2013 Masters Worlds Wrap Up

Masters Worlds Wrap up

Another blue sky, light wind day completed the Masters Worlds in Oman on Saturday, with a light 5-6 knot sea breeze eventually filling in and allowing one further race on the full rig course and two races to be squeezed in on the Radial Course.

This was unfortunate for Ed Tam, who was holding 2nd, for a cube, after a 2nd in the first race of the day but his Brazilian opponent won the last race, pipping Ed for 2nd place overall by a single point. Others to have a good day were Hamish Atkinson with two top 10 places and Tom Speed with a 6th in the last race on the Radial course and Andrew Dellabarca with a 4th in the Masters Standard. Chip was only one top race from a cube position and was the second to top sailor in his division for the second half of the regatta. The rest of us finished the regatta in generally unchanged positions from day 5.

The contest was notable for a number of reasons, many of them predictable for the venue;

Scott Leith nailing another one! Kiwis in 3rd, 4th and 5th in the AM standard fleet must bode well for the future.

The conditions being very similar every day, 5 to 8 knot shifty Northerlyish breeze with chop, with a few knots more a couple of times but you had to be under about 80kg in the full rig and much less in the Radial to really claim to have hiked out during the regatta. Unusually we could not say, as they did for the Open a couple of weeks previously, "it's never like this". In our case the conditions were pretty much what was predicted, if anything a little lighter than expected.

Every division except the new GGM full rig was won by a "Radial" sailor. Scott in the AM's, Al Clark (CAN) in the Masters and Greg Adams (AUS) in the GM's all stepped up from Radial at Brisbane to full rig for this regatta. All are pretty much full time sailors, as were many of the winners in the Radial divisions and all showed their class consistently through the regatta.

The first ever Standard GGM fleet, dominated by Mark Bethwaite (AUS), who lost 5kg's to ensure he would be competitive for the event, but with Bob Blakey deservedly coming home with a cube after a strong second placing.

The second woman to ever win an open division, with Vanessa Dudley (AUS) triumphant in the Masters Radial against a really high quality fleet.

There was significant depth in every fleet, with pretty much every place hard to achieve and hard to defend in all divisions. Consistency was hardest to achieve, with many having a few good results offset by disasters of one sort or another. Only those with a consistent speed edge such as Scott, or able to get consistent clean start and hold their lane were able to feature consistently at the top of the fleets. It was noticeable that the speed advantage the top sailors enjoyed was eroded through the week as other worked out the optimum settings and techniques for the conditions. There were however many sailors who have achieved top results in previous Masters worlds buried deep in fleets in the final results, particularly those for whom a weight of 80kg (or even 90) or less is but a distant memory.

Talking to the team at the prize giving I think that we all head home having enjoyed the venue and the contest, with great sun tans, having eaten too much  and enjoyed the challenging sailing.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the Nationals in Nelson in a few weeks and to qualifying for next years worlds in Hyeres. That contest is sure to provide different but no less challenging a regatta, with numbers of around 400 expected to attend making it possibly the largest Masters worlds ever. It will be great if we can see a strong Kiwi contingent there.

Nick Page