Dec 14, 2015

F18 Argentine Nats 2015: Exploder F18, Honoring the Formula 18 Concept.

When you launch a new Formula Class like Olivier Bovyn & Pierre Charles Barraud did years ago, you need to be true to its original concept. The governing commandment of the Formula 18 is to have several boats from different builders racing together without any awkward handicap system.
Thus the main goal of the F18 is to promote more builders into the game which directly translate into additional alternatives and more sailors. You have no better example on this  on how the Arg F18 was born 10yrs ago.

OD branded classes only objective by definition is to gather more sailors selling their own product. A Formula Class must encourage and Promote new builds, without them there is no Class at all, they are the first step of the pyramid for a Formula Class.
The F18 Open project tried to fulfill this path since day 1. The background is already known.  So I want to focus on what happened this past 3 days at the 2nd stage event of the Argentinean Nats Championships.

To promote the local Arg F18 Class in other provinces we divided this year Arg Crown in two stages, one held at Setubal, Santa Fe where a group of sailors are working hard for the F18 among others in Rosario ,(another city from the same prov). We wanted to force sailors from Buenos Aires to travel and attend to that first event to award and recognize the local sailors on the work done plus return the favor on the their constant trips to BAs to race with us.

That First event at Santa Fe was won by Cruz Gonzalez Smith & Mariano Heuser, followed by the young guns Pablo Volker &  Juan Maritn Benitez.

The second stage of the 2015 Arg Nat Titles was held this past weekend. It started on Friday  with +20-23 knots from the North west. In parallel with the Arg nats the Club decided to put an A-Class race, of course they couldn´t go out to race. My F18 crew could come only on Saturday so we went out with the A guys on a rib and 3 Slalom ws boards to watch the F18 races in the high breeze.

It was a tough day and many sailors stayed onshore. Juan Faustin & Nico Aragones controlled the day on a Phantom. The Exploder was finally 100% assembled & tuned to our best guess the day before when I re drilled rudder blades to modify compensation. I went out on Thursday afternoon with Agustin Krevisky, the owner and the most talented (but somehow lazy) sailor of the fleet.

We found out that one rudder was working perfectly and the other still needed more balance. It was a great session though with flat water,  perfect conditions and my first sail on the boat.
We went back to shore and I measured rudders blades again, worked to match compensation in both, fitted straps and other minor final details to leave the boat ready for Agustín and Billy Lopez Segura to race the next day.

Friday: With winds growing towards 20 knots they couldn´t start the first race on a tiller extension issue, they fixed with a leatherman I handed to them previously onshore. In the  second race they had a good start and lead the pack along Volker-Benitez Phantom , who established a gap with Agustin&Billy reaching the last windward mark.

We followed both from the rib to take some pics and later we went to the finish line.
Volker was leading with a secure win marging, but we start seeing the Exploder accelerating and eating gap like crazy, we speculated on some problems for the leaders as Agustin-Billy were pushing the boat hard. But we were sure something went wrong with leaders.

I asked the guys what happened that they lost so much ground and with no excuses whatsoever they
just replied the final winners were speeding "3knots more than us"... uuuu I went crazy on the news!
Finally  a better layline judgement also helped the Agustín-Billy a bit and they won the race just  over the line.

It was really an impressive display and the first official win for the F18 Open Project  after some close calls and excellent performance from Mischa & Francesco Bianchi at Kiel Worlds.
Next races the Exploder was fast again but lack of coordination and some spi haylard issues made them score  two 4th with about 6-7 boats on the water due to the high winds.

Faustin-Aragones with the Phantom and their  rightly labeled "ARG747" sail (they are the fastest boat of the fleet in the breeze) were the best crew of the day and they grabbed temporary lead after 4 races.

On Saturday wind dropped to 4-5 knots, only one race held in the lower wind limit, Cruz & Mariano with the infusion were first and Agustin-Billy 2nd with the Exploder , but the race was cancelled on the leader not reaching on time limit.

Sunday forecast was not looking good, but a nice easterly start coming in for some excellent flat 8-10 knots . A-Cats were foiling downwind, and it was mid range winds known here in BA as "Phantom Conditions" , as with the experience we have here they are almost untouchable with the top crews onboard in this specific range. (We have 9 of them in BA).

Exploder wind range performance
So with the Exploder Agustin & Billy had good rides in  +20knots on Friday, 5 knots on Saturday and it was time to see how the boat responded to them in the mid range.
To make it short they dominated the day with 3 bullets to win the second stage of the Arg Nats 2015.

I was racing with an Infusion my good friend Esteban Daneri lent me to sail with another good friend, Gonzalo Nieto, who travelled from Rosario for the weekend. While I was focusing on our regatta and finding out the right trim for the brand new Performance Main & Jib , every time I look at the leaders the Exploder was in front, they even had some moments trailing down a bit, but they recovered each time to with the first 2 by good margin and the 3rd was close over Diego Bailardo- Infusion with North Sails with a dying breeze .

3 bullets for the day (4 total) out of 3 races and the event in the pocket. That was it! Long hours assembling the boat from scratch ( along Agustin & Billy, who worked like they never deed out of the water! It was a team work and I was really happy for them,
They are both excellent and super talented sailors, helping them setting up a new boat that responded to their skills was an awesome feeling, and of course I was extremely glad on the boat performance.

This Exploder platform is equipped with factory beams, rudders & daggers with the section provided by Francesco Nadal, foils Plan shape was done by Jakub. Mast , Main & Jib are from their C2, which suffered an incredible accident early this year,  from a car entering the Club from the street to fully destroy one of their C2 bows.

They started searching to buy a new replacement hull, but the Americas dealer only offered to sell two hulls, and a brand new from factory was not a choice as the hull had some minor changes in the mould. Costs were high too for solving the issue on replacing 1 hull. Thus I told them to go for the Exploder hulls as an alternative.

Rig & Sails:
Goodall Design C2 Mast , Main & Jib were a key part on their performance of course, along the brand new Nacra Spinaker I handed to them. That spi is a weapon, and along the Exploder platform and C2 rig  the action while racing  showed a Superior downwind speed in every condition.
Owners of old Caps 1 not racing anymore can possibly migrate hulls maintaining the excellent Goodall rig. It was a great journey putting all parts together and finishing in such way on the water.

Photos above were the few  ones I could took  on Friday  only , as I was racing the following days.
The "by..." sticker was put by Agustin (after he saw once a "by Goodall" on the C2s), I was pretty embarrassed with it , more coming from this guy who is former Opti World & Vice World Champ. As always the greatest talents and best sailors are the most humble ones and have no issues in recognizing others work.

But the best part was forcing him and Billy to actually work on their boat, they have won races also on their C2 and Capricorn 1 as they are excellent sailors, but lack of boat maintenance and on the water training blocked their real performance. Now they are both super focused for greater things after the work done past 3 weeks.

F18 Custom Assembly
So there you have, the "Frankenstein" Formula 18 assembled from zero right there in the Club was able to provide two great sailors the tools to achieve a great regatta win. There is no better example of what the Formula 18 means than this boat right here and Mischa's from Kiel (AG+ Mast & Mischa Sails),  in the sense we just grabbed the different parts available to complete a boat capable to win over super proven and tested weapons.

Resulting in a great message for sailors wanting to join the Class: Any F18 can win a Regatta (if you focus to achieve the sailing skills needed to accomoplish the task)

Jakub Kopylowicz & Exploder work
Platform is super stiff, now water at all in the hulls and great finish.
Foils are superior quality. Total weight was 178,5kg - Excellent work done by Jakub.

F18 Argentine Title Race 2015:
2nd stage of the Arg Nats held this weekend,  was won by Agustin Krevisky & Billy Lopez Segura (Exploder/C2 Mast-main-Jib/Perfomance Spi) . 2nd Place for Cruz Gonzalez Smith & Mariano Heuser and third place for Nacra 17 helm Nahuel Martinez and Lucas Gonzalez Smith, both crews with Infusions MKII.

For the final added results of the two events (one at Sta Fe in August and this weekend in Buenos Aires) that defined the 2015 Arg Champs, Cruz & Mariano were crowned for the 4th time as National Champs on the and confirmed once more they are the most winning crew in the history of our local class.

Hat off to both on their constant "Champion Mode" racing they have been displaying all these years.
I want to thank specially Aguila Club & Club Nautico San Isidro for organizing the event for us, both institutions have been supporting cats for years, and we are truly thankful on their work.
Young guns Pablo Volker & Juan Martin Benitez were close again, they were second last year too. But they are the future of our local Class and still much years left, including next Worlds in Buenos Aires.
Another top performer crew, Juan Fuastin & Nico Aragones, had again some bad luck and saw their chances vanish to win this second stage. A win is expecting both sooner or later on the great sailing they are displaying in recent regattas.

F18 Worlds 2016
For us as a Class was a great way to finish the year , we need to put back many boats on the water again looking forward to Buenos Aires 2016 Worlds to be held in October 28- November 4 at the Yacht Club Argentino.

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