Jul 18, 2015

F18 Worlds 2015: Gunnar Larsen & Fer van West Champs x2

All Images by Jasper van Staveren -  Another great set of images by Jasper , full gallery at F18 fb --
Last year Gunnar and Fer won at Ireland racing against a reduced fleet of 50 boats, among the contenders were Glenn Ashby & Brett Goodall who gave away critical points on some dnc.
For 2015 at Kiel,  the Nacra Team had the chance to show they were able to manage 170 boats and face Glenn & Brett again this time with no handicap, along other top crews.

Much at stake for them and the 2014 World Champs simply delivered one of the most brilliant performance I can remember since following F18 Worlds.
Defending the crown against another talented and super fast Dutch team like Oskar Zeekant & Charlie Begemann who put the champs against the ropes on the final stage scoring  2,3,1,4, & 1 , to give themselves a chance for the crown. Edit: Last race waas abandoned on wind raising to 30knots and many boats on trouble, Gunnar and Fer were already champs after the 11th race.

In the 11th race, which was the final of the event at the end,  Larsen-van West were in the +15th position towards the second windward mark, with Oskar & Charlie leading.
If things would have stayed like that it was going to be first overall for Zeekant as they were only 4 pts behind at the moment.
But Gunnar & Fer put pedal to the metal once more like yesterday,  when it was needed the most, to finish in 3rd place behind Zeekant-Begemann & Mischa-Bianchi.

It was like the Champs got an extra gear when it was a must to have, tremendous way to win a second World Title under pressure.

Hat off  to the double F18 World Champs Gunnar Larsen & Fer van West , the current Nr 1 F18 & Open Multihull crew World Wide. If you wanna challenge the best sailors , double handed and no restrictions attached, you have the F18 as the ultimate proving ground.

Also high respect for Oskar Zeekant & Charlie Begemeann repeating the 2nd place from LA 2012 and always wanting for more , they were close an a 12th race could have been an Epic fight for the title with two speeding Infusions.
I was amazed on the speed the Nacras got in 5 and 20 knots, a legacy of the breakthrough this 2006 design by Pete Melvin that keeps being a reference in the Class after almost ten years.

Third place for Glenn Ashby & Brett Goodall, with not much training together in the C2, 4th for the talented US Youth Reiss-Whitehead also in a C2 and 5th overall for Veenman-de Waard , Infusion.
6th Mitch & Ruben Booth (Wildcat), on them what to say additional to this? 
French Youth Robert-Perron in 7th (Inf) , Sach-Sach (Inf) Ferrec-Delaplace & 10th overall for Manu Boulogne- David Fanouliere on the Cirrus R  completing 3 French crews in the top ten.

F18 OP
To me it was a special event to follow, I woke up every day 4am to follow a great F18 Worlds and also to 'track' Mischa Heemskerk and Francesco Bianchi, who were sailing a new boat with 5 days or less on the water before the event started, the Scorpion F18 OP built by Jakub Kopylowicz / Exploder.

The new F18 had a nice debut and already achieved the main goal that was to offer great costs for the sailors, On the performance for a brand new boat under Mischa& Francesco's command just see again the gps Tracks of the first race in 5 knots, the R2 Yellow were they finished 2nd ahead of the Champs and specially the last 11th R Gold, were they had a bad start and were trailing in around 40th to finish in 2nd place once more ahead of Gunnar & Fer and seconds behind Zeekant-Begemman with the super proven Infusions. 

Outstanding performance by Mischa & Francesco on that final race. It was a joy to see the new boat responding in a way to their level and I wonder what 2 weeks or a month at least of training/setup on the boat could have achieved for them.
Check those races again yourself:
R1 Yellow in 5knots
R2 Yellow
R11 Gold

Only issues on the boat equipped with Mischa Sails was the tackline sheet failing twice yesterday which lead to score only letters on Friday.

On the Worlds organized by the F18 German Association , it was a tough event on the conditions, which include 5knots to 20knots winds which provide the 170 crews a great challenge. Congrats to Jens Uwe Tonne and the German F18 sailors for hosting such a huge event.
The F18 Class remains the Open proving ground without any mandatory restrictions, which plenty of designs to chose from which all offer sailors a tool to challenge themselves mostly and race in a crowded fleet of Cats fanatics.

Buenos Aires 2016
I'm quite proud to be a member of this Class, and next year remember the Argentine Association along the host and organizer, the  Yacht Club Argentino, will be putting together the first F18 Worlds in South America, an historic milestone that is sole result of the work done by a great group of sailors that form our local Class.
Guys like Cruz Smith & Mariano Heuser  who have been travelling abroad for years and who also were present at Kiel with mixed results on the lack of big fleets starts but showed they are top ten material as showed in the challenging last 3 races.

Kiel Tracking Replays at tractrac.com/index.php?page=eventpage&id=558
Full Results at manage2sail.com

NrSail NumberSkipper / Boat NameQ1Q2Q3Q4Q5Q6F1-R7F2-R8F3-R9F4-R10F5-R11TN
1NED 1866Gunnar LARSEN- Fer van West23215(84.0)BFD11-53311021
2NED 2Oscar ZEEKANT-Begemann3-66415231-413626
3AUS 313Glenn ASHBY- brett Goodall36561-15-1822556835
4USA 415Taylor REISS-Matthew Whitehead55153-64)DNC211414049
5NED 4Jorden VEENMAN- de Waard61394-11-211017141110775
6ESP 563Mitch BOOTH-Ruben Booth5-151124(DNC2124121718787
7FRA 2217Solune ROBERT-Perron2316184-411461172-12154101
8GER 310Helge SACH- Sach248BFD2411122-281923226114
9FRA 733Antoine FERREC - Delaplace6-351220610(DSQ516736238118
10FRA 901Emmanuel BOULOGNE-fanouliere3611913-462156109-28194120