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5 October 2007, 12:07 pm
USA Brings Its Best To A-Cat Worlds
The A-Cats in action
The A-Cats in action

A-Catamaran World Championship 2007
Islamorada, Florida, USA

With a record setting 100 boats pre-registered, the 2007 A-Class World Championship sponsored by Ronstan, FSE Robline, Corum, and West Marine is now only weeks away.
The regatta will take place at The Islander resort hotel in Islamorada, FL beginning on 9 November, 2007 and running through 16, November 2007. The Week will bwegin with the Blue Water Classic warm up regatta on 8-9, November. The Islander has been hosting the US A-Class for its last two midwinter race weeks and was the unanimous choice by the US class as the best venue to host this World Championship. The race site is a 9 square mile area of the Atlantic ocean protected by an offshore reef. Sailors will enjoy clear aqua water and hopefully warm and consistent easterly winds of 8-15 knots.

The international contingent includes Glenn ASHBY from Australia who will be racing to defend his 2006 title. ASHBY is a multiple World Champion in the class and is regarded as the best A-Class sailor ever. In addition, he is regarded as a favourite to medal in the 2008 Tornado Olympic event in Qingdao, China with his teammate Darren BUNDOCK. In addition to ASHBY, other top international sailors racing will include past World Champions Scott ANDERSON (USA) and Nils BUNKENBURG (GER), Olympic medallists Andrew LANDENBERGER (AUS) and Goran MARSTROM, New Zealand champion Murray PHILPOTT, top Dutch sailors Sjoerd HOEKSTRA, Pieterjan DWARSHUIS, and Piet SAARBERG, Alinghi designer Mike DRUMMOND (NZL), and top Swiss sailors Dieter MELCHER and Luc DE BOIS.

The USA will have all of its top A-Class sailors challenging the international contingent. At the top of the list is three time North American champion Lars GUCK who has been dominating US A-Class sailing for the last two years. In the last two North American championships, GUCK has won every race. Right beside GUCK will be 1997 and 2005 A-Class World Champion Pete MELVIN. MELVIN's speed and consistency make him a favourite for a podium finish especially given the size of this fleet. Other top US sailors that are certainly contenders to finish in the top ten include Phil KINDER, Olympic medallists Pease GLASER and Jay GLASER, 505, International 14 World Champion Howie HAMLIN, Olympic medallist Charlie OGLETREE, and Ben HALL who may be racing with a radical solid wing sail (still testing and evaluating).

Many sailors are watching this regatta closely as several new platforms are making their debuts. These include the next evolution of the Marstrom which now has hulls that are canted and has a revised volume distribution for better performance in waves and chop, the Nikita which is an evolution of the original Flyer, a Peter COGAN design that is an evolution of the proven Bimare XJ, and the radical LR2 designed and built by Ian and John LINDHAL. These new designs will be joined by the proven Flyer Mk I and Mk II, the Bimare XJ, and the Melvin A2/A3. Except for the potential appearance of the Hall solid wing rig, most sailors will likely be using carbon masts from Hall, Fiberfoam, Saarberg, or Marstrom and square top sails from ASHBY, GLASER, ULLMAN, and LANDENBERGER. While clearly a development class, advancements in A-Class performance have for the last ten years been subtle never immediately making obsolete the current designs and allowing active sailors to pass on older but still competitive equipment to new sailors. This trend has been very good for class growth.

Stay tuned to to get all the latest news and results when the racing begins in mid-November.
Bob Hodges (As Amended By ISAF)
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