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5th April 2019  #23
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© Sailing Energy / Trofeo Sofia Iberostar


Britain’s Ian Walker has a pretty unique view of the world of sailing. A double Olympic silver medallist – in the 470 and Star – winning skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race, coach to Shirley Robertson and the Olympic gold medal winning Yngling crew in 2004 in Athens, multiple dinghy class champion, family cruiser and dinghy racer. As he attended this week’s 50th Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar in Palma, Walker marks one year in the job of Director of Racing at Britain’s governing body, the Royal Yachting Association. Tip & Shaft caught up with Ian Walker….

What are your views on Olympic classes selection?
Before you talk about the classes the first thing you have to talk about is the process. What is clear over the last few years is that the process within World Sailing has been flawed. There has to be a complete review of their governance, which is going on and how they make decisions…in everything. I am pleased to see that happening. What we do see is a lot of work going on by experts, and small groups analysing what is right and recommendations about what is right being put through committees. And then we see those decisions reversed or undermined by people who are less experienced or driven by self interest. It is politics. 

So a bit like Brexit then?
Well there are some similarities. Similarly chaotic. I think World Sailing are having a look at how they make their decisions and that will help. But one of the problems is that nearly everyone has a vested interest. People on committees work for a nation or class association or a manufacturer. I am not saying they all are solely driven by that but in a small, niche, expert sport you almost can’t help that. But one of the similarities with Brexit is there is too much fake news. People did not know how much to trust what may or may not happen from the IOC. So the IOC talk to World Sailing and World Sailing tell everybody what they say, and you can read from their agenda 2020 and you can infer what may or may not happen in the future, if sailing does not become gender equal or appeal to the younger generation, is that a deal breaker or not? Well that affects everything that comes afterwards. If it is not a deal breaker then it is OK to have the Finn and not have another female boat to match it. But if it is a deal breaker we don’t even have to have that discussion. I think that is one of the key problems. No one really knows. And the IOC themselves are not clear about that. They say ‘it is up to the sport to run the sport and by the way we think this is a good idea….’ 

Is that an IOC or World Sailing problem then?
As an example if the IOC President had turned up at the World Sailing meeting and said…..’it is really important you do this, this and this', then that would have carried a lot of weight. So there are too many rumours and so much fake news after the event. All the clamour about the Finn being ousted at the November meeting was utter rubbish. It was effectively knocked out in May. In the end we were keen not to maintain the current slate of events because we believe the sport could be at risk if we don’t respond to what the IOC seem to be saying. 

Is it hard to balance your gut feelings and sailor with your role and responsibilities as Director of Racing at the RYA?
Honestly I think we at the RYA are quite good at stepping back and taking the bigger picture. Our absolute priority was to protect the Finn, by self interest as we seem to win a lot. But as it became apparent there was no way of saving the Finn without putting the sport at risk for not being gender equal we changed our focus to what was best for the sport in the eyes of the IOC. 

Do you get frustrated that the sport is dragged in particular directions to follow the quest for media profile? Are we always in search of the holy grail in making the sport media friendly?
I don’t know to be honest. I think it is an absolute travesty that we don’t have a class for heavier people. That is on the record. We should have tried much harder in May to find a way of saving the class. 

But the offshore mixed keelboat fits that role (for heavier sailors as well)?
It easy to say that. Too easy. But how easy is it on a keelboat if you are six foot three and a 100kgs to leap about? We don’t really know and won’t until we know the boat. I suspect you will be able to be any size but it might not be accessible financially. I think there should have been more effort put in to find solutions which kept the Finn and which gave us gender equity. That was behind the RYA submissions which was to make the 470 a female boat and keep the Finn, then we would have gender equity and we would have kept the Finn. That was our solution but it was turned down by the 470 class, they – rightly – had self interest at heart and saw that if it was a female only class that would have been the beginning of the end for them. It would be hard to retain critical mass with boat builders, mast makers, sail makers. So I can see why they fought. And ultimately it comes down to who has the biggest political lobby in the decision making process, rather than the decision being made by expert technical input with oversight of what is right for the sport. Ultimately it is made politically.  

That is a good example of a 470 medallist taking the bigger view, then?
I think if we had come away with the 470 a female only boat, the Finn still in and then either kiteboarding or an offshore keelboat. Maybe we should have one and not two. And I do think there is an over emphasis on mixed. Don’t get me wrong I like the idea as sailing is something which can do this which lots of other sports can’t do, but there are a lot of challenges. Practically speaking how many hotel rooms does that mean booking when you go away to regattas? There are all sorts of implications, which we can respond to. But at youth level what do we do with 420 sailing? Does that become mixed or do we keep doing what we do and fund boys and girls? I don’t think that, generally, there are enough people taking the bigger picture view. Hopefully if  they change the governance that will change for the better.  If you put your partisan self to one side, your love of all the boats we grew up with, if you can get beyond the difficulties of what the offshore keelboat event looks like and how it is organised, the slate of events presented at the Olympics is pretty cool. We will have some kiteboards, we will have some dinghies, keelboats, skiffs, singlehanded. But the problem is that underneath it all it is so hard to adapt to the decisions that we now have to make

As a three times Volvo Ocean Race skipper and winner, what do you think of The Ocean Race and its direction?
I am not very close to it. I have not read the NOR. I absolutely love the race and I want it to go from strength to strength. But it has an almost insurmountable challenge. It is a fully crewed, professional race at a time where it is harder and harder to raise the money. How are they going about that? They thought they were addressing that with the one design but unfortunately that was the wrong boat when they did it. Now they have a boat which is not particularly liked by the sailors. And so you are not getting the top sailors in the world wanting to campaign and sail it. And the lack of development hampers it. People like the idea of learning through developing. And now you have the IMOCA Open 60. You step back and think how are they going to get around the world? If you look at the singlehanded races what is going to happen when you push the boats to 100%? I would argue that five crew is not fully crewed, you are short handed, you are not going to be doing traditional sail changes on deck, you are presumably going to be inside a lot of the time. They are not open like the 70s or 65s. It has become a short handed race. I guess – and this is without thinking too much about it – if you are going to five you might as well go to two. And then you can use the Vendée Globe boats. You end up with the Barcelona Race which was not successful, but might have been if it had the Ocean Race brand behind it. But in saying that it would then be a natural progression from the Olympic discipline. But Open 60s are awesome but fundamentally I think they will go back to where the race was three races ago in terms of the team with the biggest budget which starts first will win if they don’t fall apart. They have very short memories. It was not so long ago when we they were saying we can’t have a Volvo Ocean Race when only two boats are finishing a leg. Say there are seven starters on a 10,000 mile leg through the Southern Ocean, how many are not going to break a daggerboard and end up a week behind? Having said all that I don’t really have a better solution. I think there is pressure to have a really cool, innovative boat which the Open 60 is. How cool would the boat be if it was not foiling in this day and age? Not really? You are kind of forced down that route. 

What is your own biggest concern right now in your role?
The thing that concerns me most right now is the general health of the sport and the feeling that I would love to do something in terms of turning things around at club sailing and racing. But that is a massive challenge because of the way society has changed. It is like turning an oil tanker round. Nothing is going to happen in a year, maybe in five years. And it is not about me it is about all the people involved in the process. I think we can change the rhetoric quite quickly though. We are making massive changes to our youth programme, with much less emphasis on results and much more on learning, participation and skills development. There is just no point in training up lots of really good young sailors if they then all give up the sport. That is a waste of investment. We are considering a huge change in how we deliver junior performance sailing. But that will take years. 

Britain is very different to Spain, France and Italy?
There are such differences between other nations. In the UK we are not club based like most. In Italy parents drop their kids down at the club, the club has a professional coach or coaches who takes them to events. In Britain we are parents and class association driven. And in Spain, France and Italy, for example they are club driven. It is so different. And if you go to Singapore they do it at school, the Oppie kids sail five times a week and are coached to within an inch of their lives, their funding is linked to fitness testing. And we want to get further removed from that. We don’t believe that success at a junior age has any correlation to success at an older age. 

What do the good clubs do right?
I think the good clubs just work really hard at everything, whether it is communications with their members, they have different forms of racing and make it very social, they are extremely proactive at every level and not all of it works. I was at a junior camp where all ages of kids get involved, it is family orientated, so there are all sorts of different routes. I was amazed at my club where they don’t do points races on a Sunday now because it takes the whole day and families want weekends. How many clubs do the same thing they have done for years because it is what they do? Every club is different and there is no one solution. We are looking to try and support clubs more, to keep people in their clubs longer and reduce travelling. We are trying to find ways of making it so performance driven at a young age. But that is driven by parents. There are lot of parallels with school where there is more and more tutoring in subjects. We are not really educating kids in schools we are training them to pass exams. That is essentially what we are doing in junior sailing. We are not creating better sailors, which you do by sailing lots of different boats and crewing, helming, sailing with adults. What we do is teach them to be good at starting and to be fast upwind. That is how you do well in a windward leeward race. We cram them for windward-leeward races. So, there are huge challenges. It is not about me. The most important thing I do is help, challenge and support the people who work for us. They are the ones on the ground.



  • CLASS40. Aïna Enfance et Avenir (Aymeric Chapellier) won the first stage of the Défi Atlantique between Pointe-à-Pitre and Horta taking 9 days, 15 hours and 46 minutes. The start of the second leg to La Rochelle is on Monday .
  • FIGARO. After Région Normandie (Alexis Loison-Frédéric Duthil) was winner of the warm-up (coefficient 1), Guyot Environnement (Pierre Leboucher-Erwan Tabarly) won the second leg of the Sardinha Cup (408 miles, coefficient 3). In the overall standings before the final stage Tuesday, the order is 1. Guyot Environnement (Pierre Leboucher-Erwan Tabarly), 2. StMichel (Yann Eliès-Sam Davies), 3. Breizh Cola Equi’Thé (Gildas Mahé-Morgan Lagravière).
  • OLYMPIC CLASSES. The 50th edition of Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia ends Saturday in Palma de Mallorca.
  • MATCH-RACE. Ten crews, including Australia's Harry Price and American Chris Poole, first and second at the preliminary Ficker Cup last weekend, are competing for the 55th edition of the Congressional Cup in Long Beach this week.
  • MINI 6.50. The start of the Mini Petrolera (100 miles solo) was on Friday in Garraf (Catalonia).
  • SWAN. The Monaco Swan One Design, the first leg of the 2019 Nations Trophy Mediterranean League, takes place from 9 to 13 April in the Principality.
  • RC44. The RC44 Cup, the new name of the former RC44 Championship, starts from April 10th to 14th with the first of five events of the season, the RC44 Cup Porto Montenegro.
  • STAR SAILORS LEAGUE. The presentation of the skippers of the top twenty national teams invited to compete at the first Star Sailors Gold Cup in September-October 2021 in Switzerland (not in Star, as indicated by error in Tip & Shaft # 153, but on 47ft monohulls) will take place on April 15th in Lausanne.
  • DIAM 24. The second edition of the Regata de Portugal will be in Diam 24 from May 30 to June 2 in Lisbon.

Contact Jean-Christophe Chrétien to find out about sponsoring this section
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The Melges 20 World Championships are on until Sunday in Miami. Thursday night, the Americans on Kuai (Daniel Thielman) led overall ahead of front of the Russians on Russian Bogatyrs (Igor Rytov) and another American crew, Heartbreaker (Robert Hughes).

In partnership with  Pub Pantaenius
Pub Musto


On Tuesday in Paris, the Ultim 32/23 class unveiled its calendar for the next five years. They will be competing in two round the world races, including the Brest Oceans as the climax at the end of 2023, several transatlantic races, a race around Europe and this autumn, a double-handed 14,000 mile race across the North and South Atlantic. Tip & Shaft analyses what lies behind these events.

After the accidents in the Route du Rhum, which led to the postponement of the Lorient-Bermuda Race and the Brest Oceans, the solo round the world race initially scheduled for late 2019, and then the refusal of the Transat Jacques Vabre to allow the maxi trimarans to compete, the Ultim 32/23 class had to respond. After the problems they encountered during the winter of 2018, they are bouncing back with a new, ambitious 5-year programme. "It took a long time," admitted Patricia Brochard, the class president. The programme was supposed to have been announced two months ago, but it took a while for Banque Populaire to sign up again, and to analyse together the accidents in the Route du Rhum, while consulting towns and partners about the right choice of dates. It would seem that the reaction from Brest was the deciding factor: "They could have forced us to organise the solo round the world race in 2021,” explained Thomas Coville, whose Sodebo Ultim 3 has just sailed for the first time. “But they were exemplary. The possibility of postponing the race until 2023 meant that the situation became much clearer.”

2019: Brest Atlantiques… during the Transat Jacques Vabre

They needed to find a replacement for the Transat Jacques Vabre. That was why Brest Atlantiques was created, a way of thanking the city at the tip of Brittany. This non-stop double-handed triangular race across the Atlantic will go from Brest to Brest with two islands to round near Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town. A voyage halfway around the world on waters they know well (almost 14,000 miles). "It was vital to stay in the Atlantic this year to ensure the safety of the sailors and boats if there is a problem," explained Cyril Dardashti, head of Gitana Team.

It has been suggested that there is not enough upwind sailing to test the trimarans. "At 45 knots in the trade winds, they will be tested in any case!” replied François Gabart. “The aim of the Brest Atlantiques is to clock up the miles and get to know the boats, without breaking them. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but the goal is to have a real battle between the boats all the way to the finish."

The four boats that are expected to compete – Macif, Maxi Edmond de Rotschild, Sodebo Ultim 3 and Actual Leader – will take a media man aboard and “pit stops are allowed” added Jacques Caraës, the Race Director. The budget announced by Brest Ultim Sailing, the organiser of the solo round the world race that was postponed, is 1.3 million euros, just under half of which is funded by local authorities with registration fees set at 65,000 euros pre-tax.

As for the date, it is also a way to express what they think about the Transat Jacques Vabre, which prevented the maxi-trimarans from competing. The Ultims will set off on 3rd November, a week after the start of the Jacques Vabre and the winner of the latter will still not be known… "We had to put something in place for 2019 and there weren’t 50,000 dates possible," explained Emmanuel Bachellerie, Delegate general for the class. "I’m surprised about the choice of date,” declared Gildas Gautier, delegate general of the Transat Jacques Vabre. “This decision does nothing to create harmony in the ocean race calendar."

2020: The Transat… or maybe not.

The legendary race is on the calendar for the Ultims next year, which has annoyed its organiser, OC Sport Pen Duick. Contacted on Thursday, Hervé Favre, CEO told Tip & Shaft: "No agreement has so far been signed. Talks are ongoing, but the Notice of Race won’t be published until the end of May and nothing is certain. It looks like this announcement is an attempt to force us to allow them to race. The same goes for the next Route du Rhum." However, 2022 is still some way off and a lot could happen before then.

No round the world race until 2021 … with six boats competing.

Until the second half of 2021, the boats will remain in the Atlantic with a short incursion into the Mediterranean for the Round Europe Race, called The Arch, which is being organised by Damien Grimont (who was behind The Bridge). The start of the crewed round the world race at the end of 2021 will also start in the Mediterranean. The town for the start has officially not yet been announced, but everyone knows that the application from ASO and the City of Nice – who organised the Nice UltiMed in 2018 – is likely to be chosen.

The timing means that Armel Le Cléac’h’s new Banque Populaire and François Gabart’s new trimaran will therefore be able to compete, so there should be at least six boats for this crewed race, as the former Macif will officially be up for sale this summer and will be available in 2020 after The Transat, and the delivery trip home, which Gabart is to attempt in record mode.

2023: Brest Oceans will be crucial for the future of the class

The first Brest Oceans, initially scheduled for 2019, will now take place in 2023. The outcome of this solo round the world race will probably be decisive for the future of the class, as Jean Bernard Le Boucher, head of the nautical sector for the Macif Group told us: "When we signed up for the Ultim class in August 2013, we were dreaming of this solo round the world race. It was only reasonable to postpone the event, but we really need to get it done in 2023, as it must not become the inaccessible dream."  In the spring of that year, a transatlantic race setting out from Brittany is planned to replace the Lorient-Bermuda-Lorient.

Gitana Team: joining in while remaining independent. The Director of Gitana Team, Cyril Dardashti, had nothing to say at the press conference on Tuesday, but the slide presenting the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was highly symbolic: Baron de Rothschild’s team joined the 32/23 class in January, Cyril Dardashti confirmed: "After the Route du Rhum and the refusal from the Transat Jacques Vabre organisers, we wanted to give a strong signal.” However, differences about class rules remain with the adjustment of foils dividing the teams. "We have been talking about this since 2013,” said François Gabart: “We need to find a balance between innovation and fairness, while controlling costs, as the difficulty for the Ultims in the next ten years will be how to attract new owners." "We look at things differently,” replied Cyril Dardashti. “We started earlier than the others and have come a long way in terms of ‘flying’. That is why alongside the class races, we’ll be continuing with our own programme with a version of the boat that is further ahead technologically." This programme is due to be announced by May at the same time as the name of the successor to Sébastien Josse.


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  • SEBASTIEN COL is with the team at MerConcept with a wide ranging role within François Gabart's team and wearing the colors of Macif (Ultim and Figaro) and Apivia Mutual (IMOCA).
  • ADRIAN STEAD, BRIAN THOMPSON and PETER GREENHALGH have all joined the Doyle Sails team.
  • JEAN LE CAM will be the co-skipper for Nicolas Troussel on the next Transat Jacques Vabre aboard le Cam's Hubert, racing in Troussel's sponsor's colors Corum L'Epargne, while they await the launch the new on Nico's new IMOCA at the end of the year.
  • A+T INSTRUMENTS are looking to expand their sales team with three appointments: technical sales and support, outbound sales, regatta sales and support (via EuroSail News).



  • ARIELLE SALMON (formerly Dongfeng Race Team, former Artemis Offshore Academy) is available for work on offshore racing projects specialising in logistics, administration, finance and alll aspects of support
  • STREAMLINE, a consulting firm specializing in performance engineering are looking to support racing teams in their projects, providing their tools and skills through the establishment of technical partnerships


  • LUMIBIRD has signed up as Michel Desjoyeaux's title sponsor on the Figaro circuit this season. Desjoyeaux will work up to the Solitaire Urgo Le Figaro by competing in the Solo Maitre CoQ and Solo Concarneau.
  • DIAM 24. Entries for the second edition of the Grand Prix Pacifique des Jeux are open, with a special deal until June 1 of 24 500 euros, including airfare, accommodation and meals.
  • IRC. Registrations for the IRC European Championships in Sanremo (23-29 June) are open.
  • GRAHAME ROBB ASSOCIATES has become an official learning and development supplier for the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, while HYDE SAILS has renewed their partnership with the race around the world for the next two editions.
  • RALF TECH has committed itself as the official timekeeper of UNCL.
  • UK SAILMAKERS will supply the L30s for the Offshore World Championships in Valletta in October 2020.
  • GILL launches a new range of marine clothing called Race Fusion.
  • JACK BOUTTELL is looking to sell the IMOCA ex Spirit of Canada. Launched in 2007, this Merfyn Owen design raced the 2008-9 Vendee Globe. 

Contact Jean-Christophe Chrétien to find out about sponsoring this section


America’s Cup: Entries, payments, and promises
Is there a question mark over whether the Maltese, Dutch and American Cup  (Stars & Stripes Team USA) teams, all late entries to the 36th America's Cup, have they paid their registration fees?  It seems hard to tell but perhaps reflects tensions between the Defender and the Challenger of record.

Past winners become coaches (part 1 and 2)
Past winners of the Vendee Globe talk about their roles as mentors, coaches, consulants including Armel Le Cleac'h, Michel Desjoyeaux, Alain Gautier, Francois Gabart.

Miranda Merron: : "In France, women in sailing have a lot of luck"
Now a candidate for the next Vendée Globe, the British skipper of Campagne de France says "there are social barriers that prevent women from pursuing a career in sailing in France, but absolutely not within the sport itself." According to her, the sailing world in France is much less macho than elsewhere.

Annie Lush : Stronger through generations
Member of the Team Brunel crew during the last Volvo Ocean Race, the English woman says that lots of different women have inspired her, like fellow sailors Cathy Foster (the only woman to participate in the 470 Olympic Games in 1984) and Shirley Robertson, and... Madonna.

Jimmy Spithill reveals why he changed his mind to sail the next America's Cup
The Australian was not too inspired to see the America's Cup back in a monohull but he  says that what influenced his return (with Luna Rossa) was the revelation of the AC75 that he compares to "a praying mantis on steroids"!

Contact Jean-Christophe Chrétien to find out about sponsoring this section 

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Publisher : Pierre-Yves Lautrou - Editor-in-chief : Axel Capron
English version produced in partnership with Andi Robertson
Pierre- Marie Bourguinat contributed to this issue.



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This newsletter has been sent to 1 358 subscribers.

Publisher : Pierre-Yves Lautrou - Editor-in-chief : Axel Capron
English version produced in partnership with Andi Robertson



You receive this email because we think you subscribed to Tip & Shaft, the expert media for sail racing.

Tip & Shaft is published by Tip & Shaft SAS
10, rue des Eglantiers 56260 Larmor-Plage - France
A company registered in Lorient/France - Registration no. 839 468 378 000 14

© 2015-2019 Tip & Shaft. All rights reserved.