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Peter Burling wins A Class Nats

Peter Burling wins A Class Nationals

We had a taste of maybe what is to come in the A-class Catamaran World Championshi, with the domination of the NZ Nationals and Pre-Worlds by Peter Burling and Glenn Ashby.

Ashby is a seven times World Champion, and the top sailor in the world in the class, but he finished second to Burling who is sailing as a Youth in the Nationals and Worlds.

This event is one of the premier world championships in sailing outside the Olympic classes, and is a mix of applied technology and sailing skill.

By our count there were at least four Olympic medalists in the fleet, and several America's Cup team members and designers. The A-Cats will be allowed to foil for the first time in a Worlds at Takapuna, and on the water it is obvious that it a Black Art – and quite different from what we saw five months ago in San Francisco.

The A-Cats have to use non-adjusting foils - which means that the angle setting is adjusted before the race, and then it is over to the helmsman to keep the boat balanced using his body weight and position to trim.

Foiling is easiest to understand by thinking the lift comes from above the boat, rather then push from below it. One competitor got too much lift going from the foils and did take-off with the wind getting under the platform and blowing the boat into a capsize. For most the idea is to try and achieve a conservative flight, rather than the high flying Moth style, or that of the AC72's. But is many ways the A-Cat foiling is more relevant to the rest of the sport than the hydraulic driven foiling systems of the America's Cup.

Sail World NZ

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