During the week, news arrived of at least one Australian outfit going for a new build 52. Someone had to keep Beau Geste and SMB entertained at the sharp end of the 52 bracket.
Two other camps were linked to other former 52 Super Series craft, Phoenix and Spookie, but the one touted as going after Phoenix has denied it, saying that Hasso (SAP) Plattner of Germany has bought her. As for Spookie, well that Australasian outfit has yet to confirm or deny anything.
However, as you can see from the hero pic, the new build for our President of Oz Sailing, Matt Allen, is coming out of the very same Botin Partners designed mould that gave us Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s, Interlodge. He was just back from seeing the things at the Longitud Cero facility in Castellón, Spain.
Allen commented, “The boat will be ready in early June, and it is good to see racing boats being built. She will have a Southern Spars stick, but no choice on colour has been made, as yet. (Editor’s note: Love to see the gold again. The Farr52 OD was a very pretty boat!) I will be keeping the Carkeek 60, but I guess the blue boat (originally one of the Azzurras and penned by Judel/Vrolijk) will now be sold.” Well he has been a Commodore before, so no need to have a fleet anymore. Boom. Boom. At any rate, Allen is correct. It is great to see boats being built and so maybe, just maybe, others will come along to join the party.
Time will tell…
The launch of ETNZ’s ACC cat, and subsequent announcement that they will be going with cycle power for their systems caused a stir across many a medium. Globally, traffic was huge as people clambered to get a squiz of the four saddles sitting there like really ugly cranes, ibises, egrets or spoonbills in the shallows. As discovered, it is not a new idea, and previously they were never placed down in the hold of a Swedish 12 Metre like mice on a running wheel, powering some illegal propeller or something.
Sailing has borrowed athletes from other sports before, most notably rowing, but not for use in their original discipline. As performance enhancing drugs continue to affect weightlifting and cycling more than any other sport, and despite the Kiwi’s naming a champion cyclist in their crew, I cannot imagine it to be very likely we’ll see a Tour de Bermuda Voile anytime soon.
Our very own powerhouse of innovation, Zhik, was the first to develop impact protection gear for the latest generation of fast-moving craft. I must ask them if they are developing cleats, not of the rope but the shoe variety, for there is a bit under 100 days until AC35, and it could be possible to retrofit these pedestals in place of the arm variety. Would that not really wind the Kiwis up? Can’t see the click-clack of the road variety cleats working too well on a high speed foiling bird, and you need the stiffness to put all the energy into the crank. Anyway, at least there will be no MAMILs out there, so that has to be a real bonus!!!
The nose down attitude of their craft was also very evident. Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson’s clan and charity are looking forward to AC35 and hopefully all the electronic wizardry and some sensible rules will preclude a repeat of that particular disaster. Going down the mine is best performed by specialists with lights on their heads.
In the Volvo, the crew announcements have started, with Xabi Fernández picking up the driver’s gig with MAPFRE, again. As the start for that event draws inexorably closer, there should be a whole lot more team and then crew announcements soon, given that there are just the three VO65s splashed in for now. It will be interesting to see how many VOR will get over the line, and of those, how many will opt for the seven male/two female sailor crew numbers… Seeing as it was not that long ago that VOR had like 12 Press Releases in about three days, the floodgates should open pretty soon, so grab your PFD now!
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by John Curnow