Jul 4, 2012

A-Class Europeans 2012: Report by Chris Field

Mailed Hans Klok, builder of the Vision along Piet Saarberg,  the platform used by Chris Field who was second at Arco. Right now on the A-Class you have a broad option for equipment to be competitive. This is Chris report posted also at Catamaranparts.nl.

All Photos: Roberto Vuilleumier /promovideo.tv -
2012 European A-class Report by Chris Field
From the 22nd to the 29th June the A Class European Championships were held at Circolo Vela Arco and the “windy” end of Lake Garda, Italy. In total 96 sailors qualified for the regatta from all over Europe, Australia and the USA.

I set out from the UK the Saturday before the event and after 24 hours of driving finally arrived with 5 days of training before the practice race. I decided on one training partner before the event, Micky Todd sailing for Spain, and we went for the standard training programme which we used the last time I raced at Garda and won the Swiss Championships. Stick to what you know!

Each day we were on the water from 8.30 to 10.30 to sail in the morning breeze, return to the boat park to make changes to my boat (The VISION A Class from Catamaranparts) and have some lunch and then back out from 2pm until the evening to sail in the more stable afternoon breeze. The conditions leading up to the event were fair and we both made good progress with our settings and fine tuned the sails which Micky (Hammer Sails) had made for the event.

On the day of the practise race a storm front came in and with gusty conditions and lightning the organising committee decided not to send us out for the day. So with no practise race to gauge our performance we launched straight in to the planned 2 races the next day.

I had a good first day. I scored a 3rd and 2nd place leaving me 2nd overall 1 point behind the lead. With the size of the fleet I was happy with this and made me realise that starting and consistency over the series would be the key, and so it was. The second day I posted a 5th in the first race however, Andrew Landenberger AUS (who was leading) secured his second win of the series. I was all fired up for the second race of the day and came out of the start clean. After 50 minutes of racing and with no more than 200m to the finish I was leading and was sure I would secure my first win of the series (and indeed my first win ever in a European championships) however, this was not to be as the wind died completely and the race was abandoned. I was not a happy man that evening!

The third day we raced 3 heats and I made up for the previous days bad fortune posting my first win in race 1 which I lead from start to finish. The final 2 races that day I managed to secure two top 5 results also extending my lead from the pack however, Landy kept his consistency and extended his lead over me by 7 points and Brad Collett also closed the gap to me sitting 3rd by 1 extra point.

Day 4 dawned and the top 4 spots were close. I had a lot of work to do on Landy and also keep an eye on Brad Collett. In the 7th Race I scored my worst result, just at the critical point in the series. On the start of race 7 I had the right of way but was forced to avoid a collision which ended up in me capsizing on the start line. Needless to say this was the worst place for this to happen (!) and when I righted the boat I must have been 5 minutes off the lead boat and last by 500m. I decided to continue with the race (perhaps due to my emotions running high!) and at the finish I ended up in 17th place. I was pleased with the recovery however, the chances of me winning the regatta had decreased substantially. The last race of the day I scored a 3rd place again and with Landy sailing two 4th positions he won the championship with a race to spare. I was expecting to see that Brad Collett very close to me on the results however a collision at the start of the first race of the day meant he could not compete.

That evening Brad was awarded average points for the remaining races he could not sail (as the collision was not his fault) by the jury as his boat was no longer of any use. On the final day Landy had won the championship and I was expecting to see Brad on a borrowed boat to have a race off for 3rd spot as I could finish no lower than this. Brad did not venture out for the final race securing my second place overall however, I sailed the last race.

My approach for the regatta was to finish in the top 5 places in each race. With discards I achieved this however, I must congratulate Landy for sailing more consistently than I. His series was composed and professional, well done.

To sum up the series was one that rewarded consistency and speed. Andrew Landenberger won the open event however, as he was sailing for Australia I was awarded the European Championship title and second overall.

I must thank firstly Catamaranparts.nl. They supplied the VISION design of A-Class and SAARBERG mast that I used at the event and also helped me for the year leading up to the event to develop the whole package. The effort on their part has already shown at the German titles where I came second and also at the French Nationals that I won. To both Piet and Hans, thank you for all your hard work.

Micky Todd, owner of HAMMER SAILS, deserves a huge thank you on my part. Micky over the last year has not only made sails for me and guided the development process, but in the time I have known him he has been my coach and mentor. Without his help my European title would have not been secured.

The Marine Travel Company, based in Canterbury I would also like to thank. Without their support over the past years, the time needed to compete and train would have not been available to me. Again thank you all for you help.

Chris Field

Results: http://www.acateuro2012.ch/dp/sites/default/files/a-class_final.pdf
Event site: http://www.acateuro2012.ch/dp/

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