Aug 18, 2015

A-Class: New Zealand Assoc on Rule 8 removal

Images: Richard Gladwell / from Takapuna Worlds 2014. -
The Dutch A-Class Assoc published a letter from  Brent Harsant, Chair of New Zealand Assoc regarding their position on the US Class bid to remove Rule 8.
Already commented many times on this, personally I prefer current status quo and maintain over the top, in the other hand when making this kind of critical decisions people need to think outside their own will and look at the bigger picture for the Class as a whole and mainly on its future.

The comfort zone many sailors have is already been broken by the foilers within current rules, Full floaters have gone their way with the a-classic and you can´t take the Class current form 'to your grave' cause its suits your preference, meaning you need to pass the torch to next generations, specially in a full development Class.

Right now the A-Cat official rules are standing in the middle and objectively limiting further development.
A group has gone full floating and now some are starting to fit their boats with illegal setups.
The sailors will to fly no restrictions seems the same in many places, for reference  in 3 different and isolated groups like US, NZ & Arg. No formal class here yet but all want to fit easy flight foils.

Australia, including Steve Brewin, has voted locally to keep Rule 8,  but Glenn Ashby is favor to remove it.
Steve's fear on hulls becoming non functional is easily prevented in my view maintaining

the lower and higher wind limits. Just looks at Moths, their hulls are decoration but they cannot race in 4-5 knots and above 20 and chop/waves is pure carnage.

Then you have the 'Chupacabra' code zero experience from Beijing: If Rule 8 is removed a sailor might bet for a fully 100% optimized flyer a la Moth, with tiny non functional hulls, but he'd better pray for the right foiling conditions.
The US Tornado team bet 100% on calm wind racing to use the Chupacabra genn upwind, but they ended having one of the most windiest Olympic finals ever...
All latest A-Cat regattas including 2014 Europeans have seen great mixed weather conditions, with floaters winning a great numbers of events in 2015.

With our experience with the double handed foilers in the breeze and steep chop/waves here in BA, hull volume is a key feature even for those efficient foilers, Moths cannot sail in our Southeasts winds , in contrast we have no issues with our As and we can regulate and trim floating/flying mode downwind at will.
There relies the versatility of the A-Class, which will stand firm with the sole fact of maintaining wind range limits.

Lets put it this way, if we make an A-Class Worlds in the future in Buenos Aires (we are organizing F18 ones next year) you'd better come here with some good floating hulls (for 4 & +20 knots racing)  beyond any revolutionary foil setup you might have. Be advised!

If rule 8 is removed we will see some Frankie awkward setups in the beginning, current top designs will still prevail in the all round,   and while new Frankie foilers might have an edge in certain wind range, a more all rounded setup will need to arise if the Class keeps the weather racing framework untouched. In my case I would seek or test an FP J like foil to suit our current dagger case, I won´t touch / cut a single piece of carbon. Older boats might need to cut & move cases forward, but that is also ideal for legal daggerfoils.

So let the extremes come into play, and let those J foiler pray for wind cause if not, the Nikita gang might humiliate them offhandedly in next Regatta. Same the other way around,
thus the only way forward in the future will still be an all rounder A-Cat.

Moths are NOT all rounders and the decision in the future for new comers will not be fly good or half way but:

- Stable Flight no worries, no need to be Peter Burling
- No awkward swim shoulder depth wet launch
- No 1mtr fixed draft restriction
- Easy floating mode
- Relaxed & safe platform,
- Race, & sail  in any weather condition


- Fully specialized flying machine, wind range restricted & 'caddie' supported craft (a Weapon still!)

The discussion at this point should be: As or Moths, here they are all buying Moths. For As "I'better wait" is answer you get. Below some comments from Brent Harsant on New Zealand local vote on Rule 8 published by the Dutch Assoc FB and allowed to be published here by Brent.
Dear Presidents,
The NZADCA has voted for the removal of Rule 8.

We voted as a collective party.
Below is the different processes that we went through to make this decision.............
First of all, I sent an electronic voting Web page to all of the members. Total - 70% of the NZADCA members voted for the removal of Rule 8.

The next step was to answer questions from the concerned guys by holding a social lunch meeting for the Auckland fleet.
We invited Richard Roake (LR A Class Designer) and Brett Bakewell White (one of NZ's top boat designer's) to the meeting.
Sadly Mike Drummond and Bruce couldn't make it. They were sailing in a two handed yacht race in their foiling SL 33.

Anyways we had a good talk about Rule 8. Brett and Richard spoke very well from a designer's / boat builder's point of view and answered all concerns. The lunch was a big success and everyone left very happy. :-)
This is why the NZADCA would like Rule 8 to be removed.

Over the years the NZ fleet has decreased in numbers, biggest cause of the problem, Rule 8 keeps rearing it's ugly head up every year and unfortunately unsettles everyone.

Being such an isolated country, it is very expensive to buy and get items sent from overseas. Most of the fleet are still sailing with straight or C foils and to convert their platform costs lots of money and time to accommodate the new generation foils.
When some of the older platforms do not suit, the owner gives up leaves the fleet and tries to sell but can't because it's an old slow boat and no one wants to buy it. We have got at least 6 boats currently up 4 sale Flyer Mk 1 & 2's ,Tool's, all very good boats just gathering cobwebs.

One of our younger sailors has just ordered a new set of Darios L foils. He just wants to go foiling............. and from the other guys point of view they want to do the same!

If Rule 8 doesn't get removed, I will have great concerns for the future of the A Class Catamaran.

There seems to be a bit of a culture, the guys who have mastered the current flying foils want to keep Rule 8. The reason being that it gives them a huge advantage on the race course. I would like to level the playing field back up so all types can be as competitive as each other on the water.

°Richard and Brett said that they can design a foil that doesn't need to be raised when on the wind (windward board)
°Stable and safe
°Can be used in all platforms
°Will get more people into the class
°The new foils will cost a little bit more, but in saying that converting the cases for foils under Rule 8 will cost just as much or if not more......

We have got ETNZ right on our back yard foiling around the harbour. It gets quite embarrassing when we turn up to a local beach with our flash boats, people of all ages come up to view and the first question that they ask is, is this a foiler like that boat pointing at the ETNZ boat. We have to answer, sorry no, then they turn away and that's the end of conversation.

I know that there are pros and cons but we are a development class. We must keep our eyes focused forward in keeping the class healthy and sailing for many decades to come!

Kind regards,

Brent Harsant
NZADCA President

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