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11 February 2014, 09:02 am
A-Class Cats Fly At Takapuna
Peter Burling
Peter Burling

A-Class Catamaran World Championship
Auckland, New Zealand

Glenn Ashby (AUS) has taken an early lead at the A-Class Catamaran World Championship in Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand.
The A-Class Worlds has drawn a record fleet of eighty one entries from twelve nations with America's Cup, Olympic and Volvo Ocean Race experience in abundance throughout the fleet.

This year both Emirates Team New Zealand and Artemis Racing have sent sailors to the A Class Worlds, this event being the ideal extension for any America's Cup winter training.

Emirates Team New Zealand has entered their two newest team members, Olympians Petre Burling and Blair Tuke, as well as 2013 America's Cup team members, Glenn Ashby, tactician Ray Davies, Pete Melvin, Luc Dubois and Nat Shaver.

Chris Nicholson, skipper of the team's CAMPER entry in the Volvo Ocean Race was a late entrant skippering Dean Barker's catamaran after the ETNZ skipper withdrew so he can focus on the Extreme Sailing Series which begins later this month in Singapore.

Artemis racing entered their helmsman Nathan Outteridge (AUS).

The wind dropped for the start of the first race turning light and shifty. Australia's Outteridge seemed to have control of the race when he rounded the top mark with a lead of thirty seconds, before choosing the left hand side of the course where he sailed into a hole and dropped to an eventual twelfth place finish.

Ashby passed Outteridge to finish first ahead of Great Grand Master Scott Anderson (AUS) and Brad Collett (AUS).

The wind increased slightly for the second race; the gauge showing a 7.2 knot average with gusts of 12 knots which saw those with more aggressive foils making the most of any increases in pressure.

Outteridge dominated the second race providing another masterful sailing display on his downwind leg, taking the bullet ahead of Outteridge with Steve Brewin (AUS) third. Later Burling was elevated to third when it was found that Steve Brewin was black flagged at the start.

Nathan Outteridge stated that, "the foils used today were aggressive and gave him a bit of extra lift."

The end of the opening day sees Ashby leading on three points from Scott Anderson on seven and Andrew Landenberger on 11.


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Cathy Vercoe
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