Nov 4, 2015

Q&A with Franco Niggeler: "Focus on your Sailing Skills"

I met Franco Niggeler at Punta Ala Worlds in September. He was really nice to us rookie Arg sailors, and he appreciated our effort on being there to learn. I realized at first glance that a great attitude was a key part of his personality. Later watching him racing and editing photos of the event it was even more clear, just looking how he attacked his bareaways. Also racing a fast monohull like Kuka Light with his friend Mitch Booth says plenty on what and how he likes to sail.

His core message "Focus on your sailing skills" remind us the reason why people like Glenn Ashby keeps dominating a development Class like the As.

Franco has seen many equipment changes since 1992 , and he continues to go with the flow putting his effort on enjoying the As and sailing as much as he can. He also contributes with a different point of view regarding sepate rankings and Worlds slots.

Read his full interview I published in IACA official web at

- Punta Ala Worlds were a great success, sailors from all levels and ages gathered together in the same race course. The French Assoc & and others have been asking for a separate ranking, do you think is the way to go?
Difficult to answer to this question. Let's imagine a bit the future. I see that after Punta Ala most of the participants with a conventional boat aim to buy a Flying machine. They just understood how fascinating and fun it is to fly.
So I can imagine that already in Holland we will see at least 60 % of the boats in flying configuration.
I do not think it is the way to go (separate rankings) , The A-Cat is a development Class and we can't just have a separate ranking for every change.
And separate what? Straight boards to curved boards? Every curved board can in they fly, so for me the separate ranking is not a viable solution.
- Some Italian sailors have parted ways and formed a new Class, and although we saw great differences with Mischa & Glenn in certain conditions, floaters had excellent performance in some races. Which is in your the way to go in the future to keep all sailors racing together in critical transitions times?
I know the Italian situation very well as i was for 5 years Italian class secretary. The split in the Italian fleet was pushed for commercial reasons by a boat builder who does not want to develop a flying version of its boats as his choice, claiming that the boats are becoming too expensive. The same yard was already behind a new Class in the 90's, a project which aborted after one year.
Which is your recommendation for sailors wanting to join the As , being young or elder sailors?
Buy a boat, don't bother on material but just sail a lot to improve your skills. It is very important to understand your boat and not loose time regulating the boat all the time, just doing a good start and good handling and you are in front.
Ful Interview at

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