World Championships 2014 - daily reports
New York Canoe Club Challenge
The Americans retained the trophy. The teams are chosen by the team captains from the best performing helms in the series and three races are run. Each race is won by the team with the winning boat. See Chris Hampe's eye witness report on the forum.
Day 8 Final Race
The IC class has a new World Champion, Mikey Radziejowski of the US narrowly beating Chris Maas.
The final race was abandoned as it became clear that the wind was above the limit of 20 knots set in the SI's and still building 10 minutes before the race was scheduled to begin.
With the race series cut to 8, only one discard now applies which had quite an impact on the results below third as many required an addition discard to shed some points after retirements earlier in the series.
The end result is that Alistair Warren is top British sailor with a richly deserved 3rd place after consistent sailing not only at the championships but for the last few years. Phil Robin produced an excellent result coming in 7th, whilst Robin Wood with two retirements suffered from the the loss of the last race with otherwise good results including a win in race 3, came in 9th. Mark Goodchild and Simon Allen in their Nethercotts were able to show a few of the new rules boats the way home by posting consistent results and staying mostly upright.
For the whole team, the regatta has been an invaluable lesson in higher wind strength sailing with a steep learning curve for many in the big waves. The experience gained will be invaluable in the further development of boats, rig and systems design to move the class forward and prepare for the next Worlds in 2017 which will be in either Sweden, Australia or the UK.
Day 7 Race 8
The bone yard was used a few times today as the wind speed showed 20-24 knots at the windward mark making a very exciting ride for all concerned. The reaching legs with a large following swell was particularly exciting with the sheer speed and acceleration down the waves being the main talking point in the bar.
The competitors have been treated to high standard daily picture video show of the days activities with stunning action shots at this incredible sailing venue. Apparently takings for beer sales are well up on normal as canoe sailors desperately attempt to re-hydrate after thrilling sailing on the bay.
With a win by Chris Maas, the main news of the day is that the position for world champion is effectively tied between US sailors Maas and Radziejowski with all to play for tomorrow.
The best of the British is currently Alistair Warren needing a top three result to retain bronze medal position. Robin Wood and Phil Robin can still finish in the top 10.
Day 6 - races 6&7
Today's two race format started in around 13 knots of breeze and the sea state for the first race was kinder due to the incoming tide. With the fleet split between the left and right of the course, the wind bend on the left gave an advantage but in much stronger breeze taking the risk of a potential capsize as the wind built during the race. A late start by the reigning champion forced him to go right but he pulled through to win the race closely followed by team mate Mikey and our own Robin Wood.
Between races the competitors split between the relative shelter of Angel Island or access to water from the support boats. Hayden Virtue's (AUS) second pass to collect a bottle saw him hanging from the seat by his ankles; unbelievably he managed to recover.
A reduced fleet of 24 boats started the second race of the day in what were probably the most difficult conditions of the event so far with a short chop testing the competitors' boat handling. Mikey R demonstrated a cool head under pressure tacking in Maas' lee to take the race.
With the two leading US boats fighting it out for the top slot the remaining medal place remains open. Alistair Warren's consistently strong finishes currently place him third as top Brit. Robin Wood was forced to retire after race 6 having problems in seeing due to the extreme combination of salt water spray combined with sunblock. German Peter Ullman and American David Clark turned in good results to increase the pressure on the top 5.
Day 5 - Race 5
Another variation on the interesting weather conditions today, fleet launches in pretty much a dead flat calm to get swept up stream towards the St Rafael - Richmond Bridge. Wind gradually fills in for a delayed start and then builds within 20 minutes to 18 knots just after the start. The first beat usually acts as the primary filter with boat and helm tested and any weaknesses are soon made apparent on the first tack. Today the American Willy Clark succumbed to a broken seat having only rebuild his carriage the night before he appeared mildly dis-chuffed has he arrived back at the pontoon and carefully disposed of the remains of his seat under a heavy boot!
A few more breakages today both in body and boat as the Bay tests all aspects of the teams. At just over halfway, the Americans are still in control in 1st and second place but the British are still within shouting distance with Robin Wood in 3rd and Alistair Warren in 4th.
Full results at http://www.regattanetwork.com/event/8306#_newsroom+results
With a forecast of gusts of up to 29 knots for tomorrow's two race day in prospect, the excellent race management team will have a difficult task in making the call for when racing will commence.
Day 4 - Lay day
Wednesday is a lay day here in San Francisco, a day to reflect on the performances so far and 'San Francisco Bay-ise' the boats. Main lessons learned is the ability to de-power the rig to handle the variation in wind strengths as it rises from below 10knots on the trip down the course area to up to 20 Knots as the course extends towards the west and the central area between Alcatraz and Angel Island. There is an interesting phenomena here where the central bay gets much stronger winds which stretch out as a tongue of pressure from the Golden Gate through the central channel.
The waves downwind on the ebb tide are quite an exciting if not slightly terrifying ride and to avoid nose diving a course of passage through the short wave patterns is essential and getting weight back quickly is also critical. British boats not used to these conditions need to get the sliding seat carriage back quickly on the reach after the wind mark which can be difficult, so today has seen a fleet upgrade to seat puller systems to assist in this.
An essential ingredient of IC sailing is the socialising and the close knit community of the international competitors. This evening we were treated to a BBQ at local organisers Del and Gail Olsen at their wonderful house with stunning views over the Bay where there was a real buzz about the progress the fleet has made in recent years with the new developments in rig and boat design.
A formal challenge has now been made by the British team to the American Team, the current holders for the New York Challenge Cup which is a team race held at the end of the championship and is the oldest sailing challenge cup second only to the Americas Cup.
With 5 races remaining it is still anyone's championship and several members of the British Team are still well in contention for top 5 places
Day 3 - Races 3 & 4
First race saw the lightest wind so far, the different conditions showed In some different front runners with Colin Brown leading at the first mark. Unfortunately having rigged smaller sails for the day Colin could not hold onto his lead and as the wind steadily built to about 10 knots the race was won by Robin wood followed by the youthful David Clark and Del Olsen.
Race 4 started at the second attempt with the race officer breaking out the around the ends flag to keep the fleet under control. The majority of the fleet hit the port lay line up the first beat and as the wind increased the windward mark rounding became the first passing opportunity with several boats on their sides.Chris Mass won a closely fought race from Mikey Radziejowski. Robin Wood capsized on his final tack but hung on to third ahead of Alistair Warren. Meanwhile at the back of the fleet team Canada continued to make the big entrances this time the boat arrived at the dock on top of one of Richmond Yacht Clubs finest ribs.
Report by Chris Hampe
Day 2 - second race
Windiest so far with 20 knots maximum on the scale.
A day of mixed fortunes in challenging conditions. First home for the UK was Phil Robin in third place demonstrating that staying upright is fast. Alistair Warren dropped to sixth after a spill, closely followed by Chris Hampe in 7th putting a smile back on the newly repaired Monkey. Mark Goodchild was first home in the Nethercotts in 10th with Simon Allen in 13th. Rob Bell came in 14th after capsizing twice whilst attempting the final triangle.
The "bone yard" was called in to service today, an area downwind of the course for mooring of abandoned boats. Visitors included our own Steve Clarke who retired after multiple capsizes and gear problems along with Ola Barthelson when the rig on Kaito failed.
The scene in the dinghy park for the afternoon and in to the evening resembled a busy repair shop as the fleet prepared to do battle again tomorrow. With two races scheduled this could well be a turning point for the championship.
Report by Rob Bell
Day 1 - Race 1
The start of the day greeted the IC fleet with pretty much a dead calm. Was it going to be a gentle breeze - no chance! The 30 boat fleet all left the dock in good time. Launching is interesting at Richmond in that boats have or be slid off back first off the trolley into the water from a pontoon and the seat is then used as a bridge across to the boat. With this taking some time, most felt it necessary to launch well over an hour before race time to get down the start. Wasn't necessary, the wind in the bay outside the breakwater was already building to over 10 knots and increased by the minute. By 1200hrs the wind was just right at around 12-14 knots but was building further as the thermal winds developed. By 1230 at start time it was lively. The fleet got off to a good start and the lead was established by Chris Mass who later capsized by the windward mark and got his halyard wrapped around its anchor - not a great start for the world champion who was forced to retire. With many capsizes positions changed rapidly but at the end the best of the British a fleet were Alistair Warren in 3rd and Robin Wood in 7th followed by Phil Robin and Mark Goodchild in his Nethercott, Colin Brown and then Simon Allen also in a Nethercott.
Rob Bell has now been nicknamed the Monkey murderer after tea boning Chris Hampe on the start line who attempted a daring port tack manoeuvre which went badly wrong. Rob claimed he never saw him and managed to complete the race, Chris managed to limp home with a large modification to his starboard side. The others retired suffering from excess water immersion.
Day -1 Practice Race and opening ceremony
The first official day is the first opportunity to size up the competition in the practice race and to get some idea of the conditions.
The fleet sailed down the coast towards Berkeley with the Bay Bridge to the south and the backdrop of San Francisco looming out of the early morning mist. The race was set in an area called the circle with a clear view of the channel between Alcatraz and Angel Island and the wind blowing directly through the Golden Gate. The ride down was in a fairly sedate 10 knots but as the mist burned off and the practice race countdown began it was clear the wind was building. The first start was a general recall but the second got off to a clean start in a building breeze at 12knots with a peak of 16knots as the race progressed. With waves growing as the tide turned, the guys used to sailing on flat water had to learn quickly how to deal with the conditions. The new rules boats are very light making surfing downwind an exciting ride if not a little scary as the nose gets driven hard into the approaching waves at high speed.
So how about performance from the GBR team; well looking pretty good from the first although early stages. The early winner and showing great speed was Chris Maas, current World Champion from the US but Robin Wood and Alistair Warren lead the rest with Chris Hampe in 6th followed by by Phil Robin, Steve Clarke and then Rob Bell in 10th and Colin Brown. However with many of the top contenders not finishing or saving their energies for the main event the GBR team know that more will be expected of them once the main event starts tomorrow.
With an extremely fruity sail back to the harbour, the practice day gave a flavour of how things will shape out as the two race days extend later into the afternoon.
The formal opening ceremony held later in the afternoon reflected on the long and glorious history of the class and the event is showing how the IC has evolved With a huge amount of enthusiasm for the new designs which are starting to reach a level of maturity allowing newcomers to the fleet to enjoy modern canoe sailing with proven designs. The social side of the class is very healthy with a great camaraderie between the teams and the free flow of information of developing new ideas and improving boat designs between nations.
The Canadian entry Bob Lewis makes his entrance as the anthem is played to rapturous applause see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KXc0OfwTTA
Day -2 Measuring and registration
With most the fleet assembled at the fantastic Richmond Yacht Club with sailors and support teams enjoying the fabulous hospitality of the members, Friday marks the start of proceedings with boat measuring and last minute adjustments to boats before the real action starts. The day was a great time to check the other teams kit and get to know the individuals from the USA, UK, Germany, Canada and Australia.
it was also an opportunity to check out the conditions in the bay for many and all of a sudden the reality of what is in store became starkly apparent to the uninitiated. The bay enjoys strong westerlies which build from the morning towards late afternoon and can vary from anywhere up to generally 20knots. It's also comparatively shallow and has very strong currents rushing in from and out to the Pacific Ocean under the famous Golden Gate bridge. This combination can setup a particularly challenging chop particularly on the ebb tide which was precisely the conditions when the majority of the fleet decided to launch at 1400hrs!
Running down wind into the short waves was a particular challenge with nose diving a real issue if weight is not appropriately placed as far back as possible and pitch poling a strong possibility if not. The wind although not strong when combined with waves makes tacking an interesting prospect and many found the challenge difficult.
With many boats being launched just prior or at the Worlds, this will be a hard testing ground for new ideas and designs. With some already making adjustments and even vacuum bagging extra carbon fibre onto structures in the boat park to increase strength, eyes will be in the competitors demonstrating the best technique and marine engineering in equal measure.