowns.

The Texan venue in May anticipates 16-18kt winds coupled with the shallow waters of that Bay which can result in a choppy seas state, similar to the waters of the 2017 Worlds at Sopot in Poland.

Over 30 sailors are registered in each fleet, and considering the current times, which includes 23 non-US sailors coming from AUS, NED, FRA, ESP, POL, CAN, ARG, and ISV. Amongst them are current are former double World Champion Stevie Brewin AUS, several former and current National Champs including Kuba Surowiec POL, Micky Todd ESP, Emmanuel Dode FRA, current US champions Bruce Mahoney and Bob Webbon, Olympic 49er sailor and ESP Open Champion Iago Lopez Marra, and the America’s Cup sailor, Darren Bundock.

All are hoping to do battle with a US fleet of some considerable reputation and skill, and fleets which contain such class luminaries as Lars Gluk, Robbie Daniel, OH Rogers, Woody Cope, and Bailey White, plus the three Canadian Woods brothers to name but a few. We expect some close battles in both fleet, although Landy could well be favorite for the Classic win on recent form, but pushed hard hopefully by his son Andy jnr. and Bob Webbon. Although the legendary old ‘Admiral’ Bob Hall could well get the Great Grandmaster trophy at the very least and put many younger sailors to shame in the bargain.

However, the Open fleet looks less clear cut. Kuba Surowiec, fresh from his Transat on the ‘I Love Poland’ Volvo 70, and having beaten Mischa on the last few meetings, looks to be on good form, assuming his boat setup is right. Stevie Brewin or his constant training partner Bundy can never be counted out and will both be pushing hard. Iago, is also looking very fast, and local knowledge of the Texan Bruce might also be one to watch.

The events kick off with the warm up act of the 4-day Admiral’s Cup on April 25-28.

Event Details:

Source: Gordon Upton,

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