The ACO Musto Skiff World Championships starts in just over a week and will be the largest ever gathering of single-handed spinnaker dinghies in the history of the sport.
With 106 entries already on the event website the event is set to be a fantastic festival of high-performance single handed sailing at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, the venue for the sailing competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
Previous championships have seen strong turn outs in the 70's and 80's but this fleet will be the first time the class has achieved the "ton up".
The class, by sailing standards, is relatively young having been designed in 1999 in response to ISAF's call for new designs of dinghies for consideration as equipment at the games. Despite missing out on selection the class has gone on from there and become very popular as a challenging single-hander for amateur sailors who enjoy the thrills and spills of high-performance sailing. The class has achieved full ISAF international status and boats are sailed in 22 countries around the world.
This championship will be a good representation of the international flavour of the class with 11 different nations represented from the 106 entries.
When asked about the secret of the success of the class Paul Manning from the class association and who was involved in the development and build of the class said, "The early prototypes underwent a rigorous testing programme both in the UK and overseas. This allowed the final product to be highly refined and developed which means the product you see today is very similar to the first production boats. The boat has also benefitted from a programme of continuous minor improvements through monitoring the feedback of the sailors".
In addition Rick Perkins of the class association added, "A successful class requires a great boat but the sailors and the association are also important factors. The class association has always been open and progressive with communications.
"We have fostered a culture of openness and sharing amongst the sailors which means that at events the atmosphere is always friendly and sailors are always helping each other to improve."
This world championship has been many years in the planning and will be the last international championships held at Weymouth prior to the games and this factor has clearly been a pull to competitors.
The title sponsor for the event is ACO and its generous support of the event has allowed the class to add additional social events to the programme so the competitors will also be engaged off the water. This will include a gala dinner at which we will enjoy the after dinner speaking of double medalist Simon Hiscocks. Simon will also host a charity auction in aid of ACO's nominated charity CRASH. CRASH is the construction and property industry's charity for homeless people. The charity auction has benefited from donations from class sponsor Musto, event marine sponsor Harken, class builder Ovington Boats, signed books from authors Mark Rushall and Jon Emmett and items from the auctioneers own Shock Sailing.
Richard Hill from ACO said, "We are always looking for unusual opportunities to spread the word about ACO and supporting this event is a good fit for us. The Musto Skiff and the class sponsor Musto are known for innovation, quality and performance, all values that fit well with ACO, we are pleased to see our support has been able to develop the event both on and off the water."
At the event the sailors will race as one large fleet but to keep the competition focused through the field there will also be awards for age categories (youth, master and grand master) and there will also be Gold, Silver & Bronze categories.
Prizes for these sections of the fleet have been provided by event marine sponsor Harken. Harken(UK) Sponsorship Manager Loretta Cuoghi said, "We have been working with the Musto Skiff Class for many years and we are happy to be the marine sponsor for the World Championships. The class always put on a good event and work hard to keep the media informed giving the event greater reach than just those participating."
The event will start with a 6 race pre-worlds spread over two days, followed by a lay day then the worlds will be a 12 race series over the next 5 days.
Live on the water updates will flow through the class Twitter feed (follow us @mustoskiff
) and updates will be made on the class website (www.mustoskiff.com
) and on the class Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/mustoskiff