Catamarans at the EUROSAF High Performance Grand Prix
A week remains until the start of the EUROSAF High Performance Grand Prix. With registration opening on 11 October, racing gets underway on the inland lagoon of Mar Menor in Spain’s Murcia region on Thursday, 13 October. The competition will take place over four days for the 29erXXs, foiling Moths, A-Class, F18s and the Kiteboards, who are holding their inaugural Kite-Cross World Championship as part of the event.
When it comes to high performance there are few boats capable of outpacing catamarans and two such classes have been invited to the EUROSAF High Performance Grand Prix.
Among the F18 entries is two time Tornado Olympic medallist Mitch Booth, who’s lengthy CV includes 10 world championship wins across most of the top catamaran classes. Booth also founded the Extreme Sailing Series with its short courses set close to land for maximum spectator appeal. This ‘stadium sailing’ format has also been adopted for the medal races in the Olympic Games and is philosophically aligned with what the organisers of the EUROSAF High Performance Grand Prix wish to achieve with their new regatta.
As Booth puts it: “I support anything where there is something a bit modern. They have got the right formula. They have catamarans, skiffs, foilers - they have all the right parts of the sport and of course my kids are pushing me like crazy, because they are all multihull fanatics. One of my boys is starting in an F18. He is only 14.” While Booth senior is competing in Murcia next week, so is son Jordi, both of whom are warming up for the F18 European Championship due to be held in the Canary Islands in early December. In fact Mitch’s crew on board their Hobie Wildcat F18 comes from the Canaries in the form of Miguel Pérez.
For Booth, sailing on the Mar Menor will be a first. “I have heard a lot of good reports about it and while it is not so deep in the F18s, it looks like there is a good line-up of entries.”
Booth says that in his experience different types of catamarans come together at the multiple class events, most notably Eurocat and Round Texel, but rarely elsewhere. “Tornados and A cats used to mix a bit, sometimes they’d have combined Worlds, but it is not often that you see the A-Cats and F18s together.”
Spain’s A-Class catamaran fleet has the advantage that many of them are already are based on the shores of the Mar Menor. The class has gained popularity in Spain over recent years with the biggest fleets now located in Barcelona, Valencia, Andalusia and Murcia.
Typically the A-Class catamarans race on their own, at their European and World championships or in each country’s National championship, so competing in a multiple discipline event like the EUROSAF High Performance Grand Prix is reasonably new for them.
Angel Fernández, Secretary of the Spanish A-Class association, moved into the speedy singlehanded catamaran ten years ago having been a Tornado catamaran sailor for many years. As he puts it: “This event is quite new, so we will see. It is down to the coverage and the television - if they cover it, it will start to be popular.”
While Australia usually dominates the results at A-Class World Championships, Spain is one of the nations on the rise in the class and at this year’s Worlds, held in Aarhus, Denmark, they had four boats finishing in the top 15.
It is known that several Moth sailors wish to line up with the A-Class catamarans to determine which is the world’s fastest singlehanded dinghy. The EUROSAF High Performance Grand Prix could provide that opportunity.
The organisers of the EUROSAF High Performance Grand Prix have extended the deadline for entry to their event until 9 October. For more details visit www.sailingmurcia.com.