Emirates Team New Zealand’s sailors Glenn Ashby, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have their eyes set on one event: the 2018 A-Class World Championship.
The sailors have been training this week in McCrae - Ashby’s hometown – and will move to Hervey Bay, about 300km north of Brisbane, in time for the start of the races on November 11th.
Glenn Ashby is a veteran of the class and is aiming for his 10th A-Class World Championship title this year, whereas almost 4 years have passed for Pete and Blair since their last regatta - the 2014 Worlds. That time Ashby won his eighth title and Tuke and Burling ended in 2ndand 3rdplace respectively. Ray Davies who continues to fill the role as Emirates Team New Zealand sailing team member is in Australia now as a coach helping the guys to improve their performance and the boats setting.
The A-Class catamaran is a developmental class sailing catamaran for single-handed racing and often leads over other classes in terms of design development.
It’s 18ft long with a total allowed rig area of 150ft2, but weighing in at a mere 75kg. In the last few years, developments have seen this class take off, quite literally, with the introduction of foils (rudders and daggerboards).
“Emirates Team New Zealand has played a role in the development of the class” remembers Ray Davies “In 2014 we took delivery of half a dozen ‘A’ cats and set about seeing how far we could push them. It worked as the boats started to fly.”
“I’m just trying to remember how to sail these boats!” said Blair Tuke “They are a lot more faster than when we sailed them 4 years ago. There have been great improvements in the class and now we can also fly upwind. We are learning a lot and I’m looking forward to going racing.”
Burling: "It's been pretty loose this week, we have had strong stuff as well as lighter conditions so it has been great. ”
“We had a really fortunate week weather-wise.” continued Glenn Ashby “We had the chance to test all the settings: sails, mast, foils. You can learn a lot about flying on these boats, which is essential for the future and can help us press on with our America's Cup development.”
The Worlds will start in 10 days and have registration from over 100 sailors from 13 nations.