Ben Ainslie of Great Britain walks thru Fishing Boat Harbour on Day 8 pondering his Int Jury Hearing Paul Kane
Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for 11 December 2011
The ISAF World Championships have erupted with the sensational disqualification of triple Olympic medalist, Ben Ainslie (GBR) from the final two races of the Finn class after a Rule69 hearing, after Ainslie had a brain explosion and boarded a media boat who he believed had affected his performance by getting too close.
The incident will now go to a report to the International Sailing Federation who will determine what future action is to be taken. Both parties were at pains to say that no blows were exchanged, but from the photo sequence in the story it is clear that the incident was more than a social call. The media boat driver can be clearly seen avoiding a gloved hand.
Ainslie will miss the Medal Race to be sailed on Sunday. The incident has the normally very composed British Olympic Team in full damage control mode as they try and keep their Golden Boy in the mix for the 2012 Olympics.
One can have a degree of sympathy for Ainslie's frustrations. ISAF and major event organizers have shown a consistent pattern of not being able to apply some very basic techniques in Olympic coverage in their attempts to make the events more media friendly.
Too often we hear some official opining on what needs to be done to improve the presentation of sailing, in the full knowledge that they have never had to cover an event, take a shot, or write a report for publication under the heat of a one or two hour deadline.
The wake and proximity of TV boats have always been an issue, and the only surprise is that there has not been a confrontation of this type before. With good lens and gear there is no need to be as close as the TV boats venture - oblivious of the fact that they are badly affecting a competitor who has put many years of work and thousands of dollars of personal money on the line to realise an Olympic dream.
Camper with ETNZ maneuvering for the start of the Cape Town in Port race of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011 - 2012. Emirates Team NZ
The ISAF Sailing Worlds at Perth are nearing the end of the beginning, as the first group of events come to the conclusion of their World Championships, which double as the first Olympic Qualifying Round for the 2012 Olympics to be sailed in Weymouth.
The first group of events comprises the Mens Two handed dinghy (470), the Womens Singlehander (Laser Radial), the Womens Windsurfer (RS:X), the Heavyweight Mens Singlehander (Finn) and the Womens Match Racing (Elliot 6M).
It has been a mixed bag for the Kiwis with the young 470 crew of Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders currently lying in 8th overall. In the 2010 Worlds they finished 15th overall - so on the basis of current performance they have made a good gain. Their task will be to hold the line through the tail of the regatta. In terms of Olympic Qualification New Zealand is lying in sixth place overall, which is a very good result in the circumstances.
Paul Snow-Hansen and Jason Saunders leading the 470 fleet downwind. Photo by Ocean Images. Alex Ocean Images
Of the other events, Sara Winther is turning in a solid if not spectacular performance in the Womens Singlehander, sailing the Laser Radial class, and has qualified NZ for the event in 2012. The Womens Match Racing crew, Koru Match had a flying start to the regatta being on 7 wins and 2 losses at one point, but have come back to more even figures since then and have their work cut out to achieve Olympic Qualification. They have made the top 16. The top four in the regatta have already qualified for the 2012 Olympics.
Next week the remaining five events get underway, with New Zealand competing in the Womens Two hander (470), the Mens Singlehander (Laser), the High Performance Two Hander (49er) and Mens Windsurfer (RS:X).
New Zealand will not be qualifying in the Two man Keelboat class (Star) in Perth, after the New Zealand crew of Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk have reportedly split after a funding row with Yachting New Zealand. We have the newspaper report on the situation in this edition of Sail-World.
A welcome sight overnight in Cape Town with all six Volvo Ocean Race entries sailing in the Pro-Am racing with their rigs surviving intact.
Overnight the In Port race has been staged, with Emirates Team NZ placing well. The second leg will start Sunday night (NZT) ostensibly heading for Abu Dhabi - but stopping at an undisclosed port while racing is suspended as the boats are loaded aboard a secure ship for transportation just outside of Abu Dhabi, avoiding pirates.
Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Pro-Am Race in Cape Town, South Africa. Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
On Thursday evening the Young 88 class celebrated 30 years of growth, with a sprint race series followed by a function at Royal NZ Yacht Squadron with designer Jim Young and builder Roger land, being the stars of the show.
We were on the water for the first race of the series, before light faded, and feature three galleries of images form the racing. The smart sleek lines of the Young 88 are well ahead of their time, and wouldn't have been drawn too differently if a new class were being designed today.
Young 88 Sprint Racing - 8 December 2011 Richard Gladwell
Probably the enduring features of the class is the T-shaped cockpit, which while providing a great working platform for cruising, also allowed two double berths below the cockpit - allowing the Young 88 to sleep six below. Initially the Young 88 was promoted as much for her cruising qualities as her racing, prompting many wanting to combine cruising with first class one design racing.
The availability of a number of building options, from a professionally constructed ready to race boat down to an owner purchasing a bonded hull and decks plus an interior kitset, meant that boats could be finished off at home with little more than a battery drill and a jigsaw.
With well over 100 boats on the water, the Young 88 is as strong as ever, and providing the same please now that she did 30 years ago.
A 2 year old boatbuilder helps finish off a Young 88 kitboat - family involvement was one of the features of the class from the outset. Gladwell Collection
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