Father and son team from RPAYC, Tristan and Beau White travelled to the French holiday village of Maubuisson in South Western France this July to compete in the 2019 F16 Catamaran European championship.
Hosted by Cercle de la Voille de Bordeaux Carcans the championship was contested on the inland freshwater lake of Lac d’Hourtin located just 3 km behind the pine tree covered dunes from the Atlantic holiday beaches. Teams came from all over the world to compete in what is the F16 Association’s annual premium event.
The weather provided warm conditions and variable breezes with the 54 Boat fleet completing 19 races over the 5 Day event. There were an additional 2 practice races on the Sunday prior to the first days official racing, which in typical fashion provided by far the best breeze. Cat sailing legend Mitch Booth ran a clinic in the 4 days leading up to the event.
Our RPAYC team exceeded their expectations with a final overall result of 6th, this being the first large fleet (over 20 boats) regatta they have competed in.
“We had great boat speed in the heavier breeze and managed to pick the shifts well over the course – I guess that’s what you learn on Pittwater” Commented 14-year-old Skipper, Tristan White.
“The starts were very challenging with us getting buried regularly by the super competitive and aggressive fleet”
Beau, dad and crew on the Viper F16, chartered from Goodall design in Europe, had the following take-aways from the event “We were regularly intimidated by little whipper snappers wiggling and barging their way around the startline. More large fleet racing practice is going to be vital for us to improve our results. Next year we may be a bit bolder when it’s our own boat”.
“It was very exciting to see the F16 class rapidly growing again after a few years of quieter regattas. And oh my what a mix of people racing these boats, kids, moms and dads, nannas and grandpas interspersed with a few lone wolves”.
“You expect the youth teams to smash you on the spinnaker hoists and corners, but when a grey haired couple goes over the top of you on the top mark, it’s pretty sobering”.
Next year the F16 World Championships will be held in Italy. Lake Como at Gravedona, third week in July is the place and time for the big mosh up. It promises to be an even bigger fleet again with all the fun, off water events and diversity this wild fleet provides.
Back in Australia the first of the F16 East Coast Grand Prix series kicks off in Coffs Harbour on the 14-15 September.
Stay tuned for further news on club level catamaran racing on Sundays with the RPAYC centerboard fleet.