RONSTAN A-CLASS MIDWINTERS (REVISED/PIC)

AClass USA 230

Anarchist
946
39
Louisiana
The second regatta of the A-Class catamaran US winter circuit, the RONSTAN A-Class Midwinter Championship, finished (unfortunately) with the 21 boat fleet sitting on the beach on the third and final day as a persistent 22-24 knot northerly on the race course cancelled racing for the day (A-Class rules have a 22 knot wind maximum). Five races were sailed over the previous two days in winds ranging from 10 - 20 knots. The fleet was postponed on the previous day for 5 hours by high winds and got off the water right as the sun was setting .

Matt Struble from San Diego, CA dominated this regatta with wins in every race. He did the same in the first regatta of this circuit last month. Matt never rounded a weather mark in first but would always be in the top 3 and then just turned on the jets downwind to always be in the lead by the first leeward gate. While a couple of competitors in a couple of races stayed in contact with Matt for the remainder of the race, there were a couple of races where Matt did a horizon job. This fleet was no slouch in talent either with sailors like world champions Morgan Larson and Jeff Linton racing and strong A-Class sailors like Ben Hall, Ben Moon, Brett Moss, Woody Cope, and Jonathan Farrar competing. As Morgan Larson stated at the awards, it was a “schooling” by Matt to the fleet but the positive aspect was Matt was very open with feedback on his rig setup and sailing technique so that most of us felt that we had raised our game at the end of the event.

Here are the top five finishers and their equipment choices (boat/mast/sail):

1. Matt Struble – San Diego, CA x-1-1-1-1 (EVO HT/Fiberfoam/Glaser)

2. Morgan Larson – Santa Cruz, CA 2-3-x-3-2 (EVO HT/Fiberfoam/Glaser)

3. Bob Hodges – Mandeville, LA 3-2-4-5-x (ASG4/Fiberfoam/Glaser)

4. Ben Moon – St. Petersburg, FL 4-x-2-6-3 (ASG4/Fiberfoam/Glaser)

5. Brett Moss – Miami, FL 7-x-3-4-5 (ASG2/Fiberfoam/Landenberger)

There has not been more design and technique innovation going on in the A-Class since the class saw the introduction of the first wave piercing hull designs over 10 years ago. The use and refinement of curved daggerboards, evolving hull designs, new sail and rig setups, and an exciting new downwind sailing technique are keeping top A-Class sailors fully engaged. For sure it’s a lot of fun.

In the US, the Peter Cogan EVO HT looks to be currently the best all around performer as demonstrated by Struble’s performance and the success this winter of Morgan Larson’s racing debut in the class on the boat. But the potential of other new designs is also looking promising. Ben Hall is actively working on optimizing the three Cogan designed Barracuda boats he has built at Hall Spars in Bristol and what is being learnt will be applied to the next EVO II that Cogan is working to get into production (the platforms will be produced in the UK). Ben Moon and Bob Hodges did major modifications over the winter (with the assistance of US Sailing team boatwright Don Brennan) to the Glenn Ashby designed ASG3’s they purchased last year. That boat had some performance issues and rather than give up on it, Ben and Bob felt the issues were related to the beam and foil placements and the actual foils used on the boat. The changes they did have made a dramatic positive improvement, significant enough that Glenn himself will probably be making the same changes to his own ASG3 in Australia in the near future. We now call the boat the ASG4. The Italian Bimare V1R has landed in the US and is being sailed by Randy Smyth who is experimenting with some radical rig ideas (last month he tried a sloop rig that was within class rules). Hard to judge the boat at this time but it certainly looks nice and well executed. You also cannot discount the designs that have been successful in the last few years. In the light to medium air conditions we predominately race in the US, the Marstrom Mk V, the ASG2/Flyer II, Bimare XJ, and the Pete Melvin designed A3 are all very strong performers. Multiple North American champion Lars Guck is rumored to be building the next A3 iteration that will probably have some changes in the hull shape profiles and will certainly have curved daggerboards. US sailors are looking forward to getting one of the highly touted Dutch DNA platforms in the US to see how our own development compares against this new benchmark in A-Class performance which recently dominated the Australian National Championship and has won several European continental championships.

Curved daggerboards are here to stay. It’s safe to say that in 2-3 years, 90% of the fleet should be sailing with them. It appears that light air performance is not negatively impacted and upwind and downwind performance as the breeze builds is certainly improved. The curved boards reduce the righting moment of the platform forcing a more physical and dynamic sailing technique and what has evolved from this is sailors starting to use their trapezes downwind in over 10 knots of breeze. This has driven an evolution to a fuller and more twisted and powerful sail and rig setup. The boat is being sailed downwind faster forward at tighter apparent wind angles but with approximately the same jibing angles so dramatic increases in downwind VMG result. This progression of performance has prompted a change in the mast design and construction that is resulting in new masts that are stiffer in the minor axis and softer in the major axis. That presents an engineering challenge to the mast builders as the physics of the mast design want the mast to bend just the opposite. The response is creative carbon engineering but caution is needed to be sure the result is strong and reliable. This will be ongoing for the next couple of years. Sail design is also having to progress to match the new mast characteristics and most sailmakers are tweaking existing successful designs with a few exceptions like Australian Steve Brewin who offers the largest head width A-Class sail ever with a very straight leech profile to stay within class limits. The big head designs require careful batten selection and use over the wind range to maximize performance and Steve is considered one of the fastest in the class.

The next and final event of the winter circuit is the Admiral’s Cup to be sailed next month with the fleet again returning to Islamorada.

Thanks to these folks and sponsors who made the RONSTAN Midwinters a very fun regatta.

• Ben Moon and RONSTAN (regatta chairman and main sponsor)

• Warren and Dennis Green, ISLANDER RACING (race management)

• John and Carla Schiefer, COCONUT GROVE SAILS AND CANVAS (venue logistics)

• THE ISLANDER RESORT and staff, Islamorada, FL (venue host)

Bob Hodges

US A-Class Catamaran Association

/monthly_02_2011/post-17917-096510100%201297770741_thumb.jpg

 

Attachments

  • DSC00834 reduced.jpg
    DSC00834 reduced.jpg
    512.7 KB · Views: 0

AClass USA 230

Anarchist
946
39
Louisiana
Regarding the three Peter Cogan designed Barracuda's in the US, the latest is being sailed by Ben Hall in Bristol, the first is now owned by Craig Yandow in Long Beach, CA, and the second is owned by Tracy Oliver in Virginia Beach, VA. Each boat is subtly different in beam and foil placement while the latest boat also has flatter hull section profiles. Each boat so far looks to have solid competitive performance and all have been test platforms for ideas that are being used by Cogan and Hall to finalize the EVO II. Hall and Cogan are like the secret "Skunk Works" of the US class!

 

AClass USA 230

Anarchist
946
39
Louisiana
Can you post full results of all the races , like you did before .

Thanks Ron

Ron,

We'll be posting this article on the class website with some more group pics next week. I only have a paper copy of the results but will scan and PDF for the website posting. So just wait a week.

Cheers,

Bob
 

AClass USA 230

Anarchist
946
39
Louisiana
Thanks for the report Bob. Was anyone else on the wire downwind besides Mat and Morgan?
Matt and Morgan were the only ones trying it out again but at least some of us had the footstraps mounted! On Friday, I thought the 10-12 knot breeze was too light but Matt made it work at times. Morgan stayed on the tramp that day. On Saturday, Matt and Morgan were doing it in the flatter areas of the downwind legs closer to the shore. I was not confident enough in my boathandling to try it but I have had two extra days sailing here at Islamorada practicing what I learned from Matt. Next event I think I will be giving it a go, it's a blast to do!

 

SimonN

Super Anarchist
10,530
749
Sydney ex London
Bob

Thanks for the report and I am pleased to hear your boat is going well.

I don't mean to be an argumentative bastard but...... :D

.......sailors starting to use their trapezes downwind in over 10 knots of breeze. This has driven an evolution to a fuller and more twisted and powerful sail and rig setup
I don't think this is correct. The development work that Stevie Brewin has done with the rigs was all before he got a DNA and before he started trapezing downhill. It is what he won the 2010 nationals with, plus the NSW and Queensland State titles. He came 2nd in the last worlds with the rig. Landy had also developed his fuller sail with the new style mast before getting a DNA and trapezing downwind. Of the AUS sailmakers, only Glenn has developed his rig post DNA/trapezing downwind and I believe that was in response to the other sailmakers.

I do think that trapezing downwind will lead to some new rig developments, but we haven't seen them yet. in fact, I think the big drive will be to find ways of keeping the characteristics of the powerful sail but making it easier to change to a low drag, flatter set up. Trapezing downwind pulls the apparent forward and makes you want a less twisted, flatter sail but you need to fullness at other times. In monohulls we get around this with a vang.

I suspect that before long, we will see downwind trapezing in far more marginal conditions than people think it will happen. Bob already alludes to this....

I thought the 10-12 knot breeze was too light but Matt made it work at times
As the rigs develop and maybe even the foils as well, I think we will see strapezing downwind almost as soon as the hull pops. From there, it will then be a case of who backs off first in wind and waves!
 

AClass USA 230

Anarchist
946
39
Louisiana
Bob

Thanks for the report and I am pleased to hear your boat is going well.

I don't mean to be an argumentative bastard but...... :D

Simon,

I believe you misunderstood the perspective I was presenting. Here's a little history lesson.

In 2005, Pete Melvin beat both Glenn and Steve in France in the WC sailing his own A2 design. Pete was using the latest evolution of the A-Class mainsail design that Jay Glaser has been evolving since the mid-90's first with Ullman Sails and now with his own Glaser Sails. It was in 2005 that Pete also beat Lars Guck at the North American championship and the following year Lars was sailing an A2 with a Glaser sail and dominated the 2006 North American championship. That began a run of four years where Lars was untouchable in the North American championship and he and Jay developed the very capable LARS1 mainsail design. The A2 also evolved into the A3. The LARS1/A3 combination proved it was a major player when Lars finished 2nd to Glenn in the 2007 WC by only 3 points. Glenn has dominated every WC since 2002 except for when some pesky American sailors compete with Glaser sails. The LARS1 continues to get tweaked every year especially around the Fiberfoam medium mast with which it is an excellent fit. To finish the history lesson, last year at our North American championship, Lars string was finally broken by Matt Struble but it was a close battle (similar to the Lars/Glenn battle at the 2007 WC). Matt is a 3 time DN iceboat world champion as well one of this country's top mulithull sailors. His talent and insight is exceptional.

Fast forward to last summer and on to this winter and all the spin about the DNA (which is certainly proving to be a fast boat). I think we are on track with our own development and the winter circuit has been a fantastic training tool for everyone. We have not gotten left behind as a recent DNA blog article suggests. The LARS1 seems well suited to the changes that are being driven by boats with curved blades and getting the rig more powered up for downwind trapeze work. We have two top sailors who I think have a 90% chance of being in the top 5 at this year's WC and 50/50 chance of both being in the top three. Bold claim, I don't think so. And if Pete Melvin can break away from his AC duties, I think we have an excellent chance of three sailors in the top five.

To quote a famous movie line, "How bout them apples" :p !
 

SimonN

Super Anarchist
10,530
749
Sydney ex London
Bob

Thanks for the report and I am pleased to hear your boat is going well.

I don't mean to be an argumentative bastard but...... :D
Simon,

I believe you misunderstood the perspective I was presenting. Here's a little history lesson.

In 2005, Pete Melvin beat both Glenn and Steve in France in the WC sailing his own A2 design. Pete was using the latest evolution of the A-Class mainsail design that Jay Glaser has been evolving since the mid-90's first with Ullman Sails and now with his own Glaser Sails. It was in 2005 that Pete also beat Lars Guck at the North American championship and the following year Lars was sailing an A2 with a Glaser sail and dominated the 2006 North American championship. That began a run of four years where Lars was untouchable in the North American championship and he and Jay developed the very capable LARS1 mainsail design. The A2 also evolved into the A3. The LARS1/A3 combination proved it was a major player when Lars finished 2nd to Glenn in the 2007 WC by only 3 points. Glenn has dominated every WC since 2002 except for when some pesky American sailors compete with Glaser sails. The LARS1 continues to get tweaked every year especially around the Fiberfoam medium mast with which it is an excellent fit. To finish the history lesson, last year at our North American championship, Lars string was finally broken by Matt Struble but it was a close battle (similar to the Lars/Glenn battle at the 2007 WC). Matt is a 3 time DN iceboat world champion as well one of this country's top mulithull sailors. His talent and insight is exceptional.

Fast forward to last summer and on to this winter and all the spin about the DNA (which is certainly proving to be a fast boat). I think we are on track with our own development and the winter circuit has been a fantastic training tool for everyone. We have not gotten left behind as a recent DNA blog article suggests. The LARS1 seems well suited to the changes that are being driven by boats with curved blades and getting the rig more powered up for downwind trapeze work. We have two top sailors who I think have a 90% chance of being in the top 5 at this year's WC and 50/50 chance of both being in the top three. Bold claim, I don't think so. And if Pete Melvin can break away from his AC duties, I think we have an excellent chance of three sailors in the top five.

To quote a famous movie line, "How bout them apples" :p !
Bob

I am not sure where you are coming from. I was talking about sail development. You claimed that more powerful rigs are beingdeveloped because of the downwind trapezing. My point is that the more powerful rigs were developed before downwind trapezing and the DNA. Stevie won last years nationals in a Tool with no downwind trapezing with a sail that is effectively the same as he is now using. The development of that sail was nothing to do with trapezing downwind. Sails for that are yet to be developed and is the task for Stevie once he gets back and stops playing with the AC45.

 

SimonN

Super Anarchist
10,530
749
Sydney ex London
Oh, and I forgot to mention, how about a friendly side wager? I don't know the full entry list from down under, but if Bundy and Dean Barker sail the worlds, my money says Southern hemisphere sailors will fill 4 out of the top 5, taking at least 2 out of 3 of the podium and the win. I cannot imagine that Ashby, Brewin and Landy will lose their form, reports say that Barker is training non stop with Glenn, Bundy was just getting the hang of A's by the nationals and will only get better. My money says that having 5 or 6 guys pushing each other as has been happening down here will give the Southern contingent an edge. :)

 

Catfan

Member
225
0
Oh, and I forgot to mention, how about a friendly side wager? I don't know the full entry list from down under, but if Bundy and Dean Barker sail the worlds, my money says Southern hemisphere sailors will fill 4 out of the top 5, taking at least 2 out of 3 of the podium and the win. I cannot imagine that Ashby, Brewin and Landy will lose their form, reports say that Barker is training non stop with Glenn, Bundy was just getting the hang of A's by the nationals and will only get better. My money says that having 5 or 6 guys pushing each other as has been happening down here will give the Southern contingent an edge. :)
I agree with Bob.

I believe that Lars Guck, who is about to launch a modified version of the M&M designed A3, and Matt Struble, on the newest Peter Cogan's design, have a 90% chance of being in the top 5 at this year's WC and 50/50 chance of both being in the top three. Their different boats are powered by Jay Glaser's mainsails, which in the USA are reputed to be faster than the products of the Australian sailmakers.

I heard that some some the top Ozzies will jump on a new AUSmade A class to be introduced at the 2011 Victorian Championship next March.

May you confirn the rumour?

 

AClass USA 230

Anarchist
946
39
Louisiana
I am not sure where you are coming from. I was talking about sail development. You claimed that more powerful rigs are beingdeveloped because of the downwind trapezing. My point is that the more powerful rigs were developed before downwind trapezing and the DNA. Stevie won last years nationals in a Tool with no downwind trapezing with a sail that is effectively the same as he is now using. The development of that sail was nothing to do with trapezing downwind. Sails for that are yet to be developed and is the task for Stevie once he gets back and stops playing with the AC45.
I think my point was that Matt, Lars, and other US sailors (like me) are taking an already successful mainsail design (the Glaser LARS1) and learning to set it up to the more powerful and twisted setup that seems to successful with the recent evolution of hull and foil design. Mast development is ongoing at Hall Spars (as it always is and has been as Hall masts have won two A-Class world championships). As mast development progresses, sail development will follow with both Jay Glaser and Peter Cogan very actively engaged here in the US.

Stand by my belief that Lars and Matt can both be in the top 5 at this event. What's even more impressive about both of them is they are not professional sailors. Lars has his own business and Matt is a designer for NISSAN.

 

Bang Zoom

Member
56
0
Canton Ma
Thanks for the report Bob. Was anyone else on the wire downwind besides Mat and Morgan?
Matt and Morgan were the only ones trying it out again but at least some of us had the footstraps mounted! On Friday, I thought the 10-12 knot breeze was too light but Matt made it work at times. Morgan stayed on the tramp that day. On Saturday, Matt and Morgan were doing it in the flatter areas of the downwind legs closer to the shore. I was not confident enough in my boathandling to try it but I have had two extra days sailing here at Islamorada practicing what I learned from Matt. Next event I think I will be giving it a go, it's a blast to do!

One would think the other hull shapes will be competitive once their skippers learn how to live on the wire downwind :)

 

A-man

Member
63
0
One would think the other hull shapes will be competitive once their skippers learn how to live on the wire downwind :)
Well that is the question isn't it? Will the older hulls be able to support a downwind trapezer as well as the newer, flatter bottomed boats with higher volumes in the transom? Can't wait to see the smackdown!

 

SimonN

Super Anarchist
10,530
749
Sydney ex London
What's even more impressive about both of them is they are not professional sailors. Lars has his own business and Matt is a designer for NISSAN.
I agree with this comment and it is why Stevie Brewin is so impressive. He is a builder by day, makes sails at night and is a devoted father who spends a lot of his time with his children. Before the nationals, Stevie sailed 1 day every 2 weeks while the "pros" were sailing solidly for a month. Even now, he hasn't sailed since the nationals, although he is spending the week playing on an AC45.

And he isn't the only one. Although Landy is a sailmaker, he doesn't seem to get the time to sail as often as the pro. In fact, he is alwaysd complaining at not getting any sailing and being undedr prepared at championships. I guess it must be frustrating having been a pro, not having the time to do it properly like you used to.

And BTW, going into the last worlds all the Europeans said that it would be the year the Aussies were beaten. And the result......... ;) However, I think we will know a lot more about boat development after the next worlds, so it should be interesting.

 
Top