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02 Oct 2013
Sail-World New Zealand: October 2, 2013 - Two World Olympic titles
Monday was a very special day in New Zealand yachting history, when the NZL Sailing Team won World Championships in two Olympic classes on the same day.
The result gives the Team three World Championships in Olympic classes for 2013 - a very creditable result by any measure.
Traditionally the year after an Olympic Regatta is regarded as a bit of a soft year. However that has changed as more countries move onto the common platform of funding their Olympic sailors based on their results in major regattas over the past 12 months.
On that basis, those who are serious about running campaigns through to Rio in 2016 will be competing to assure themselves of funding for the 2014 season.
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke - 2013 49er and 49erFX Worlds, Marseilles, France 49er Worlds
For Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, the win in the Mens 49er is maybe not such a surprise, given they were the 2012 Olympic Silver medallists, and the 2012 Olympic Gold Medalists, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) were out of the picture a little with America's Cup commitments - however they did return climbing through the fleet to finish fifth overall.
Surprise packet was the performance of Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski - a developing crew who won the Silver medal at the 49er Worlds. Certainly they have given New Zealand a very strong position in the Mens High Performance Skiff on the run-in to the 2016 Olympics, and ahead of next year's ISAF World Championships which will be the first qualifier for the 2016 Olympics.
Mens Prizegiving - 49er and 49erFX Worlds, Marseilles, France 49er Worlds
The Womens crew of Alex Maloney and Molly Meech have always been amongst the top crews in the new 49erFX skiff, right from their involvement with the development of the 49er, extending to the Selection Trials for the new Olympic boat, and then campaigning in the class. Several crews have changed to the Womens 49erFX from the match racing, and there is no shortage of talent looking to climb the Olympic ladder for 2016.
Equally impressive is the performance of one of the class builders, Mackay Boats who were instrumental in the development of the 49erFX, along with Southern Spars and North Sails. The long-established, now second generation Olympic class builders have three New Zealand crews – all world champions – sailing their boats in the 470 Womens, 49erFX and 49er classes.
Womens prizegiving - 49er and 49erFX Worlds, Marseilles, France 49er Worlds
On the America's Cup scene, the announcement of Hamilton Island Yacht Club as Challenger of Record raises some questions and maybe creates some hope for the America's Cup, which is at a very difficult juncture of its 160 year plus life.
Given that the Challenger of Record and Defender can decide the basics of the next America's Cup, one would have had a little more confidence in the process if a first time Challenger had not been selected for this vital role.
The media interview with Bob and Sandy Oatley who head the Hamilton Island Yacht Club Challenge, (see link in this edition) contains some interesting views.
As we have said before the key objectives for the Protocol for the next Cup will be to legislate out of existence the multinational crews, and capping salaries – as happens in the NRL.
Much was made of the cost reductions for the last Cup – the reduced sailing days (of which only one team hit the first threshold of 30 days) and thereafter it was free-time despite the restrictions. They proved completely ineffective –this time around cost reduction must be tackled head-on, and not via some other angle.
Banque Populaire Sea Launay / BPCE libre de droits pour la presse
The last Cup, too, was characterised by rules that seemed to be almost made up on the fly – even if claimed to be with the agreement of the teams. That situation can't continue either.
In fact there was very little that achieved that the 34th America's Cup Protocol set out to do. In turn, with the same Defender, that doesn't really give a lot of confidence going into to the 35th America's Cup, that there will be, in reality, much change, aside from talk.
The one ray of hope seems to be universal support (aside maybe from the Defender) for a strict nationality rule – with 70-80% of the sailing crew being nationals of the country they represent. Most affected by that rule will be the Defender who had no less than seven nationalities amongst their 11 crew members.
The entry of an Australian Challenger creates an interesting new dynamic – as the pressure will come on the Australians scattered around the other teams (there were four on the race crew for Oracle Team USA, plus the design head, and general manager) to return and sail for their national team.
While some will claim that there are no countries that can run teams along national lines, the fact is that Australia, Great Britain, France, Italy and New Zealand plus a couple of others can run strong Olympic programs and have the talent on which to draw for the America's Cup.
Maybe the introduction of a nationality clause will have the oblique effect of lowering budgets – due to the reduced elimination of most of the open market for crews.
Events Clothing Annual Clearance Sale at Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron - October 4-6, 2013
The next few months will certainly be watched with interest.
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