Clean sweep for Veal
In an extraordinary display in a 47-strong fleet, with strong competition from fellow Australian competitors and others from Great Britain, Singapore, Japan, Germany and Switzerland, Veal, the current Open European champion, put his foil on and did not look back .
Waiting ashore to congratulate him were Veal’s proud parents, sister and fiancée Virginia.
"I’ve put in a lot of effort and I planned. I had plans in place for the last Worlds in France, but they did not come off. This time was different. I practiced a lot and I was more in control," the 27 year old who turns 28 next week said on coming ashore.
"I can’t quite believe it – I’m exhausted – it’s been a long day out there," Veal said of their back-to-back four race finish today, in which oscillating winds started out in the light 10 knot region and built to 18 knots by the middle of Race 3.
What makes Veal’s dominance of these Worlds more incredible is that he ‘foiled’ for the whole series – whether it was light or heavy airs – although conditions were mostly windier.
"That was a goal," Veal said, "I wanted to foil in every race; I wanted to win that way, not by changing between foil and conventional."
Earlier in the month, Veal won every race but one in the Australian Championship – that one race cost him the series, relegating him to second overall in favour of the new champ and conventional Moth sailor, Les Thorpe (AUS). Thorpe finished the Worlds in a credible fifth place – the best of the conventional set.
Second and third places overall have gone to the two top Brits – Simone Payne finished second, seven points behind Veal, taking into account one race drop. Adam May finished third, five points behind his countryman.
"Simon was my biggest threat, he pushed me and I just had to hold him off. Adam too. We had good numbers at this event, more than there have been in the past, so that feels great too," Veal commented.
The top three were well named – Veal on Outlaw, Payne with Shoulder Angel and May’s boat Mistress – it all fits.
Payne finished second to Veal at the 2004 Open European Championship, winning the European title, whilst May was the British Tornado crew for Hugh Styles at the Sydney 2000 Games. Both looked a serious threat at the beginning of the Championship, but as Veal, from the Melbourne suburb of Seaford, continued to win every race, it became fairly obvious that the Victorian was the outstanding sailor.
His win brought back memories of another Black Rock sailor (now an Olympic coach), Arthur Brett, who won the World Contender crown against a then three-time former World Champ and seemingly unbeatable Italian, Andrea Bonezzi at the same venue in 2002.
Fourth place overall at Moth Worlds went to expatriate Australian, Mark Robinson, now sailing for Singapore. Robinson is now an Olympic coach with the Singapore team and showed good speed, but obviously not the time on his hands to put in the necessary practice.
The top four finishers are all foilers, Thorpe the best placed of the conventional sailors. Other names in the fleet included defending World champion, Chris Dey (AUS), who finished eighth, and designer and tester of the Moth foil system respectively, John and Garth Ilett from Western Australia. John finished 16th and Garth seventh.
Three women contested the event too; the best placed of those Yumiko Shige (JPN) a foiler who finished 18th, then came Jenny Muller in 36th and Lee-Frances Gray 38th.
A final word from Veal, "I want to thank Black Rock for running a fantastic event, they did a great job under a bit of strain," he said referring to organisers who had hard decisions to make in regard the unseasonal weather.
Second place sailor Simon Payne writes from the airport:
We couldn't stop smiling after our first sail in Port Phillip Bay. When the conditions are right its just fantastic. 15-20 knots of breeze and roller coaster waves means its as good as it gets. Of course if you read the reports you will know we lost a couple of days. Frustrating and all would agree that although windy the top 10-15 boats would have got round fine, the foilers are fine in waves, they go over them. Others though would have struggled in the conditions and the Race Officer had to be mindful of that. We wound up having four races back to back on the last day. Support boats carrying drinks and spray tops etc. We needed 5 for a series and ideally 7 to get our discard in. The conditions turned out as described above and it was just great sailing. Physically hard with a windward leg long enough for you to only just make out the windward mark and a fast downhill. If this was skiing it would be described as a "black run". (You get the perspective from a foiler angle here). Racing was just off the club so only a short hop to the course (and back in again).
I guess you all know the results by now. Rohan scored 8 first places. Never before done I think. He's put 4 years hard work in and deserves all his success. We still have steep performance curves going on with the foilers and he's a season ahead. In the conditions here he could keep it at ten tenths longer than the rest of us and that was key. Sure he capsizes a few times too but he was race ready from the off. The other Australian foilers were also getting there. Garth Ilett, John Illet and Brett Burvell all were up there but lacked the race preperation. With foilers there is a direct correlation between the time you put in with regard training/race preparation and your race result. Mark Robinson in his new Prowler led at the windward mark a few times. He's really quick upwind and was a clear fourth place overall. Les Thorpe was fifth sailing a conventional boat, he beat lots of foilers and indeed Rohan in the Australian Nationals, and rumours are that there is now a Sydney Foiler "Think Tank" and with that Les was to be seen in my boat after the last race practicing his position in the team as "crash test dummy".
From a British perspective I think this is the first time for many many years that we've had two boats in the top three. I scored 2,2,2, RTD,2,2,3,2 and Adam May scored 3,3,4,15,3,3,2,3 and we were pretty please with our results. There were plenty of other people who on paper could have beaten us, there are some very very good sailors here but we've been training too and it paid off. I guess our feeling is that we really needed a regatta prior to this one in order to be race ready. We competed in some races of the Australian Nationals but needed more. We learnt a massive amount though, about how to sail these boats, about how to set them up. We can gybe on foils fine now but Rohan has begun to tack on them..We are so much better than when we first arrived here and are fully fired for the Europeans at Garda. Really, really glad we came.
Adam will be more serious and is better qualified to go into some of the technical developments. We saw incredible foil art from Glen Oldfield and Doink with experimental centreboard mounted wands from the Ilett camp. Brett Burvill turned up with several centreboard slots and bow rudder facility. He didn't use them but we heard confirmed rumours are of serious performance. Yet despite all this it was the little things that shone through.
The "May Stick" added a greater control to the bow wand and most foilers had it before the end of the regatta. "Robbo ropes" were seen on most foilers too. The "Cleat de Payne", the "Burvill band", the "Glen Lever" all have patents pending.
That funny bow up/ windward lean that you see the best foilers doing is now called "Vealheel"
34 KA sails have been sold this year and the MSL9 is a beauty. Adam and I both had new sails for the event. This was the last time that the offset measurement rule would be used before we go to measuring true area so these sails might become quite valuable. They are really well made and I love the detailing and the sail bag.
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