Catamaran technique series - part 9

A-Class World champion Glenn Ashby provides insight into how he sails the world's fastest singlehanded cat
It was his first journey overseas and he had only just turned 19 when Glenn Ashby won his first World Championships in the challenging singlehanded A-Class catamaran class. He is also the reigning World Champion, having developed his own sail to win at Martha’s Vineyard. The 26-year-old sailmaker who lives many miles from the sea inland of Melbourne, Australia, has also won five A Class European Championships. And he has stood in for John Forbes (last week’s cat expert), coming second at Barcelona Week and winning the Princess Sofia Trophy at the front end of Darren Bundock’s Tornado. But here, he tells Andy Rice about the secrets of fast A Class sailing. Preparation Firstly, you need good kit to be able to compete at the front of the A-Class fleet. I’ve just got a new boat, a German Flyer, in preparation for the next Worlds in February. They’re taking place at New Plymouth, on the north island of New Zealand. I’ve also got my two best masts to take, and I’m making my own sails, so my speed should be fine. My biggest issue is getting enough sailing time before then, and making sure I’m fit enough to push the boat hard. Weight is not too much of an issue because you can find a rig to suit your size. The boats can carry a weight range from 65kg to 90kg. I weigh 80kg. You need to spend some time making sure your boat is not going to break. Boat maintenance is not my forte, but I've been lucky to have a minimum of boat breakage. I got back from one world championships, and the first three times I went sailing when I got back home, things broke, so I was closer to disaster than I realised at