Nov 4, 2016

F18 Worlds 2016 @Buenos Aires: Pablo Volker & Juan Martín Benitez Champs - Final wrap up

All images Matias 'Shot Master' Capizzano , more at his fb page - Results at

I wrote at the beginning of the year that  2016 was going to be a great one, for cats in gral with the return to the Olympics and specially for the Argentine cat sailors: Lange's great personal story and achievement with Ceci Carranza at Rio, and this past week the first F18 Worlds held in Buenos Aires, an historic milestone for the Class to crown 10yrs of work for the local F18 members who left egos behind and at the end all worked together towards the great event the Yacht Club Argentino hosted and organized like the experienced Pros they truly are.

All in all a perfect week, maybe Wednesday a tough call to take the fleet out, but the in end it was decided for World Championship to be held in every possible condition. As seen 25knots & 30knts gusts here are not the same as elsewhere , mainly on the flotation range of our muddy waters.
For the rest, we had light , mid range, excellent 18 knots, chop, and almost all conditions the river can throw at you to challenge the participants to maximize their skills in the wide wind & waves conditions range we had past week.

Pablo Volker & Juan Martín Benitez (Phantom F18)  dominated in every condition, they scored bullets in +25knots, mid range and even in 5-6 light winds. More than deserving World Champs, taking account they beat Cruz Gonzalez Smith & Mariano Heuser (Infusion MKII), who owned the Class for years, along their North Ams Vice title, 5th Europeans and many other achievements. Cruz & Mariano are the major responsibles for the level of the local fleet.
Level already suffered by 2014/2015 World Champ Gunnar Larsen when he came to race with us in 2011. Imagine how the top guys here improved since then.

Two serious contender crews , Matias Buhler & Sergio Mehl and Esteban Blando & Nico Quagliotti, both riding Phantom F18, were out of the race title on a bow sprit crash and 3 races out for the first ones and a broken mast for the latter. Volker & Benitez were in the lead at both occasions but for sure would have been a great battle for the podium with them racing till last day.

Third place was the final fight of the event the last day held in light winds. Jason Hess, H16 Gold Panamericans 2015 , North American H16 Champ and overall talented sailor came to Buenos Aires one month before the event to train hard on a C2 / Landy Spi I got for him. Jason raced with local sailor Nicolás Schargorodsky  and were trained by Lucas Gonzalez Smith.
Sailing 17 races at Buenos Aires Week, where they finished 10th, plus 10 races of the Arg Nats (6th) prepared the top sailor from Guatemala and Nico to peak at the end of the Worlds week.

They were tied in points with Agustin Krevisky & Eduardo Lopez Segura (Exploder / C2 rig sails & Nacra Spi) before starting the last day of racing. It was 2vs7 , 5vs3  to define last step of the podium in the last race with side to side start for Jason pressuring Agustin,  Jason got them and speed up to a 2nd in the final race to win the match.

Agustin & Billy putting much effort on the Exploder, new boat not much references and they made it perform against super proven and Worlds winner platforms like Phantom, Nacra & C2.

5th place overall for Federico Ferioli & Lucas Gonzalez Smth (Infusion MKII) . Great results for them with Lucas being the drive force behind establishing the formal local F18 Class.

The title was secured by Volker & Benitez before the last race as they scored a bullet and a 6th. Cruz & Mariano fought till last minute placing their 'Tuluka'  6,1,1 for the day.

Full results at

More pics YCA / Worlds official fb
Daily galleries by Matias Capizzano at
Final Day footage: Race 12 , Race 13 , Race 14

Youth Power
What to say about the Champion kids? Immensely  proud for them, two great sailors representing the new and great talented generation along Cuco Benitez , Nico Aragones and super bright future girl Eugenia Bosco. Expect much from all of them along Mateo Madjalani.
Pablo with his 2nd official World Title as he is a former 420 one.

With the old guard work done, the Class is in the best hands yo can think  off.  Read Champs sailing background on the interview I did with them 6 months ago:

Yacht Club Argentino
Event organization by the Yacht Club Argentino. I've been telling Don Findlay  & Olivier Bovyn on how the YCA was going to excel. Olivier & Pierre were live witness on my assessments.

Also we as a local Class secured the services of such a talented photographer like Matías Capizzano, offered daily happy hours with food & beers and also managed to have videos of the races. I will be handed the raw material to edit some additional footage of the week as we all like to see with longer shots and else.

The YCA and the Arg F18 Class covered all organizational costs of the events ourselves. IF18CA funds were only used for Olivier Bovyn & Charles Pierre Barraud travel expenses, who were key for the measurement process as many boats & sails here didn´t had a certificate.
Pierre Charles worked extremely hard with the help of a local measurement crew and we are really thankful for their work and of course for both founding the International Formula 18 Class Association.

Its also important to mention that the certification process for each boat was not charged by Pierre / Olivier / IF18CA and their idea if so, was to charge sticker costs and put the funds back for some drinks.

Catch me if you can (Mast)
Let me tell you our final day on the water:  For us , guess what? First race , good start , good round marking top 10, a gybe with spi up and ..... mast Down! hahaaa nooooo!
Lucky enough light winds for the day, and I stayed  calm once more as the previous day I crashed the bow going out  and fixed/laminated it in 15 mins by a great expert Tommy Muso.

On the first race after rounding the offset mark we did some meters and went for a gybe to see how the mast went down to leeward. If you read past week reports it was clear we needed to finish some race for a change, so I grabbed the trapeze (we were both in on light winds) hanged out and pull the mast back with the help of my great teammate Gonza Nieto.
It was an incredible recovery cause the mast went almost 90°, but we were decided and focused to end the event ....sailing.

I steered a bit hanging on the trapeze and holding the mast up while Gonza tied up the bow trap and also the shroud to the rear beam. meanwhile spi was up and we continue to ride downwind.

Finally I realized the shroud pin was gone, so I grabbed one from the self tack rail system , taped (little late) the whole thing and prepared for the next two races.
Capizzano & the video guy didn´t caught us but many sailors did, like Mike & Ian Drummond. Mike was in disbelief of what we did, the same for others who saw us.

For me was another day in the office solving problems, and the feeling of satisfaction to be able to continue racing was immense. Next race spi got stucked again while raising it (check videos) and finally the last race we could sail rather unscathed for a final 12th ending the Worlds literally standing up. ..Rig included!

The Infusion 2009  MKI with longboards was super fast, I even think this  MKI was the fastest in light winds upwind, but we weren´t up to the required level of training and racing hours sailing together.

Now I will focus on having my Exploder platform, I will keep my Nacra sails which are great, Nacra Spi is excellent too so I gave it last year to Agustin & Billy to aim for the podium. I finally sailed with a Hyde sails spi from Simon Northtrop, fast spi in every condition but we lacked a little bit luff lenght as we had a Infusion factory bowsprit fixed cables and it was a last minute shipment so not much time to set it up as due.
Will post a pic later on the week to see how you can pull down pole nose with removing or modifying any rivet/omega/cable with a simple spectra.

Sailing Fest
All the sailors had a great week, specially the Argentine fleet and some other visitors who also raced BA Week, and Arg Nats previous week.
F18 Racing & Sailing fest for us, and all eager to continue sailing. We might prepare a container for Sarasota 2018 and go en masse as we did for LA 2012.
Special mention for our Chilean friends who traveled by car from Santiago, 9 boats present at the Worlds and also responsible for the establishment of the South American F18 Class.(Photo trailers above)

F18 Argentina
Ten years in the making, already wrote about it many times but still I will mention again my cousin and friend Nadal Solari, who put my project , idea and drawings on to a sailing F18 back in 2005/06.

If you still don´t know about it, read the story of the local class  told by the main players themselves , all former Laser sailors and the three of them key to take a personal project to the next level along the valuable and key boat providers Mariano Heuser, Sergio Mehl & Juan Faustín, also pioneers of the first Arg Nats back in 2008 that were sailing the Worlds past week

- Lucas Gonzalez Smith:
- Ian Rodger :
- Cruz Gonzalez Smith:

For me it has been also 10 years of incredible experiences, always supported by main the responsible for me dedicating 24x7 to cats: My wife Constanza, she is a great woman (along all other sailors companions) that stayed home and watch for the family while I dedicated the past decade to this very same project to become a reality.

This Worlds is a perfect ending for such a big project with the new generation grabbing the title for Argentina, I will now leave Class office definitely and we'll continue enjoying sailing F18 and cats in gral.  

Mission Accomplished.

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