A Class Worlds 2022


Super Anarchist
Sydney ex London
As some might be aware. the first worlds since 2019 is taking place in Houston, Texas. I can only comment on the foiling side of things, but hopefully somebody will chip in on the Classic side.

Mischa has decided not to defend his title, because he is at a crucial stage of his house build, but having been beaten comprehensively by a number of Exploder sailors recently and with little or no development to the DNA, many wonder if he would have been in the hunt anyway. However, despite a slower boat in 2019, he still managed to win so he will be missed as a competitive benchmark.

As is usual with the A's, despite the top guys now being on pretty similar equipment, we have no real idea of who are the group to beat. These "groups" are split into 3, with the Australians, Europeans and the Americans. 

The Australians are represented by training partners Stevie Brewin and Darren Bundock. This is probably the only class that Bundy has sailed for any length of time and not won the worlds, but he is up against it having been beaten by Stevie at the Australian championships every year except 2020 and is handicapping himself by arriving the day before the action begins, relying on Stevie to set up and sort his boat. 

The Europeans seem to be led by the Polish sailors Kuba Surewiec and Jacek Noetzel. Kuba has been dominant of late and has always been right up there while Jacek has been around forever near the front of the fleet. There are also 2 other Europeans, Iago Lopez Marra, the spanish 49er sailor who came 7th in the 2018 worlds and who has been training for the event plus the Frenchman, Emmanual Dode, although I am a little concern that his facebook page has been too full of safari photos and not enough sailing!

Finally, the Americans. First there is the evergreen Bruce Mahoney who has been around for a long time and has home water advantage. And you cannot ignore Ravi Parent, the US Nacra 17 team sailor.

What I am sure of is that one of these groups will have an advantage over the others. Although the platforms and maybe even masts are the same, sails vary significantly, so who has done the best development in the last few years? Then there is technique. As a bit of an A Class tragic, social media addict, and training partner for Stevie and Bundy, I look at every photo and every video. It's a bit like trying to read tea leaves! Yes, you can spot differences, but who knows which is fastest. All I know for sure is that the sails are different and the way each group set their boats up have to be different. For instance, the position that most of the Americans are trapezing is very different from, say, the Australians, which means they have to be using different foil settings. To the experienced eye, you can also spot differences in flight height, bow pitch and angle of heel. In videos, I believe I see differences in both steering and sheeting techniques.

In Australia, we have heard stories of amazing upwind speeds, maybe 2 knots faster than we achieve in racing, but the only way we can get those numbers means losing out significantly on VMG. Has somebody found something the others haven't?

I am not going to predict a winner, because I really don't know where everybody is in relation to each other. What I suspect is that this worlds will be won by technique, rather than equipment differences. Let battle commence.